Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best of the Decade: Music

In part two of our attempt to recap the Decade in Pop Culture, Red and I give you our picks for the Top Ten Albums of the ‘00s!

We tried to weigh artistry and all that snobby stuff, but mostly it just came down to what we enjoyed listening to the most. The best part is, unlike our television lists, our choices here are really different. I’ve listed them in descending order (10-1). Red goes first, because she included key lyrics.

Red’s Picks

10. The Magic Numbers: The Magic Numbers A little known band from England, my ex-boyfriend once called them “The least attractive band in the world” and, while that assessment may be true, they certainly know how to rock.
Key Lyric: “Take a chance/with a women who lets you”

9. Counting Crows: Hard Candy Perhaps the best record from the band from the Bay. Adam Duritz is so sensitive, he bags all the fine ladies. Hard Candy shows us why.
Key Lyric: “I really love the redhead girls/I’m just like all the boys from Texas.”

8. Wicked: The Musical The musical of the decade produced some of the best songs of the decade. It’s now everywhere, so go see it already!
Key Lyric: “And if I’m flying solo/At least I’m flying free.”

7. Los Campesinos!: Hold On Now, Youngster Rarely have I found a band or an album so infectious. I still cannot stop listening. I love how they blend super upbeat music with the most depressing lyrics you’ve ever heard. Ahhh, contrasts.
Key Lyric: “When our eyes meet/All that I can see/Is you’re the b-side.”

6. Hem: Eveningland So mellow, it can almost lull you to sleep, but as I’ve said a zillion times, this is what my band would sound like if I had a band. (Though, now, Liz and I have a band which sounds nothing like Hem, but whatever. That’s not important right now!)
Key Lyric: “I don’t want us to believe in the gravity of solid ground/The world below is not so big that it can keep us down.”

5. Justin Timberlake: Justified JT does what no one else can…he’s insanely likable and still so freaking cool. He can “Rock My Body” anytime.
Key Lyric: “It wasn’t like you only talked to him and you know it/(Don’t act like you don’t know it!)”

4. Rilo Kiley: More Adventurous My favorite Rilo record, back to front. I fell in love with them after I heard “Portions for Foxes.” End of story.
Key Lyric: “Plannin’s for the poor, so let’s pretend that we’re rich/And I’m not my body or how I choose to destroy it.”

3. Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way The Chicks are amongst the most daring artists in American music and this is the ultimate F-You album. Refusing to apologize for trashing George Bush and playing music no one puts on the radio, they still managed to sell records and win awards. They are amazing.
Key Lyric: “In the easy silence that you make for me/It’s okay when there’s nothing else to say to me/In the peaceful quiet that you make for me/And the way you keep the world at bay for me.”

2. Postal Service: Give Up Ben Gibbard makes electronica cool and listenable.
Key Lyric: “I’ve been waiting since birth to find a love that would look and sound like a movie.”

1. Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs Ben Folds first solo effort contains some of his best songs. Obviously, my favorite artist’s best album must be THE best album of the decade.
Key Lyric: “Everybody knows it sucks to grow up”

Liz’s Picks

10. The New Pornographers: Twin Cinema The Canadian power pop super group was at its best on this 2005 album, finding a pitch perfect blend of all the different voices and songwriting talents within. If you’ve never heard the song “The Bleeding Heart Show,” you’ve never really lived.

9. Death Cab for Cutie: The Photo Album From missing out on the perfect chance to tell your crush how you feel, to emptying an absentee father’s ashes at sea only to have the wind blow them back in your face, this record is full of intimate moments that make the listener feel like they’re in on a secret. A secret worth being in on.

8. The White Stripes: Elephant One of the most interesting groups of the decade decides to announce they’re not a novelty or a fluke by turning in a hard rock masterpiece. Not a bad strategy.

