Under the Influence of a Decade: Top Ten Albums of 200X
With the Decade’s end descending upon us like the Zerg in Starcraft. It’s high time I go ahead and give you a taste of my decade list. I know how much the internet loves a good list. And I know how much they love a bad list. Either way you’re gonna read this and agree and disagree with some parts. What’s great about lists though is that you can do something about it, like say create your very own. So my challenge is for you to tell me your top ten albums of the 200X’s (I REFUSED TO CALL THIS DECADE THE AUGHTIES) in the comments section. BUT WAIT FIRST, check out my list give it a good up and down, I highly suggest that if you haven’t heard an album check a few out. I bet there’s something here for everyone.
This album gave me faith in music after the wave for mainstream emo and power pop bands of the 2003-05 era had left me looking for something with a little more meaning than songs about shitty girls and the guys who whine about them. It’s an album loosely based on Dante’s Inferno, Poe’s the Fall of the House of Usher and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. I’m a huge fan of allegory and concept albums. I give this album the title of BEST CONCEPT ALBUM of the 200X’s
2002 saw some really poor movements in music. So called “hard rock” bands like Kid Rock and Creed were hitting the radar as “rock’s last hurrah”. Bubblegum pop was on it’s was out and being replaced with glorified D-bag frat bands. You had this album, it was fun it was smart and it was full of references that proved thre are other people out there that felt the way I did about music. Songs like High Five Anxiety and New Wave Girl helped me revel in my cynicism with a smile that year.
OH MY GOD a rock album that wasn’t some dude saying “yeaaa!” after every line. Guitar with a hook, and bass that didn’t just follow the guitar all the way through. Rock was still alive! Several bands tried to replicate the sound but the Strokes really had it mastered already. This Is It had a rhythm that pulled all the way through. This is the only album on this list that went Platinum and for the most part the music industry picked some real stinkers but this time we’re in agreement. You can thank this band for the reason that your latest girlfriend isn’t listening to Insane Clown Posse and Slip Knot.
Easily the album the pulled my music tastes from hardcore mosh pit style punk, to a move developed and thought out sound. I remember this as the first album that reminded me of a girl. It wasn’t as catchy as bands like Blink 182’s Dude Ranch or as brash as A.F.I.’s Very Proud of Ya, But damn this pounded out purpose. This album was Osker’s second and final album and it certainly was not what I expected after the singles I’d heard from Treatment 5, all the same this expanded my listening to bands like Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day.
Of course. Emo music certainly had it’s place in my album collection this decade. One of my favortie’s was Trainwreck. A full on Emo opera concerning the Tale of a man cursed by violent nightmares, that strangles his wife in his sleep, wakes to find her liveless on the floor, assumes it’s still a dream but it’s sure and just to find out cut off his hands. The fun doesn’t end there folks! Sure it’s morose and morbid but the miusic itself is well thought out. Songs tie into each other and are referenced through the album. This is the definitive “Emo Theatre” piece of my generation, if such a thing can exist.
The beats are up and the lyrics are down. This is a great album for alone drinking, especially if you’re trying to find your dark place. Songs like Clark Gable and Sleeping In really direct this LP in a fashion that conflicts with it’s title. You can’t help but wanna call up your ex and see if she wants to co star in a movie your wrote 4 years ago when this is playing… we’ll I guess you can, but you know what I mean.
With Singles like Stupid Kid and Another Innocent Girl this is one of the most listenable albums front to back of any band I dug in the 200X’s. Definitively emo, this was a sing-a-long album for years amongst friends. I still can’t help but drink when this album comes on. Perhaps with the way we listen to music changing I can’t remember the last time I actually heard it front to back.
Morrissey is back and he’s not pulling any punches in this album I say for certain this was my favorite album of 2009 and continues to get constant play on my iTunes. It’s much more fast paced than his previous albums. That said it’s an album for sarcastic bastards. It’s full of wit and bittereness and it’s, well it’s Morrissey. If you’re a fan and you don’t own this album you may want to reconsider your Pope of Mope Fan Club Membership.
I was actually talking to a friend the other day about how Thursday could do a greatest hits record. My friend chimed back immediately saying that they already had one it was called Full Collapse. I really couldn’t agree more. It started off with this android dreamer waking to a car crash. Like I said, if you can thinly veil a book reference or a movie in a genius piece of music I’m sold. Understanding in a Car Crash, Cross Out the Eyes and Paris In Flames, punctuate this as the definitive sound punk had taken on in the wake of bands like Mission of Burma and Husker Du. This is how we channel our angst now. It was more adult and still left room for the temper tantrums of youth. Basically this was me in my twenties, slightly more composed and somehow imperfect and still broken.
Sure Dragon Force had the guitar hero fame and all the fan base but these Canadian metalheads nailed it with songs like Deadly Sinners and Kill the Orcs. This is music for elves riding dragons with hauberks and polearms. I’m talking sexy evil elves with fire in their eyes ,not the forest dwelling hippies of Lord of the Rings. It’s simple fun metal, there’s no pretension here, just mythical battles and magical weapons.
Clocking in at July of 2000 this is the oldest record on the list. And the only one put out while Clinton was still in office. Having survived the Bush era I think this LP rings as true now as it did then. Songs about a country in turmoil, an economy in shambles and an upper class that couldn’t give two tugs of a dead dogs dick about the middle class. Very few things that came out of this era were as prolific. And it still saved room for more personal songs like My Life in The Knife Trade. The title track really hit the nail on the head for my generation. “Where’s your anger? Where’s your fucking rage? Watered down! Senses lost!“ If this decade proved anything about this generation it was that we couldn’t be bothered to give a shit until it’s fashionable. Which by then was far too late.
Update: I want to add two very close Honorable Mentions here. I feel guilty having cut them out but frankly I’m not sure what I would remove for them.
If you haven’t heard of this album you’ve been cheated out of an entire decade of being able to listen you this in various situations. The second oldest album on the list by a mere 10 days, this is a Math rock triumph about rage, squirrels, and some guy your wife cheated on you with. It’s good in the car, in the shower, on the high seas, at the laundry mat, and as a background soundtrack to your local fight club.
Do you like Songs about stuff? “What kind of stuff?”, you ask. How’s this: Al Capone, as well as Norse God Loki, John Brown, Ulysses S. Grant, Nelson Mandela, Charles Van Doren, Geoffrey Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales and Don Giovanni. Is that enough stuff for you? Good, this was Rancid’s self titled album… I should say it’s their second self titled album. A good fan will tell you it’s known as the Black Album. Ground pounding songs about just about every topic. 22 songs in Under 40mins. Joey Ramone even praised this one before his death. I’m dubbing this the MUST HEAR ALBUM of 200X. You might not like fast music, but take it for this. It was short, to the point, and full of references about things from the past. This decade and this album couldn’t be linked any better than that.
In summation it was 10 years of oppressive government reign and shitty girls that fueled some of the best music I still listen to. We lost our edge and traded our swords for plowshares only to find out the dirt we worked was never ours. We fancied self righteousness in the street and practiced the opposite in the home. Sure I’ll miss 200X. But I can’t wait to see if the hero ever becomes the antagonist in disguise as well. So post your favorites a the bottom or feel free to discuss mine. If you haven’t heard any of these, I urge you to check out three that appeal to you and give them your attention.