Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 50 albums of the last decade - Part 1

I’m a big fan of lists. A while back I said I’d be writing a whole bunch of lists. It’s not that I forgot to write the lists, it’s that I’m so ridiculously anal about lists, that it’s taken me this long to finally be satisfied with where my list is at. Regardless, I’ll obviously chop things down a bit so as not to do a huge long post no one will read. So first off, the first half of my notable mentions.

Notable Mentions Part 1:

As per usual, every single list I’ve ever compiled has or at the very least could have a list of notable mentions. This list is not the exception so here we go, the almost weres in my list of top 50 albums of the last decade.

Radiohead – Amnesiac: One of two Radiohead albums that didn’t make it to the album, and by the way were a little on the ignored side of life. The only thing wrong with Amnesiac is that it was released 8 months after Kid A. As an album it is actually quite solid and offers a variety of sonic textures which had been hinted at on Kid A. The main thing with Amnesiac isn’t that it has to be play second fiddle to Kid A, it’s just that it was released to close to its slightly older brother and after Kid A, haters had something to hate. So while compiling this list, I decided to put it at the top of honorable mentions because truth be told, this album is better than some of the ones placed on my top 50, but since I had to gauge impact and other nuances, I put it here as a tribute, since it is the #1 best overlooked album of the decade.

Pearl Jam – Riot Act: By far the most misunderstood and overlooked Pearl Jam album in their catalogue, Riot Act actually boasts quite a great set of tracks. The problem is that in between great numbers, there are not so great numbers that curiously work rather well live. Cropduster, Ghost, Bushleaguer and Get Right all come to mind when referring to numbers that aren’t that epic and really could have been B-Sides. But for every B Side, you get three A sides of solid material. From the beginning of Can’t Keep to the guttural Save you and the happily epic Love Boat Captain, that’s a great start to the album. Add introspective tracks like Thumbing My Way, the grand vocal instrumental Arc or the wonderfully sad All or None and you find more material that’s great. As if that weren’t enough, you push in I Am Mine (A great Drinking song if there ever was one) and you go whoah, this is a pretty great album. But no, they have to pull out You Are from left field which sounds like NOTHING they’ve ever put out and then the bluesy ½ full and

Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul: What a shock to fans of the band to realize that this would be the last Oasis album they would ever have the pleasure of listening to. To be honest, it’s a hell of a way to go out. Dig out your soul picks up right where Don’t Believe the Truth left off and had the band pushing their British bravado to new cohesive directions that sounded like a reenergized Oasis hell bent on taking over the world. It’s too bad that it was their last album because I really did feel as if the momentum was there and that the sibling rivalry had finally been put to rest. Now we’ll just have to see what Beady Eye and Noel on his own can pull off. Come to think of it, maybe that break might actually be a good thing. Only time will tell.

Highlight Tracks: Waiting for the rapture – The Shock of Lightning – High Horse Lady – Soldier On

Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth: under any other pretext, this album would have been a triumph, but with the buildup, it was just short of the mark. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t kick some serious ass and it’s a worthy NIN album if there ever was one. It just means that the two other titles released during the decade impressed me more for other reasons.

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief: The other Radiohead album that didn’t make it on the list is also another solid work of art by Britain’s favorite anti rock heroes. Unlike Amnesiac however, I have no qualms over Hail to the Thief not being in the top 50 because although it is a wonderful album in and of itself, in comparison it fails to hit the mark by mere inches… or that’s what most people say. Truth be told, when you listen to Hail to the Thief it’s actually a challenge to find a weak track, because honestly, there isn’t one. What there isn’t is something groundbreaking or ultra anthemic. It’s just a solid ass album that showcases a consolidation of forces to produce an album that even at its length is still tight enough to get you wondering exactly what is wrong with this album that so many people didn’t get into it.

Elbow – Leaders of the New World: Variety is one thing, creating music no one else creates is another thing. The closest I can compare them to would be Tool in the sense that though you get a general sense of where they’re coming from, this music lives on its own. Maybe they’re not as transcendental as the aforementioned troupe, but no one else sounds like them, and they simply come off as a band that’s always existed, because even on their debut album their songs were mature, polished and beautifully unique. Leaders of the New World continues the trend of excellence set by their two preceding albums and the only reason why this and the next album weren’t included, was because other bands deserve recognition too.

Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid: Is it just me, or are Elbow incapable of releasing a bad album? Seldom Seen Kid is the fourth album in a row where they produce memorable and unique tracks that are witty, beautiful and colorful. Like nothing else on radio, Seldom Seen Kid keeps proving that Elbow deserve your attention.

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