Wednesday, December 2The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (50-31).
'This is the new science.'
Welcome back to The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade, brought to you by Jameson whiskey, Honey-Nut Cheerio's and Nutella. Please enjoy as we break into the Top 50.
50. Nightmare Of You – Nightmare Of You
Well-crafted as any indie rock album this decade, the debut from Nightmare Of You showcases razor-sharp lyricism with underplayed (yet beautiful) musicianship. Not necessarily a sleeper album by any regards, but certainly an effort that should have been taken in by a much wider audience. Why these guys didn't end up on the radio alongside of Death Cab and The Shins is still beyond me.
You Must Hear - 'My Name Is Trouble'
49. The Velvet Teen – Elysium
Judah Nagler is a genius. Not 'genius' in that I dig the man's music and think he's a neat guy (I do), but 'genius' in that I still cannot fathom how such ideas could have been concocted inside his brainball. Written, recorded and produced in the dude's bedroom with no guitars whatsoever, he manages to pull off something beautiful, foreign, swelling and magnificent. Again, this is another situation where Nagler deserves to take his seat right next to indie royalty, but for whatever reason, continues to hole himself up somewhere alone, creating new and wonderful masterpieces every few years. And hey, whatever keeps the guy busy.
You Must Hear - 'Poor Celine'
48. Polysics – Hey! Bob! My Friend!
Hey! Bob! My Friend! was my first official experience with Polysics, a band that I've proclaimed as 'Best In The World' for at least six years now. While this album is mixed with so much high end that your ears begin to spurt blood merely seconds after hitting the 'Play' button, it's by far their most spastic, distorted, wild and 'punk-sounding' album. More recent efforts have seen our favorite J-Pop quartet find a more polished and...dare I say 'mainstream' sound...but this is not necessarily a bad thing. When I want a screeching, disjointed, catchy and uniquely Japanese assault on my temporal lobe, however, I always turn to this album.
You Must Hear - 'Hot Stuff'
47. The Decemberists – Picaresque
I'm a guy that usually finds himself boiling bands down to various sub-genres and parallel influences in an attempt to describe them to others, and I almost always hate myself for doing so. I feel it's a disservice to the originality of each band, yet it seems to be a nearly universal way of letting someone else know what you're into. That being said, I never quite understood what 'Chamber Pop' meant, but I know for certain that The Decemberists embody it. Songwriter extraordinaire Colin Meloy puts on his Captain's hat, sets sail for 300 years ago, and is nice enough to take us with, provided we're wearing our best suit or frilliest dress.
You Must Hear - 'We Both Go Down Together'
46. Mando Diao – Hurricane Bar
I don't know what the Swedish rock bands are listening to over there, but they always seem to produce either the catchiest rock & roll around, or the blackest metal on Earth. In Mando Diao's case, they put together a beginning-to-end hookfest with Hurricane Bar, boasting enough earworms and sing-alongs to keep you happy for months. I always get really excited when I dig into a new album and start realizing that there will be no skipping over tracks necessary; every track is awesome. With Hurricane Bar, this is a guarantee.
You Must Hear - 'You Can't Steal My Love'
45. Cursive – The Ugly Organ
Back to that whole 'Chamber Pop' thing. Tim Kasher (the guy that, for better or for worse, taught Conor Oberst how to play guitar) has always been a hit-or-miss guy with me, but hit everything perfectly with The Ugly Organ, easily Cursive's best total work. With seething anger, bi-polar orchestral arrangements (those cellos kick ass) and the sound of a man on the verge of a complete psychological breakdown, The Ugly Organ is vibrant, breathtaking and mad as hell.
