By definition all of these albums here are classics. To fit into the top 20, an album needs to be a constant play on my ipod or iTunes. These all fit the bill and are great from beginning to end (another requirement).
11. A Rush of Blood to the Heart (2002) – Coldplay – This is the last Coldplay album I can fully recommend. Containing classic songs like “The Scientist” and “Clocks”, this is the one Coldplay album that works all the way through.
12. Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire – This album will probably rate higher on national magazines decade lists. Widely recognized as one of the best albums of the past 10 years – it’s worthy of all the acclaim. Another band following in the Neutral Milk Hotel path, this album has an epic feel to it.
13. The Woods (2005) – Sleater-Kinney – It’s crazy that this was the end of Sleater-Kinney. Each album they created was a masterpiece, and they saved their best for last. May not appeal to everyone – it’s loud and discordant, but in a way that works for this album.
14. MP4 (Days Since a Lost Time Accident) (2000) – Michael Penn – It’s criminal that Sony sat on this album, allowing it to slip into this decade. One amazing song after another. Songs such as “Trampoline”, “Whole Truth”, and “High Time” are among my all-time favorite Penn songs.
15. Delivery Man (2004) – Elvis Costello & the Imposters – This is the best of Costello’s most recent albums. Great duets, fantastic songwriting.
16. Plans (2005) – Death Cab for Cutie – From the opening notes of “Marching Bands of Manhattan” you know this will be a classic album. I’ve always loved non-traditional love songs, and this album includes the daddy of them all: “I Will Follow You into the Dark”.
17. Twin Cinema (2005) – The New Pornographers – A lot of the New Pornographers work has a similar sound – not in a bad way though. Very literate, fun, bouncy. This is my favorite of their albums – and more good stuff from Canada.
18. One Nil/One All (2001) – Neil Finn – This album is up there with anything that Finn recorded with Crowded House.
19. All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2001) – U2 – Part of me regrets putting this as high as it is on this list; it’s not on par with albums like Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree. Then I remember seeing U2 in New York City’s Madison Square Garden merely a month after 9/11. This album meant more than notes on a page can convey. At least to me it does.
20. Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007) – Foo Fighters – As much as I like FF’s The Color and the Shape, this is their masterpiece. Includes all the fun songs, the hard rockers, and the epics.
If you’re a indie or alternative music fan, and aren’t acquainted with Daytrotter, you need to acquaint yourself. Daytrotter is an indie music site like no other. They convince many up and coming and emerging artists to stop by their studios to do sessions with them. They record these sessions and then offer them on their website for free. Their charge is to feature one new band a day, everyday, and to present 28 Daytrotter Session songs a week. The list of artists is impressive: Aimee Mann, Death Cab for Cutie, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Bon Iver, Juliette Lewis (more on her later) and the list goes on.
Recently Daytrotter posted a session with Juliette Lewis – yeah, that Juliette Lewis. I’m not used to actors actually being any good at music. Usually the best you can hope for is that they not embarrass themselves. Zoey Deschanel should have changed my mind about that, but it really hasn’t. Anyway, Lewis’ Daytrotter session is actually one of my favorites. It’s loose, spirited, and fun. Reminds me of Maria McKee in spots – that jangly, southern rock thing that started with Janis Joplin. I know I’m throwing out some big names there, but over the course of 4 songs – it’s easy to keep up appearances.
Plus it’s free but for the cost of your time to download and listen.
There’s a good reason why I didn’t do this earlier. Last year I lost my commute via public transportation. I didn’t give all the albums I got the same listen I used to. So I didn’t feel right judging them. After being laid off, I’ve had more time to ruminate. I know you’ve been waiting. The lack of A Rubber Door’s official recommendation is the one thing I can point to hurting the music industry this year.
I promise to make it up – the best of 2009 is coming within the week.
Honestly without M. Ward – this may not make the list. More Him, less She (Zoey Deschanel). And he listened – a new M. Ward album this year. (OK – I just relistened to You Really Got a Hold On Me – maybe it was the right amount of She)
My Favorites: Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, You Really Got a Hold On Me