The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (100-76).

‘I want you now.’
Muse, ‘Hysteria’

Welcome back to the CDP Decade In Review, and the second week of The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Today begins our Top 100, which I will once again reiterate was ranked by how important the album was to me at its best possible moment. It’s impossible to do these things with any sort of uniformity and universal acceptance, so I just went with what I liked the best at any given time. It’s my list, not yours, and neither of us should pretend any differently.

Please enjoy. Let’s go.

100. The Strokes – Is This It

The Strokes came out of NYC with a huge amount of hype, and their big debut more or less delivered. Solid and memorable tracks like ‘Last Nite,’ ‘Hard To Explain’ and ‘Someday’ rocketed Is This It to major critical acclaim, topping many year-end charts for 2001.

You Must Hear – ‘Hard To Explain’

99. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast

I’m always blown away by both the production and instrumentation on this album. The strings are absolutely everywhere, the song structure catchy yet disjointed, all laying out a blank canvas for artist Damon Gough to paint a masterpiece.

You Must Hear – ‘Once Around The Block’

98. Morrissey – Years Of Refusal

Probably my favorite Morrissey solo album, he cranks the distorted guitars, injects himself with some youthful exuberance and releases one of the most inspired albums of his career; much more than the doom and gloom of Ringleader Of The Tormentors.


You Must Hear – ‘Something Is Squeezing My Skull’

97. Architecture In Helsinki – In Case We Die

When I saw Architecture In Helsinki (from Melbourne, Australia) in concert, I saw no less than six brilliant multi-instrumentalists in perfect harmony. Although they switched duties on nearly every track, their indie/twee/dance party was as tight as their terrific debut.

You Must Hear – ‘The Cemetery’

96. Sage Francis – A Healthy Distrust

A Healthy Distrust was my first introduction to Sage Francis, a freestyle champion rapper whos work more parallels Pinkerton than Jay-Z, featuring deeply personal lyrics about hang-ups, neurosis and paranoia. Boasting a near cult-like following, you’re either really into what this guy has to say, or are generally turned off completely. I am usually the former.

You Must Hear – ‘The Buzz Kill’

95. Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

Year Zero was quite the triumph for NIN; a band that peaked nearly 13 years earlier (has it been that long?), gathering waffling reviews since. With what seemed like a newfound purpose (a vision that was clear in the ‘concept’ nature of the album itself), Year Zero hit #2 on the charts and once again reminded us of the genius of Mr. Trent Reznor.

You Must Hear – ‘Survivalism’

94. The Killers – Hot Fuss

If there is a 21st Century code for writing the perfect rock song, The Killers have been hanging onto it for three straight albums now. Say what you want, but the dudes know how to write a freaking song. With Hot Fuss, we were hit with huge singles like ‘Somebody Told Me,’ ‘Mr. Brightside,’ ‘All These Things That I’ve Done,’ ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ and ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,’ all from the same album. If you can’t find anything to be impressed about, you’re not looking hard enough.

You Must Hear – ‘Mr. Brightside’

93. My Morning Jacket – Z

My Morning Jacket always used to tease that the reverb was treated like an additional member of the band. With Z, it was still there, just taking more of a backseat to solid, polished tracks like ‘Off The Record’ and ‘What A Wonderful Man.’ In 2005, Pitchfork awarded Z the #2 album of the year spot, trailing only Sufjan Steven’s Illinois.

You Must Hear – ‘Off The Record’

92. Pretty Girls Make Graves – The New Romance

I had avoided PGMG for as long as I could, before a friend introduced me to The New Romance, and I just dig it immediately. This is great ‘Driving to the bar/concert/party’ music, especially during a thunderstorm in some battered, rundown city that you’re sick to death of.

You Must Hear – ‘Something Bigger, Something Brighter’

91. The Format – Interventions + Lullabies

Interventions + Lullabies was our first full-length introduction to The Format; our chance to watch the evolution of singer/songwriter/vocal powerhouse Nate Ruess from indie rocker to orchestral juggernaut. An album that sort of fell through the major label cracks (much like Saves The Day’s In Reverie), it’s what we grew to expect from these guys; one supremely catchy hit after another. A little less than three years later, The Format would release Dog Problems, an album that took their songwriting to its logical (and literal) conclusion.

You Must Hear – ‘The First Single’

90. OutKast – Stankonia

The is the greatest hip-hop duo of all-time, releasing arguably their greatest album of all-time. Pulling mainstream hip-hop out of their stale and unoriginal funk (which is what Andre 3000 and Big Boi always seem to do), Stankonia hit from all angles and influences, giving us huge singles such as ‘Ms. Jackson, ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ and the timeless ‘B.O.B.,’ easily the best hip-hop track of the entire decade (not counting Andre 3000’s ‘Hey Ya!’).

You Must Hear – ‘B.O.B.’

89. Band Of Horses – Everything All The Time

The entire album is fantastic, but I’m going to focus primarily on ‘The Funeral,’ the major standout track from Everything All The Time. The first time I heard this track, much like hearing any amazing song for the first time, I was nearly overwhelmed by the personal message and distinct feeling it awakened within me, all while being transcendent for anyone to have a personal connection with, a staple of a great songwriter. Anyone who has experienced any sort of heartbreak will understand immediately what Ben Bridwell means when he yells ‘At every occasion, I’ll be ready for the funeral.’

You Must Hear – ‘The Funeral’

88. Daft Punk – Discovery

It’s sometimes hard to believe that in the nearly 17-year-long career of Daft Punk, they’ve only released three studio albums, one of which was sort of a disappointment (2005’s Human After All). I guess that’s a sign of an influential group, however; the ability to seem like you’ve been around forever, releasing a constant stream of hits and live shows to a global audience. Discovery didn’t change the world like Homework did, but it damn sure tried, showing off some of Daft Punk’s biggest and catchiest dance hits.

You Must Hear – ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’

87. M83 – Saturdays = Youth

The 2000’s was a decade of musical nostalgia, from rock bands channeling the 70’s, to electronic and hip-hop acts borrowing from the 80’s, all the way up to shoegaze and emo bands drawing influence from the fuzz-drenched guitars of the 90’s (not to mention the countless 90’s alternative bands reuniting for one last suitcase full of cash). M83 was one of those electro/shoegaze acts that drew liberally from the 80’s, but succeeded where others merely imitated. Saturdays = Youth is not a beautiful 2008 album that sounds like an 80’s album; it’s a beautiful 80’s album that hadn’t been released until 2008. At least, that’s how it feels, which makes it a triumph.

You Must Hear – ‘Kim & Jessie’

86. Longwave – The Strangest Things

Steve Schiltz’s baritone voice. The dragging-yet-shimmering guitars, vaguely reminiscent of U2. The swelling, epic choruses and positive messages throughout depressing compositions. The Strangest Things was not an album that I thought I would be into so much in 2003. You can’t argue with a flat-out good album though, and these guys are solid as can be.

You Must Hear – ‘Tidal Wave’

85. Ozma – The Doubble Donkey Disc

Ozma. Jesus, Ozma. These guys didn’t write pop-rock songs with tasty guitar licks, beautiful synth lines and three-part vocal harmonies, no. They wrote miniature rock operas, with lyrics so clever it made you sick. A band that seemed too perfect to last (which was indeed true). The Russian-influenced Doubble Donkey Disc wasn’t necessarily a ‘concept album,’ but sort of felt that way, with melodies that showed up in various songs and tie-ins peeking around every corner. All that and a rock cover of ‘Korobeiniki,’ the instrumental best known as the music from Tetris.

