Best of the Decade – Music Edition (41-50) January 5, 2010Posted by Matt in Top 100 of the Decade.
Tags: Arcade Fire, best of the decade, Broken Social Scene, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, Gillian Welch, josh ritter, music, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, The Hold Steady, top 100
After a two week break, we return to out look back at the music of the past ten years. In case you missed the previous entries, you can get to them through the following links:
50. Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (2003)
With a feeling of melancholy wistfulness, Ben Gibbard’s band kicks off this breakthrough album with telling words of resignation, “So, this is the New Year. / I don’t feel any different.” Death Cab became one of the higher profile indie bands among young people in the decade by speaking to their fears and misgivings in love and life, and they do it quite well, especially on this excellent album. It provides a great window into a tumultuous time of the decade, particularly in songs like “The New Year” and “Title and Registration.”
49. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)
Anthemic rock is not dead and Canadian band Arcade Fire is proof of that. Recorded in an old church building, this album’s grandiose, yet still dark and foreboding, style continued the tone set by their incredible debut, Funeral. Check out songs like “Keep the Car Running,” “(Antichrist Television Blues)” and “My Body is a Cage,” to get a feel for this great sophomore release.
48. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic (2009)
I love the Flaming Lips brand of offbeat alt-rock, but was a bit disappointed with 2006’s politically-charged At War With the Mystics, so I approached their latest work with a feeling of wary anticipation. Much to my delight, this double album totally blew me away. Wayne Coyne and company employ an array of sonic weirdness to create an atmospheric work of strange beauty, something not to be missed. Listen to songs like “Convinced of the Hex” and “See the Leaves” to get a feel for the album, then download the whole thing and turn it up loud.
47. The Black Keys – Thickfreakness (2003)
I became a big fan of blues/rock duo The Black Keys over the past few years and even had the chance to see the band in an incredible live show in 2008. With bluesy riffs and great solos, the Keys placed an indelible stamp on the music of the decade for me. Just try to listen to tunes like “Thickfreakness,” “Set You Free,” and “Have Love Will Travel,” and not turn it up loud.
46. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001)
Country-folk starlet Welch first broke through in the 1990’s with her critically acclaimed albums and her work on the “O’ Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack helped to propel her career forward when it came to public renown. This album, released right after “O’ Brother” is a truly great work, one that churns up her country, folk, and bluegrass stylings and spits them out in an excellent whole. Listen to “Revelator” and “Red Clay Halo” and you’ll be a fan too.
45. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004)
Brandishing their 80’s post-punk Duran Duran influence openly and often, Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand took the airwaves by storm in 2004 with catchy, danceable rhythms and fun songs. You can’t sit still while listening to this album. It is impossible. Just put on tunes like “Take Me Out” and “The Dark of the Matinee” and have a good time.
44. Josh Ritter – Hello Starling (2003)
Over the course of the decade I became more and more convinced that Josh Ritter is the greatest songwriter of our generation. His plain-spoken tales of love and loss over a finger-picked acoustic guitar speak volumes in their simplicity. I first came acquainted with Ritter following his 2006 release, The Animal Years, and loved it so much that I quickly acquired his excellent back catalog as well. Check out “Kathleen,” “You Don’t Make it Easy Babe,” and “Wings,” as an introduction to this excellent release.
43. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People (2002)
Broken Social Scene is a collaborative effort between some 19 individuals, all of whom also play in other ventures that are based around Toronto. The music itself is an eclectic mix of styles and experimentation, and includes a large number of instruments as might be expected with so many members. Listen to their songs “Stars and Sons,” and “Almost Crimes,” for a taste of what the band is all about.
42. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America (2006)
The album opens with the line, “There are times when I think Sal Paradise was right,” and from that moment on, Craig Finn’s band plows through a Kerouac-induced narrative with great aplomb, weaving together downbeat tales with fist-pumping bar band choruses in a way like few others can. The Hold Steady are one of the best bands of the decade and you need to know them. Catch songs like “Chips Ahoy!” “Same Kooks,” and “Massive Nights” and you’ll agree.
41. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (2008)
On Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket continues in their reverb-drenched stoned-Southern style, but with a bit of a twist. This time around they combine their already-documented love for Neil Young with someone else: Prince. Really. And it’s awesome. This new, stranger sound was a bit controversial with their past fans, but I love it. The album itself veers from the Prince-freakout of “Highly Suspicious” to the prom-like anthem, “I’m Amazed,” to any number of other unlikely stops, all of which you need to hear.