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Top 50 Albums of the Decade (10 to 1)

31-Dec-2009 09:30 PM Contributed by: pete Music News


It turns out a decade is a long time. So many things can change over those ten years, and with so many advances in technology and adjustments in everyday living, our perceptions change while culture reshapes. Did the creation of the MP3 player change the way I listen to music? Absolutely, but it also changed the way in which I discover music, and ultimately changed the type of music I listen to. Podcasts provided me with musical options, and the plethora of recommendation machines out there now allow me to follow musical paths far more easily. Looking at my top 10, I think it covers my decade of life pretty well. Some of the albums in this list shaped my listening patterns, some are discoveries made as a direct result of this blog, and some expose the foundation of my musical taste. As you read through it, try to think about how your musical tastes have changed over the past ten years.

Links to all Top 50 articles: (50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1)

  10 Islands / Arm's Way (2008)

As much as I liked Islands' debut album, Return To The Sea (which was a lot... it took my #1 spot in 2006), I like their sophomore album even more. Even though the hooks aren't quite as strong as in their earlier work, such as in Rough Gem, its unique instrumentation and melodies make for a twelve song string of catchiness, all the way from The Arm to the eleven-minute closer Vertigo (If It's a Crime).

Info: Islands | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

  9  Stephen Malkmus / Stephen Malkmus (2001)

It's not often that the solo projects of band members can affect me as much as the work with their prior band, but when Pavement disbanded in 1999 and Stephen Malkmus moved on to a solo career, he did it with more musical acumen than I expected. This self-titled debut album represents the start of a nearly a decade of listening to Stephen Malkmus albums. At the time, it was unlike other music I listened to regularly, and has been an influence on my current taste in music.

Info: Stephen Malkmus | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

  8  Okkervil River / The Stage Names (2007)

The Stage Names was an excellent follow-up to Black Sheep Boy, but seeing Okkervil River at Lee's Palace in 2007 changed the way I will listen to this album forever. The set list sequence along with calibre of songwriting and musicianship stuck with me, and it still stands out in my mind. This album was one of my most-listened CDs of 2007, and has continued to be a part of my playlists to this day. Amazing album that takes on more meaning after seeing the band perform.

Info: Okkervil River | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe (mp3, video), For Real (mp3, video)

  7  The Slip / Eisenhower (2006)

The Slip was formed in Boston and has influences from groups such as U2, Wilco, and Built To Spill. It all comes together with a variety of melodic masterpieces on the 2006 album Eisenhower. The opening song, Children Of December, is based on intriguing lyrics with vocals that combine additively well with the guitar. Other serious gems are Airplane / Primitive, The Soft Machine, and Paper Birds.

Info: The Slip | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Children Of December (mp3)

  6  Rogue Wave / Asleep At Heaven's Gate (2007)

Rogue Wave has shown up in my "Best Of" articles for 2006, 2007, and 2008 for a variety of reasons. It's hard to explain the feeling I get from their music, but if you love any music, you probably know what I'm talking about. I was already a massive fan of Rogue Wave when this album was released, but songs such as Chicago X12, Lake Michigan, and Lullaby reinforced that. However, it is the song Cheaper Than Therapy that makes this album the standout for me.

Info: Rogue Wave | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Lake Michigan (mp3)

  5  Earlimart / Treble & Tremble (2004)

I discovered Earlimart in September 2005, almost exactly a year after they released Treble & Tremble. I got hooked on Broke The Furniture and All They Ever Do Is Talk, which brought me back to listen again and again. As I've mentioned before, sometimes music resonates so strongly with something going on in your life that you can't help but make a connection, which was exactly the situation here. I bonded with this album.

Info: Earlimart | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Broke The Furniture (mp3)

  4  Elbow / Cast Of Thousands (2003)

Right or wrong, I tried to limit entries in this list to one album per band. It was a tactic that allowed me to get more bands into the list, but when it came to Elbow, I was just unable to exclude Leaders Of The Free World because of its relevance to the decade, and couldn't exclude Cast Of Thousands because it is the album that introduced me to Elbow. Unique, driving, brilliant, and lasting.

Info: Elbow | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Leaders Of The Free World (mp3)

  3  Ambulance LTD / LP (2004)

Ambulance LTD was formed in 2000 and released this gem of indie rock/dream pop/shoegazer blend in 2004, and then in 2006 they released the New English EP. Since then, they've been incredibly quiet and the news is that they've more or less disbanded. But whether or not Marcus Congleton (vocals, guitar) continues on using the band name with new additional members or not (as has been reported), we have been left with this piece of the 2000's music scene to live with forever.

Info: Ambulance LTD | Connect: MySpace
Media: Primitive (The Way I Treat You) (mp3)

  2  Grandaddy / Sumday (2003)

If I had to pick just one song to define the past decade for me, for reasons I would rather not explain, it would be the track Miner At The Dial-A-View from Gandaddy's 2000 release The Software Slump. But this list is about entire albums, and when it comes down to it, Sumday is just so brilliant that it overshadows my connection to that one song. Now It's On, I'm On Standby, The Go In The Go For It, and on and on, this album has stuck with me for a good portion of the past decade. If Miner At The Dial-A-View had been on this album, it would have taken the #1 spot.

Info: Jason Lytle | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Now It's On (mp3)

  1  The Dandy Warhols / Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (2000)

Here it is, my #1 album of the decade. Did The Dandy Warhols shape the future of independent rock like other important, notable, or popular bands (at least one of which is conspicuously absent in this list)? Not at all. Was it ground-breaking in musical style? I would have trouble arguing for that. But is this a great piece of work from start to finish that passes the test of time? Completely. When I listen to this album, I still feel the same way about the music that I did ten years ago. It hangs together so well, with musical peaks and valleys throughout, and a final track (The Gospel) that seems designed to wean you off the album so that you can get back to your regular life. The amazingly fun and subtlety sarcastic lyrics of Bohemian Like You can change meaning depending on my mood. The album just makes me feel good, and that is pretty much what I search for in music.

Info: The Dandy Warhols | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

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Top 50 Albums of the Decade (10 to 1)
Authored by: Anonymous on 11-Jan-2010 05:27 PM
I love how I can stream some MP3s to sample. I was waiting for your lists to come out as I was looking to find new music that I might like. Now I can sample a song or two and buy the stuff i like. Great setup.
-blaine
Top 50 Albums of the Decade (10 to 1)
Authored by: Anonymous on 30-Jan-2010 07:34 PM
Pete,

Garry here. It was nice meeting you on Thursday. Hope to see your Woodhands photos soon.

I like this list! I'm glad Elbow, Stephen Malkmus and Grandaddy made it on. 'Sumday' probably wasn't their strongest of records, but it was definitely worth mentioning.

See you soon!