You Must Hear – ‘No One Needs To Know’

84. Beulah – The Coast Is Never Clear

Disciples of the wildly-influential Elephant 6 Collective, Beulah took from the sunshine pop of early Of Montreal and catchy hooks of The Apples In Stereo, and threw a blasting horn section over the top of it to create a distinct and unique (and utterly awesome) sound. Although they broke up five years ago, The Coast Is Never Clear seems to be the type of album that always feels modern in it’s 60’s attitude; begging to be re-discovered by generations of indie kids every few years or so.

You Must Hear – ‘A Good Man Is Easy To Kill’

83. Saves The Day – Sound The Alarm

One of my favorite bands of all-time, Saves The Day released four albums this decade (Stay What You Are, In Reverie, Sound The Alarm and Under The Boards), but I wanted to strongly adhere to a ‘Two Albums Max’ cap when it came to bands making my Top 250 list. Unfortunately for STD (and their fans), In Reverie became a sore spot in the band’s catalog (despite being easily their most progressive album yet), and Under The Boards still seems to me to be quite disjointed and sort of uninteresting. However, Sound The Alarm was a return to form for Chris Conley and company, featuring the group at their angriest and with the most to prove. If you were a fan of ‘early’ Saves The Day that gave up on them after In Reverie, I strongly recommend giving Sound The Alarm another spin.

You Must Hear – ‘Eulogy’

82. Beck – Guero

Can we all agree that Odelay was Beck’s greatest achievement? If that statement is true, then Guero was a major return to form for the musical chameleon known as Beck. Radio hits like ‘E-Pro’ and ‘Girl’ made Guero Beck’s highest-charting album ever, also resulting in his most listenable and memorable album in nearly a decade, which is certainly saying something.

You Must Hear – ‘Hell Yes’

81. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News

If the 90’s took Punk Rock to the mainstream, then the 2000’s took Indie Rock to the top of the heap. Well-deserving bands like The Shins, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, The White Stripes and Modest Mouse all graduated into the big leagues, earning major acclaim and well-deserved worldwide success, and we all cheered them on while simultaneously wondering if this was what we really wanted as a selfish and jaded music fan. Modest Mouse could not be contained by Matador Records any longer, and with the release of Good News For People Who Love Bad News (and their decade-defining single ‘Float On’), Modest Mouse became everyone’s band, and that’s alright by me.

You Must Hear – ‘Float On’

80. The Rapture – Pieces Of The People We Love

The Rapture’s debut ushered in the way-too-short love affair with ‘Dance Punk;’ bands such as Liars, The Faint and Communique led the charge alongside of Echoes, a critical darling. So by the time that The Rapture’s sophomore effort was released, the fad was over and they needed a way to subtly re-invent themselves. What they did was similar to the way that most other bands were keeping atop the scene: they went Disco. The result is refreshing, driving and fun as hell.

You Must Hear – ‘Whoo! Alright, Yeah…Uh-Huh’

79. The Gadjits – Today Is My Day

Today Is My Day-era Gadjits were legitimately a band at the top of their game. They seemed invigorated; the brothers’ Philips snagged two amazing musicians in the form of Ehren Starks and Mike Alexander, turned their two-tone ska sound into a blistering rock-n-soul revival, and put on a live show that was unmatched by absolutely nobody for somewhere in the neighborhood of two years. Today Is My Day was truly a snapshot of a moment in time where these guys were untouchable.

You Must Hear – ‘We Were Right’

78. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

It’s amazing to think that by the time Conor Oberst released I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning/Digital Ash In A Digital Urn in 2005, he was only 25 years old. After all, these releases were the culmination of what felt like an already-long and storied career; drawing Dylan-esque comparisons from even the most jaded of music critics. We can now look at it as merely the beginning of a new chapter for Oberst, for better or for worse.

You Must Hear – ‘First Day Of My Life’

77. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

When an indie band bursts onto the scene with a wildly popular and acclaimed debut album, there’s absolutely nothing harder for them to do than to go into the studio and once again capture lightning in a bottle for Album #2. The Sophomore Slump is so prevalent in recorded music that it has its own terminology. So when a band manages to pull it off and create something that isn’t complete garbage, it’s viewed as a triumph. After everyone fell in love with James Mercer and The Shins following the release of Oh, Inverted World, a collective sigh of relief was left out when Chutes Too Narrow proved to be a fitting and welcome effort.

You Must Hear – ‘So Says I’

76. Muse – Absolution

I was like most Americans when Muse’s third album made its way across the pond and melted eardrums from coast-to-coast. ‘Who are these guys?‘ and ‘Holy shit!‘ were more or less the first and only things I said for a couple of weeks afterward. The amazing musicianship. The wall of sound. The live shows. The perfect blend of prog-rock with hooks. Just a total success across the board.

You Must Hear – ‘Hysteria’

Thanks much for reading. The CDP Decade In Review continues tomorrow, as we dig in to #75-51 of the Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (125-101).

‘Hey Ya!’
-OutKast, ‘Hey Ya!’

We’re finally at the (pseudo) halfway point of the CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Today we feature some indie classics, mainstream heavy-hitters and personal favorites. Enjoy.

125. OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
124. Build To Spill – Ancient Melodies Of The Future
123. OK Go – OK Go
122. Smoking Popes – Stay Down
121. Nicole Atkins – Neptune City

One of the biggest hip-hop albums of all-time, the joint-yet-solo Andre 3000/Big Boi album produced huge #1 hits in ‘I Like The Way You Move’ and ‘Hey Ya!,’ the latter of the two easily taking its place as the biggest song of the entire decade. Built To Spill is a band that, when I have the patience for them, seem to grow on me more every time I listen. OK Go’s debut album was wall-to-wall power pop with precision sensibilities and a whole lot of fun. The Smoking Popes returned to the fray in the 00’s with Stay Down, a must-have and return to glory for one of my favorite ’90’s’ bands. At #121 comes Nicole Atkins, a woman whos voice and attitude absolutely blew me away when I first saw her perform. I had predicted huge things for Neptune City (I had hoped she would rightfully eclipse Feist), but it didn’t make quite the dent that it has deserved.

120. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster…
119. Animal Collective – Feels
118. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
117. Pale Young Gentlemen – Black Forest (Tra La La)
116. Cut Off Your Hands – You And I

The hardest working band of the last five years, Los Campesinos! released this album mere months before producing their follow-up, and Hold On Now, Youngster… is a magnificent slice of indie/twee/pop cobbler. Animal Collective has fallen off my radar in recent years, but their 2005 breakthrough Feels is still beautiful. Bloc Party showed up in the states as another ‘Greatest Thing Ever’ from the UK, but much like Arctic Monkeys, they have survived the overexposure to continue to create decent albums. Madison band Pale Young Gentlemen placed themselves squarely in the spotlight after the release of their chamber-pop epic Black Forest (Tra La La). After a slew of singles and EP’s, Cut Off Your Hands finally made a proper album in 2008, and the New Zealand based post punkers did not disappoint.

115. Mastodon – Blood Mountain
114. Minus The Bear – Highly Refined Pirates
113. Jets To Brazil – Four Cornered Night
112. Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends
111. Brand New – Deja Entendu

Is Mastadon the best metal band in the world right now? Maybe not, but Blood Mountain makes a case for the Georgia quartet that seems to exceed expectations with each release. Minus The Bear’s math-rock/shoegaze/electro-dreampop/guitar noodling sound is uniquely their own, and Highly Refined Pirates was our full-length introduction to an impressive and extremely talented band of happy mopers. With Jawbreaker being one of my favorite ’90’s’ bands, I naturally gravitated towards Jets To Brazil after their breakup, and I find myself to this day listening to Four Cornered Night on a weekly basis. I avoided Les Savy Fav for as long as I could, certain that I would abhor their sound and theatrics. I am an idiot, and I was completely wrong. Finally, Brand New’s evolution from Your Favorite Weapon to Deja Entendu was something completely unexpected by nearly everyone around them, and it paid off in spades. Not that I don’t still crank ‘Jude Law And A Semester Abroad’ from time to time, but their later work is something that most bands of their mold never get the chance to do.

