00's Music Roundup
The Bataan "death panel" march has wearied me of the Beltway, so it seems like a good time for another musical interlude. Time for the end of decade music lists, ergo, my chance to beat the big boys, yer Spins and yer Rolling Stones, to the punch in defining the era. Consider me humbled. Breaking with my usual end of year protocol, I claim no metaphysical certainty. It's just my list. I probably slant toward early-decade albums, since, by accident of timing, they have "endured" more in my mind. And I've adopted the somewhat artificial rule that no band or artist gets more than one entry, although I'll note some Honorable Mentions. Without further ado, here 'tis:
1) Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002). The band of the decade, the album of the decade, from the city of the decade (Chicago, natch). Tweedy's not the best singer or writer; the band is not the most catchy or innovative. Yet somehow it gels into a sum greater than the parts, especially on this alt country deconstruction with its forebodings of "authentic" America staggering drunk into the berserk. A 9/11 album (down to the cover art; "Jesus, Don't Cry," "Ashes of American Flags") somehow made prior to 9/11. As the first song says, "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." They do. Expect Wilco (the Album) to appear on my upcoming 2009 list.
2) Gillian Welsh, Time (the Revelator) (2001). The older I get the better she gets. We saw her once in our favorite $6 a head divey Vietnamese restaurant.
3) the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell (2003). Best car CD. "Maps" is perfection.
4) Josh Rouse, 1972 (2003). Tough to pick one. This is his most fun, the one to dance around the house with Lang. HM: Under Cold Blue Stars (2002) and Country Mouse (2007).
5) Ryan Adams, Demolition (2002). He releases ten discs in a decade (one a double), and his best is an odds & sods record! Apt. HM: Heartbreaker (2000), Gold (2001).
6) Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007). Close call w/ HM: Gimme Fiction (2005).
7) My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves (2003). HM: Z (2005), Evil Urges (2008).
8) Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose (2004). Props to Jack White. "Portland, Oregon, and slow gin fizz, If that ain't love then tell me what is? Uh huh!"
9) Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005). Now that they're the hottest rock band on the planet, I can happily say that their current CD kinda sucks. Their first two were asskickers. Even if the lyrics were always pretty dumb. Second best car CD of the decade. HM: Youth and Young Manhood (2003).
10) Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue (2008).
11) Shelby Lynn, Suit Yourself (2005).
12) M. Ward, Post War (2006). HM: Hold Time (2009).
13) Eels, Shootenany (2003).
14) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig! Lazarus Dig!! (2008).
15) Cat Power, The Greatest (2006).
16) Ron Sexsmith, Time Being (2006).
17) the Features, Exhibit A (2004).
18) Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2005).
19) the Old 97s, Satellite Rides (2001). "Someday somebody's going to ask you; A question that you should say yes to; Once in your life; Baby tonight, I've got a question for you." Verges on Hello Kitty. Still works. How was that not a pop hit?
20) Drive by Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark (2008). HM: Southern Rock Opera (2002). SRO will go down as their classic; I want to hear BTCD more often.
21) Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Ballad of the Broken Seas (2006).
22) Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003).
23) Elvis Costello, The Delivery Man (2004).
24) the White Stripes, Elephant (2003). HM: White Blood Cells (2001).
25) Super Furry Animals, Rings Around the World (2002).
26) Mudcrutch (2008).
27) REM, Accelerate (2008).
28) Bruce Springsteen, The Seeger Sessions (2006). HM: The Rising (2002). TR has the incomparable 9/11 song, "You're Missing," but lacks something in overall cohesion. TSS is all covers, but a record to listen to again and again--the loosest he's sounded in ages.
29) U2, No Line on the Horizon (2009). Hmmm. . . . We'll see.
30) Beck, Guero (2005). HM: Sea Change (2002), the Information (2006). Sea Change will get all the critics picks for decade highlight; I see it as one perfect song ("Lost Cause"), a few good ones ("Golden Age"), and a fair amount of filler.
Didn't miss anything, did I?
[Post updated: a few more links, a few more Hon. Mentions, a little more Wilco.]