You Must Hear - 'Art Is Hard'
44. Yesterday’s Kids – Can’t Hear Nothin’
McCartney & Lennon. Plant & Page. Hall & Oates. Perkins & Schweiger? After the local and national success of the Fox Valley's very own Yesterday's Kids' debut album, we were all more than ready for these guys to hit the ground running with Album #2, take the world by storm and make us all proud. What we got was Can't Hear Nothin', and it kicked ass. Lookout! Records-influenced rock with touches of Springsteen and the Beach Boys, it showed us exactly what we could expect out of these guys in the future (they eventually went on to lead their own separate groups, in what I can only surmise was an amicable separation). Last I saw, Justin Perkins was playing bass for Screeching Weasel, which is about the coolest thing I can possibly think of right now. Full disclosure, Mr. Perkins also produced my band's debut album, which means that if he shot my mom in the face, I'd still cry at his execution.
You Must Hear - '(Ode To) Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet'
43. IfIHadAHiFi – Ones And Zeros
So yeah, I was in a little ska/punk band from 2000-2002 up in the Fox Valley, and at that time, the best (and pretty much only) place to cut your teeth on stage (and face asinine hipster criticisms) was Green Bay's Concert Cafe (later re-named Rock & Roll High School). Most of the bands that played the Cafe sounded identical (and considering that most bands were merely a revolving door of the same 10 musicians, this made perfect sense); Ramones-influenced stuff, straight-up punk rock and some occasional blues-influenced rock.
However, the first night I saw IfIHadAHifi, I knew that the paradigm was about to shift. Wearing their Devo/Polysics/Brainiac influences on their sleeves, the HiFi were unapologetically nerdy (songs are normally about astronomy, robots or other post-apocalyptic characters), unapologetically fringe (initially, it seemed as if the only goal was to make as much noise and ruckus as possible, eventually grooving into an ass-shaking juggernaut with slightly less anarchic tendencies), and unapologetically insane (every HiFi live show was memorable for some borderline-dangerous reason). Amongst a sea of bullshit egos, attitudes and a fear of venturing outside of only a few core influences, IfIHadAHiFi, even in their controlled frenzy, looked like they were actually trying, and this has to be the reason they're pretty much the only Cafe-era band that's still tearing up stages to this day.
You Must Hear - '(This Is) The New Science'
42. Modest Mouse – The Moon And Antarctica
I'm going to let the professional critics sway you on this one:
"Pitchfork Media ranked the album as the third best album of 2000, trailing Kid A by Radiohead and Agaetis Byrjun by Sigur Ros. In February 2005, Pitchfork named it the seventh best album of the years 2000 through 2004. The Moon & Antarctica was voted the sixth best album of the decade by Pitchfork in October 2009. In 2008, betterPropaganda ranked the album number 23 in their Top 100 Albums of the 2000s. The album ranked number 37 in Entertainment Weekly's "The New Classics," a list of the hundred best albums from 1983-2008. In March 2009, the album was certified gold by the RIAA in the United States."
And leave you with this:
Well, God sayin' somethin', but he didn't mean it
Everyone's life ends, but no one ever completes it
Dry or wet ice, they both melt and you're equally cheated
Well, it took a lot of work to be the ass that I am
And I'm really damn sure that anyone can, equally easily f**k you over
I'm sure you'll tell me you got nothin' to say
But our voices shook hands the other day
If you can't see the thin air then what the hells in your way?
You Must Hear - '3rd Planet'
41. The Good Life – Album Of The Year
Tim Kasher's solo project (and calendar-themed concept album), Album Of The Year covers the spark and bloom of new love, followed by the courtship, pain and inevitable heartbreak. Less Chamber-Poppy and more Bright Eyes-songwritery (in a good way), Album Of The Year showcases Kasher's booze-soaked lyrics, smoke-filled barrooms and revolving door of failed relationships. This is an album I seem to come back to every year, and each time, I'm hooked.