110. Pollen – Chip
109. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
108. Bright Eyes – Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
107. Caesars – Paper Tigers
106. Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine

Poor, poor Pollen. An amazingly talented rock quintet that somehow slipped through the major label cracks time and time again, I still listen to their albums and am blown away by their structures and style. I saw Pollen three times when they were touring on Chip, and they brought the house down every time. Franz Ferdinand sort of took that nation over when ‘Take Me Out’ hit the airwaves, but even three albums into their tenure, they still fill the dancefloors and write insanely catchy tunes. One of Bright Eyes’ two releases on 01/25/05, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn slipped off of my radar initially (in favor of the superior I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning), but is far too deep, lush and heartfelt to not be mentioned and highly ranked. Paper Tigers, a beginning-to-end blast of hooks, choruses and expert pop songwriting, reminds me to find out what exactly they’re feeding the Swedes to get them to understand melodies so well. You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine is loud, abraisive, sexy, sweaty, dirty, danceable and can probably get you pregnant if you listen to it long enough. Who says two scruffy-looking Canadians can’t bring the sex every now again again?

105. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
104. Cake – Comfort Eagle
103. Less Than Jake – Borders And Boundaries
102. Girl Talk – Night Ripper
101. Green Day – American Idiot

A majorly-hyped album on Pitchfork and the rest of the web, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is an example that regardless of a label, manager or production deal, simple word of mouth will always work if you’re a genuinely good band. Cake’s Comfort Eagle was my favorite Cake album of the decade, doing what they do best (and what nobody but Beck can seem to replicate). After Hello Rockview, Less Than Jake had some huge expectations to fill, and Borders & Boundaries received a bit of negative criticism upon release. However, it still sounds to me like their most ‘mature’ album yet, and something that I’ve really grown to appreciate as I get older. Girl Talk’s third album, Night Ripper, redefined the Mash-Up scene and made a superstar out of Greg Gillis. It also perfectly represented the ADD-addled iPod Generation, or those of us from the 80’s who no longer have the attention span for anything anymore. Finally at #101 is American Idiot by Green Day, unabashedly my emotional favorite band of all-time. Not many bands get to take their place on the top of the heap two different times in their career, but American Idiot went instant-platinum, earned Grammys and solidified Green Day’s place in the upper echelon of rock royalty.

Thanks for reading the CDP Decade In Review. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and get ready for the Top 100 Albums Of The Decade next week.

The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (150-126).

‘I’m just happy you stuck around.’
-The Promise Ring, ‘Become One Anything One Time’

Welcome to Part Four of the CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. This is probably the point where the arguments will start to begin. Enjoy.

150. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
149. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
148. The Walkmen – Bows And Arrows
147. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
146. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

In Ghost Colours was a real surprise for me; probably my favorite dance album of the last two years. Viva La Vida did not characteristically rape my ears like previous Coldplay output, mainly because they tried to rip off Arcade Fire. Bows And Arrows showcased The Walkmen at their most introspective and angry. LCD Soundsystem’s Sound Of Silver was, to many, better than their self-titled effort, but I (clearly) disagree. The Gaslight Anthem channels The Boss to pull off a heartfelt, emotional, rocking effort by a band who’s best is hopefully yet to come.

145. Goldfinger – Open Your Eyes
144. The Ataris – End Is Forever
143. Chromeo – Fancy Footwork
142. Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
141. Thursday – War All The Time

Open Your Eyes was apparently supposed to be Goldfinger’s political statement album, and it contains some of their catchiest and most memorable tracks. End Is Forever recognized the end of an era for The Ataris; one of the standout melodic punk bands of the last 10 years. Chromeo is probably the only band in history that combined an Arab guy and a Jew to create 80’s dance music. ‘Sex On Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’ were more than enough to place Only By The Night in the countdown. War All The Time was a surprise smash hit for Thursday, actually reaching #7 on the Billboard 200 charts.

140. Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs
139. Justice – (Cross)
138. AFI – Sing The Sorrow
137. Dashboard Confessional – The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
136. Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights

Ben Folds’ first solo output is loaded with humor, blazing piano goodness and pretty much everything else you’d come to expect from anything this guy touches. Justice hit the ground running with (Cross), creating insanely memorable club jams and dance anthems. AFI’s first major label output may have caused their core audience to smear their eyeliner with disgust, but I’ll be the first to admit that I listened to their anthemic punk for probably a month straight. Speaking of obsessed, I’ll also admit that Dashboard Confessional was a big influence on me at just the right time; Chris Carrabba will always get a free pass in my book for creating Further Seems Forever. Interpol’s debut grabbed the attention of many, and while their sound hasn’t changed much since then, it really doesn’t have to.

135. Supersystem – Always Never Again
134. 2 Skinnee J’s – Volumizer
133. We Are Scientists – With Love And Squalor
132. Spoon – Gimme Fiction
131. Slowreader – Slowreader

Supersystem rose from the ashes of El Guapo, and Always Never Again is loaded with chanting dance music with Dischord-like melodies and instrumentation. Volumizer is not for everyone, but if you’re into two unbelievably talented (and unbelievably nerdy) MCs rapping about the solar system and Vince Vaughan’s Psycho remake over keytars and distorted guitars, there’s really nobody out there that does it better. With Love And Squalor was a quirky, funny, solid and danceable rock and roll effort from three awesomely hip dudes from Berkeley. Seriously, I saw them live, and they’re some of the coolest musicians I’ve ever met. Spoon seems to be one of those bands that can do no wrong right now, and Gimme Fiction was almost universally-acclaimed upon release. When The Impossibles disbanded, frontmen Gabe and Rory started an acoutsic/electro side project called Slowreader that sounded a whole lot like The Postal Service before Ben Gibbard and DNTEL even knew each other existed.

130. Q And Not U – Power
129. Death Cab For Cutie – We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes
128. The Promise Ring – Wood/Water
127. Dismemberment Plan – Change
126. Radiohead – Kid A

Q And Not U released three incredible albums in the 00’s, and Power, their final effort, felt like a compilation of everything they’ve ever learned, written and been influenced by. Dischord Record insanity, plain and simple. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes is still Death Cab’s best album. The Promise Ring was another amazing 90’s band that didn’t make it through the 00’s, but Wood/Water was a fitting eulogy. Speaking of everything I just mentioned, The Dismemberment Plan was another band that meant a lot of things to a lot of people, and Change was their swan song in 2003.

Finally, Kid A, arguably the Album Of The Decade for a lot of people, will only reach #126 on my list for quite a few reasons. The biggest excuse of which was that this album was huge when I was in school for Music Production. So, as you can presume, we dissected and picked this album apart for hours every day. I know about every production technique, every insignificant tool used, every microphone positioning and angstrom of this goddamn vomitous collage of a masterpiece. As is the case with albums that you pick apart with serial killer-like precision, I can no longer listen to Kid A without throwing up with rage. It was like the Ludovico Technique up in here. Sorry, Radiohead.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; more Decade In Review tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (175-151).

‘Please don’t go crazy if I tell you the truth.’
-Snow Patrol, ‘How To Be Dead’

The CDP Top 250 Albums Of The Decade continues with albums 175 through 151. Enjoy.

