– 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.