You Must Hear - 'Album Of The Year'
40. Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – The Dust Of Retreat
I'm going to let Cargirl handle this one:
"This album is not the most transforming for me, it did not save my life, it did not help me through any sad times or see me through any happy ones. But the first time I heard it, this album engraved in my brain a photograph of where I was, who I was and what was happening to me. Every time since has been exactly the same: after the opening chords I am inescapably pulled into the magnificent world which this album so delicately weaves. Aided by Richard Edwards’ apathetic vocals and the chilling feeling of being deep inside the world of a Wes Anderson film, the first track has the unrelenting ability to sink me from absolutely any mood down into the vulnerable, cold feeling of nihilism and heartbreak. After the opening credits comes the proverbial overture to the journey of the next 40 minutes. And then comes the story. The Dust of Retreat is a story of love, self-destruction, apathy, of pain and numbness and of moving on—and it’s told over trippy keyboards, blaring trumpets and an ever-refreshing assortment of percussion. The album closes and the story ends with an eerily uplifting song that instills in you a feeling which can only be compared to watching snow fall untouched in the dead of night."
You Must Hear - 'Skeleton Key'
39. The Weakerthans – Left And Leaving
It's no secret that The Weakerthans are on a very short list of my favorite bands of the last 10 years. The lyrics, music, message, tone, emotion and overall mood of John K. Samson's art are second-to-none in many regards. The dark humor. The anxiety and illness. The depression of watching the last few leaves of Summer falling off of every tree in the city; it's all there. But it's not necessarily sad. In fact, The Weakerthans are one of the most uplifting and overall positive bands I've ever heard. Flat out, I think that listening to The Weakerthans would give you more insight as to how I operate as a person. Jury's still out if you care; just throwing it out there.
You Must Hear - 'Aside'
38. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
Mash-up album of the decade. Redefined a genre. Solidified the art form. Took every hook, line, beat and riff from every decent (and terrible) track over the last 30 years, and created the jam album of 2008. Any student of pop music (and despite these rushed reviews, I really am) will probably listen to Feed The Animals with wide-eyed wonder, beaming with respect and recognition at each new twist and turn that Greg Gillis whips up.
You Must Hear - 'Here's The Thing'
37. Less Than Jake – Anthem
If this were a list of my 250 favorite albums of the 90's, I'd put Less Than Jake's Hello Rockview in the Top 5, without a doubt. Less Than Jake has just always been one of those bands that I followed, supported, defended and attached a big part of my personality to. The follow-up to Hello Rockview, Borders & Boundaries, was overall good but tepid when it came to fan response. Anthem, however, was a return to form for the Gainesville ska-punk masters. Hard where it needed to be, nostalgic where it needed to be, and mainstream where it needed to be, Anthem was easily the best LTJ album of the decade (they released four in the 00's), and on par with their earlier classics when it comes to some of their best tracks.
You Must Hear - 'Look What Happened'
36. Streetlight Manifesto – Everything Goes Numb
Ska's Third Wave died out several years ago, but the sound and the bands (for the most part) haven't gone anywhere. Arguably, we saw the uprising of the best 'third-wave' band of all-time when Streetlight Manifesto formed from the (proverbial) ashes of Catch-22 in 2002. The horns are brick-solid, the rhythm section tighter and more musically inclined than just about any other, in any genre. The choruses anthemic each and every time. And the rapid-fire lyrics of Thomas Kalnoky driving us through Hemmingway-esque six-minute tracks like they were 45 seconds. Hey, ska isn't for everyone, but good bands are good bands, and Everything Goes Numb is an absolutely killer album that just might turn you onto a sub-genre you never thought you'd dig.
You Must Hear - 'A Better Place, A Better Time'
35. Nada Surf – Let Go
What a difference a decade makes. In the mid-90's, Nada Surf was relegated to 'Buzz Clip' status on MTV's Alternative Nation (I miss you, Kennedy!), on the strength of their (at that time) one-hit-wonder, 'Popular.' A few years later, they re-focused, re-ignited their sound and re-invented their following around some truly beautiful indie songwriting. In 2009, almost nobody remembers 'Popular,' which is something to be said, as most bands never get the chance to start over again. Releasing three great albums this decade (with Let Go being the best of the bunch) is amazing enough, but the up-down-up tale of Nada Surf is worth noting as well.