175. VHS Or Beta – Bring On The Comets
174. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
173. Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
172. Dr. Dog – Fate
171. Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere

VHS Or Beta gives me a feeling of nostalgia that’s worthy of such a band name. Fleet Foxes had a big break after appearing on SNL, and boy did they deserve it. Broken Social Scene needs no introduction, and their long-awaited followup to You Forgot It In People was as good as it could have been. Dr. Dog is one of those Beatles-influenced bands that seems worthy of the distinction. Gnarls Barkley had one of the most popular singles of the decade, and St. Elsewhere blew up like seemingly no other album during the 00’s.

170. She Wants Revenge – She Wants Revenge
169. Fugazi – The Argument
168. Guster – Keep It Together
167. The National – Boxer
166. The Exploding Hearts – Guitar Romantic

She Wants Revenge is my own, private soundtrack to every fantasy in my head. Fugazi’s The Argument isn’t nearly their best album, but deeply listenable in its own right. Keep It Together is indie pop songwriting and melodies at their best. The National’s Boxer was off of my radar for far too long; perhaps not worthy of the heaps of praise it received, but definitely solid. Finally, The Exploding Hearts suffered one of Rock’s greatest tragedies, losing three of their four members in an accident, leaving behind this shining template for what could have been.

165. VCR – VCR (EP)
164. Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills
163. American Steel – Jagged Thoughts
162. Snow Patrol – Final Straw
161. Silversun Pickups – Swoon

VCR is the craziest, most punked-out synth fest on this side of the pond. Our Ill Wills proved that Shout Out Louds were a force to be reckoned with. Jagged Thoughts was American Steel’s last album before focusing more on Communique (before once again returning to American Steel). Final Straw was Snow Patrol’s biggest American record at the time, and Swoon was a My Bloody Valentine-influenced Sophomore effort from Silversun Pickups.

160. The Faint – Danse Macabre
159. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
158. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
157. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
156. Klaxons – Myths Of The Near Future

Danse Macabre was the first Faint album I owned, and I listened the hell out of that thing. Arctic Monkeys looked to be the UK flavour of the week for a brief spell, but three albums in, they show no sign of slowing down. Phoenix had a huge 2009 in the US, proudly touring on the danceable and spacious Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The Crane Wife is another slice of brilliant storytelling and instrumentation from Colin Meloy and company. Myths Of The Near Future won the 2007 Mercury Prize, which is essentially an award for British Album Of The Year.

155. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
154. Guillemots – From The Cliffs
153. Liars – They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top
152. Maritime – We, The Vehicles
151. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods

I saw Wolf Parade open for Arcade Fire a few years ago, and they really impressed me; Apologies To The Queen Mary was a critically-acclaimed album when it came out, and holds up quite well. From The Cliffs introduced me to ‘Trains To Brazil,’ perhaps my favorite song of the last five years. Liars have really waned over the last few albums in my book, but struck gold with this dance-punk freak out. We, The Vehicles seems to pick up naturally where The Promise Ring had left off. Finally, Sleater-Kinney’s last album still resonates with many, arguably the best and most popular album of their 12 year career.

Thanks much for reading. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More Decade In Review tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (200-176).

‘Sing like you think no one’s listening.’

– Straylight Run

Welcome to Day Two of our 10-day countdown of the Top 250 Albums Of The Decade. Today, we inch over closer with more of my favorite albums of the last ten years. Enjoy.

200. Josh Rouse – Nashville
199. Juiceboxxx – Are You There, God?
198. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
197. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
196. The BellRays – The Red, White And Black

Josh Rouse is very hit-or-miss with me (and The Missus), but Nashville was universally agreeable at CDP Headquarters. Juiceboxxx, on the other hand, is not. Apparently, dude hit my wife when we saw him in concert (he has a tendency to run around off-stage and ‘get wacky’). When I saw Flogging Molly for the first time at Warped Tour, I was blown away by their energetic Irish Punk Rock. Vampire Weekend may not be seen as a monumental achievement in 2020, but for now, they’re still the band of the moment. However, The hard-working BellRays should always be the band of the moment.

195. Children Of Bodom – Follow The Reaper
194. New Found Glory – New Found Glory
193. Enon – Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds
192. Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
191. Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop, Drop And Roll!!!

Children Of Bodom showed me that a metal band could have a keytar player, and still brutalize everything in their path. New Found Glory’s self-titled second album showed the pop-punk 5-piece at the peak of their songwriting, popularity and appeal. Enon keep the spirit of Brainiac alive, and Farm re-introduced us to the uber-influential Dinosaur Jr. Finally, Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs once again reminded us that Billie Jo Armstrong is a better songwriter than you’ll ever be.

190. The Clarks – Let It Go
189. Foo Fighters – One By One
188. Sean Na Na – Family Trees
187. Amusement Parks On Fire – Amusement Parks On Fire
186. Tullycraft – Every Scene Has A Center

I always feel like I’m too young to be listening to The Clarks, and I mean that in the best possible way. One By One is another far-reaching album by one of the greatest American rock bands of the last 25 years. Sean Na Na took some time off of being Har Mar Superstar to record another brilliant effort with Family Trees. I bought Amusement Parks Of Fire on a whim, and their reverb-drenched shoegazer rock fits my depressed moods like a glove. On the inverse, Every Scene Has A Center contains the catchiest, twee-iest, happiest and most sarcastic music you may ever hear.

185. The Apples In Stereo – Velocity Of Sound
184. Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
183. Idlewild – Warnings/Promises
182. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out Of This Country
181. Alkaline Trio – From Here To Infirmary

The Apples In Stereo are an Elephant Six Collective staple, and this beginning-to-end hook fest will remind you why. Robert Schneider wants to be Jeff Lynne in the worst possible way. The Stand Ins is a companion piece to The Stage Names, and picks up where they left off perfectly. Warnings/Promises is epic, beautiful and always playing in my wife’s car. I have a huge crush on Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell; mainly because her voice is beautiful and her band is awesome. Finally, Alkaline Trio do what they do best, and kick out the emo-punk Chicago jams with From Here To Infirmary.

180. Common Rider – This Is Unity Music
179. Catch 22 – Alone In A Crowd
178. Straylight Run – Straylight Run
177. Kay Hanley – Cherry Marmalade
176. The Books – Lost And Safe

Operation Ivy’s Jesse Michaels continues to spread his message with This Is Unity Music. Catch 22 continued without bandleader Tomas Kalnoky, and while Alone In A Crowd was great, Tomas still possesses the best songwriting chops in the ska genre. Straylight Run snuck up on me with its’ subtle transitions between solid pop and anthemic, indie ballads. Kay Hanley’s best days with Letters To Cleo are behind her (they are), but that voice is still amazing. The Books’ collage of sound, Lost And Safe, feels like discovering a recently declassified CIA document.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More Top 250 Albums Of The Decade tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 250 Albums Of The Decade (250-201).

‘Party Hard.’
– Andrew W.K.

It’s finally here. I’ve been sitting on this list for months now, slightly tweaking and re-listening to albums for weeks, making sure I gave every album its due. Welcome to Week 4 of the CDP Decade In Review, where we will be devoting the next two weeks to counting down our Top 250 Albums Of The Decade.

Making any sort of definitive countdown list is impossible; we all know that. For me, I took in as many contributing factors as I could before the entire project got so overwhelming that I just scrapped it altogether. What needs to be said the loudest, however, is that this list represents my personal opinion, and each album was graded by how important they were to me on a personal level, at their highest possible point.

