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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The Best of the ’00s Part 2: #90-81

Well, I meant to post 90-81 earlier this week, but hey, I was busy … but here it is now. Enjoy!

90 The Anniversary – Your Majesty (2001) – In the same group as Papas Fritas, the Anniversary’s followup to Designing a Nervous Breakdown was much more in the 70s power pop spectrum than the post-punk emo of their debut. It also happened to be their swansong, but for half of 2001, it was all I listened to.

89 Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008) – Much like my best of 2008 list, I feel a little ambivalence towards putting something like Girl Talk on a list of best albums – it is more of a collage of sound that anything. However, that is postmodernism for you, where patische is just as legitimate as anything – and boy, Girl Talk is a blast.

88 Andrew WK – I Get Wet (2002) – Speaking of album that are merely fun, Andrew WK exists in that netherworld where it is hard to tell if its the album or the concept you like. There isn’t really anything that serious on I Get Wet but the amount of energy released by Andrew WK during the course of the album is enough to grab and keep your attention.

87 Beck – Sea Change (2002) – On the flipside, Sea Change was about as subtle an album that Beck has ever recorded – almost like Beck-meets-Nick Drake in its balladry. You might be concerned that such of metamorphosis might not work out, but somehow Beck’s voice works out beautiful in the stripped-down setting.

86 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (2008) – Sure, they’re another hype band, but kind of like Jens Lekman’s Paul Simon revival, Vampire Weekend borrowed heavily from that Graceland sound – and it ended up working out just fine. The band lived up to a lot of the hype.

85 Jose Gonzalez – Veneer (2005) – You have to love the scandatino, part-Argentine, part-Swedish, Jose Gonzalez channeled his inner Nick Drake to record a heartbreaking set of guitar ballads. Of course, the high points were his genius covers of the Knife’s “Heartbeats” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (and a little less impressive cover of Kylie).

84 The Walkmen – You & Me (2008) – Sure, it didn’t have a standout like “The Rat” (see #99), but the overall experience of You & Me was much more solid – it was both accessible and interesting. It had that dusty, echoing sound that is a signature of the Walkmen (and the predecessor Jonathan Fire Eater) but didn’t get bogged down with Dylanesque meanderings.

83 Yeah Yeah Yeah – Its Blitz (2009) – Like a lot of bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a lot to live up to after their debut Fever to Tell and they sounded like they were crushed by the weight with their ponderous sophomore album. Luckily, after that misfire, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were able to cut loose and have some fun. Its Blitz was more new wave than punk rock, but somehow Karen O just seems like a natural for it – sadly, few others like the album as much as I did.

82 Sigur Ros – ( ) (2002) – I got this album out of a free CD bin in my days at KBVR … I’m still at a loss why they didn’t think it was good enough for use on the station. I actually had no idea what to make of it when I popped it in my CD player (it was 2002), but the near-ambient Radiohead-on-tranquilizers sound combined with the bizarre made-up language was mesmerizing. Of course, I’m still amused when I shocked a friend of mine in 2007 when I informed him that the lead singer was, in fact, a guy.

81 M.I.A. – Arular (2005) – There is definitely something undeniably charming about a Sri Lankan female singer/rapper mixing it up with thick synth beats. Sometimes it was hard to follow M.I.A. and her rambunctious nature, but you had to admit that once you did, it was too much fun to avoid.

Here is the iTunes iMix for #90-81.

And check out #100-91 of my favorite albums of the ’00s.