The Best of the ’00s Part 3: #80-71

Off we go!

80 The Breeders – Title TK (2002) (left) – I’ve forgiven Kim Deal for the bodily injury inflicted on me in 1994. I have also forgiven her for taking her time between Breeders albums. I think many people were disappointed with Title TK as it had no “Cannonball” and felt more like a home demo than an album 8 years in the making (well, it might not have been in the making for all those years).

79 Amon Tobin – Supermodified (2000) – I remember having a conversation with someone in 2000 about how electronic wasn’t just a flash in the pan but it was hear to stay. Sadly, looking back on that, it was sort of like Homer claiming that the height of rock and roll was Grand Funk Railroad. It doesn’t mean that the decade was bereft of excellent electronic, it just means that it quickly receded into the background (or hybridized effectively).

78 Passion Pit – Manners (2009) – Speaking of which, this might be a prime example of the electro-hybridization. There is a level of uncomfortableness in the album, maybe with the forced falsetto vocals or children yelling the chorus, but really, that is what made it so fascinating. Or maybe I just like music that makes me feel a little uneasy, much like …

77 Xiu Xiu – Fabulous Muscles (2004) – I give a lot of people a hard time for listening to bands that I consider, well, unlistenable because all they seem to do is f&%k around with instruments and suddenly get praised for their genius. Then I think that I might not have an appendage on which to stand because of my undying love for Xiu Xiu. Too bad, I’m going to go on living with this inconsistency.

76 The Faint – Danse Macabre (2001) – My friend Melissa, who seems to have vanished into oblivion, introduced me to the Faint in a record store somewhere in Cambridge. I probably spent a good part of the next year listening to this album.

75 New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (2001) (right) – I checked both Mass Romantic and Electric Version out from the Corvallis Public Library (nice job on the part of the music purchasers there), not really knowing what to expect beyond the fact that I had read “hey, the New Pornographers are good.” The last thing I expected was a pile of power pop that was like a lo-fi revival of the Cars (but better).

74 Hot Chip – Made in the Dark (2008) – Sometimes I think that Hot Chip will slowly climb into the top 10 of my favorite bands – sort of like a Pet Shop Boys 2.0. Made in the Dark did nothing to dispel that notion.

73 YACHT – I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real (2007) – I think this album is a fine example of what happens when a band that spent too much time dithering around on previous albums trying to be “experimental” sits down and tries to write pop songs. And yes, it works like a charm. Note to many bands: being catchy and succinct isn’t a sin.

72 Ratatat – Remixes Vol. 1 and 2 (2004/2007) – Maybe I cheated a little bit by including these unreleased (well, released briefly for free on the internet) remix albums on this list, but very few ‘mix tape’ adventures had as much of an impact on my listening habits as Ratatat’s. I eagerly await Vol. 3.

71 Tilly & the Wall – Wild Like Children (2004) (left) – I am a sucker for charming bands and Tilly & the Wall turned the charm dial up to 11. Tap dance percussion? Check. Mixed male-female vocals? Check. Songs about love? Check. They might be a little gimmicky, but you know, sometimes that AOK.

Here is your iTunes iMix for 80-71, which sadly lacks any of the Ratatat remixes and oddly, the Breeders (go figure, iTunes lacks Title TK). Thankfully you can find Ratatat’s remix of Allure on Youtube (audio only) and the Breeders’ “Huffer” (on Conan) as well.

Best of the ’00s Part 1: 100-91

Best of the ’00s Part 2: 90-81

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#99: ‘Permutations’ by Amon Tobin

#99. Amon Tobin – Permutations [1998]

The ebb and flow of electronic music over the last decade has pretty much left the average American with a view that electronic is pretty much Moby, the Chemical Dudes, Aqua and those firestarting people with the crazy hair. And really, if you believe radio (well, again, American radio), that is what it became for mainstream listeners. This is, of course, the equivalent to saying that if you’ve heard Mozart, you’ve heard all classical (not to say any of the aforementioned electronic artists are like Mozart in any way shape or form), and that conclusion is dead wrong. If you are one of those people who do not think too highly of electronic but like music on the whole, I suggest you swallow your pride (or ego) and find yourself a copy of Permutations (or if you can’t find that, album #105, Bricolage work be a welcome substitute). Brazilian DJ/artist/musician Amon Tobin has been on the forefront of electronic for years, yet no one really knows who he is short of the Splinter Cell fanatics who got into his soundtrack to the videogame a few years back. All in all, this is a shame. Tobin mixes acid jazz, film noire, drum and bass, jungle and ridiculous musical allusions into a hypnotic blend that transcends the sadly short-sighted electronic genre and makes music that, unlike Prodigy and the like, doesn’t sound dated within 10 minutes of hearing it. Permutations still sends chills down my back when I pop it in driving down the highway at night where you half expect a fleet of UFO’s to come down and make away with my car. It is creepy, it is surreal, it is enthralling and might change your view on electronic from here on in (even if there isn’t much left of the genre).

Excellent tracks: Escape, Like Regular Chickens, Nightlife, Sordid, Reanimator, Bridge

EG100 Score: 77.29

And so it begins … Erik Gonzalez 100

So, starting tomorrow I will be posting the Erik Gonzalez 100 in segments of 10, working our way up to the top over the next few weeks. I’ll have commentary on each album, so it might take a few days between entries. Feel free to comment on any of my picks or comments.

I thought as a teaser, I’d list my numbers 110-101 as sort of a “just missed.” It might give you an inkling of what is to come (and to show how hard it is to make the list and try to make it be something beyond a qualitative list … heck, a lot of these albums might have easily made the top 100).

  • 110. AC/DC: Back in Black
  • 109. Beastie Boys: Check Your Head
  • 108. Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes
  • 107. Chemical Brothers: Exit Planet Dust
  • 106. New Pornographers: Mass Romantic
  • 105. Amon Tobin: Bricolage
  • 104. The Streets: A Grand Don’t Come for Free
  • 103. Guns ‘N Roses: Appetite for Destruction
  • 102. The Roots: Things Fall Apart
  • 101. Quasi: Featuring ‘Birds’

The rest will be coming soon!