Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Aught to Know: Music

OK, Albums!

Not based on what was technically the best, but instead what I probably listened to the most. Also, some favoritism was given to the second half of the decade because even though Weezer's Green Album got a ton of playtime on my CD player in 2002, I can't bring myself to add it to the list.

In alphabetical order...

Arcade Fire

I actually might like Neon Bible better and (thanks to mine and Sarah's road trip across South Africa) might have listened to it more). But, this was the album where I "discovered" Arcade Fire, so it will always leave the bigger impression. Plus, if I was doing a list of favorite singles from the aughts, "Backseat" would probably be on that list.

"Gulag Orkestar"

Who knew that a 23-year-old kid from New Mexico playing what sounds like Eastern European gypsy folk music in the streets of Paris would be one of my favorites. But, from the time it was release in, like 2006 till now, it's been a favorite. Funky and ecclectic, while also accessible and poppy. His follow up Flying Club Cup is also excellent.

Broken Social Scene
"You Forgot It In People"

Along with their later self-titled album, this was basically the soundtrack to Sarah and I planning our big trip. Like Arcade Fire, this band somehow manages to capture something that reminds me of growing up in the suburbs... I'm not sure why, or why that would appeal to me, but it does. The sing-songy "Athems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" will be stuck in your head for days.

David Byrne & Brian Eno
"Everything That Happens Will Happen Today"

As much as I love Byrne, most of his solo work hasn't connected the way his Talking Heads stuff did. That said, this is probably the best thing he's done ever, in my opinion. Period. Eno's music elevates Byrne's songs to the rank of "secular gospel" that they aspire to. The album of 2008 for me.


I remember stumbling across the video for their first single, "Clint Eastwood" months before the CD was released in the US, and watching it probably 18-hundred-dozen times. Then, I went to a Canadian CD website, bought the album there, and had it shipped to me here in the US for way too much money. Then, I spent the next year or two listening to it non-stop. Their follow up, Demon Days was excellent too.

Postal Service
"Give Up"

I'm pretty sure I put this album in my CD player sometime in 2003, and didn't take it out until Sarah and I left on our Round the World trip in 2007. Probably, if backed into a corner, this would be the album I'd admit most defined this decade for me.

(On a side note, I remember, when this album came out, I wished there were more albums like it. But, recently, when I discovered the band, Owl City, it actually mad me a little angry to here someone so obviously aping Postal Service's shtick.)

Ryan Adams

Ryan came out with something like 84 albums this decade. And most of them got a lot of play time at the Hill-Stach residence. But, Demolition is probably my long-term favorite. Entertainingly, his never-released "Destroyer" session was probably our second most listened to Ryan Adams CD, and also contains mine and Sarah's wedding song.

The Shins
"Oh, Inverted World"

The song "New Slang" might be a indie-music-hipster cliche, but I still remember hearing it for the first time. In the movie Garden State, Natalie Portman's character shares that song with Zach Braft saying "You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life I swear." And while that sounds a little hyperbolic, it was one of those songs that stuck me the very second I heard it.

White Stripes
"White Blood Cells"

I might have listened to Elephant just as much (and "Seven Nation Army" might be the song that springs most imediately to mind), but White Blood Cells started it off. In fact, this album sort of kicked off several years of listening to a lot of retro-garage rock bands, but the Stripes are one of the few that still holds up today.

"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"

One of those rare albums that was a critical darling, that I loved and that I listened to a ton. In fact, the song "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" was easily on the Top 10 for my most listened to individual songs. And, has some of my favorite, borderline nonsense lyrics.

Oh, and here are some runners up: The Streets A Grand Don't Come For Free, New Pornographers Mass Romantic, Vampire Weekend's self-titled release, Decemberists Crane Wife, Neko Case Blacklisted, PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, Death Cab For Cuties' Transatlantism, Andrew Byrd Andrew Byrd & the Mysterious Production of Eggs, Blue Scholars Bayani, Outkast Skankonia and, of course, Weezer the Green Album.

Like my previous Best of the 2000s entry, if there are any of these albums you are considering buying, why not buy them through my General Store. Thanks!

(EDIT: D'oh! I can't beleive that I forgot Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! ...Bad, Tyler! Bad!)


Vocal Minority said...

Honestly, I'm just shocked you rate GORILLAZ above DEMON DAYS. The second is head and shoulders above the first IMHO.

The General said...

Actually, honestly, Demon Days is probably a better album. In a couple of instances (Arcade Fire and White Stripes also) the better album is overshadowed by the first album... just because I listened to the first album more. And, that was what I ultimately used to make my picks.

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