Top Albums of Decade (2000-2009): 21-30

best-of-2000s-21-30Radiohead and Michael Penn would have found their way onto my top albums of the 90′s, but the rest of this list is brand new to me this decade; a good sign.

21. Late Registration (2005) – Kanye West – People are going to forget Kanye due to his tabloid craziness and his VMA “Ima let you finish” rant – but no one produced as consistently great music as Kanye did. I don’t generally like entire rap albums – a lot of them tend to be 2 or 3 good songs and a lot of filler. Even the skits on this album work for me.
22. Picaresque (2005) – The Decemberists – Following in the footsteps of Neutral Milk Hotel, this is a geek band with lush production, varied instrumentation, and great lyrics.
23. Kid A (2000) – Radiohead – After O.K. Computer, Radiohead went in a totally different direction. This is what great bands do. More electronic in sound, it almost eschews guitars. As great as O.K. Computer is (my all-time favorite album), Kid A and Amnesiac are the two albums that cement Radiohead as a great concert act.
24. Post-War (2006) – M. Ward – Who knew? Quietly M. Ward has become a songwriter’s songwriter. His songs seem older than they are – almost whimsical. Not country; not folk; not pop – a little bit of everything.
25. 12 Memories (2003) – Travis – This is Travis’ response to 9/11 and near personal tragedy. It works in a different way than their other albums. It’s still poppy – but it just seems better than Coldplay generally is.
26. Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 (2007) – Michael Penn – There’s never any wasted space in a Michael Penn album. Power-pop brilliance from one of the masters of the form.
27. Asking for Flowers (2008) – Kathleen Edwards – I’ll say more about Edwards when we get to the top 10 (that would be foreshadowing). She is simply one of the best singers songwriters around.
28. Illinoise (2005) – Sufjan Stevens – This is an epic album with brilliant songs. Nothing else sounds like it – except for another Sufjan Stevens album.
29. Sam’s Town (2006) – The Killers – This album keeps moving up the list. Not their most popular – likely because it’s a concept album that rejected the overtly pop sound of their debut album. Rewards repeat listening, seriously – this album started in 60′s on this list. I’m not sure it shouldn’t be higher.
30. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007) – Spoon – They never set the world on fire for me, but they are the most consistently very good band out there. Very catchy songs that doesn’t sound like everyone else.

The running list can be found here:  Top 100 Albums: 2000-2009

Top 100 Albums 2000-2009: 81-90

More naught goodness.

81. One Beat (2002) –  Sleater-Kinney
82. All This Time (2006) –  Heartless Bastards
83. Welcome Interstate Managers (2003) –  Fountains of Wayne
84. The Crane Wife (2007) – The Decemberists
85. Turn On the Bright Lights (2002) –  Interpol
86. Lost in Space (2002) –  Aimee Mann
87. Five Star Motel (2002) –  Andy Stochansky
88. The Alternative to Love (2005) –  Brendan Benson
89.Meaningless (2000) –    Jon Brion
90. Beautiful Creature (2000) –  Juliana Hatfield

comments: Everything Sleater-Kinney releases is worth owning – I hope they come back. Fountains of Wayne, Aimee Mann, Brendan Benson, and Jon Brion make this the power-pop 10. Juliana Hatfield’s Beautiful Creature is an album that I forgot about but in putting this list together, I went back and realized that she came of age with this album.

Cheap good music: Fanfarlo – “Reservoir”

Thanks to Kelly’s Alter Ego for this one. I downloaded  Fanfarlo’s Reservoir which can be had for the fan-friendly price of $1 through the Fanfarlo website or the link below. For a dollar, I’ll try anything (probably why my iPhone is is loaded with crappy 99 cent apps).  Anyway.

Upon one listen, this is a dollar very well spent. They sort of remind me of Andrew Bird (the voice) meets the Decemberists (friends, that’s a good thing). I love  artists that market themselves this way – I read a book recently about music marketing and it made the statement that “first you listen to music, then you like it, then you buy it; it can happen in no other sequence.” This is how it worked in the past with radio, but the new economy changed how you listen. And the lack of compelling radio meant that people found other often illegal means to listen. Giving people the opportunity to first listen  is crucial to artist success.

You can listen to some songs below and if you like, click the download button.