Monday, November 2, 2009

Top 50 of the decade

Today, Paste Magazine posted its Top 50 Albums of the Decade list.

It's a decent list. And Paste has an interesting perspective considering that the decade they're covering pretty much includes all of Paste's existence. The magazine debuted in 2002, but they had a website before that.

I love to read lists like this because I always agree with parts while wildly disagreeing with other selections. I guess that's the fun of lists... everyone has their own opinion.

Notable news: Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" came in at No. 5. I love this pick because this album has some of the best songwriting I've ever heard. And I'm not a Bright Eyes homer. Conor Oberst has done plenty of stuff that I find abhorrent. But I love this record through and through and it gets spun in my CD player a whole lot.

Other things I like from the list:
• No. 46: Music from the movie "Once"
Fantastic movie and fantastic music from a fantastic duo. The fact that a soundtrack makes this list is astonishing, but the songs in that movie were original and do fit on an album.

• No. 42: Jay-Z's "The Blueprint"
Jay-Z is excellent. This album proved how excellent he could be. Next.

• No. 31: Death Cab's "Transatlanticism"
Paste said: "Indie rock’s biggest stars haven’t stopped making good records, but Transatlanticism was certainly their best." I couldn't say it better.

• No. 30: Damien Rice's "O"
The song "Blower's Daughter" gets me every time I put it in. Rice's haunted voice in that song always rings true for some reason.

• No. 29: Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago"
This album's 9 songs packs in more excellence than most bands do in 9 albums.

• No. 11: The Hold Steady's "Boys and Girls in America"
I loved their more recent effort, "Stay Positive," but this record is the Hold Steady's best so far, in my opinion. Still, I can't wait to hear what comes next.

• No. 2: Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"
Paste's entry tells the story of how the album was made and why it was important, blah blah blah, but it's the music on it that's more important to me. I like me some Wilco, but this album is packed with 11 songs of Wilco goodness. I can listen to "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," "Kamera," "Radio Cure," "War on War," "Jesus, etc.," "Ashes of American Flags," "Heavy Metal Drummer," "I'm the Man Who Loves You" and "Pot Kettle Black" over and over and over and over.

Things on the list I don't like so much:
• What is half of this stuff? Jens Lekman? Pedro the Lion? I mean, I think I've heard of The National before, but that's still pretty freaking random. Maybe it's stuff that went under my radar.

• You can honestly look me in the eye and tell me that the Avett Brothers' "I and Love and You" (which came out a month ago) is the 9th best album in the last 10 years? That is ludicrous. And I understand the hype from Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" (it was, after all, the first very good album to come out this year). But best of the decade? Again, I'm not convinced.

• Radiohead. I'm not a big Radiohead guy, but I get why they're popular. I'm fine as well with them having two albums on the list (the only group to do so, I believe). But why is "Kid A" about 40 spots above "In Rainbows?" Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

• It's cool to make fun of Coldplay, but I've actually started to like them. However, if we're going to put a Coldplay album on the list, why "A Rush of Blood to the Head?" I think "Viva La Vida" was an achievement (both musically and commercially) that went above and beyond what "Rush of Blood..." ever did.

• Amy Winehouse made the list. WTF? You can't be serious with Amy Winehouse. No way that's a better album than (off the top of my head) Jay-Z's "The Black Album," Fleet Foxes' self-titled disc or pretty much anything from Eminem during the same time period.

What do you think? Speak your mind in the comments.

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