Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 41 Albums of the Decade (#31-#41)

Before I reveal my picks, I should explain a few things. This list covers the years 2000-2009. No compilations or reissues are allowed. Although no live albums made my list, they are acceptable. EPs are OK, too. My choices are based, partly, on past year-end lists, but I weighed the number of listens recorded on my iTunes too. There are only two choices from 2009 on my list. That's because I feel recent releases need more time to breathe. How will I feel about 2009 releases even a year from now? The 2009 picks that made the cut were a little easier to judge because they came out quite a while ago, and I had the records many months before the official releases. I chose these particular mp3s because the songs will not make my best tracks of the decade list. Let the grilling begin!

41. The Polyphonic Spree: 'Wait'
This five-song EP between the second and third albums is the band's best. Can you cover yourself? Tim DeLaughter first recorded "Sonic Bloom" with his previous band, Tripping Daisy. Both versions are great. Other covers here are The Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way" and Nirvana's Lithium". All have lots of that grand choir.

40. Arctic Monkeys: 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
These Brits had three terrific albums this decade, but their debut blew me away. I'll never forget the first time I heard "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor".

39. Nick Lowe: 'At My Age'
Lowe has been acting his age ever since he adopted the crooner style with 'The Impossible Bird' back in the early '90s. It's very becoming. He croons here as well, but he also brings back a little pub rock, too.
Nick Lowe - Hope For Us All (mp3)

38. The Chamber Strings: 'Month of Sundays'
This 2001 album was the last time we heard from Kevin Junior, but there is word he is cleaned up and working again. I hope he brings back the lush orchestration found on this beautiful piece.

37. Spoon: 'Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga'
It was a close race between this 2007 album and 'Gimme Fiction'. I'm already looking forward to their new one next month.

36. The Shins: 'Wincing the Night Away'
Side two starts to run out of gas, but the first four songs are amazing. None of the band's records have been perfect, but this one is my favorite.

35. Jens Lekman: 'Night Falls Over Kortedala'
His sense of humor is matched only by his talents as an arranger. Lekman produced quite a bit of great work this decade. It was a tough choice, but "The Opposite of Hallelujah" tipped the scales.
Jens Lekman - The Opposite of Hallelujah (mp3)

34. Girls: 'Album'
Well, I guess I'm giving up the goods on my "best of" for 2009. The heartfelt vocals and lo-fi production is beyond charming.
Girls - Laura (mp3)

33. The Jayhawks: 'Rainy Day Music'
The lineup on the band's last album is sparse, but Gary Louris turns down the pop and turns up the roots rock of their early days. This is not quite 'Hollywood Town Hall', but I still ate it up.
The Jayhawks - One Man's Problem (mp3)

32. The Lodger: 'Grown-Ups'
I defy you to sit still when listening to the twee pop of this Leeds trio. The critics seemed to like the followup to 'Grown-Ups' better, but their debut had a certain spark I thought was missing with 'Life Is Sweet'.
The Lodger - Simply Left Behind (mp3)

31. Jason Falkner: 'Bliss Descending'
Where's the usual filler found on EPs? There isn't one sour note found within these five power-pop nuggets. It really is bliss.

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