You Must Hear - 'Killian's Red'
34. Travis – The Invisible Band
If the Missus created her own 'Best Of The Decade' list, I'd bet that The Invisible Band would make the Top 3 or 5. Since this is my list, however, it's at #34, but I'll also take this moment to publicly chastise each and every American that decided to make Coldplay a more popular band than Travis. You screwed up; plain and simple. Across the board, at every turn and at every stoplight, Travis is a superior freaking band. You really disappoint me sometimes, kids.
You Must Hear - 'Side'
33. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Ten years from now, I may decide that Neon Bible was a better Arcade Fire album than Funeral. From a production standpoint? Absolutely. From a focused musical sense? Perhaps. From an overall mood and feel? It's debatable. Quite frankly, the fact that their post-Funeral effort turned out this wonderfully is a triumph in and of itself. When I first heard 'Intervention' a few months before the album was released, my jaw hit the ground. "Holy shit; they're going to do it again!" Well...maybe they did and maybe they didn't (Neon Bible was my 2007 Album Of The Year, after all), but it's an undeniably good album that I probably would have ranked even higher if I didn't think that people would be such dicks about it.
You Must Hear - 'Intervention'
32. Green Day – Warning
Contrary to popular belief, Green Day did release a good album this decade! Their post-Nimrod effort was mellower, more acoustically-minded and featured a lot of elements we would come to know as the Second Stage of their career began. At first, I hated it. This was my favorite band, after all; how dare they mess with success, and at the same time, strip me of the identity I had so carefully crafted around their snotty angst and fury?
What we got was (I guess) a more 'mature-sounding' band with significantly much less to bitch about (I sometimes wish that Billie Jo Armstrong would have never gotten married, so he would write songs about unrequited love forever), and even though it didn't go platinum for several years after its release, it's one of those Green Day albums you can rediscover and fall in love with.
You Must Hear - 'Church On Sunday'
31. Big, Big Furnace - Soundtrack To A Midwestern Winter
I think these guys were from the Milwaukee area; an emo quartet with equal parts humor, self-deprecation, emotion, longing and truly beautiful songwriting. They broke up before I ever had the chance to see them live, but I had gotten my hands on Soundtrack To A Midwestern Winter shortly after it was released in 2001, and it absolutely became my own. Literally nobody else that I knew owned this album, so I was responsible for turning people on to it and converting friends on every long Winter drive around my small, unincorporated town (when you live in the middle of nowhere, those drives are always long).
It was not groundbreaking. Had it been released a week ago, I would have ignored it completely. But it was my own. The album sounded like Winter, too. The typical tracks about unrequited love, passing glances to attractive strangers and late-night conversations were all set to a Wintery backdrop (there's even a song about sledding!). To this day (and probably forever), I always bust out Soundtrack To A Midwestern Winter on the night of the first snowfall, take a drive around and play this baby from beginning to end, remembering what the world was like in Winter of 2001 (for me, it was Heaven). And if I can get one other person to do the same, that would pretty much make this entire list worth it.
You Must Hear - 'A Midwestern Winter'
Thanks so much for reading. The CDP Decade In Review takes the rest of the week off, as we begin to dig into the Top 30 Albums Of The Decade on Monday. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.
Tuesday, December 1The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (75-51).
'I'm not sorry I met you, I'm not sorry it's over, I'm not sorry there's nothing to say.'
-Stars, 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead'
-Stars, 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead'
Welcome back to Day Six of The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Things are starting to get real, yo, and I'm doing the whole thing in haiku! Please enjoy.
75. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
There's no 'Sophomore Slump'
When you can write a rock song
Like Arctic Monkeys.
You Must Hear - 'Brianstorm'
74. Scott Reynolds – Adventure Boy
ALL. Bonesaw Romance.
The Pavers. Goodbye Harry.
Scott Reynolds = The Man.
You Must Hear - 'The Boy Who Stole Your Heart'
73. Weezer – Weezer (Green Album)
Weezer left introspection
For Pop royalty.
