This is the noughtie decade's final installment of Aural Sex, so I decided to bitch-slap you with a full load of unimportance. Instead of one list, I gave you a million.
Happy almost New Year!
Top 20 Most Significant Albums of the 2000's:
Rise Against- Appeal to Reason (2008)
Sometimes Rise Against's lyrics veer a bit towards the political, but they're worth checking out because their songs are so catchy anyway. Their tunes are melodic while still the epitome of punk, and that's why I love them. They recently played in California, but it was like an hour away from me at some stupid festival where the tickets were 80 bucks. One day I WILL see you live, Rise Against.
Best Track: Audience Of One
The Bravery- The Bravery (2005)
I downloaded The Bravery's entire first album- it combines 80's electro-pop with New York City indie rock, and lead singer Sam Endicott even sounds kind of like Morrissey of The Smiths. The Bravery is like a hipster's dream, which means I should have disowned them- but "An Honest Mistake" is SO epic.
Best Track: An Honest Mistake
Various Artists- Almost Famous Soundtrack (2000)
I know you're all getting really agitated with how often I rave about Almost Famous and everything associated with it, so I'll just shut up and let all of you discover (or listen to) the soundtrack for yourselves.
Best Track: Elton John, Tiny Dancer
Bad Religion- The Empire Strikes First (2004)
Bad Religion was one of the first bands that I became frighteningly obsessed with, and this album contains "Los Angeles Is Burning," my favorite track that they ever released. BTW, they are incredible live.
Best Track: Los Angeles Is Burning
Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
I discovered Spoon pretty late (like, last year- I know). I have a friend that's so scarily consumed with this band that he pretty much won't even talk to you if you don't listen to them, and he wouldn't accept the fact that I'd never heard anything they'd done. He finally forced me to download this album (and not in a sexy way or anything), and fortunately for me, it's pretty fucking amazing. I'm a convert. Spoon rules.
It was tough to choose between Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and like, three other CD's, but this one is the most consistent. You should probably download all of them.
Best Track: Black Like Me
U2- All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
It's actually depressing for me to think about this album because U2 only releases complete shit now. However, this was the last of their truly great efforts. While it's no Joshua Tree (or even an Achtung Baby), there are some truly amazing tracks that, when they toured in the aftermath of September 11th, resonated with the entire country.
Bono, you are really obnoxious, BTW. Can you just go back to making great music and stop throwing all your charity work in our faces? Thanks.
Best Track: Walk On
Coldplay- A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
When Coldplay debuted with Parachutes in 2000, a lot fans and critics immediately dismissed them as Radiohead rip-offs. With the release of A Rush of Blood to the Head, at least some of those people shut the hell up. At its best, Rush was a great Brit-pop album, and at its worst, you got sick of it because it was immensely overplayed. Plus, you can't argue that "The Scientist" and its companion video are hauntingly beautiful.
Best Track: The Scientist
Bloc Party- Silent Alarm (2005)
I can't wrap this album into one specific genre (their Myspace says "alternative/indie/rock"), so I'll just go with "really fucking British." I will say, however, that Bloc Party is cool enough to have a song featured on The OC AND to not lose their following, so there's that.
Anyway, I actually saw them play live and they really drove home the alt-rock- it's something that I'm really searching for in terms of musical styles right now, so it was vastly appreciated. Bloc Party is pretty awesome. Definitely check them out.
PS- can anyone tell me how to pronounce the lead singer's name? I have no fucking idea.
Best Track: Helicopter
Green Day- American Idiot (2004)
I recently did a post on how listening to Green Day changed my entire musical direction, and it's because of Dookie that I became a lifelong punk and alt-rock devotee. However, with the release of American Idiot, Green Day cemented themselves as juggernauts of the genre. The album became a multi-platinum powerhouse and catapulted the band into icon status. I've grown tired of the CD by now, because it's been really overplayed, but I'm psyched that with the opening of a Broadway musical, I can now put Green Day in the same category as The Who without irony.
Best Track: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)
If you're huge into music, like me, you probably remember the mass amounts of hype undulating around the release of this album, and I can honestly say that it was absolutely well-deserved. These guys were like, nineteen years old when this album came out. That is nuts.
Regardless of the fact that all their songs were about picking up random girls, getting wasted and and going to bars, critics loved this CD. Every song on it is dynamite, and it made a shit-ton of "Best Album" lists. It's not exactly a time-consumer, either: the entire album is less than 40 minutes long. I used to play this CD when I was getting ready to go out with my girlfriends. It made us feel like total bad-asses, even though we so weren't.