It was the only fair, honest and personalized way I could do it; an album that meant the world to me in 2000 (at age 18) carries a different sort of banner and sound than an album that would captivate me in 2009 (at age 27), so I thought about the albums that meant the most to me at any given time, and ranked them accordingly. No Pitchfork influence. No SoundScan numbers and hipster cred was even taken into consideration. Dropping as much baggage as I could was the only way this could be done on any sort of coherent level.

So please remember this two weeks from now, when you’re keelhauling me for not making Kid A #1.

Here we go. Enjoy.

250. Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet
249. The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes
248. Leftover Crack – F**k World Trade
247. Plushgun – Pins & Panzers
246. Beep Beep – Business Casual

I Get Wet is ludicrously catchy, too good to be discarded as a ‘guilty pleasure,’ although I suppose it sort of is. We Are The Pipettes embraces the doo-wop throwback and caused a lot of buzz before the all-girl trio decided to split up. Leftover Crack brings controversy with them wherever they go, and the cover of F**k World Trade is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Pins & Panzers is Postal Service-influenced Electro-Indie, and Beep Beep’s Business Casual is a dirty, latex-scented romp through everyone’s nasty little thoughts.

245. The Mooney Suzuki – Electric Sweat
244. The Pillows – Wake Up! Wake Up! Wake Up!
243. The Stereo – No Traffic
242. Lagwagon – Blaze
241. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

Electric Sweat was the Mooney Suzuki’s last good album. The Pillows are one of about a hundred Japanese bands that can out-pop/rock almost anyone in the states, No Traffic wasn’t the best Stereo album, but their best of the decade. Blaze was Lagwagon’s ‘welcome back’ album, and it delivered. Bleed American was the first mainstream foray for Jimmy Eat World, after their amazing Clarity. Fun fact, Bleed American was re-named Jimmy Eat World following 9/11, because everyone seemed to have their underpants in a bunch about anything that seemed even vaguely anti-America.

240. Motion City Soundtrack – I Am The Movie
239. Snapcase – End Transmission
238. Bad Religion – The Empire Strikes First
237. Rilo Kiley – Take-Offs And Landings
236. Mates Of State – My Solo Project

I Am The Movie was the label debut of the band that was once described as ‘The Best Unsigned Band In The Country.’ Four albums in, and their songwriting is still clever and catchy. End Transmission is freaking intense, The Empire Strikes First was a return to glory for Bad Religion, and Take-Offs And Landings seemed more than a little overrated by yours truly. Mates Of State’s My Solo Project has every right to exist.

235. Reggie & The Full Effect – Songs Not To Get Married To
234. Supergrass – Life On Other Planets
233. Architects – Keys To The Building
232. Pinhead Gunpowder – Compulsive Disclosure
231. RX Bandits – Progress

Songs Not To Get Married To featured James at his most clever and focused. Supergrass is almost incapable of making a bad album. The Architects’ Keys To The Building is a evolutionary step by a band that I’ve loved for a decade now. Pinhead Gunpowder reminds me that Billie Jo Armstrong can still write a solid punk rock song, and RX Bandits’ Progress was just that for a ska band that evolved into a movement.

230. Talib Kweli – The Beautiful Struggle
229. The Kooks – Konk
228. The Box Social – Get Going
227. Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter
226. The Mars Volta – De-Loused In The Comatorium

Talib Kweli is one of the greatest MC’s in the world right now, but can sometimes come off as boring as hell. The Kooks caused a fair amount of buzz across the pond. The Box Social’s final album showcased one of Madison’s best bands at the height of their talents. Josh Ritter channels Dylan and emerges victorious, and The Mars Volta’s other-worldly noodling is the perfect soundtrack for eating shoe polish and jumping out of a plane.

225. Hot Hot Heat – Elevator
224. Eagles Of Death Metal – Death By Sexy
223. Against Me! – New Wave
222. Bayside – Sirens & Condolences
221. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles

Elevator contains some of the catchiest tracks I’ve heard in years. Death By Sexy is another rock-solid album of Cock Rock. New Wave took me by surprise; Against Me! is a band that had a great decade. Bayside emerges from the saturated emo-rock landscape with Smoking Popes-like vocals and decent songwriting. Crystal Castles is responsible for my last two ringtones.

220. Head Automatica – Decadence
219. British Sea Power – The Decline Of British Sea Power
218. Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs
217. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir – The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
216. The Mountain Goats – Get Lonely

Decadence is an album that I still crank in my car from time to time; makes me feel a lot cooler than I really am. The Decline Of British Sea Power is solid, To The 5 Boroughs could have been so much better, and The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir introduced me to one of my new favorite bands from Chicago. Finally, Get Lonely finds John Darnielle at his saddest, yet the journey is still worth it.

215. The Ergs! – Dorkrockcorkrod
214. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
213. Copeland – Beneath Medicine Tree
212. Ben Kweller – Sha Sha
211. Metallica – Death Magnetic

My buddy Benjamin turned me on to The Ergs!, and they’ve been one of my happier musical discoveries of the last year. Scissor Sister’s debut album was an awesome disco romp (it was their amazing SNL appearance that caused me to take notice). Beneath Medicine Tree is an emo album that’s ‘real;’ the majority of the lyrics were written about the hospitalization of Aaron Marsh’s girlfriend. Ben Kweller has long since gotten on my last nerve, but Sha Sha is still worthy of a few hits. Metallica’s return to glory was a huge blip on the Metal radar, but left my rotation after a few weeks.

210. Bandits Of The Acoustic Revolution – A Call To Arms (EP)
209. MSTRKRFT – The Looks
208. Pedro The Lion – Achilles Heel
207. The Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control
206. Iron And Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days

Bandits Of The Acoustic Revolution need to finish their follow-up album immediately. The Looks keeps me shaking my ass to this day. Pedro The Lion’s David Bazan is one of the smartest Christian musicians, even though his faith has since become debatable. The Gossip created a major piece of buzz with Standing In The Way Of Control, but I would easily pay a thousand dollars to never see Beth Ditto ever again. Iron And Wine constructs beautiful singer-songwriter poetry; I typically don’t listen to music like this, but I was glad I followed up on the advice to pick up Our Endless Numbered Days.

205. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
204. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
203. The Futureheads – The Futureheads
202. The Streets – Original Pirate Material
201. IfIHadAHiFi – No More Music

I’m not the biggest Wilco fan on Earth, but Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was worthy of the hype. For Emma, Forever Ago is pretty much on an identical plane. The Futureheads stood out from the pack with their rapid-fire, instantly-memorable Brit-Punk. The Streets didn’t deserve as much attention as the previous three albums, but you cannot deny Mike Skinner’s talent. Finally, IfIHadAHiFi’s No More Music was the loudest, craziest and ass-shakingest album to come out of Wisconsin in 2004.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More Top 250 Albums Of The Decade tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 10 Video Games Of The Decade.

“This was a triumph. I’m making a note, here: HUGE SUCCESS.”


A child of the 80’s, I not only grew up on video games, but I’m also from a generation that video games have always been marketed to. Honestly, there’s never been a time in my life when someone wasn’t trying to sell me a video game. From the childhood days of the NES, to the teen years with SNES and Sega, to the college years of PS and PS2, to the adult gamer days of the XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii, it seems as if I’ve always represented the demographic of a video game fan.

And I was, for awhile, at least. In my late teen years, I was too busy with my band to play a lot of games, but now that I’m older, I play almost exclusively ‘Family’ or ‘Party’ games. I cannot remember the last time I played a video game by myself; nowadays I only play if I can play with all of my friends, and the following list will probably reflect that somewhat.

Instead of counting down my favorite games of the decade (which would probably consist of at least 10 rhythm-based games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero), I decided to list my favorite game for each year, based on release date. It was as good of a way as any to keep the list as varied as possible. Let’s go.