You Must Hear - 'Island In The Sun'
72. Passion Pit – Manners
Passion Pit's Manners:
Hands down the best dance album
(ONE OF MY TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2009!)
You Must Hear - 'Sleepyhead'
71. The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?
Nick Diamonds? Genuis!
The hooks? Fast and furious!
I don't wanna die!
You Must Hear - 'I Was Born (A Unicorn)'
70. The Beans – Young Love Gone Terribly Wrong
Out of print and hard to find.
Sort of changed my life.
You Must Hear - 'One More Summer'
69. Asobi Seksu – Citrus
Loud, fuzzy shoegaze
Like My Bloody Valentine
You Must Hear - 'Thursday'
68. Fairweather – If They Move…Kill Them
Hard, catchy emo.
Saves The Day influences.
Broke up way too soon.
You Must Hear - 'If They Move...Kill Them'
67. The Rapture – Echoes
Hey, hey, DFA!
Carry that Dance-Punk banner
Into a New Wave!
You Must Hear - 'House Of Jealous Lovers'
66. Sufjan Stevens – Greetings From Michigan
50 States Project,
Kicking off on a high note.
Best is yet to come.
You Must Hear - 'All Good Naysayers. Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!'
65. P.O.S. – Never Better
Hip-Hop and Punk Rock =
Shark riding an elephant.
(ONE OF MY TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2009!)
You Must Hear - 'Drumroll'
64. Feist – Let It Die
And...one, two, three, four
Overrated? That's okay.
Like her anyway!
You Must Hear - 'Mushaboom'
63. Stars – Set Yourself On Fire
What are they feeding
Indie bands in Canada?
They're all amazing!
You Must Hear - 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead'
62. The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning Strike
Funk, punk, soul and rap
Mashed together with static
An instant party.
You Must Hear - 'Ladyflash'
61. Army Navy – Army Navy
Came out of nowhere
To create perfect Pop Rock
Like Teenage Fanclub.
You Must Hear - 'Dark As Days'
60. The Thermals – F**kin’ A
Open your eyes and
Stare into mine. A stare like
Yours is hard to find.
You Must Hear - 'A Stare Like Yours'
59. Mew – Frengers
Three geniuses from Denmark
Your new favorite band?
You Must Hear - 'Snow Brigade'
58. LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy might be
The coolest guy in the world
So dance your ass off.
You Must Hear - 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House'
57. Ash – Free All Angels
Kick your ass with the power
Of well-crafted rock.
You Must Hear - 'Burn, Baby, Burn'
56. Interpol – Antics
They did it again.
One fantastic, dark album
You Must Hear - 'Evil'
55. Of Montreal – Satanic Panic In The Attic
This is the album
That shunned Elephant 6 roots
For afro-punk beats.
You Must Hear - 'Vegan In Furs'
54. Antony And The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
The first time I heard
Antony's 'Hope There's Someone'
I cried like a fool.
You MUST Hear - 'Hope There's Someone'
53. Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line
Take Arcade Fire
Add a great voice and great hooks
You'd get The Rhumb Line
You Must Hear - 'Ghost Under Rocks'
52. The Avalanches – Since I Left You
Samples in Aussie mash-up
You Must Hear - 'Frontier Psychiatrist'
51. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
Your small town and mine
I always feel back at home
With The Hold Steady.
(ONE OF MY TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2009!)
You Must Hear - 'Constructive Summer'
Thanks much for reading. The CDP Decade In Review continues tomorrow, as we dig in to #50-31 of The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.
Monday, November 30The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (100-76).
'I want you now.'
Welcome back to the CDP Decade In Review, and the second week of The CDP's Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Today begins our Top 100, which I will once again reiterate was ranked by how important the album was to me at its best possible moment. It's impossible to do these things with any sort of uniformity and universal acceptance, so I just went with what I liked the best at any given time. It's my list, not yours, and neither of us should pretend any differently.
Please enjoy. Let's go.
