A Slice of Fried Gold

Favorite Albums of the Decade: 50-41

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As part of my Slices of Fried Gold: The Decade Edition, I'll be taking you through my 50 favorite albums of this decade over the next five days. I do want to stress that this list is filled with my favorites (it becomes more evident than ever that I love pop music) - odds are you will have dissenting views on this. I encourage you to share your favorites within the comments as I love looking for new music.

Also, I know for a fact that there is no way I could have listened to even a quarter of the music that was released this decade. There are plenty of albums I missed out on, and plenty of others that did not make it simply because I liked other albums better.

I do also want to stress that while the span of time that I've liked the album did come into play a little bit, I did not play favorites to albums that I loved in say...2002. If I don't listen to it now, it does not have a place on this list.

Last cuts: Frand Ferdinand's self titled debut, Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head, Belle & Sebastian's Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Pete Yorn's Musicforthemorningafter, Radiohead's In Rainbows, Andrew Bird's The Mysterious Production of Eggs, The Thermals' The Body, the Blood, the Machine.

50. Andrew WK - I Get Wet (2001)

Recommended track: I Get Wet

Why I love it: I Get Wet holds a special place in my heart, as it's an album I first started listening to around the time I went to college freshman year and it also represented the first concert I saw while living out of state (not to mention the single best concert I've ever been to in my life). Andrew WK didn't make anything resembling the best music ever on this album, but it did represent pure good and pure awesome distilled into music form. Listening to any track from this album is guaranteed to put me into a good mood, and from where I'm sitting that has to count for something.

49. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004)

Recommended track: Get It Together

Why I love it: The Go! Team was a band I first started listening to right as I first started doing my radio show Moscow City Soundtrack at KUOI in Moscow, Idaho. In fact, it was one of the first albums I picked up from their library, as their lo-fi cheerleader rock anthems had a lot of buzz around the station and sounded like something that would entertain me to no end. Simply listening to the recorder jams on "Get It Together" (featured in last year's amazing game Little Big Planet) makes me grin ear to ear, but there is a lot of secretly good musicianship within this album. They're more than just a novelty act.

48. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire (2004)

Recommended track: Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Why I love it: This is another album that came my way because of KUOI, but definitely from a different direction than the Go! Team. This album was a very emotionally devastating album, filled with anguish, stellar vocals, and lush arrangements layered with synth and strings. Once upon a time, I shared that I thought this band would hit it big with The O.C. egging them on, but they never became as big as I thought they would (they did end up on The O.C. though). It's a shame too, because this was one of the truly surprising beauties of the decade from the music industry.

47. Badly Drawn Boy - About a Boy Soundtrack (2002)

Recommended track: I Love NYE

Why I love it: This album hearkens back to my first love, back when we went and saw About a Boy and both quickly fell in love with the movie and the soundtrack. The girlfriend is long gone, but the deep admiration for the film and the music within it are still there, as Badly Drawn Boy crafted one of the best made for film albums I've ever heard. In many ways, it captures all of the themes that the film targets (change, coming of age, love) as well as the film itself does, and that is saying something. Filled with beautiful interludes and charming ditties alike, this is one of the most unique and underrated albums of the decade.

46. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007)

Recommended track: Welcome, Ghosts

Why I love it: If Sigur Ros grew up in Texas and really focused on ambiance, this is the type of album they would release. As emotionally devastating as something the Icelandic troop would release, but created almost entirely with guitars and drums. The level of talent within this group is astounding, as they take you through emotional journeys strictly through cinematic arrangements of instruments and clever placements of peaks and valleys. Intensely beautiful and beautifully intense, all at the same time.

45. M.I.A. - Kala (2007)

Recommended track: Boyz

Why I love it: This is an album everyone got behind after M.I.A.'s superb single "Paper Planes" became a club jam, but really, this is not an album that is propped up by a single. Wall to wall, this album is filled with banging tracks loaded with a message, and I'd be lying if they weren't fun to dance and sing along to as well. Infectious and experimental and something I never thought I'd like strictly because I couldn't imagine anyone being audacious enough to create something like it.

44. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007)

Recommended track: The Past is a Grotesque Animal

Why I love it: of Montreal is about as weird of a band as you can possibly find, and this album as a whole is a pretty good indicator of that. However, hidden underneath that oddness is an album loaded with intensely personal messages (evidently Kevin Barnes love life was quite rough around this time) wrapped in disco-funk-rock-electronic-synth goodness. This is an album really quite a bit unlike any other release on this list, but this album has progressively grown on me in the two plus years since its release. Now it's no longer odd, but charming, infectious, and completely stellar music.

43. Hot Hot Heat - Elevator (2005)

Recommended track: Elevator

Why I love it: Pop alert! Pop alert! A lot of people chastised Hot Hot Heat for making a far more straight forward rock album after the art rock mess that was their debut album Make Up the Breakdown, but I for one did not. I really believe that this album should have been the single biggest one of 2005, as every track is a radio single that is better than anything else out there. It is completely loaded with infectious pop songs that are guaranteed to get you singing at the top of your lungs and get your toes tapping, which once upon a time was a recipe for a hit. Evidently no longer, as this under appreciated gem is an afterthought these days.

42. The Stills - Without Feathers (2006)

Recommended track: Destroyer

Why I love it: The Stills debut Logic Will Break Your Heart was extremely well received, and for good reason. It was a damn good album that fit the niche of indie rock flavors that year. This album on the other hand was chastised and poorly received...yet I love it more. From the opening track "In the Beginning" to the killer trifecta of "Halo the Harpoons", "It Takes Time", and "Destroyer", this album is loaded with tracks that I (and only I, it seems) completely adore. Yet what is a favorite albums list without some surprises, and there is my first one.

41. Cake - Comfort Eagle (2001)

Recommended track: Shadow Stabbing

Why I love it: A lot of groups that I've been listening to since I really started listening to music have not stood up to the test of time. However, Cake has somehow not only maintained their lofty status in my mind, but improved on it. Albums like Comfort Eagle certainly help, as from the first track to the last track it is filled with quirky and infectious tracks from John McCrea and the rest. This album won't win any awards for lyrical content, but not every album is developed to elicit a response other than to feel happy and good about life. This is a drive around with the windows down and shout out lyrics album, regardless of how ridiculous they make you sound.


Troy Olson said...

That's a great list so far. I'd agree with 8 out of 10 here as being worthy choices in my own mind (I'm not much of a fan of Andrew WK or MIA), so obviously you have good taste ;)

Glad to see the About A Boy soundtrack on there and to hear the story attached to it. My wife and I love that movie because it so perfectly makes your heart melt. The album is one I still love to listen to as well.

David Harper said...

Thanks a lot man! I appreciate it.

About A Boy is definitely a great film and a great soundtrack, and really is one of the best combinations I've ever experienced. I especially love that they targeted one specific artist to put together the entirety of it, and wish that we could see that more often. Alas, I do not run the world.

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