Tuesday, August 18, 2009

THOM IS BACK (With a list!) AKA Thom's Twenty-Five Favorite Albums of the Aughts (Part 1)

So... it's been awhile since I posted. So, spurred on by Pitchfork's "500 best songs of the 2000's," I figured I'd post an aughts list of my own. So, here they are. Hopefully, Jake (who's a COLLEGE BOI now!) will follow in kind. This was really hard. I mean, really, really hard. Anyway, on to the list:

25. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver:

Not really anything bad you can say about this one. Every song ranges from solid to great. The only thing I can fault is that All My Friends takes a little too long to build up, but is still a fantastic song.

Fav. Tracks: New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down, Time To Get Away, North American Scum

24. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm:

Great album, but tarnished a bit by how far Bloc Party dropped off after it, to the point that it's a bit depressing to listen to it. Great instrumentals, particularly Matt Tong's drums, and very good lyrics. It's a shame that they showed so much promise only to collapse under their own largess.

Fav. Tracks: Like Eating Glass, This Modern Love, Helicopter

23. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights:

Barely gets the nod over Antics, which is more consistent, but lacks TotBL's highs. Obstacle 1 is easily one of my favorite songs of the decade. They're probably the closest Joy Division emulator, which there are a ton of, of the whole decade revival.

Fav. Tracks: Obstacle 1, NYC, Obstacle 2

22. Radiohead - Amnesiac:

The first (but far from the last) Radiohead album on the list! Amnesiac isn't a totally consistant album, but it has some of my favorite Radiohead songs, along with a host of other average to good tracks. Kid A gets the most praise, but I honestly prefer the Amnesiac half of the famous two sessions.

Fav. Tracks: Knives Out, You And Whose Army, I Might Be Wrong

21. Madvillain - Madvillainy

What can I say about MF DOOM that hasn't been said? I'm not even going to bother, other than saying that he is my favorite MC, and easily one of the most unique. What really sets this album apart from his other work is Madlib's incredible production. Madvillainy is essentially the musical version of a comic book, and has easily the coolest samples of any album I've ever heard (and that's over DJ Shadow, The Avalanches, Girl Talk, Beck, and RJD2). The instrumental end of All Caps is unbelievable, and Meat Grinder's ukele and Jack Lalane references put it over the top. It's Hip Hop for nerds, and boy do I love being a nerd.

Fav. Tracks: All Caps, Meat Grinder, Do Not Fire (instrumental)

20. Spoon - Gimme Fiction:

Brit Daniel has a wonderful voice, which he utilizes beautifally over the course of this album. Lots of great songs all over this album, and some of the best (but a bit reserved) drums of any album this decade.

Fav. Tracks: The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine, The Beast and Dragon Adored, I Summon You

19. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

This album sold so quickly in the UK, that it basically made Alex Turner and Co. the it band overnight. While I don't feel it's their best work (more on that later...), it's a great album, and one that I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the past few years.

Fav. Tracks: Fake Tales of San Francisco, A Certain Romance, When the Sun Goes Down

18. Blur - Think Tank

This album is basically the bridge between Damon Albarn's two most famous projects, Blur and Gorillaz, to the point that my favorite track off Think Tank, Brothers and Sisters, is often mistaken as a Gorillaz song. This album is a lot different than Blur's other (very good) work, which was more brit-pop-y. I hate to compare it to Radiohead, because that almost makes it sound like a ripoff, but it's strikingly similar to Yorke and Co.

Fav. Tracks: Brothers and Sisters, Battery In Your Leg, Ambulance

17. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

It's good. Very good. Not much else to say about it...

Fav. Tracks: Heavy Metal Drummer, I'm the Man Who Loves You, Ashes of American Flags

16. The White Stripes - Elephant:

This is a great album, and many might feel I'm ranking it a bit lower than I should. But, guess what? I purposefully made this my list of FAVORITE albums, not the BEST, of the aughts. If this were the best, Kid A (which, I will say now, is not on this list) would be number one. Anyway, I feel like this album is almost a bit too homogenous to be my favorite. A lot of songs sound the same. Still, great guitar album, and loads of fun.

Fav. Tracks: Little Acorns, Black Math, Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine

15. Modest Mouse - Good New For People Who Love Bad News:

This was Modest Mouse's first, and only, stab into commercial music, and it worked out rather well. Float On absolutely deserved to be popular. It's a wonderful song. It's a shame that it relegated Modest Mouse into the "one hit wonder," section of the average (i.e. uneducated radio-listener) music listener's mind, because Modest Mouse is one of the best bands of the last couple decades.

Fav. Tracks: Bukowski, The View, Ocean Breathes Salty

14. The Mars Volta - De-Loused In the Comatorium:

Not the only album on this list that's elevated by it's instrumental wankery. I'm a sucker for prog. rock, which is why I flock to nerd-magnets like Rush, King Crimson, and Yes. This was The Mars Volta's most commercial album. I mean, its lyrics were still incomprehensible, and Cicatriz ESP has a 4 minute section of pretty much nothing (dripping water...) in the middle, but this was before Omar and Cedric started to write 15-30 minute songs about the most obscure shit possible. Still, this album has some of the best instrumentals of anything you can buy, and still remains totally listenable, and in a totally-unprog way, catchy.

Fav. Tracks: Eriatarka, Cicatriz ESP, Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)

13. Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Another album that brings out the nerd in me. I mean, the album is an allegorical take on Mastodon's switch to a major label (Reprise Records, which also has Green Day). And boy, is their allegory nerdy; it includes Ice Queens, Tree People, Crystal Skulls (before Indiana Jones 4 had to go ruin them), and a Cysquatch (a combination of Cyclops and Sasquatch). Technically, it's on par with De-Loused. The difference is that the sheer brute force this album packs is staggering. Like most Mastodon albums, it ends with a low key, acoustic-based song (Pendulous skin), to change pace, but pretty much every other song on the album grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go.

Fav. Tracks: Crystal Skull, Sleeping Giant, Pendulous Skin

Albums 12-1 will be posted tomorrow. Until then, feel free to be frustrated with my choices.

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