100. The Strokes – Is This It
The Strokes came out of NYC with a huge amount of hype, and their big debut more or less delivered. Solid and memorable tracks like 'Last Nite,' 'Hard To Explain' and 'Someday' rocketed Is This It to major critical acclaim, topping many year-end charts for 2001.
You Must Hear - 'Hard To Explain'
99. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
I'm always blown away by both the production and instrumentation on this album. The strings are absolutely everywhere, the song structure catchy yet disjointed, all laying out a blank canvas for artist Damon Gough to paint a masterpiece.
You Must Hear - 'Once Around The Block'
98. Morrissey - Years Of Refusal
Probably my favorite Morrissey solo album, he cranks the distorted guitars, injects himself with some youthful exuberance and releases one of the most inspired albums of his career; much more than the doom and gloom of Ringleader Of The Tormentors.
(ONE OF MY TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2009!)
You Must Hear - 'Something Is Squeezing My Skull'
97. Architecture In Helsinki - In Case We Die
When I saw Architecture In Helsinki (from Melbourne, Australia) in concert, I saw no less than six brilliant multi-instrumentalists in perfect harmony. Although they switched duties on nearly every track, their indie/twee/dance party was as tight as their terrific debut.
You Must Hear - 'The Cemetery'
96. Sage Francis - A Healthy Distrust
A Healthy Distrust was my first introduction to Sage Francis, a freestyle champion rapper whos work more parallels Pinkerton than Jay-Z, featuring deeply personal lyrics about hang-ups, neurosis and paranoia. Boasting a near cult-like following, you're either really into what this guy has to say, or are generally turned off completely. I am usually the former.
You Must Hear - 'The Buzz Kill'
95. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
Year Zero was quite the triumph for NIN; a band that peaked nearly 13 years earlier (has it been that long?), gathering waffling reviews since. With what seemed like a newfound purpose (a vision that was clear in the 'concept' nature of the album itself), Year Zero hit #2 on the charts and once again reminded us of the genius of Mr. Trent Reznor.
You Must Hear - 'Survivalism'
94. The Killers – Hot Fuss
If there is a 21st Century code for writing the perfect rock song, The Killers have been hanging onto it for three straight albums now. Say what you want, but the dudes know how to write a freaking song. With Hot Fuss, we were hit with huge singles like 'Somebody Told Me,' 'Mr. Brightside,' 'All These Things That I've Done,' 'Smile Like You Mean It' and 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,' all from the same album. If you can't find anything to be impressed about, you're not looking hard enough.
You Must Hear - 'Mr. Brightside'
93. My Morning Jacket - Z
My Morning Jacket always used to tease that the reverb was treated like an additional member of the band. With Z, it was still there, just taking more of a backseat to solid, polished tracks like 'Off The Record' and 'What A Wonderful Man.' In 2005, Pitchfork awarded Z the #2 album of the year spot, trailing only Sufjan Steven's Illinois.
You Must Hear - 'Off The Record'
92. Pretty Girls Make Graves - The New Romance
I had avoided PGMG for as long as I could, before a friend introduced me to The New Romance, and I just dig it immediately. This is great 'Driving to the bar/concert/party' music, especially during a thunderstorm in some battered, rundown city that you're sick to death of.
You Must Hear - 'Something Bigger, Something Brighter'
91. The Format - Interventions + Lullabies
Interventions + Lullabies was our first full-length introduction to The Format; our chance to watch the evolution of singer/songwriter/vocal powerhouse Nate Ruess from indie rocker to orchestral juggernaut. An album that sort of fell through the major label cracks (much like Saves The Day's In Reverie), it's what we grew to expect from these guys; one supremely catchy hit after another. A little less than three years later, The Format would release Dog Problems, an album that took their songwriting to its logical (and literal) conclusion.
