The Best of the ’00s Part 8: #30-21

Almost there!

30 Die Fantastischen Vier – Fornika (2007) (left) – Yes, I did include a German hip-hop album on the list … and in the top 30 no less. And sure I maybe understand 4 words in the whole album, but Die Fantastischen Vier (the Fantastic Four) might have stumbled into the best “aging hip hop stars” album this side of The Black Album.

29 The Rapture – Echoes (2003) – Funny how a little DFA magic can take a good band and turn them into a great band. The opening half of the album is as epic as they come.

28 Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (2003) – And on the flipside, the opening three tracks of Transatlanticism might be some of the bleakest of the decade. I really wasn’t an obsessive Death Cab fan like many of the rest of my friends, but it gnawed at me for months – all it needed was a good breakup to take over.

27 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003) – There were an awful lot of “hype bands” over the decade – thank you NME – and lots didn’t come close to living up to it. However, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs might be one of the biggest exceptions. Any attempt to compile the best songs of the decade necessitates having “Maps” near the very top.

26 The Strokes – Is This It? (2001) – It is hard to remember now, but when Is This It? came out back in 2001, it was stunning. Music had become so bloated and pretentious that this album sounded like a game-changer (and it more or less was). You could almost believe that the album was recorded in a few days – a perfect pop record for a music scene in need of one.

25 LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005) (right) – It was only the beginning – and between James Murphy and Kanye West, Daft Punk has become more popular than ever.

24 TV on the Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (2004) – Right about now, many people are wondering how this list made it so far without any TV on the Radio. It is not that I don’t like the other TV on the Radio albums – I do – but they never really stuck with me like Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes did. Is it unfair to compare about the ouvre of the band? Yes. Does it happen anyway? Sure.

23 Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone (2004) – It is a little hard to come up with words for this short-lived band and this album: a fantastical indie rock epic into the land of wind and ghosts? That might be close enough.

22 Radiohead – Kid A (2000) – A lot of people didn’t like it when Radiohead decided to ditch the guitars for a while and become a synth/goth band, but I wasn’t one of them. Kid A is the most twisted album in the Radiohead lexicon, and that says something.

21 Islands – Return to the Sea (2006) (left) – After the Unicorns came the Islands, and Return to the Sea was so devilishly entertaining (and catchy) that you’d wish that they’d bothered to not get lost ever since. That and Islands introduced me to Busdriver.

Here is your iMix for #30-21.

And a recap: And if you missed them, here are #100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-41, 30-41.

The Best of the ’00s Part 7: #40-31

On we go!

40 Death Cab for Cutie – Plans (2004) (left) – Fact: I listened to “Marching Bands of Manhattan” on my way to my Seattle bus stop every day for almost 5 months. And I’d do it again.

39 The White Stripes – De Stijl (2000) – The first of three from Jack & Meg on my list, probably the rawest and could easily have fallen almost anywhere in the top 40.

38 Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002) – It is odd, I thought that their debut would have fared better in my mind than the 38 slot, but here we are. Maybe I’m just not as dark as I was 8 years ago.

37 Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock and Roll (2006) – Really, this album is pure pop fluff. Not that it is pop music as such – closer to post-punk than anything, but at least at this stage of the Art Brut career arc, they still existed as almost a novelty. That being said, “Emily Kane” might have been one of the catchiest songs of the decade.

36 Jens Lekman – When I Said I Wanted to be Your Dog (2004) – Not to say this was a transformative album for me, but “You are the Light (By Which I Travel into This and That)” could be the song I listened to the most in the first half of the decade.

35 Metric – Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003) (right) – It is hard for me to deny the fact that a large portion of my love for Metric lies with Emily Haines. So I won’t.

34 The White Stripes – Elephant (2003) – I think I read somewhere that “Seven Nation Army” might be the most downloaded song of the 2000s. Is this really a surprise? However, it is “Ball & Biscuit” that really stands out on the White Stripes top 10 smash.

33 Morrissey – You are the Quarry (2004) – Would you have guessed that Moz would have such a late career surge? Yeah, probably. He is the Sinatra of modern rock – just look for his “Duets” album sometime around 2018.

32 New Pornographers – Electric Version (2003) – I think I’ve already mentioned the idea that the New Pornographers, in my mind, have always been better than the sum of their parts. I’ve tried to get into all the Neko Case or Destroyer or  A.C. Newman albums, but nothing gets me going like all their powers working together.

31 Blue Scholars – Blue Scholars (2006) (left) – Very few people outside of Seattle have likely ever heard of the Blue Scholars, and yes, I am likely subconsciously biased by an hip hop act with an MC called Geologic, but the Blue Scholars debut was enthralling from start to finish (especially “No Rest for the Weary”).

Here is the iTunes iMix for #40-31.

And if you missed them, here are #100-9190-8180-7170-6160-51, 50-41.

Getting back on track

Back on Track

So, I’ve been in a bit of a music funk lately. Not sure why, but nothing caught my attention and I couldn’t really get in the mood to write any new reviews. I suppose this happens to everyone, but I’ve slowly been attempting to reboot and get back on track.

I was going to post a new top 10 from my iPod, but it is a mess right now. I mean, of the Top 20 songs right now, 8 are from the new Girl Talk album, Feed the Animals, which I recommend to everyone, everywhere (heck, you can download for a price of your choosing). I’ve also been quite fond of the new Fleet Foxes album, but it doesn’t even register on my iPod playcount because I listened to the physical CD while working in the lab (a real CD? Go figure). My other recent acquisition that has gotten a lot of playing is the Silver Jews Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.

Oddly, the late spring releases, on the whole, have sort of disappointed me. I was really looking forward to the new Islands record, Arm’s Way but it fell flat. Death Cab for Cutie’s Narrow Stairs just hasn’t stuck, but then again both Transatlanticism and Plans took a few months to sink in. El Perro Del Mar’s From the Valley to the Stars was just a little too laid back to the point of narcolepsy and the Long Blondes’ “Couples” was a disaster compared to the treat that was their first album. Maybe this has been why I’ve been unable to stay focussed on music lately: too much disappointment.