Best Track: Still Take You Home
Muse- Absolution (2004)
Muse is another band that gets unfairly compared to Radiohead. First of all, no one will ever be Radiohead, so that's just a ridiculous statement. And second, no one will ever be Radiohead.
I do hear a little bit of Thom Yorke in Matt Bellamy's voice, though, which is one of the reasons I like them. Another reason is that Muse is another band that encompasses multiple genres. Also, Matt Bellamy is kind of hot. It's too bad he's "dating" that skankho Kate Hudson. He probably has crabs now.
Best Track: Time Is Running Out
Daft Punk- Discovery (2001)
shilling for auto companies and penning the entire score for the new Tron movie (nerdgasm, BTW), but Discovery was the album that really brought Daft Punk into the recognition of the general public.
Best Track: One More Time
Queens of the Stone Age- Songs for the Deaf (2002)
Songs for the Deaf edges out Rated R by THISMUCH because it features Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters on drums. If you listen to it all the way through, it could be considered a concept album, as it follows a road trip while tuning into radio stations. Even though it's technically not considered part of the actual CD, the video for "No One Knows" is hilarious even though I'm kind of afraid of that creepy-ass deer.
Songs for the Deaf was the QOTSA album that garnered them the most critical acclaim and its first US gold certification. I should also point out that they are sick live.
Best Track: No One Knows
Most Hysterical Track: The album contains an incomplete version of Rated R's "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," with all the lyrics replaced with laughing. It's SO wrong to laugh at this, but you can't help it.
The Postal Service- Give Up (2003)
I've already told you guys the story of how I first fell in love with The Postal Service. I'm not really that big on electronica, but there's something about them that I can't tear myself away from. When you consider that one half of the band is the dude from Death Cab and that Give Up features back-up vocals from Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, two bands I don't even like, my infatuation with The Postal Service gets even weirder.
Give Up has the distinction of being Sub-Pop's best-selling album since Nirvana's Bleach. Since then, their singles have been used in numerous advertisements, including a bunch of promotional efforts for the United States Postal Service.
Unfortunately, their best work, an eerily stunning cover of that shitty Phil Collins song "Against All Odds," isn't on this album. However, you won't be disappointed with the CD. Just listen to it.
Best Track: The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Interpol- Antics (2004)
The reason I chose this album over Turn On the Bright Lights (which is also stellar in its own right) is because with Antics, the band evolves into who they are now and what they're likely to become. With the release of Antics, Interpol still relies heavily on bass and drums but comes out more polished, delivering what feels like the ultimate New York City basement bar experience.
Plus my friends like to change the lyrics of "Slow Hands" to "Small Hands" just to make fun of me.
I hate you guys.
Best Track: Slow Hands
Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)
I've mentioned before that my fixation with Foo Fighters is borderline unnatural. I was actually bummed that The Colour and the Shape came out in the 90's because then I couldn't add it to this list. Every single album that they released this decade could have made it on here, but their last record, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, was the return of the band that I first loved- Dave Grohl was angry again, and therefore made the second-best CD of his Foo Fighters career. Dave Grohl, take note: You are amazing at everything you do, but you are best when you scream.
Best Track: The Pretender
The Strokes- Is This It (2001)
Is This It is one of those rare instances when a debut album really kicks the shit out of you and lets you know that a band has really broken onto the scene. It's difficult for me to find an artist that's just simple New York City garage band rock, so when I do, I hold on for years. That's The Strokes.
Best Track: It's a toss up: either Last Nite or Someday. I could go with either.
Beck- Sea Change (2002)
Sea Change is so hard (SOHARD!) to put into words that I'll just recommend that you listen to the album. Everyone in my circle raves about it, though, if that's any indication.
Best Track: Paper Tiger. This is VERY closely followed by It's All In Your Mind.
Radiohead- Kid A (2000)
Please. Like you DIDN'T think there would be any Radiohead on here. You're probably shocked that there are only two.
When I first heard Kid A I was literally blown away. My psychotic addiction to Radiohead had started in 1997, when I first heard "High and Dry," the lead single off of The Bends. It's now to the point where I get offended if somebody says that they don't like Radiohead, and I was actually angry that some of their albums came out in the 90's so I couldn't include them in this compilation. Basically, what it comes down to is that Thom Yorke is a genius and everything he releases is a masterpiece. Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong.
