Friday, December 04, 2009

Best of the Oughts: Albums 81-90

Sometimes I feel like I'm in a rut music-wise. I keep listening to the same bands I did while in college or at least ten years ago. (Um, I finished my undergrad more than ten years ago. Ugh.) Or I listen to off-shoots of the same bands. It's a vicious cycle. Thankfully, my list has a few interesting bits scattered throughout.


Also interesting in this ten are all the records from this year. There are four of them in fact. They just haven't been with me long enough to deserve higher rankings, but I suspect one or two of them will climb my all-time list with more listens and a few live shows to put the material in context. For now, this is where they rank for the decade.


90. Handsome Furs - Face Control
This song makes me think of 1992. No, it's not a grunge album. It's like the music coming out of the former Soviet Union...except with better equipment and a sexier duo.


89. The National - Boxer
This was the album Interpol were supposed to make the year before last. Oh well, The National beat them to it.


88. Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
I hate putting so many great bands from previous decades near the end of this list, but Yo La Tengo's best work was in the 90's. However, I think this record will climb as I listen to it more. There are really some great, great songs in this collection, proving that Yo La Tengo's still got it.


87. Fugazi - The Argument
Minor Threat and Fugazi were hardcore bands who could actually play. Fugazi's musicianship really comes through on this record. I didn't buy any of their follow-up material to see if this trend continued, but I suspect it did and will eventually have to pick up a few more Fugazi records in the near future.


86. Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
Antony has a voice that is otherworldly. Seriously. It lies somewhere between male and female just as Antony does himself. That and there may not be a better sequenced album in this half of the list. One song leads into the next perfectly as dramatic movements and woe are intertwined in perfect moments. This record is just plain beautiful.


85. Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors
This album completely caught me off guard as I woke up in the backseat of my car on a road trip to Coney Island. I was like, "Who the fuck is this guy?" It's so dramatic and heart-wrenching that it's almost over the top. Had Conor Oberst disappeared forever after releasing this album, it would be infamous. Now it's merely proof of Oberst's finest caricature.


84. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
The first proper album demonstrates Death Cab at its best. These are the songs that made me listen to more of their material, but I always returned to this record as the seminal example.


83. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Already there are two Silver Jews records on this list. Again, the Joos did their best work 10-15 years ago like several of my favorite bands here. Either way, this was both a triumphant return to form and a grandiose farewell.


82. Atlas Sound - Logos
I'm always behind on this Bradford Cox stuff, but I caught this one and another record to be named later. He really reminds me of anything touched by Dave Fridman or Kevin Shields, but he has reinvented their sound to suit this decade.


81. Sleater-Kinney - All Hands on the Bad One I saw Sleater-Kinney support this album in Amsterdam. I listened to a dubbed cassette tape of All Hands every day of my Euro trip until someone stole my Walkman while I slept on a train through northern Italy. It was good to listen to their material again. I'm not sure what this says about the merits of the album except that I can connect to a life-altering experience.

3 comments:

mark said...

Comoprozac -- you wrote:

87. Fugazi - The Argument
Minor Threat and Fugazi were hardcore bands who could actually play. Fugazi's musicianship really comes through on this record. I didn't buy any of their follow-up material to see if this trend continued, but I suspect it did and will eventually have to pick up a few more Fugazi records in the near future.


I think you'll have a hard time getting any follow-up Fugazi material.. as The Argument (mid-30s on my best of the 00s list fwiw) is -- for now -- their swan song.

comoprozac said...

Thanks, Mark. Obviously, I am not much of a Fugazi officenado. Although, I have great respect for Ian McCaye (sp?) and Dischord.

Dirk Wayne said...

You won't be getting a new Fugazi album any time soon, but go here and you can listen to a newly released 40 minute collection of Fugazi stage banter. It's kind of like Robert Pollard's "Relaxation of the Asshole", except Ian isn't buying anyone a beer.