Wednesday, December 16, 2009

YMD's Super Sweet Sixteen: ALBUMS EDITION

So I just said, "Fuck it, let's do it live." (Too many honorable mentions to honor)

16. The Futureheads - the Futureheads (679 Recordings, 2004)
The Futureheads' combination of Wire/Go4 energy with four part harmonies produced the best album of the mid-decade post-punk revival. It turns out that having a choice of which part to sing along to in an indie rock song really does make it a billion times (or so) better.

15. The Field - From Here We Go to Sublime (Kompakt, 2007)
The brief moments on this album on when it starts to kind of come apart, like 2:30 into "Everyday" are unforgettable. That's largely due to how hypnotic and beautiful the rest of it is.

14. Joanna Newsom - Ys (Drag City, 2006)
The Milk Eyed Mender is an amazing record full of great hooks and melodies, but the ambition of Ys and how amazingly it fulfills that ambition puts it on the list. Joanna is one of our most talented songwriters and the amount of humanity she instills in the woodland creatures on this album is astonishing.

13. Isolée - We Are Monster (Playhouse, 2005)
My favorite album to come out of minimal techno is We Are Monster, by German producer Rajko Müller. It does as good a job of creating its own vocabulary of sounds and rhythms and delicious little hooks as any other dance album I've heard this decade. It's like a Miyazaki film of a minimal album, all wonder and amazement but with sufficient darkness to keep it interesting.

12. Young Jeezy - the Recession (Def Jam, 2008)
I'd say Atlanta produced more great rap this decade than any other city, and I hold this record above Stankonia, Trap Music, Let's Get It, and all the other classic ATL full-lengths. Front to back, from the opening rumble of the title track (Jeezy brings enough rumble by himself, of course, but the beats on here, from some of the south's best, kill all the way through), through Cannon's unexpectedly soulful "Circulate", through the absolute anthem that is "Put On" and, finally, the right-on-time triumph of "My President", Jeezy brings his unique, gravely charisma and brings it hard. I'm not big on end-of-decade and end-of-year records having to represent America or the World at the time but, at the very least, this is the record that defines the 2nd half of this decade of rap for me.

11. Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster... (Wichita Recordings, 2008)
At this point in my life, "four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life" was a lyric that I would unquestionably love. That it came from a band so adept at writing hooks and other wonderful lyrics was a blessing.

10. Britney Spears - Blackout (Jive, 2007)
I shaved my head the same day Britney did. We all wanted this album to be great. And then it kind of came out of nowhere and it really was great, and looking back at it I didn't even realize back then how great it was. I still think "Toy Soldier" is a weak point, but besides that the writers and producers all play to Britney's strengths and bring their A-beats. It's as much a wonderful moment of redemption as it is an awesome pop record.

9. Taylor Swift - Fearless (Big Machine, 2008)
I absolutely love how universally loved Taylor has become in the last 12 months. She writes teen-pop better than anyone has in quite a long time. The much-lauded key change in "Love Story" makes me explode.

8. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele (Epic, 2000)
A Supremely boring pick for rap record of the decade, I know, but I can't convince myself that Ghost doesn't deserve it. His solo debut Ironman is a great record, but on this one his surrealism, wordplay, alliteration, all of that is on another level. RZA and the Wu second-stringers come through with the beats here, but there's no doubt that Ghost is the star, just giving a bravura performance. The chorus to "Apollo Kids" is better than most rappers' whole life's work.

7. Beyoncé - B'Day (Deluxe Edition) (Columbia, 2007)
Some albums work thematically and flow well, some are just pop monsters. This is most definitely the latter. The Deluxe Edition's main upgrade over the original is the insertion of the Extended Mix of "Get Me Bodied", which adds a few minutes of instructed dance and is absolutely essential. But really, this record has "Beautiful Liar," "Irreplaceable," "Green Light," "Upgrade U," "Freakum Dress," and much more; it's unstoppable.

6. Lifter Puller - Fiestas and Fiascos (The Self Starter Foundation, 2000)
This album is the best thing I've ever heard or read as far as a description of partying hard and all the highs and lows that it entails. As much as I love the Hold Steady, and I really do, I don't think Craig Finn has quite scaled these heights for the whole length of an album again (though Separation Sunday is really, really close). The line "bruised hips from doing the bump too much" from the opening track is one of my favorite lyrics of the decade.

5. The Knife - Silent Shout (Rabid Records, 2006)
Deep Cuts was a very good album that contained one of the singles of the decade. The follow up is a glacial palace, an album full of basically pop-structured songs that takes the textures and rhythms of mid 00s dance music and creates something wonderful and new with them. After a hundred listens this album still sounds mysterious.

4. The-Dream - Love vs. Money (Radio Killa/Def Jam, 2009)
Forgetting for a second a few Kanye lines and the bonus tracky Lil' Jon collabo, it's hard to imagine a more perfect late 00s R&B album. Teaming with his in-house producers Los da Mystro and Tricky Stewart, Dream writes sex jams worthy of his hero R Kelly and throws in some beautiful angst to match. The key change in the bridge of "Mr. Yeah" is just-as-glorious, backwards counterpart to T-Swift's "Love Story".

3. Daft Punk - Discovery (Virgin, 2001)
In the style of an old-fashioned pop record, Discovery starts off with its four great singles and lord, are they great. The run from "One More Time", "Aerodynamic", "Digial Love", and "Harder, Beter, Faster, Faster Stronger" would, I imagine, explode most dancefloors around the world in a way that very few artists could even dream of accomplishing. The wonderful thing is that while the rest of the record might not be as huge in terms of pop, the elation after the first four songs gives you no choice but to keep dancing. And the rest of the record is HUGE in terms of dancing.

2. Boredoms - Vision Creation Newsun (Birdman, 2001)
VCN is the 00s record that sounds most like a force of nature, like galloping towards the ecstatic and sublime. Though much of the band's 90s outfit could safely be called Noise, even a genre as loosely coded as that seems too restrictive to describe this record with any degree of accuracy. It's a record to play loud over and over again and one that I can never get tired of discovering new things in.

1. Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas (Too Pure, 2002)
I began the decade jus starting to get into rock music and I finish it with rock music taking up as little of my new music listening as it has since in, well, about ten years. Still, Mclusky's second album is my favorite of the decade; clever, absurdist, funny, and abrasive in equal and great measure. Andy Falkous is amazing at instilling his barking nonsense with some sort of bizarre pathos, the best example being "The World Loves Us and Is Our Bitch", on which he rattles off phrases like "alcohol matters when you can't be free", "love is eternal 'til it isn't anymore" and "ky ky std" with firm and crazy conviction. There is nothing on this album that doesn't kick ass.

(Perhaps that's not the most elegant way to wrap up the decade. Eat some caviar while reading this)


Kate said...

I choked on my fucking caviar because I somehow missed that you included Beyonce and I was dumbfounded slash disturbed that Maciej could produce a "Best of the 00s" without Beyonce.

Turns out I'm just retarded.

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