We’ve made it halfway … !
60 Badly Drawn Boy – About a Boy (2002) (left) – Both the soundtrack and movie were unjustly ignored by many during the decade – the movie was probably the high point of Hugh Grant’s career and the soundtrack had some of the best songs that Badly Drawn Boy have ever recorded (even a Christmasy tune!) Maybe it helped that the soundtrack never had a chance to get bogged with a lot of the filler that most Badly Drawn Boy albums are burdened.
59 Johnny Cash – American III (2000) – The third of the Rick Rubin Era albums has J.R. Cash covering Nick Cave and U2 along with duetting with Will Oldham. Can it get any better? Not really. This was the high point of the Cash revival years where he nailed both the classic country songs and the modern rocks songs he made his own.
58 M.I.A. – Kala (2006) – M.I.A.’s sophomore album was no slump. More diverse, more experimental and oddly, more popular than Arular, mostly thanks to the long, long warmup of “Paper Planes” into a pop hit.
57 Xiu Xiu – The Air Force (2006) – Yes, I, in fact, have two Xiu Xiu albums on this list. The Air Force is even more disturbing and infectious than its predecessors. “Bishop, CA” is an excellent song for driving late at night on a lonely road if you want to become extremely paranoid of alien abduction or demonic attack. Yes, that is a good thing.
56 Rhymefest – Blue Collar (2006) – Now, if we really want to talk about an album that time forgot, Blue Collar is just that. Did anyone beyond me actually listen to this album? And if not, why? The songs produced by Mick Mark Ronson are bordering on brilliant, stealing from the Strokes and creating a beyond-the-grave duet with ODB (singing”Build Me Up, Buttercup”). Poor lost song of Jay-Z really needs the fates to shine on him.
55 Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Once More With Feeling (2001) (right) – Where would the ’00s be without Joss Whedon? Well, at least my ‘oos. No where, thats where. It actually took me a while to warm up to Once More With Feeling but lo-and-behold, a few years later I’m doing the Buffy sing alongs with the best of them. I imagine many of you might give up on my list right here, but that would be your loss.
54 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! (2005) – When this came out, I think I referred to it as the album David Byrne wishes he made. I still believe that, but I now notice how uneven the album actually is. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that because when it hits its stride, it really does, but the band has a ways to come back out of the wilderness after their pretty terrible sophomore set.
53 Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block (2007) – There was an awful lot of really great Scandinavian modern rock this decade, wasn’t there?
52 Portishead – Third (2008) – It took so long for this album to come out, I think a lot of people might have expected it needed to be the next coming of Jesus Christ the Album. Luckily, Portishead didn’t just reproduce their last work – they did update their sound with remarkable results.
51 The Horrors – Primary Colours (2009) (left) – The highest ranking album from the current year was a big surprise to me. Their debut was pretty terrible, but the Horrors brought in Chris Cunningham (the video director) to produce some of the album and suddenly they found their Joy Division roots and lost the gimmicky goth pretensions. Is this the next coming of Radiohead? (Probably not, but you never know).
Here is your iTunes iMix for #60-51. Missing from the iMix is Once More with Feeling and Rhymefest, so here are youtube links to make up for it: