The Best of the ’00s Part 10: #10-1

My favorite of the decade! Thanks for memories!

10 The Blow – Paper Television (2006) (left) – Maybe I’m just fond of synth pop, but when Mikhaela and Jona decided to write pop songs, the result was 10 songs of perfection. This is what happens when a band decides that all the dabbling and wandering in music noise just isn’t working, so maybe writing songs that go somewhere is the way to go.

9 The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001) – It made the White Stripes huge, it brought the so-called “garage sound” to the forefront and still sounds as fresh as it did when it came out.

8 Ted Leo/Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak (2003) – If there is anything I am susceptible to, musically, beyond the usual synth pop, it is power pop. The ’90s was dominated by the likes of Matthew Sweet, but if anyone took the baton of power pop rock, it was Ted Leo. Hearts of Oak a few of the most epic pop songs of the decade, including “The Ballad of the Sin Eater” and “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” Every decade needs someone who knows how to (a) rock and (b) do it with style.

7 Bright Eyes – Lifted (2002) – It might not be the most polished of Conor’s efforts, it might not be the most raw of his oeuvre, but the Lifted was the the most satisfying of the bunch. I mean, Conor was really prolific over the last 10 years, with his ups and downs, but really, like Alex Rodriguez, he’s still only 29 with an amazing track record. Who knows where his career might go in the teens.

6 Jay-Z – The Black Album (2003) – OK, so he didn’t retire like he said. However, he did put the energy you might expect from someone trying to leave on top of his game into The Black Album, leaving pretty much every other rapper in the dust. However, like MJ or the Rocket, Jay-Z couldn’t stay away (to mixed results).

5 Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030 (2000) (right) – I might be just piled praise on The Black Album, but here I am ranking another hip-hop album higher. Why is that? Del the Funkee Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Damon Albarn put together what is possible the only hip-hop/electro space opera – all set in the year 3030. Is this a nerd’s dream come true? Yes, yes it is.

4 Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007) – How does a Swedish singer make the best Afro-rock-pop album of the last decade? How does he inherit the Graceland gene from Paul Simon over 20 years after the fact? Beats me. However, there is so much to enjoy on Night Falls Over Kortedala, solid through-and-through. Over the last 5 years, “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo” might have taken over for “You are the Light” as my most played song.

3 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004) – Did any debut album of the ’00s have the impact of Franz Ferdinand? If you’re looking for a candidate for the most complex and satisfying pop hit of the decade, you really don’t have to look further than “Take Me Out.” I think Pitchfork nailed it when they described it as a good Brit pop song that Franz Ferdinand found a great song inside.

2 Postal Service – Give Up (2003) – Alright, so maybe another debut had a bigger impact. Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard took synth pop to correspondence college and we ended up with the most slyly infectious album of the decade. Of course, the timing of Give Up‘s release seem to sync up with my life in the first half of the decade, leaving me turning to it for the extreme ups and downs that dominated the Corvallis/Seattle days. I’m not entirely sure how the Postal Service will be remembered – I think it is Sub Pop’s best selling album ever, beating out Nirvana’s Bleach, and we may never see another Postal Service album again, but the ’00s wouldn’t have been the same with it.

1 LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver/45:33 (2007) (left) – Really, was their any question (OK, maybe there was). James Murphy took electronic music, spun it around, dragged it kicking and screaming into the 21st century and produced what was the most nuanced and captivating album of the decade. He went from bombastic (“North American Scum”) to enthralling (“All My Friends”) to sardonic (“New York I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down”) to downright tender (“Someone Great”) – it was hard to find fault with Sound of Silver, it felt like an album that needed to be made. And we’re all better off because of it.

Here’s the iMix for #10-1.

See the rest of the Top 100.

And a happy 2010 to everyone!


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.

Oh yeah, music and such

I haven’t written much about music in ages. Not entirely sure why beyond the fact that it seems that 2008 has been a pretty uninspiring year for me, new music-wise. Yes, there have been a few great albums – Portishead, Fleet Foxes, Shearwater, Vampire Weekend – but nothing has really grabbed my attention and kept it. Ah well.

On that note, I will post my latest Top 10 from my iPod, for your amusement. Maybe visiting Amoeba in Berkeley this weekend will help alleviate my malaise.

  1. “Rubicon” by the Blistering Suns
  2. “Like This” by Girl Talk
  3. “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” by Vampire Weekend
  4. “Holle” by K.I.Z.
  5. “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
  6. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
  7. “Ready for the Floor” by Hot Chip
  8. “Strange Victory, Strange Defeat” by the Silver Jews
  9. “Mumtaz Khan” by Ratatat
  10. “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo” by Jens Lekman
And for the fun of it, a song that might make the top 10 soon … and it is in German!
“Du Much Auch” by Die Fantastischen Vier