Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top Albums of the 2000s: 9-1

So, I guess I did this wrong...isn't this supposed to be 10-1? Well whatever, but here are the last 9...

9. dredg - El Cielo

A concept album about, of all things, sleep paralysis. Even the liner notes are filled with letters from sufferers of the ailment. Few albums flow as well as this one, with instrumentals that aren't superfluous and ebbs and flows as the album progresses that make for a complete work. The vocals soar over the music and although the band may have a slightly harder edge to them than the vocals would typically call for, the contrast works great and both balance each other out.

8. Animal Collective - Feels

Animal Collective always have a sense of freedom and inhibition to them, but perhaps never so much as on Feels. It's much more organic than their progressively electronic direction since this album, and it really emphasizes their primal, adventurous nature. These aren't songs so much as they are just pure celebrations of life.

7. Portishead - Third

Imagine the Silver Apples, except add a lot more depth of songwriting and a haunting female vocal. Yep, perfection is acheived. Who knew these trip-hop pioneers had an album like this in them. It's haunting, bleak, and downright scary at times ("Machine Gun"). I feel like this album would be best listened to in a dark basement with one hanging lightbulb in the middle of the room. Yeah, I know, very cool.

6. The Cure - Bloodflowers

Most people look at this album as a late comback, an afterthought, merely The Cure turning back to their sound of their early 80's sound. They couldn't be more wrong. This is pure melancholy pop bliss. Sublime acoustic guitars, great build-ups, and superb melodies make this a truly unique album in their catalogue. Some also think this is just an album of Robert feeling old turning 39 as it came out (even one of the songs is titled "39"). But I don't care, it's amazingly gorgeous and their most underrated album by far.

5. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights

In concept, this album really shouldn't be that amazing. But man, when I put this on, the mood is just one-of-a-kind. I wish I could explain how it works so well, but try as I might, it's difficult. Let's just say that the planets aligned and what really should've been just another ok post punk album turned out to be an absolute classic. There are hooks, but it's not a "catchy" album. There are dance-type beats, but it isn't something to dance to. Every song is top-notch and they manage to create amazing songs back to back without repeating themselves. It has the perfect late night, haunting busy city mood, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

4. Deerhoof - Apple O'

This album makes me smile just thinking about how much fun it is. It's like a reckless, cacophonous barrage of crazily pounded drums, thrashed guitars, and a Japanese girl singing on top of it all, sometimes coo-ing, and sometimes singing like a crazed maniacal child. Their technical ability puts it all together so it's not just a random assortment of untalented losers having fun with instruments and yelling at microphones. Just like Animal Collective gives me a sense of adventure and fun, this album gets me loose and just allows me to have a pure fun time.

3. Radiohead - Kid A

Don't you just love those moments you will always remember as changing your perspective on music and art altogether? This was that moment for me. I was getting into Radiohead probably just a year before this came out, and liked them enough that I was excited for the release of Kid A. I bought it the day it came out and with the opening notes of "Everything in its Right Place" I was...I guess the words would be "confused" and "intrigued." It was so incredibly out of left field from what they'd done before, let alone anything else I'd ever heard from anyone. But something about it kept me coming back, as fascinated as a little child is with moving lights. I still think it's an incredibly fascinating album to this very day.

2. Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica

This is one of those truly perfect albums. If you haven't read my review of it in this blog, go back for my reasons as to why this is one of my top 10 albums of all time.

1. Sigur Ros - ( )

This one's probably a headscratcher for most people. #1? Really? Yes, really.

For an album with words in a language nobody understands, this conveys so much emotionally. The atmosphere is stunning - I'd say it's the aural equivalent to starting down at the Grand Canyon (which I have done) or up at Mt. Everest (which I can only imagine).

It's really heavy - heavy in the sense that there are moments where you feel the weight of silence and pace as if it's nearly tangible. Really, "Untitled 5" conveys the feeling of floating in space or teetering off of the edge of a steep cliff with it's insanely slow tempo and somber mood. But then there's the moment in "Untitled 3" where the piano line goes up an octive and it's just beautful and peaceful. But if the rest of the album is stark and bleak, the last two tracks are the avalanche that brings it all down to a climactic end. "Untitled 8" ends with such force and magnitude that, if you'll excuse my cheesy hyperbole, it's nearly breathtaking. Incredble album.

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