You Must Hear - 'The First Single'
90. OutKast – Stankonia
The is the greatest hip-hop duo of all-time, releasing arguably their greatest album of all-time. Pulling mainstream hip-hop out of their stale and unoriginal funk (which is what Andre 3000 and Big Boi always seem to do), Stankonia hit from all angles and influences, giving us huge singles such as 'Ms. Jackson, 'So Fresh, So Clean' and the timeless 'B.O.B.,' easily the best hip-hop track of the entire decade (not counting Andre 3000's 'Hey Ya!').
You Must Hear - 'B.O.B.'
89. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
The entire album is fantastic, but I'm going to focus primarily on 'The Funeral,' the major standout track from Everything All The Time. The first time I heard this track, much like hearing any amazing song for the first time, I was nearly overwhelmed by the personal message and distinct feeling it awakened within me, all while being transcendent for anyone to have a personal connection with, a staple of a great songwriter. Anyone who has experienced any sort of heartbreak will understand immediately what Ben Bridwell means when he yells 'At every occasion, I'll be ready for the funeral.'
You Must Hear - 'The Funeral'
88. Daft Punk – Discovery
It's sometimes hard to believe that in the nearly 17-year-long career of Daft Punk, they've only released three studio albums, one of which was sort of a disappointment (2005's Human After All). I guess that's a sign of an influential group, however; the ability to seem like you've been around forever, releasing a constant stream of hits and live shows to a global audience. Discovery didn't change the world like Homework did, but it damn sure tried, showing off some of Daft Punk's biggest and catchiest dance hits.
You Must Hear - 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger'
87. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
The 2000's was a decade of musical nostalgia, from rock bands channeling the 70's, to electronic and hip-hop acts borrowing from the 80's, all the way up to shoegaze and emo bands drawing influence from the fuzz-drenched guitars of the 90's (not to mention the countless 90's alternative bands reuniting for one last suitcase full of cash). M83 was one of those electro/shoegaze acts that drew liberally from the 80's, but succeeded where others merely imitated. Saturdays = Youth is not a beautiful 2008 album that sounds like an 80's album; it's a beautiful 80's album that hadn't been released until 2008. At least, that's how it feels, which makes it a triumph.
You Must Hear - 'Kim & Jessie'
86. Longwave - The Strangest Things
Steve Schiltz's baritone voice. The dragging-yet-shimmering guitars, vaguely reminiscent of U2. The swelling, epic choruses and positive messages throughout depressing compositions. The Strangest Things was not an album that I thought I would be into so much in 2003. You can't argue with a flat-out good album though, and these guys are solid as can be.
You Must Hear - 'Tidal Wave'
85. Ozma - The Doubble Donkey Disc
Ozma. Jesus, Ozma. These guys didn't write pop-rock songs with tasty guitar licks, beautiful synth lines and three-part vocal harmonies, no. They wrote miniature rock operas, with lyrics so clever it made you sick. A band that seemed too perfect to last (which was indeed true). The Russian-influenced Doubble Donkey Disc wasn't necessarily a 'concept album,' but sort of felt that way, with melodies that showed up in various songs and tie-ins peeking around every corner. All that and a rock cover of 'Korobeiniki,' the instrumental best known as the music from Tetris.
You Must Hear - 'No One Needs To Know'
84. Beulah - The Coast Is Never Clear
Disciples of the wildly-influential Elephant 6 Collective, Beulah took from the sunshine pop of early Of Montreal and catchy hooks of The Apples In Stereo, and threw a blasting horn section over the top of it to create a distinct and unique (and utterly awesome) sound. Although they broke up five years ago, The Coast Is Never Clear seems to be the type of album that always feels modern in it's 60's attitude; begging to be re-discovered by generations of indie kids every few years or so.
