Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Favorite 100 Albums of the Decade: 90-81

yes, i recognize the ridiculousness of producing such a long and involved list for the mild divertissement of approximately 9 people… but such is life. ya know, i’ve already cleaned my apt. today (or at least encouraged the cleaning of my apt. today) AND made myself a mean bowl of cocoa crisps, so it’s not like i’m not trying.

90. Broadcast - Tender Buttons

my favorite bit of broadcast’s surprisingly prolific output, and some of the catchiest, sing-a-longiest glitch-pop there is.

89. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

by faaarrrr the bestest new pornographers record there is (and judging by Challengers, the bestest there ever will be). every song is a veritable avalanche of hooks and largely inscrutable lyrics (beyond the theatrics of “the bleeding heart show”), and the supergroup’s various talents are all given their fair share. methinks this band is at its best when a.c. newman is the ringleader, and not the workhorse (read: more neko case and dan bejar is always a good thing).

88. Michael Leviton - My Favorite Place to Drown

the greatest love-lorn ukulele record of all time? i think so. with lyrical panache as fun and sharp as the string-plucking, this has been one of my favorite late summer albums for quite some time (came out in 2006). too bad he’s dead now. … i should probably confirm that in case his parents are reading (not ALL of the 50 hits i get each day can be MY parents, ya know). oops, turns out he’s alive and teaching ukulele lessons in brooklyn. at least he was circa 2008. i’ve been meaning to take up the ukulele…

87. Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue

i was a little bummed with the more clubby direction her follow-up took, but Ruby Blue is an immaculately smooth collection of jazzy come-ons that murphy’s voice imbues with a truly timeless quality. “sow into you” is one of my most favoritest tunes of the aughts.

86. Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die

methinks the frank yet silly title really says it all. not to mention the band’s name. these peeps make silly music with serious musicianship, and record with such a manic energy that it’s a wonder that the album doesn’t pull itself apart in a fit of excitement.

85. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells

this album. i swear the best song on this thing - like the BEST song - is “we’re going to be friends.” but yeah, this sprawling assembly of mite-sized low-fi rockers is the most consistently ingenious of their many LPs. and the only album on this list that stole from citizen kane.

84. The Shins - Oh, Inverted World

why is gavin rossdale always in roger federer’s box? (googling googling) oh, they’re bff aeae (and ever and ever. duh). odd. anyhoo, i like this album. it didn’t change my life or anything, but then again i wasn’t invented by zach braff.

83. Air - Talkie Walkie

certainly among the most pleasant albums on this list, Talkie Walkie (my 2nd favorite Air LP) is as warm and inviting as it is seriously great. from the enjoyably ponderous “alone in kyoto” to the eye-popping ballistics of “alpha beta gaga,” this album is Air perfecting what it is that they do best, and keeping it pretty close to the vest in the process.

82. Bjork - Selmasongs

to call this a soundtrack would be a wee bit unfair to pretty much every other soundtrack ever. this is the soundtrack to Dancer in the Dark, and this is a bjork album. actually, it’s bjork’s “the five obstructions” - a bjork album in which she had to work with / around some of lars von trier’s very exacting parameters. and damn does she ever. these songs are among the strongest of bjork’s career… i mean, she turns a song in which she simply counts to 107 (denoting the 107-step walk from a jail call to the execution chamber) into something with genuine sweep. it’s nice that the songs perfectly serve the character, but they do just fine without the context.

81. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

definitely among my favorite not annie clark bits of cover art. radiohead frontman thom yorke’s first solo album, and spoiler alert - this is not the last time a project of his is gonna be on this list. so yeah, the eraser definitely lacks some of the heart of a radiohead lp, and is certainly less of a menagerie of perfectly entwined innovations, but different means for different ends. this is a very focused piece of sparse, falsettoed electronica, and the pressure and despondency of it all is vintage yorke to the bone. it toys and skitters with an urgency unique to him (epitomized by something like “harrowdown hill”), so even if it feels a bit sterile at times and only bits like “cymbal rush” and the title track yield repeatedly rewarding dividends befitting their creator, methinks this is exactly the record yorke set out to make, and it’s a damn good one.

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