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.