You Must Hear - 'A Good Man Is Easy To Kill'
83. Saves The Day – Sound The Alarm
One of my favorite bands of all-time, Saves The Day released four albums this decade (Stay What You Are, In Reverie, Sound The Alarm and Under The Boards), but I wanted to strongly adhere to a 'Two Albums Max' cap when it came to bands making my Top 250 list. Unfortunately for STD (and their fans), In Reverie became a sore spot in the band's catalog (despite being easily their most progressive album yet), and Under The Boards still seems to me to be quite disjointed and sort of uninteresting. However, Sound The Alarm was a return to form for Chris Conley and company, featuring the group at their angriest and with the most to prove. If you were a fan of 'early' Saves The Day that gave up on them after In Reverie, I strongly recommend giving Sound The Alarm another spin.
You Must Hear - 'Eulogy'
82. Beck – Guero
Can we all agree that Odelay was Beck's greatest achievement? If that statement is true, then Guero was a major return to form for the musical chameleon known as Beck. Radio hits like 'E-Pro' and 'Girl' made Guero Beck's highest-charting album ever, also resulting in his most listenable and memorable album in nearly a decade, which is certainly saying something.
You Must Hear - 'Hell Yes'
81. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News
If the 90's took Punk Rock to the mainstream, then the 2000's took Indie Rock to the top of the heap. Well-deserving bands like The Shins, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, The White Stripes and Modest Mouse all graduated into the big leagues, earning major acclaim and well-deserved worldwide success, and we all cheered them on while simultaneously wondering if this was what we really wanted as a selfish and jaded music fan. Modest Mouse could not be contained by Matador Records any longer, and with the release of Good News For People Who Love Bad News (and their decade-defining single 'Float On'), Modest Mouse became everyone's band, and that's alright by me.
You Must Hear - 'Float On'
80. The Rapture - Pieces Of The People We Love
The Rapture's debut ushered in the way-too-short love affair with 'Dance Punk;' bands such as Liars, The Faint and Communique led the charge alongside of Echoes, a critical darling. So by the time that The Rapture's sophomore effort was released, the fad was over and they needed a way to subtly re-invent themselves. What they did was similar to the way that most other bands were keeping atop the scene: they went Disco. The result is refreshing, driving and fun as hell.
You Must Hear - 'Whoo! Alright, Yeah...Uh-Huh'
79. The Gadjits - Today Is My Day
Today Is My Day-era Gadjits were legitimately a band at the top of their game. They seemed invigorated; the brothers' Philips snagged two amazing musicians in the form of Ehren Starks and Mike Alexander, turned their two-tone ska sound into a blistering rock-n-soul revival, and put on a live show that was unmatched by absolutely nobody for somewhere in the neighborhood of two years. Today Is My Day was truly a snapshot of a moment in time where these guys were untouchable.
You Must Hear - 'We Were Right'
78. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
It's amazing to think that by the time Conor Oberst released I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning/Digital Ash In A Digital Urn in 2005, he was only 25 years old. After all, these releases were the culmination of what felt like an already-long and storied career; drawing Dylan-esque comparisons from even the most jaded of music critics. We can now look at it as merely the beginning of a new chapter for Oberst, for better or for worse.
You Must Hear - 'First Day Of My Life'
77. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
When an indie band bursts onto the scene with a wildly popular and acclaimed debut album, there's absolutely nothing harder for them to do than to go into the studio and once again capture lightning in a bottle for Album #2. The Sophomore Slump is so prevalent in recorded music that it has its own terminology. So when a band manages to pull it off and create something that isn't complete garbage, it's viewed as a triumph. After everyone fell in love with James Mercer and The Shins following the release of Oh, Inverted World, a collective sigh of relief was left out when Chutes Too Narrow proved to be a fitting and welcome effort.
You Must Hear - 'So Says I'
76. Muse – Absolution
I was like most Americans when Muse's third album made its way across the pond and melted eardrums from coast-to-coast. 'Who are these guys?' and 'Holy shit!' were more or less the first and only things I said for a couple of weeks afterward. The amazing musicianship. The wall of sound. The live shows. The perfect blend of prog-rock with hooks. Just a total success across the board.
You Must Hear - 'Hysteria'
Thanks much for reading. The CDP Decade In Review continues tomorrow, as we dig in to #75-51 of the Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.