Kid A is so phenomenal because it's such a departure from the band's previous works. Radiohead is now known for being largely experimental, but at the time, this was a fairly hazardous move that alienated some of their listeners and critics. Author Nick Hornby called the album "commercial suicide." Fuck you, Nick Hornby. Judging from the band's rabid cult following, it certainly didn't hurt them. Ass.
Best Tracks: I have every song Radiohead has ever given birth to on my iPod (I am so sad), so I'll just narrow it down to the ones that stand out the most.
Everything in Its Right Place
How to Disappear Completely
Motion Picture Soundtrack
Radiohead- In Rainbows (2008)
The best thing about In Rainbows is that it serves as proof as to how loyal their fans are. They first released the album as a digital download as a "pay-what-you-want" deal, including an option to get it for free, and their loyal followers (including myself) actually paid money for the CD. It was totally worth it; every song is monumental. I'm still waiting for Radiohead to to put out a shitty album. I haven't seen them live yet, but I'm kind of afraid to. I might have a heart attack and die.
Best Tracks: I seriously can't pick any. Buy the entire album.
Most Aur-gasmiest Singles of 2010:
Listening to Anberlin reminds me of when my friends and I used to go Warped Tour back in high school. "Impossible" gets me all nostalgia-y, and it has a good beat, so sometimes I work out to it. I still secretly like some of this pop-punk kind of stuff, although I probably won't admit it now.
Oh, shit. I just did.
The Hold Steady- Hurricane J
A lot of my friends are into The Hold Steady. While I'm not a super-fan, I can appreciate the fact that at least they're making good music and they don't sound like fucking Miley Cyrus.
Plus I'm pretty sure this song this was written about me and my
Florence and the Machine- Dog Days Are Over
I was listening to this song for months before I even knew who the artist was. I'm ignoring the fact that it's like, two more advertisements away from becoming an annoying pop culture staple because it's really fucking good. For some reason this song reminds me of Scottish bagpipes, only more rocking. I also love seeing girls NOT being manufactured into moron pop-tarts. I like this band- I definitely want to hear where their next album takes them.
LCD Soundsystem- I Can Change
There are so many great tracks off of This Is Happening- I almost couldn't narrow it down to just one. (This album narrowly missed my Top 20- download this too. There are four or five songs on there that are interchangeable with this one for my Best Of). "I Can Change" explores what Depeche Mode may have sounded like if they had stuck with the synth-pop well into their career, only this is much, much better and more sparkly than "Just Can't Get Enough." The irony is there, too- the song is a desperate plea for a doomed relationship, but the beat is so twinkly that you almost don't even notice.
Cee-Lo Green- Fuck You
This would be on here for the title alone, but the fact remains that the song itself is catchy as hell. I had this in my head for days, and the best part was when I busted out "Fuck Yooooooou" in the shower and my mom was like, "What?" The video is a viral marketer's dream, and the track is R&B magic- full of malicious intent yet still so happy and cute. In the year of the recession, who doesn't want someone who knows how to appreciate the simpler, cheaper things? FUCK YOU!
Most Awesome Band Name Of The Decade:
Needs no explanation.
Greatest Song Title of the Decade (And Possibly Ever):
Your Child Is Dead (Off With Their Heads, 2008)
Is it frowned upon to find this funny? Because I totally do.
Fuck You (Cee-Lo Green, 2010)
THIS is why the song was a web sensation before anyone even heard it all the way through.
Best Unsigned Artists of the 2000's:
Not all deserving artists are so easily accessible. Here's a list of the ones you can only find if you search the web or go to a shit-ton of live shows.
Jerkagram (Fairfield County, CT)
I know I mentioned these guys before, but I have to give them a second shout-out because they are truly that talented. Jerkagram is finally starting to get the recognition they deserve, with the forthcoming release of their first official EP in early 2011 and drawing more crowds to bigger shows. This fall I saw them open for We Are Scientists, and honestly, they were better.
Anyway, here's where you can download their songs, and if you're around Connecticut, you can catch them this Thursday, the 23rd at the Fairfield Theater Club.
The Ruby Friedman Orchestra (Los Angeles, CA)
The first thing you'll notice about Ruby Friedman is her hair. It's loud, vivacious and immediately takes center stage, much like Ruby herself.
However, all of that will fade into the background as soon as Ruby opens her mouth. You're not just watching a lead singer- Ruby's a frontwoman. Even as she's vocalizing, she's running, jumping and moving around onstage. You never know where to look, so your eyes just tend to follow the sound of her voice. It's absolutely beautiful, yet still carries that essence of rock, punk and old-school blues that one needs to truly be called a star.