2000 – The Sims (PC)

2001 – Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)

2002 – Kingdom Hearts (PS2)

2003 – Mario Kart: Double Dash! (NGC)

2004 – Doom 3 (PC)

2005 – Resident Evil 4 (NGC)

2006 – Guitar Hero II (PS2)

2007 – Rock Band (PS2)

2008 – MarioKart Wii (Wii)

2009 – Guitar Hero V (Wii)

Thanks much for checking out the CDP Decade In Review today. I’m taking tomorrow off and coming back Monday with the start of the Top 250 Albums Of The Decade(!). Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

The CDP’s Top 20 Concerts Of The Decade.

“Hi, we’re The Impossibles from Austin, Texas!”
– The Impossibles, ‘Eightball


ALL/Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Leftover Crack/The Casualties/Jay Reatard
Congress Theater – Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment – I run into Kris Roe from The Ataris, who later gets thrown out of ALL’s set for trying to jump the barricade. Cops shut down the show, punks spill out into the street and a mini-riot occurs on the streets of Chicago. We buzz over to the Double Door in Wicker Park, where I proceeded to get hammered during Jay Reatard’s set. Meet Scott Reynolds and Stephen Egerton. RiotFest 2008 lives up to its name.

Communique (w/Tegan & Sara)
The Annex – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – When you see a show at the Annex, it’s just nice to see that your car is still around when the show is over. I had interviewed Communique earlier in the week for a local paper, and when I got to chat with Ruari afterward, he told me he read it and dug it. That made me feel good, even if he was lying to me.

Goldfinger/Showoff/The Hippos
The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – Showoff and The Hippos weren’t around for very long, so I was very happy to see them both rock a stage in the same night. Saw a dude completely shatter his nose; hemorrhaging blood everywhere. Goldfinger always puts on an energetic show.

Smoking Popes
High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – ‘Megan.’ And the fact that these guys are mind-bogglingly nice.

The Hold Steady
Majestic Theater – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – It takes a band like the Hold Steady to make you realize how much you love Miller High Life. Crowd went apeshit during ‘Constructive Summer,’ raising a toast to Saint Joe Strummer. One of those live bands that can change your life if they hit you at the right time.

Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish/Against All Authority/Streetlight Manifesto
The Myth – Minneapolis, MN

Favorite Moment – AAA is the most hardcore ska band ever. Streetlight is the most musically-inclined. RBF is the most cynical and underrated. LTJ is the straight-up best. End of story. Their Price Is Right-themed show had audience members come on up, spin the wheel and determine the setlist.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
Luther’s Blues – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – ‘Look At Me.’ That, or the fact that their drummer was a 9-year-old girl.

The Gadjits/RX Bandits/Edna’s Goldfish
The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – The last time I saw The Gadjits, I was standing behind the Missus as she gallivanted and shook her booty…with her boyfriend. Hurt. Like. Hell. This time, she was all mine.

P.O.S./The Velvet Teen/Minus The Bear
The Loft – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – P.O.S. can work and win over a crowd like nobody’s business, and Minus The Bear can lull them to sleep just as fast. But The Velvet Teen and supremely amazing drummer Casey Dietz brought the place to their knees. Honest to God, I’m a drummer that’s been to hundreds of shows, and I’ve never seen anyone like Casey behind the kit.

Ozma/Nada Surf/Rilo Kiley
Miramar Theatre – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – Lurching through Rilo Kiley (seriously, get over Jenny Lewis already) to see Nada Surf begin their transformation from one-hit-wonder to New Millennium Indie Powerhouse. And Ozma…where to begin with these geniuses? ‘Domino Effect’ or ‘Natalie Portman’ is a damn good start. In the 00’s, nobody wrote a better pop-rock song than these guys.

The Weakerthans
High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI

Favorite Moment – ‘Aside.’ That, and that euphoric feeling you get just before your favorite band takes the stage that whispers, “Yes, this is finally going to happen.” Couldn’t have seen them at a better venue, either; the High Noon is as good as it gets.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists/The Dismemberment Plan/The Benjamins
Mirimar Theatre – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – Every second that Ted Leo is behind a microphone is magic. Touring on The Tyranny Of Distance (easily their best album), they even overshadowed The Dismemberment Plan, who were all but on the verge of permanent breakup.

Teenage Fanclub
The Metro – Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment – Knowing that the Missus was experiencing her favorite concert ever.

Ash/Saves The Day
Congress Theater – Chicago, IL

Favorite Moment – We got to meet Ash, which was pretty rad, but I think my favorite part was me and the Missus waking up the Emo kids during Ash’s monster set, shoving and moshing them out of their collective coma. We followed the Saves The Day/Ash tour from Madison to Milwaukee to Chicago, and Ash had canceled the first two shows, so just the fact that they showed up caused us to lose our collective shizzle.

Saves The Day/Alkaline Trio/Dashboard Confessional
The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – See the above photo? This was the Saves The Day that we saw. Pre-Stay What You Are, pre-lineup changes, pre-neutered Chris Conley playing lead guitar. The Dream Lineup. And it was absolutely, positively fantastic. I’ve probably seen Saves The Day live more than any band ever, and while they are always great, nothing could match this night. When they played ‘The Choke,’ it was a release that reminded you of what ‘Emo’ was before it became such a revolting word.

The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – I got into a fight with a hipster douchebag, threw a cup of ice at a security guard, got thrown out (but let back in), saw the Greatest Band In The World, drank and drove a little, and pretty much did whatever the hell I wanted. The only drawback? This was the first concert I ever saw all by myself.

Green Day/The Get Up Kids
The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – When you see Green Day, every second is your favorite moment. But for my money, when they unexpectedly jumped into ‘Only Of You,’ I hit the goddamn roof. Mark my words; Green Day are Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame-bound, and Billie Jo Armstrong will be remembered as one of music’s greatest frontmen.

Weezer/Ozma/The Get Up Kids
The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Moment – They hit the stage to the tune of the Monday Night Football theme, play the opening notes to ‘My Name Is Jonas,’ and I seriously started crying. A near-religious experience for yours truly.

Arcade Fire/Wolf Parade
First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN

Favorite Moment – When Arcade Fire descended onto the stage, the collective air was let out of the room as damn near everyone gasped with excitement at the same time. Then Richard Reed Parry hit that floor tom, the band launched into ‘Wake Up’ and the place just freaking erupted. Since that day, I’ve honestly turned down chances to see Arcade Fire again, as I know that no repeat concert would match the emotions swelling through First Avenue that night. It’s a moment I refuse to tarnish, and yes, I’m being completely serious. Forget it, man.

The Impossibles/Ultimate Fakebook
The Globe East – Milwaukee, WI

It happens all the time. You stumble across a band that changes your life. Changes the way you think. Changes the way you listen to music. Changes the way you dress. Actually influences you to the point of starting your own band. Recording your own album. Even doing an entire tribute show as the very band that had influenced you so. Once, maybe twice in a lifetime, a band like that comes your way.

Only problem is that they broke up years before you discovered them, so there’s no chance you’ll ever see them live. Ever. Operation Ivy. At The Drive-In. Husker Du. Think of all the bands that you wished would reunite, especially in this decade of prominent 80’s and 90’s bands reuniting for fun and profit.

By the time I discovered The Impossibles and instantly converted all of my friends into their discipleship (and did all the obsessive stuff I explained to you earlier), they were long broken up. But alas, a miracle occurred and they got back together to record Return in 2000. The idea that we’d see them was more or less like that one awesome dream where your favorite band plays in your living room. This is what happened with me and The Impossibles. The Globe was packed to capacity; it had to have been 150 degrees in there.

