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Monday, November 30, 2009


Since most people purchase music by cherrypicking singles now, the album is becoming a dinosaur. The idea of actually listening to an entire album as a cohesive piece of art instead of a collection of singles is antiquated. Who knows, this may be the last decade in which a Top 10 Albums List is even attempted. So I'm taking the opportunity while I can.
Obviously, I'm no professional music critic. If you hate this list, or think I've missed something or added something absurd, go ahead and call me a jackass. It won't sting much.
But make sure you tell me what you'd have chosen instead.
I came up with this list through an unscientific process of looking through my i-tunes play counts,  personal preference, and pure whimsy.
Have at it, Peon Confidential readers:

1. Is This It? -The Strokes
I had just moved to New York when this album came out. I remember standing in the Virgin Record Store in Union Square (which, sadly, like Foxy Lady is no longer there) listening to the whole album, start to finish, wearing those smelly public headphones. I must have looked like a moron, grinning, nodding and closing my eyes for the length of the album. And I'm glad I bought the import CD. The English album cover on the top is a million times more iconic than the American cover:


2. Chutes Too Narrow-The Shins
"Garden State" is to "The Graduate" as The Shins are to Simon and Garfunkle. Discuss.

3. The White Stripes-Elephant
Shrieking, sexy vocals, bluesy riffs, strange lyrics, red, white and black outfits. Plus, the Led Zeppelin influences are a treat for a Pacific Northwestern girl like me, where Gettin' The Led Out is a regional obsession.

4. Funeral-Arcade Fire
For the sheer number of instruments per song, people on stage and misty eyed hipsters in the audience.

5. Girls Can Tell-Spoon
This band manages to turn a song about dad's fitted shirt into a rock anthem. Now that's cool.

6. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below-Outkast
Incredible mix of styles from Andre 3000 and Big Boi. "Hey Ya" is perhaps the best single of the decade. I can't picture any other song that could have moved a roomful of dull, pasty CNBC employees at a boring holiday party in a New Jersey hotel to get up and "shake it like a Polaroid picture". Yes, this happened. I witnessed it with my own eyes. Plus, if you never saw this Peanuts remix, do yourself a favor and check it out: 

7. Back to Black-Amy Winehouse
Show me a woman who hasn't lived Amy's songs at least once and I'll show you a liar.

8. Alright, Still-Lily Allen
Yeah, yeah. I can hear the groans from you serious music fans. Well, to borrow the title of another Lily Allen song, Fuck You. This album is like candy. Every song is a delicious pop confection, and the sly lyrics are hilarious. Plus, Lily is my kind of pop star. She never hides behind any sweet, virginal facade. She misbehaves with rock stars on first class flights to Tokyo. She makes an ass of herself at awards shows. She talks shit about other famous people. What's not to love about Lily?

9. Franz Ferdinand-Franz Ferdinand-
Just because almost every song on here is a summons to the dancefloor. Which shouldn't really be a reason to put it on this list, except that I am a really fucking bad dancer. So this is an achievement. I'll hear the opening chords to "Take Me Out", and think, "Yep. I've been served. It's a sonic subpoena." Then off I'll go to embarrass myself in front of strangers. (See also: their follow up album "Tonight" which offers up sonic subpoenas "No You Girls" and "Ulysses".)

10. Music For Men-Gossip
Beth Ditto is the most original front person to emerge in years. Now that I think about it, this decade launched quite a few interesting female singers, and not in the tedious, yeast infected Lilith Fair way: Beth Ditto, Karen O, Lady Gaga.
Whether or not you like what they do, they're certainly doing it in a unique way.

Honorable Mention:
Less Sophistication-The Jessica Fletchers
Very few people have heard of this band. This album doesn't have a single review on i-tunes. But I love it. It's the sound of a sunny Midsummer Night festival. And how can you not love a band that takes its name from your granny's favorite mystery program?


Anonymous said...

No Justin Timberlake? No Beyonce? C'mon Vjdutton. They practically defined this decade.

Anonymous said...

Awesome list. Add Arctic Monkeys and The Streets and I'm happy.

Anonymous said...

To say that Timberlake and Beyonce defined this decade is:

a) a sad comment on your taste
b) a sad comment on this decade

Popu-lust appeal doesn't equal quality.

Timberlake is an Eddie Haskell pube-skull with music that makes Weezer seem relevant. Beyonce's music will never be confused with greatness.

Defined the decade? Perhaps, but only as a decade of increasingly acceptible mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!!!