Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Best Albums of the '00s. Mk 1

Rohan asked me recently at a concert what my pick was for album of the decade, and to put his heart at ease, it's not Person Pitch. This will be the first but likely not my last attempt to assess what is the best album of the '00s. And, usually when I do lists like this I make it clear that my end of year lists are my favorites, not "the best". I always say that because (a) I only listen to a small portion of albums, and (b) howthe fuck do people really get off telling people what is "the best." Every list is simply an opinion. If you hate the White Stripes and love Coldplay, why would you feel compelled to put the Stripes on your list. In then end you're only lying to yourself.

In spite of that rant, this time around I will try to get a bit closer to the music nerd apex that is the "absolute best." When 2009 actually comes to a close I may try to attempt a top 10 or a top 100, but for now, for the first attempt, I present three releases that could all claim the top spot.

Portishead - Third
I bought this around the time it came out but slept on it a bit. When I finally gave it a serious listen it was one of the most entrancing albums that I had ever heard. The thing is, I always liked Portishead. I had the first two albums and listened to them from time to time, but this album dug deeper than anything they had done previously. Machine Gun is about as simple and intense as music gets, and the rest of the album is just as good. The band loosened up from their earlier more sample-heavy sound and seem to have hit on a different sound that is still unmistakably their own. Much like Spoon, who admittedly use it in a very different way, Portishead are utter masters of space and minimalism in their songcraft.

Liars - They Were Wrong So We Drowned
The most divisive albums of the decade? It got the lowest possible score in Rolling Stone and Spin! (What's more amazing, though, is that both are still in business.) Do I like this album because other people hate it? No I like it because it's utterly hypnotic, the whole album just cuts straight to the core. I can't drive when I listen to this album, as it makes me speed.

Rather than getting caught up in the repetition of other post-punk bands around the early '00s, Liars cut a totally new path, and made this album, which is batshit crazy in the best way possible.

TV on the Radio - Young Liars EP
An EP? Yes. But all five songs on it are utterly perfect - four extremely dense otherworldly original songs and one game-changing cover that is absolutely better than the original. Their albums all get high marks from critics, and I like the albums, but I still feel that there are weak spots on each of them. This though, is absolutely perfect.

Also, apropos of nothing, since I was trolling through youtube, Deerhoof are awesome.

[So now you're asking, which one's actually the best? At this monent, I'd say Portishead.]


Jason Heat said...

The list of bands that make me speed if I'm not paying close attention is pretty epic.

B.Graham said...

I've been making a list in my head for years of all the "perfect" albums I know... the ones that do not have one bad song on them. It's a good game.

Jason Heat said...

sounds like a good idea for a post, or Round Table