Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Top 20 Albums of the 00s (and then some)

Joshua just tagged me to compile a Top Albums of the Decade list. I must be a masochist to take him up on it, because honestly, making definitive "best of" lists always leaves me feeling itchy and irritable and oddly remorseful.

Still, maybe I'll revisit this years from now and be glad I took a comprehensive stab at recognizing the music that was most stimulating, challenging, or comforting to me in the aughts. (Pfft. Aughts. Are we really calling 'em that?)

I'm sure that scads of albums are being overlooked/momentarily forgotten. Rest assured that since I'm a compulsive turd-polisher, this list will probably keep growing/changing over time.

I also thought it might be fun to make a gallery of the various sets of cans that helped me survive the Double Zeros. Sifting through these old snapshots brings back intense memories. For every pair a different season, for every day a different mood, for every photo a different city, for every song a different door.

TOP 20 (no particular order):

Scott Walker - The Drift*
Steven Osborne - Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-J├ęsus (Olivier Messiaen)
Sunn O))) - Black One
PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Of Natural History
Neurosis - The Sun That Never Sets
Joanna Newsom - Ys
M.I.A./Diplo - Piracy Funds Terrorism
Frankenixon - Amorphous
Zoe Keating - One Cello x 16: Natoma
Fugazi - The Argument
Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle
Bjork - Vespertine
Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit**
HTRK - Marry Me Tonight
Faun Fables - Mother Twilight
The Langley Schools Music Project - Song of Innocence and Despair***
William Basinski - Disintegration Loops
Fantomas - The Director's Cut
Melt Banana - Teeny Shiny

*I hesitate to call The Drift "a fave". That album made me suicidal. It still scares the shit out of me. It also arguably had the deepest emotional and intellectual impact on me of anything released in the past ten years. Sort of a sonic House of Leaves.

** Am I the only person on earth who loves this glitchy anomaly way better than Illinois, or fuckall else that Sufjan Stevens has done?

***Originally recorded in the 70s, but only released officially in October, 2001. Timing/context is everything with this particular choice. Someone gave me an advance copy a few days before 9-11. It was in my stereo when the towers fell and the only thing I could stand to listen to for several weeks afterward.

(very, very) HIGH HONORS:

Deaf Center - Pale Ravine
Anaal Nathrakh - The Codex Necro
Mungolian Jetset - We Gave It All Away, Now We Are Taking It Back
Elf Power - The Winter is Coming
Unicorn - Playing With Light
The Knife - Silent Shout
Troum/All Sides - Shutun
Sport Murphy - Uncle
Stars of the Lid's entire catalog (for nap time/bath time)
Andrew Bird's entire catalog
Bonnie Prince Billy - The Letting Go
Arcade Fire - Funeral (Bite me, cynics. I loved it pre-hype and I love it still.)
Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day
Kronos Quarter - Nuevo
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
Neurosis and Jarboe - Neurosis and Jarboe
Easy Star All Stars - Dub Side of the Moon
Man Man - Six Demon Bag
Boards of Canada - In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country
Dresden Dolls - Dresden Dolls
Tarmvred - Subfusc (perfect crunchy stompy gym soundtrack)
Bruce Lamont - Feral Songs
John Zorn's Electric Masada - 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 4
Lungfish - Love is Love
Edmund Welles - Agrippa's 3 Books
Beck - Sea Changes
Angels of Light - We Are Him
Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill
Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
Missy Elliot - Miss E... So Addictive
Pyramids With Nadja - Pyramids With Nadja
Portishead - Third
Ethiopiques Volume 13 - Ethiopian Groove (most music in the Ethiopiques series is decades old, but that 2003 comp was my introduction)
Getatchew Mekuria + The Ex - Moa Anbessa
Secret Chiefs 3 - Book M
Songs in the Key of Z - Songs in the Key of Z: Vol I and II (Another aught comp of older music. Irwin Chusid strikes again.)


Faun Fables - A Table Forgotten
The Vanity Set - Little Stabs of Happiness
Pinataland - Songs From the Forgotten Future
Sport Murphy - Uncle
Love Life - Here Is Night, Brothers
Thomas Truax - Audio Addiction
Elegi - Varde
Dresden Dolls - A is for Accident
The Walkmen - Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone
Parker & Lily - The Low Lows
Beats Antique - Contraption (Vol I)
David Garland - On the Other Side of the Window
White Hassle - Your Language
Revue Noir - Anthology Archive
My tenure as "The Intergalactic Gimp" on POX

(The lot of you introduced me to an incalculably high volume of great music over the last decade. You have NO idea how grateful I am for that.)



  1. Good lord, girl - this is way more than 20. Many of these I love, and the ones I don't know yet.. well.. it's off to the record-shop for me! How fun!


  2. I agree with you re: The Drift. I thought the documentary about Scott Walker was pretty interesting, too.