Monday, January 18, 2010

DK's Top 10 Albums of The Decade (Revised)

Alright, Brian... I'll play. Kinda tough to narrow it down, and I'm not really claiming that I think these are the best... I guess that they're just the 10 that I love the most (when forced to distill it down to a list). And because I'm one of the long winded folks Brian references, I'll even throw in a little commentary for good measure.

10) Queens of The Stone Age, Songs For The Deaf

Not a whole lot of good hard rock this decade, I think, but QOTSA just nailed this one. Shit's kinda gone downhill since they kicked out Nick Oliveri (with good reason, mind you), but this album may well kick the most ass of any on this list. Also, the radio station interlude gimmick works better than gimmicks have any right to.

Best Song: "You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar (But I Feel Like A Millionaire)"

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9) Say Anything, Is A Real Boy

I don't need to... uh... say anything further. You all know.

Best Song: "Alive With The Glory of Love"

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8) Alkaline Trio, Good Mourning

From Here To Infirmary was a solid record, if spotty in places, while Crimson was just a little too polished to be great, but this one is Alkaline Trio at their peak... alternately fucked up on booze, pills, and some (disturbingly fun) vampire/serial killer fantasies, and then the next moment rocking some really sweet little love songs. Not a bad tune on the album, and maybe out of all the records on this list, the one that I've never even started to get tired of.

Best Song: Personally... "Blue Carolina"

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7) The Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree

I went back and forth for a little while between this and Tallahassee, arguably the better of John Darnielle's two theme albums about coping with emotional trauma inflicted by loved ones... I think I chose this one because its subject, all grown up now and cranking out some of the most literate and heartfelt songwriting of the decade, has figured out better ways to deal with the hurt than Hood River Gin. Also, "Love Love Love" is far and away the best song in Darnielle's catalogue (and that's saying something).

Best Song: "Love Love Love"

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6) Andrew W.K., I Get Wet

(Whilst wildly pumping fist in the air)

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Anybody remember that time I put my hand through a one of the glass panes on the door to Mike's room because I was so excited about "Party Hard"?

Best Song: Honestly? "Ready to Die"

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5) The Postal Service Give Up

Back in the glory days of Upton, I used to sit around my room listening to this one, getting more stoned than that girl who lost "The Lottery" and constructing some elaborate fantasy about traveling back in time to the 60s and introducing this album specifically as what music would sound like in the future. And, good God, what a happy, blippy, emotionally sensitive future it sounds like. THIS would be the record that I would pick to blow the hippies' minds apart... if I hadn't heard anything like it before I picked it up, God only knows how they'd react. Handily better than any Death Cab album (not to hate on DCFC), although now it just makes me sad to think that they're never going to make a follow up.

P.S: Owl City fucking blows.

Best Song: "Sleeping In"

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4) Daft Punk, Discovery

Delightfully weird and unrelentingly fun, who'd have thought that one of the best and most popular dance records of the decade that brought us Freedom Fries would have come from a couple of Frenchmen armed with bitchin helmets and more samples than the frozen food section of a Sam's Club at 3pm on a Saturday?

Best Song: "Digital Love"

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3) The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

I once tripped on salvia to "Fight Test". It changed my life.

Best Song: "Fight Test" (ideally, on salvia)

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2) Outkast, Stankonia

The album that re-imagined everything that gangsta shit could be, Stankonia is lightning caught in a 40oz bottle. It's just a goddamn shame that Andre and Big Boi have grown apart like they have, but really, how long do you think you could keep that kind of dynamic going? Maybe Outkast was destined to collapse under the weight of Andre 3000's artsier excesses (and his secret desire to be our generation's Prince), but Stankoina brings the pimp and the poet into perfect, stanky sync for 23 glorious tracks.

Best Song: "Gasoline Dreams"

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1) Elliot Smith, Figure 8

This one's kinda hard to explain. It's not perfect, and arguably not Smith's best album, but it's my favorite of his. Skip tracks 4 and 5... they're just mopey. It flags a little toward the end. I... hm...

I don't really know what to say about it. I think it's just beautiful, if profoundly sad. I think it's exactly the record that had been gestating somewhere inside Elliot Smith since he picked up a copy of Abbey Road as a little kid, some years before he'd come to realize just how badly he'd lost out in the brain chemistry lotto. It's just all him, all there, with all his flaws. And it's lovely.

Best Song: "Honky Bach (In The Lost and Found)"... but I swear to God, "Stupidity Tries" will always remind me of my last year of law school... pretty well sums up my experience.

Alright... now, everyone else?

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So, I've thought some about this, and there's one album that I swear to God I can't believe that I left off of the top spots on this list, so I'm just gonna cheat.

0) The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site

I'm so glad this band exists. The songs are everything I look for in music and then some, and John K. Samson pulls out some of the best lines on this one. I remember riding around with Mike and Dru in the wee small hours of some Ohio morning following around a bar band through the backwoods around Athens, listening to this song... and Mike says to me of the following verse, "you know, that really about sums it up." I feel similarly.

"All the actors broke their legs
And it's to late to postpone
The producer's getting high
And the audience went home
Smile and take your awkward bow
Turn and stumble off the stage
Let the rain be your applause
Every encore sooth your rage
Squint with one eye
Hum a show-tune
wait for your right to say
oh that's where you must have lost your way"

Best Song: Tie - "Benediction" and "A New Name For Everything"

There. I'm done. Keep em coming.

-DK

3 comments:

seanlb said...

i'm working on mine.


PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY
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PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY!!!!!!


glory days.

rabbit! said...

im glad you put stankonia on there. that would have to be near the top of mine too. I've seen figure 8 on a couple of these lists and i appreciate it because i love elliott smith, but every time i see it i think to myself XO is so much better. and then i remember it came out in '98.

Kacey said...

Figure 8 just barely missed being put on my tentative list. It may yet creep on there, I don't know. I've spent all day trying to choose.