7. Bright Eyes: Lifted or I understand why a lot of people are turned off by Conor Oberst’s histrionics and self-obsession, but I’m also slayed every time he sings lines like, “Where was it when I first heard that sweet sound of humility? / It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody / How grateful I was then to be part of the mystery, to love and to be loved.” No, he’s not the next Bob Dylan. He doesn’t need to be.

6. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Jeff Tweedy is trying to break your heart. With Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, he succeeds, and man does it hurt so good.

5. Rilo Kiley: The Execution of all Things My favorite album by my favorite band. Jenny Lewis’ gorgeous voice and Blake Sennet’s underrated guitar licks create charming Americana about growing up, getting old and moving on.

4. Sufjan Stevens: Come on, Feel the Illinoise Part history lesson, part magnum opus, all fantastically original. It prominently features both the banjo, and a backup group called the Illnoisemakers. What’s not to love?

3. The Postal Service: Give Up The glitchy electronica of Jimmy Tamborello turned out to be a surprisingly perfect fit for Ben Gibbard’s boyish tenor and prose-like lyrics. What began as a work-on-it-when-we-have-time side project somehow managed to capture the best of what was happening in music in the early 21st Century.

2. Radiohead: Kid A The cover of Spin Magazine proclaimed in 2001 that, “To save themselves, Radiohead had to destroy rock and roll.” I’m not sure Radiohead necessarily “destroyed rock and roll” with Kid A, but they certainly took it to strange and new places, places that are still more and more revaltory with every listen.

1. Arcade Fire: Funeral If you were unfortunate enough to live in the Northeast in the winter of 2003-2004, your toes probably still curl at the memory. It was one of the coldest on record. I remember one day, the newly launched Mars Rover reported back that a spot on the red planet was warmer than the city of Boston. In the midst of this, The Arcade Fire was recording Funeral in Montreal. Images of empty neighborhoods full of snow haunt the record, and the whole thing is ultimately about death in all its forms. But listening to Funeral isn’t chilling; it’s the opposite. Funeral is the roaring bonfire you want to gather around when everything looks desolate. It's one of the few albums I’ve bought based on buzz alone that not only lived up to the hype, it exceeded it.

What do you guys think?


Brand New said...

Red: Wicked? That doesn't count. Get it out of here.

Liz: Elephant should be higher, WAY higher.

red said...

We should have a disclaimer that we like really "white" music. Sorry, Jay-Z! And Kanye! And I love you, Beyonce!

Liz said...

It wouldn't be a proper representation of Red's taste without a musical :)

words...words...words... said...

Seriously, you guys are whiter than Urkel. I don't know if any of these would make my personal top 10, but Elephant is probably the closest. I also like a lot of songs on these albums without necessarily liking the whole album. For instance, "Wake Up" is one of the best songs I've ever heard, but I don't care about the rest of Funeral. I'll have to think way harder on this list than the TV shows.

Jon said...

I refuse to believe any albums have been released since the late 1980's. Unless your definition of "music" includes something other than hair bands. Which it shouldn't.

McGone said...

Are you required by law to include albums by Jenny Lewis and Neko Case because of your blog's name?

Mathdude said...

Elephant is the only one of these in my extensive CD collection. What do you guys smoke out there in SD?

Liz said...

Maybe you should expand you CD collection :)

Dave H said...

Love those top 2 picks, Liz. Epic LPs.

Dave H said...

Dude, McGone, Neko Case is epic. Fox Confessor rules.

BeckEye said...

I admit to liking some JT, but looking at that dumbass picture of him, all I want to do is punch him in the nuts. And it wouldn't even affect his singing voice.

This just reminds me that I have to somehow come up with my favorite songs of the decade. My brain already hurts and I've avoided putting too much thought into it at this point. My top 20 for this year is giving me enough trouble.

Garney said...

I prefer Liz's list as you will be able to tell from my own:
10. Dr. Dog - Fate
9. Guster - Keep it Together
8. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
7. Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
6. Ben Folds Five - The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
5. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
4. Gorillaz - Demon Days
3. Beck - Sea Change
2. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
1. Radiohead - Kid A