The Top 100 Albums of the Decade (part 1)

I will attempt to regularly post short capsule reviews of the albums I have selected to represent the best that 2000-2009 had to offer. Hopefully, I can get through them all before January 1st, when I will post the list in its entirety. The final list will be rated accordingly, but the reviews will be chosen at random. It’s become a fun way to re-experience these albums, some of which I haven’t listened to in awhile, and also a great reason to listen to many albums I have missed out on. Here are the first batch of capsules.

Nonesuch Records

Brian Wilson—SMiLE!

The most talked-about and longest-awaited rock album of all time just happened to finally be released in this particular decade. Great—looks like all the other albums on the list can pack up and go home, right? Not necessarily. Wilson may have finally finished his masterpiece some 40 years after the project’s original inception, but there is no way the SMiLE! that finally saw the light of day could ever have measured up to the album that should have been created in 1967, Wilson’s creative heyday. There’s just no way! First of all, Wilson’s voice is about 1/8 what it used to be—these days, he has hardly any range, and on top of that, very little personality to his voice. Still, none of these flaws make SMiLE! less great. Its impeccably crafted whimsy and stream-of-consciousness song cycle have become insanely influential, thanks to the underground circulation of bootlegs over the last four decades. Conceptually, idealistically, and in pretty much every sense save for its execution, SMiLE! ranks among the best rock records in history. It also could be #1 on my soon-to-be-written list of Rock and Roll’s Most Tragic Could-Have-Beens.

Grand Royal Records

At The Drive-In—Relationship of Command

Of all the bands that have broken up over the past decade, At The Drive-In should be missed the most. They brought a much-needed punk rock “fuck you” to the music industry in the late nineties, and took everyone completely by surprise—which is exactly what we need to happen today. Not a theoretical today, but actually TODAY. Tonight, At The Drive-In, or a band like them (yeah, right), need to be on David Letterman hopping around and dive-bombing the special guests. They need to be completely shredding ass to “One Armed Scissor” or a song like it (yeah, right). We NEED that, because seriously, how much more Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance can this nation take? Why did ATDI have to go? If they had made one more album like Relationship of Command, it is likely music would be different today. Maybe that was too much pressure for them, which is understandable. This business eats people up. The question needs to be asked though—is this writer alone in the feeling that Mars Volta and Sparta were like the Devil’s cruel joke to anyone who never got lucky enough to see At The Drive-In live? Seriously.

Ashmont Records

Pernice Brothers—Yours, Mine & Ours

Very rarely do albums this sad evoke such feelings of happiness. It’s possible when the songs are just that good, and such is the case with the third album from the Pernice Brothers. Their career milestone to this day, Mine & Ours surprised and delighted those who were nonplussed by their iffy sophomore effort and carries a distinction very few records receive—it is a perfect album. That’s right, there’s not a bad song in the bunch. Granted, these songs are very melancholy and for the most part suit a certain mood, but music this good can’t be pigeonholed as “mood music”. It’s not something the listener can control. Undeniably catchy mope-anthems like “Weakest Shade of Blue” and “One Foot in the Grave” permeate and eventually become the mood. Once under the spell of the rock tunes, the listener is no match against breathtakingly beautiful ballads like “Blinded by the Stars” and “Number Two”. Almost always, they are rendered helpless and goo-like.

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2 Responses to “The Top 100 Albums of the Decade (part 1)”

  1. Bill Heinen Says:

    agree fully about atdi. Luckily I got to see them live in El Paso just before this album was released and I still have never seen another show like it. They were on fucking fire for the entire hour set! Luckily, Cedric has been talking about a possible reunion tour. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed…

  2. RobotRock0101 Says:

    I respect your opinion, but I disagree about Mars Volta. Although I don’t really dig anything they released following Frances the Mute, De-Loused in Comatorium is one of my top 5…ok, maybe top 10, rock records of all time!

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