Top Albums of Decade (2000-2009): 1-10

The top albums of the decade. This is opinion and for some reason 2005 was my favorite year of the decade in music. It shows in this list. I could listen to these albums, and only these albums, from now to the end of time and continue to find something wonderful and new in each one. The funny thing is that 3 of these albums had trouble getting released and another one skipped labels all together and decided to release it on the internet.


wilco-yankeehotelfoxtrotYankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco

The story of this album is amazing. That it had to be leaked to the internet because the label didn’t hear a single is amazing. Simply a gorgeous album – one of my all-time favorites, and this says a lot: one of Wilco’s best.

My Favorites: Jesus Etc., Kamera, I’m the Man Who Loves You


elliott_smith_figure_8Figure 8 (2000) – Elliott Smith

At the time this album came out many of Smith’s fans thought this album was over produced. Compared to Smith’s previous albums, it was. This is also one of Smith’s best. Unfortunately it was his last before his death.

My Favorites: Son of Sam, Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud, Can’t Make a Sound


aimee-mann-bachno2Bachelor No. 2 (2000) – Aimee Mann – Another album that waited on someone’s desk because they didn’t hear a single. Fucking record execs are morons.

My Favorites: Red Vines, Deathly, Calling it Quits


fiona-apple-extraordinary-machineExtraordinary Machine (2005) – Fiona Apple

Whoa, yet another album where the execs didn’t hear a single. Jon Brion stirred Apple out of a funk and produced album and then the execs “didn’t hear a single”. A joy to listen to. Brilliantly unique.

My Favorites: Extraordinary Machine, Used to Love Him (Tymps)


radiohead-in-rainbowsIn Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead

Radiohead set the world on its head by releasing this over the internet, for free. It is their best album since OK Computer. It brings together elements of their best work of the past two decades.

My Favorites: 15 Steps, Bodysnatchers, Reckoner


pjharvey-stories_from_the_cityStories from the City – Stories from the Sea (2000) – PJ Harvey

I missed this album when it was released and now I get to rectify that mistake.

My Favorites: W***es Hustle and the Hustlers W***e, The Mess We’re In


green-day-american_idiotAmerican Idiot (2004) – Green Day

I never took this band seriously until this album. Full of angst and serious while maintaining their distinct sound. Took me months to realize how great this was.

My Favorites: Holiday, Wake Me Up When September Ends


kathleen-edwards-back-to-meBack to Me (2005) – Kathleen Edward

Three brilliant albums – I had a hard time figuring out which was the best, but after listening a few times, this is the most complete – and has the big songs. She will go down as one of the best. She keeps knocking them out of the park.

My Favorites: In State, Copied Keys, Back to Me


elbow-leaders-free-worldLeaders of the Free World (2005) – Elbow

I don’t get why people don’t know this band. They are THE brit pop band around today (outside of Radiohead that is). Start listening to this band.

My favorites: Station Approach, Forget Myself


andrew_bird-armchair-apocryphaAndrew Bird (2007) –  Armchair Apocrypha

This album is truly amazing. The more I listened, the better it got.

My Favorites: Fiery Crash, Darkmatter

That’s it. Thanks for indulging me. I finished in just enough time to start working on my best of 2009 list. Share your favorites and comments in the comment section.

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

Getting good music without reading reviews

album-fat-cityBack when I first started buying CDs, prior to the internet, I ended up with some stinkers. I bought many an album based on the cover art alone. Sometimes it worked (Shawn Colvin looking cute on the cover of Fat City), sometimes it didn’t (4 Non-blondes were non-talented).  With all the music I listen to, I never get a bad one – and it has nothing to do with reviews. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t trust them.

I’ve seen a few bad reviews over the past few months of albums I’ve ultimately thought were pretty decent. One that comes to mind is Ida Maria’s album Fortress ‘Round My Heart. I’ve also seen some middling reviews on Wilco’s new album Wilco [The Album]. Let me say that both deserve better, but that’s not the purpose of this post.

idea_mariaWith all the resources available to people, the purpose of a review seems rather dated. Wilco streamed their new album for a month prior to release; Ida Maria was all over Myspace prior to breaking it big. With all the access to free, legal ways to sample music – relying on reviews doesn’t make sense.

I’ve already written about the virtues of Daytrotter – but I can’t say it enough – they provide great access to some of the best up and coming (and some already there) musicians. And it’s all free. Speaking of free; often going to a band’s website will get you access to free music.

Finally I’ve used Metacritic for years; like Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic provides a rating based on averaging a broad number of publications. That way you’re not basing it the opinion of one. If you insist on reviews, this is a great way to go.

I’m not saying that reviews don’t have a purpose. They often point me in a direction. What I am saying is to use the resources available to make your experience better.

Wilco – How to Fight the Loneliness

Not feeling especially lonely, but I just think this an absolutely gorgeous song, from Wilco’s amazing album Summerteeth (iTunes).


How to fight loneliness
Smile all the time
Shine your teeth to meaningless
And sharpen them with lies

And whatever is going down
Will follow you around
That’s how you fight loneliness

You laugh at every joke
Drag your blanket blindly
Fill your heart with smoke

And the first thing that you want
Will be the last thing you’ll ever need
That’s how you fight it

Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time