Had I ran into The Impossibles at any other age than 17, they probably wouldn’t have amounted to more than a blip on the radar, I’ll totally admit that. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s when a band strikes a chord with you (not how) that typically makes the most impact in your life. It’s why I still defend Green Day. It’s why I still crank Less Than Jake and Weezer. It’s why I continue to follow Saves The Day across the nation, and it’s why The Impossibles were responsible for the greatest concert I’ve seen this decade.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More CDP Decade In Review is on the way.

The CDP’s Top 10 Books Of The Decade.

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years.

But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person who you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real–but you create the context. And context is everything.

The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”

– Chuck Klosterman, ‘Killing Yourself To Live

I’ll be honest with you. From a grandiose standpoint, I have little-to-no business doing a ‘Top Books’ countdown, for a number of reasons. For one, I don’t read fiction (ie: No Harry Potter, DiVinci Code, Bible, etc.). Secondly, I read two, maybe three books a year (and typically not from this decade, either.). If this strikes you as sort of ironic, considering I’m somewhat of a writer and author, that would make two of us.

I do, however, enjoy reading books when I get the chance and/or patience, and this decade I was introduced to what I now consider my personal Holy Trinity of non-fiction: Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris and Chuck Klosterman.

These three individuals rose to prominence in this decade for similar-yet-different reasons. They all dissect very specific moments down to their minutiae (Personal Reminiscence, Pop Culture and Social Science, respectively). They’re all intelligent and possess strengths in their unique fields (Interviewing folks, remembering tons of seemingly useless facts, copious drug use). They’re all great public speakers. They also represent the Holy Trinity of what I find interesting: Great storytelling, pop culture and why the world works the way that it does, all broken down to its finest and most dissectable particles. This is truly all I need. Let’s go.

65 Poor Life Decisions – Ryan J. Zeinert

If you thought I was going to overlook my own, personal writing achievement this decade, you obviously don’t know how sad of a person I really am. If you don’t have it yet, could you buy it, please? I’m very cold and hungry.

#9Mind Over Matters – Michael J. Nelson

65 Poof Life Decisions could not have existed without the genius of Michael J. Nelson. For his work on MST3K, comedic prowess and Midwestern voice, but more specifically, because of Mind Over Matters. This was the book I read that said: “You know, you could probably do something like this.” Although I’m sure that Matters is sharper and funnier, I think you’ll see the similarities almost immediately. As my own little ‘Thank You’ to Mike, I’ve placed my personal copy of Life Decisions right next to Matters on my bookshelf.

#8Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

With every new Malcolm Gladwell book, you get the feeling that he’s somehow stumbled upon the Meaning Of Life by mistake, and has no idea what to take from the information he has mined. With Outliers, he finds striking similarities between the wealthy, powerful, famous and respected, and seems to say that it might actually be pre-determined by something other than natural talent and social status upon birth.

#7Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klosterman

The first time I read Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs, I didn’t really like it. I then realized that it was due to my intense jealousy at Klosterman’s Pop Culture prowess and ability to seamlessly interweave Low Culture aesthetics into masterful theories about why we are the way we are (and what it all says about our tribe). The way he ties things together is about as perfect as an episode of Seinfeld.

#6 Dress Your Family In Corduroy & Denim – David Sedaris

Whenever I go to Barnes & Noble or Borders, I always check out the non-fiction Essay section before I leave, and two things never cease to amaze me:

One, the section is always criminally small. You would think that writing stories about oneself would be the easiest*, and therefore largest, section of the store. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking; most people would rather read erotic fiction or shit about Vampires, but I digress.

(*For me, at least. All of my attempts at fiction have been truly embarrassing.)

Secondly, David Sedaris books always account for at least half of said section. Considering that the man has written no more than six collections so far, this tells you that he’s 1) Alone at the top of his genre, and 2) Spectacularly popular within the circle of people that actually read stuff like this. Dude deserves it, even if he has admitted to making some of it up.

#5The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell seems to take all of the little things I used to obsess about (that weren’t metal bands or Matchbox cars) and make brilliantly comprehensive and curious books about them. With The Tipping Point, Gladwell may have accidentally created a Marketing and Advertising Bible, by attempting to understand why things ‘get over’ in mainstream culture. By nature, I’m a terrible self-promoter (due to my hatred of it, mainly), but the concept of understanding how the Machine works is a brilliant insight into our culture at large.

#4Fargo Rock City – Chuck Klosterman

For approximately 80-90% of the population, this book will not resonate: A personal document about Klosterman’s upbringing in rural North Dakota, and how the upswing of metal and hard rock shaped his life, mixed liberally with how it shaped all of our lives. But for that remaining 10-20% of us who experienced exactly this sort of upbringing, it will become your Bible.

It shows that, no matter how alienated and removed you felt from the world at an early age, chances are that millions of kids were living the same way; creating a brethren that you don’t realize you were a part of until much later in life. Like Chuck says, when he moved from the country to the city as an adult, he wasn’t blown away by all the people that were different than him, he was blown away by those who were exactly the same.

#3Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

Blink is one of those books that should probably be mandatory reading for any Social or Psychological class from High School onward. A fascinating dissection about the decisions we make and the perceptions by which we make them; we learn a lot about ourselves (some interesting, some fairly terrifying), and we learn a lot about what may be completely out of our control. More often than not, your split-second hunch might be more accurate than a decision made after weeks of obsession.

#2Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

“For the first twenty years of my life I rocked myself to sleep. It was a harmless enough hobby, but eventually I had to give it up. Throughout the next twenty-two years I lay still and discovered that after a few minutes I could drop off with no problem. Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches and a thimble of good marijuana, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own.

Often I never even make it to bed. I’d squat down to pet the cat and wake up on the floor eight hours later, having lost a perfectly good excuse to change my clothes. I’m now told that this is not called “going to sleep” but rather “passing out,” a phrase that carries a distinct hint of judgment.”

Maybe the non-fiction Essay section at Barnes & Noble and Borders would be a lot bigger had Sedaris never existed. It’s just that he became so damn good at his art form, that everyone else got pushed aside.

#1Killing Yourself To Live – Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman’s ‘road novel,’ Killing Yourself follows Chuck as he hits locations across the country where famous musicians lost their lives. The book itself doesn’t pay much attention to the situations themselves (the research was for a magazine article he wrote), but more towards Klosterman’s solitary travels across the nation, the folks he meets and what he learns about himself and his current relationships. Easily Klosterman’s most ‘personal’ novel, and endlessly readable.

There you have it, kids; my ten favorite books from the last ten years. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day, more CDP Decade In Review goodness to follow tomorrow.

The CDP’s Top 20 Music Videos Of The Decade.

‘This is entertainment.
Lives are entertainment.
You are down on your knees,
Begging me for more.’

– Innerpartysystem, ‘Don’t Stop’

If I have any sort of say as to how you read/watch/enjoy today’s essay, I would suggest you give yourself an hour or so, a quiet place where you can listen and read without being bothered, and give yourself a good opportunity to enjoy and reflect upon 21 of the best music videos of the decade.

Or, you know, just skim over it during your lunch break. What’s important is that you’re here. Let’s go.

Honorable Mention – ‘Tidal Wave’ – Longwave

– This song is unarguably beautiful; so warm, nostalgic and longing. Clearly made on the cheap but capturing the bliss and wonder of new love, this video introduced me to Longwave and I’ve been a fan ever since.

‘Existentialism On Prom Night’ – Straylight Run

– I don’t know if Straylight Run was going for the ‘Prom Theme/Graduation Song’ when they recorded this track (although evidence points heavily in that direction), but it succeeded in every facet. A powerful video for a very pretty, life-affirming tune.

