Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Best Albums and Songs of the Decade
In order to keep Kanye West from dominating this inherently absurd endeavor, I imposed a couple of rules on myself. I could list nothing from 2009 and no artist could appear more than once. Radiohead's not here. That's on purpose. I shudder to think, however, of the unintentional omissions that are bound to keep me up at night.
The 25 Best Albums
1. Johnny Cash- My Mother's Hymn Book 2004
2. Kanye West- Graduation 2007
There's a lot to loathe about Kanye. There's even more to love.
3. Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002
C'mon- break my heart again.
4. The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday 2005
A mash up of "Janie Jones" and "Thunder Road"? I'm in heaven.
5. Super Furry Animals- Rings Around the World 2002
The DVD version changed the way I experience recorded music.
6. Robert Glasper- In My Element 2007
Breaking rules and dissolving divisions.
7. The Streets- A Grand Don't Come For Free 2004
My personal soundtrack from a parallel universe.
8. Gillian Welch- Time (The Revelator) 2001
9. D'Angelo- Voodoo 2000
A long and loopy groove.
10. Ralph Stanley- Ralph Stanley 2002
America doesn't get much older or weirder than this.
11. The White Stripes- White Blood Cells 2001
The decade wouldn't have been nearly as good without Jack White.
12. Rodney Crowell- The Houston Kid 2001
The living and breathing successor to Johnny and Townes.
13. Jay-Z- American Gangster 2007
I hear your gasps. Yes, I prefer this homage to Marvin, Isaac and Curtis to The Blueprint.
14. Solomon Burke- Don't Give Up On Me 2002
I love the new school, but Solomon's still out there.
15.. Chris Whitley- Rocket House 2001
Unless you count Jack White, Whitley was the last great blues artist.
16. Bob Dylan- Love and Theft 2001
My man had his best decade since the '70s. Imagine that.
17. Arvo Part- Alina 2000
Even better than silence.
18. Cat Power- The Greatest 2006
I know these places well.
19. Jimmy Scott- Mood Indigo 2000
Ignore the jazz hands on the cover. This stuff is no joke.
20. Tool- Lateralus 2001
And I don't even smoke.
21. Brad Mehldau- Live 2008
There's hope yet.
22. Los Hombres Calientes- New Congo Square 2001
Of all the Marsalis brothers, it's Jason who makes my list. Go figure.
23. Juana Molina- Son 2006
24. Joe Strummer- Streetcore 2003
I miss him so much.
25. Gregory Hickman-Williams- Passages 2006
My status as the most visible of the late vocalist's advocates saddens me. Please join me.
The 25 Best Songs
1. Mystikal- Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall) (YouTube) 2001
Ferocious post-9/11 defiance from New Orleans.
2. M.I.A.- Paper Planes (YouTube) 2008
I've impatiently waited for the pop music of the future to arrive. It's finally here.
3. The Hidden Cameras- AWOO (YouTube) 2006
Liberation and relief.
4. The Thrills- One Horse Town (YouTube) 2003
5. Brother Ali- Forest Whitiker (YouTube) 2003
Keeping it real.
6. E-40- Tell Me When To Go (YouTube) 2006
Hip hop now provides most of my rock'n'roll kicks.
7. Nas- Be a... Too (YouTube) 2008
Nas airs it out.
8. Public Enemy- Harder Than You Think (YouTube) 2007
Just like that.
9. Metric- Monster Hospital (YouTube) 2005
Bobby Fuller meets Saddam Hussein.
10. Dizzee Rascal- Sirens (YouTube) 2007
A convincing foretelling of doomsday.
11. Marvin Sapp- Never Would Have Made It (YouTube) 2007
Gospel's popularity is a contrary indicator.
12. The Flaming Lips- Do You Realize? (YouTube) 2002
Right back at you, Wayne.
13. Macy Gray- I Try (YouTube) 2000
I can't play it off.
14. Lil Wayne- Shooter (YouTube) 2006
15. Young Jeezy- Go Crazy (YouTube) 2005
Thug motivation, indeed.
16. Mary J. Blige- Family Affair (YouTube) 2001
I've heard this more often than any other song this decade. And that's alright with me.
17. TechN9ne- Einstein (YouTube) 2001
Leiber & Stoller's song has been replaced.
18. Drowning Pool- Bodies (YouTube) 2001
Nothing wrong with me.
19. Amy Winehouse- Rehab (YouTube) 2006
I'm pulling for you, Amy.
20. Outkast- Hey Ya (YouTube) 2003
21. Missy Elliott- Get Ur Freak On (YouTube) 2001
22. Taking Back Sunday- Cute Without The 'E' (Cut from the Team) (YouTube) 2002
Timeless teen angst.
23. T.I.- Be Easy (YouTube) 2003
The South rose again.
24. Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell- Drop It Like It's Hot (YouTube) 2004
I'm not convinced that Pharrell isn't from another planet.
25. Brakes- Heard About Your Band (YouTube) 2005
My life is laughable.