The Top 100 Albums of the Decade (part 7)

Some may notice this post is a little belated…let’s just say any week your band gets to open for KISS is automatically the most hectic week you’ve ever had in your life, times a million.

No matter–it will take some picking up of the general pace, but all the reviews WILL be written by Dec 30th, and the FINAL LIST will be posted on the 31st. So, let’s get back to it, shall we?

Spoon—Kill the Moonlight
Merge, 2002

Remember how many memorable riffs Led Zeppelin II had? “Whole Lotta Love”, “The Lemon Song”, “Thank You”, “Heartbreaker”, “Ramble On”… It’s not even their best album, yet it contains a ton of the more iconic tunes of the 1970’s. Kill the Moonlight is that album for the 2000’s, and the best album so far from Spoon. Count the ways: “Small Stakes”, “The Way We Get By”, “Jonathon Fisk”, “Paper Tiger”, “Don’t Let It Get You Down”, and “Vittorio E” are all songs that have become iconic already, in the same decade they were released. The opening keyboard riff of “Small Stakes” alone would be enough to solidify a spot for Kill the Moonlight on this list, and with a song like “The Way We Get By” placed right after it, it’s already bound for top 50 glory. Tons of publications have mentioned this album in decade lists already and it may seem kind of cliché, but it really is Spoon’s most consistent album. Plus, a lot of folks don’t talk about “Vittorio E”, the moving closing track that represents a more atmospheric and psychedelic side of Spoon they have yet to fully explore, and the numbers of ways this band can grow in the future.

Band of Horses—Cease to Begin
Sub Pop, 2007

Creating something simple and beautiful is underrated anymore, and hopefully Band of Horses will get what they deserve for doing it so well. In this decade, they have made two glorious, 10-song gems of records that somehow sound completely original and realized without being over-produced or overwrought. Both albums sound like effortless breaths of fresh air in a world that has forgotten that possibilities still exist for rock music; Cease to Begin is simply the better one of these. “Is There A Ghost?” is the song that got them noticed, but aside from the minute-long filler of “Lamb on the Lam”, there is not a bad song on this album. The oddly titled “Detlef Schrempf” is one of the brightest moments—it boasts an incredible wordless hook fit for filled arenas everywhere, but is way too subdued to be considered a power ballad. Lead singer/songwriter Ben Bridwell has a great voice that just kind of inspires a passionate sing-along, and his songwriting goes hand in hand with this. It’s a winning formula that works just as well on slower songs like “Schrempf” and the incredible “Window Blues” as it does on rock tunes like “Islands on the Coast” and “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands”.

Caribou—Andorra
Merge, 2007

Caribou may have had its beginnings as an electronic project with sole member Daniel Snaith, but it quickly became something much more—darkly sunny sample-pop that simultaneously embraces the joyful and the discomforting. “Melody Day”, Andorra’s opening track, sets this tone perfectly. The beautiful, minor-key verse washes into a chorus of barely controlled disarray, only to stumble back together again in the first of a number of challenging moments on this record. The best song may be “After Hours”, if only because it works on so many levels—it’s a dance tune, it’s a psychedelic sound collage, it’s a pop song, it’s a love song, and it’s innovative as hell. It’s also one of the best examples of Snaith’s compelling drumming, which has enough personality to propel every song in different directions. Andorra’s production is light and airy, and sometimes feels a bit lacking in the low-end department. But this feel helps to make the album seem odd yet timeless, like something no one has ever heard before or will ever hear again.

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