‘Drumroll’ – P.O.S.

– The Apocalypse is going to be a bitch; I think we’re all well aware of this. P.O.S.’ frantic and schizophrenic ‘Drumroll’ captures the Road Warrior/Walking Dead landscape quite well. In a word, awesome.

‘Special’ – Mew

– I sometimes dream in ‘Foreign Film;’ transcendent French women, black-and-white beachscapes, dudes slow-motion dancing in huge, white suits. Mew are geniuses for sure, and this video, although confusing and arguably lame in any other presentation, fits perfectly with such a beautiful, dreamy song.

‘Here It Goes Again’ – OK Go

– OK Go write fun, poppy, bouncy music and refuse to apologize for it. In my opinion, their first two albums are criminally underrated and overshadowed by their supreme ability to create Viral Video sensations. And even though ‘Here It Goes Again’ might have lost its lustre after the first hundred or so viewings, experience it again and try not to have your day brightened.

‘Hey Ya!’ – OutKast

– For my money, ‘Hey Ya!’ is the biggest, best and most universally-adored single of the last 10 years. For our introduction to this masterpiece jam (and to Andre 3000’s solo career), we get an Ed Sullivan-esque atmosphere (complete with screaming audience throughout), an entire band full of Andre 3000’s, and a permanent piece of Pop Culture history.

‘Lazy Eye’ – Silversun Pickups

– Well, first and foremost, I’m unbelievably attracted to the female lead in this video (who is she?). But more importantly, the video feels very real. In fact, I think we’ve all experienced it a time or two. The song accentuates the mood, the dim, smoky atmosphere and that feeling that maybe, just maybe, we’ll end up a little less lonelier than when we arrived.

‘Move Your Feet’ – Junior Senior

– Why not? One of the feel-goodiest tracks of the year is perfectly backed up by an Atari 2600 video from outer space. Singing squirrels, call-and-response, it has it all. I see no other concept that would have matched this tune any better.

‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ – The White Stripes

– For a lot of folks, this is their #1 choice. It introduced Mainstream America to The White Stripes, it was groundbreaking in its Lego-infused stop-motion, and the song absolutely shreds (still their best song?). I dig it (I’m not enamored with it), and it more or less stands the test of time in the ever-changing landscape of cheap, impactful indie videos.

‘Dressed To Kill’ – New Found Glory

– I’m a sucker for pop punk songs about girls, Say Anything-esque attempts to remedy unrequited love, bands playing in their garage, and pretty much anything that takes place in a cul-de-sac (ABC Family cranks out movies like this every week). This has been the template for any solid pop punk video since the beginning of time.

But what ‘Dressed To Kill’ has that sets them apart is Rachel Leigh Cook.

End of story.

‘After Hours’ – We Are Scientists

– We Are Scientists cranked out a handful of hilarious videos following the releases of their first two albums (I think they’re friends with The Lonely Island dudes). This one, I think is their best. The overt ridiculousness makes you laugh, but only because it’s all coming from a very real place. Guys have problems.

‘The Funeral’ – Band Of Horses

– Goddamn. I distinctly remember the first time me and the Missus saw this video for the first time. It was our introduction to Band Of Horses, and more importantly, our introduction to ‘The Funeral.’ For a couple minutes after the video had ended, we sort of just sat there in silence, taking in the emotional battering we had just received. A truly beautiful and heartwrenching song, set to a fever-dream of a clip from decades ago. A befitting video for a song you need to hear.

‘Evil’ – Interpol

– When you watch this clip for the first time, you’ll probably have the same reaction as I did. “What the…? Why the…? How the…?” For some reason, this video wasn’t aired very much at all on the 1 or 2 networks that still air videos, but it’s really something that should be shared and seen to be believed.

‘Weapon Of Choice’ – Fatboy Slim

– As 2009 winds down, we are forced to say goodbye to the little, funny things that we ran completely into the ground over the course of the decade. LOLcats. Chuck Norris facts. Christopher Walken mania. I mean, we all love Walken, but the only reason he ever became a comedic figure was due to his unparalleled weirdness; dude never told a joke in his life. That being said, Fatboy Slim (who is no stranger to being privy to memorable videos) capured the height and essence of WalkenMania when ‘Weapon Of Choice’ collectively blew the minds of millions upon release.

And yeah, it’s still awesome.

‘Bones’ – The Killers

– When I first saw the video for ‘Bones,’ two things instantly came to mind.

1) “Holy crap, this is easily the best Killers song I’ve ever heard, and that’s actually saying a lot. Say what you want, but dudes know how to write a single.”

2) “This had to have been directed by Tim Burton, but he doesn’t direct music videos, does he?”

Well, as I found out about five seconds after the video ended, ‘Bones’ is the first (and so far, only) music video every directed by Mr. Tim Burton. And it has everything you ever liked about Burton within; vintage movie clips, skeletons by the truckload, creepy desert theaters and…man, there’s about a hundred things I uniquely love about this video, and not a lot of people got to see it when it was released, so do yourself a favor and check out this slice of overlooked and amazing video direction, set to a truly worthy song.

‘DVNO’ – Justice

– One thing I love about the Internet is that anything and everything you could possibly obsess about already has a huge community of folks, dedicated to obsessing about that one thing until the end of time. As a child, I was always interested in production bumpers that followed my favorite television shows; those 2-3 second cards or simple animations that almost subliminally entered your headspace and stuck there.

Then, 20 years later, some dude creates an entire music video around these bumpers, and boy is it amazing. Any TV obsessed child of the 80’s and 90’s will flip their collective wigs upon viewing this endlessly clever and fun video for an endlessly clever and fun track.

‘Impossible’ – Shout Out Louds

– Easily the most beautifully-shot video I’ve seen this decade, perfectly capturing the conveyed moodiness, solitude and existentialism of this lonely, sprawling track. Everyone is going to take away their own, personal feelings from this clip, so I’ll leave it at that. Great stuff.

‘At Your Funeral’ – Saves The Day

– Life is short, random and as permanent and memorable as dust sometimes. ‘At Your Funeral’ is the opening track to one of my favorite albums of all-time, and this video has a tendency to stick hard to whomever takes the time to view it. Amazing.

‘Don’t Stop’ – innerpartysystem

– I’ve got a secret for you. This video, innerpartysystem’s ‘Dont Stop,’ was the unofficial soundtrack for the CDP for the last few years. The look, the message, the attitude. Clearly, the CDP isn’t nearly as psychotic and brain-melting as this video, but when I started kicking around new design and merch ideas, I always had this track and video in mind. Seriously, if I had any skills whatsoever concerning film editing, this is how every clip I shot would look like. I love, love, love this video, and I love, love, love this song. ‘Lives are entertainment.’

‘Hurt’ – Johnny Cash

– An elderly Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ made absolutely perfect and heartbreaking sense once this clip came out. The video, shot shortly before the death of the Man In Black, and frantically edited with hundreds of clips of his glory days by Mark Romanek, is startling, haunting and more than enough to make a grown man cry. I know I did. As moving as a music video can be, you will always remember ‘Hurt’ after watching this timeless video.

‘First Day Of My Life’ – Bright Eyes

– Why? Because it’s the most beautiful music video I’ve ever watched.

Take a cue from the listeners in the video and think about the one you love (or want to love) when listening to ‘First Day Of My Life,’ and try not to be moved to tears. Accentuating the song, visually enhancing the message and bringing an entirely new layer of emotion to an already-beautiful song. This is exactly why music videos should exist.

Thanks much for reading and watching. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; more awesome stuff tomorrow as the CDP Decade In Review rolls along.