Her band is amazingly talented, as well- they're all accomplished, seasoned musicians in their own right and add the perfect element to the Ruby Friedman Orchestra's live performances. Watching them play is akin to a nature geek seeing an episode of Life on the Discovery Channel- picture the expression on their face as they watch the lion stalk the antelope. That's the rush you'll get at an RFO show- listening to the Orchestra is like having an out-of-body experience. Their music straddles multiple genres- rock, pop, funk and more than a little bit of jazz- and Ruby performs it all like she has an IV drip in her veins for each one.
BTW, their next show is scheduled for January 16th at The Troubadour here in LA- I'll be there, and you should plan on going if you're around. If you can't make it, here's where you can download their music.
Right This Second (Brooklyn, NY)
Right This Second is just starting out, but don't let that deter you, because the musicians have actually been playing for years. They've been on the New York City indie music scene for a while and are just now coming together as a four-piece.
Their sound encompasses every genre of rock you can cram into one description, and their influences range from the classic (Zep) to the obscure (TV On The Radio). You can tell when you hear them perform- every song sounds different. They also do an interesting interpretation of Radiohead's "No Surprises," which of course I'm totally into because RADIOHEAD! Bonus: their drummer is a chick.
If you can't make it to their next show, which is at the Trash Bar in Brooklyn on December 30th, you can always download their material here.
Most Horrific Cultural Abortions of the Decade:
Have you guys realized that pop culture has gotten heinously obnoxious lately? Like, I don't even want to turn on the TV or watch movies anymore. Sad. Here's why:
Music Videos Are Totally Irrelevant
I used to love MTV. Even though they had original programming, most of it was centered around music videos. Does anyone remember 120 Minutes? Headbanger's Ball? Even TRL? Beavis and Butthead is still one of my favorite shows to watch on DVD, and the best part was when they would watch videos and make fun of them. Now MTV doesn't even play videos anymore. VH1 still kind of does, but they've been bounced to that tiny mid-a.m. chunk when no one is awake. I get it- they have to make room for shitstorms like 12-Year-Old Mom and Bret Michael's House of Herpes.
Vampires Are Sucking The Life Out Of Decent Programming
This sparkly, lovesick vampire trend annoys the shit out of me. I wrote a whole post on this like a year ago hoping that the simple power of my words would cause the whole thing to die down but NO. It looks like this isn't going away.
The worst part of this whole thing is absolutely the moron-fest that is Twilight. I totally do not get why all my otherwise intelligent, competent girlfriends are so obsessed with this shit. I hate all those stupid kids, the movies are awful and the books are for 12-year-olds. Die, already. DIE!
Hollywood Remakes/Sequelizes EVERYTHING
When I was in junior high my friends and I remade that episode of 90210 where Brenda finds a dog and feeds him bologna; then the dog gets sick or something and runs away. 15 years later, BAM! New 90210. Where's my damn royalty check?
Hollywood hasn't had an original idea since... I don't even know. Now they just dust off the archives and find out which of the High School Musical stars needs the least amount of money. You know someone is going to let Bieber make a 3D remake of Back to the Future. If that happens I'll travel back in time and kill not only Bieber, but also his parents so they can't meet and therefore procreate.
Can someone please tell me what is up with this stupid trend of all these celebrity kids deciding that they want to be just like their parents and not get actual jobs like working at a mall or something? They all have to act or model, or even worse, SING.
Some of them are just barely tolerable, but the worst are Will Smith's kids. One of them had the nerve to try to become the next Karate Kid (some advice: you're not), and his daughter had that hellacious "Whip My Hair" crap that some people surprisingly actually liked.
Oh, and think about this: Parents: Will and Jada. Kids: Willow and Jaden.
If I could murder anyone and get away with it, it would be this little tool. Hell, if I could murder anyone and NOT get away with it, it would still be him. There are not enough synonyms for the word "hate" to accurately describe my feelings for Justin Bieber. Can someone please explain to me what this kid does, and why everyone is in love with him? I can't even pinpoint exactly what bugs me about him the most. I just loathe him. If I could drop him into a hot barrel of coals pulled across a burning lava pit by a trio of angry gorillas who hadn't eaten in weeks, I would. I don't even understand why this kid brings out so much of my rage, but I would love to see him suffer a horrible, flamey death. Is that wrong?
And now, perhaps to make up for my murderous rants and child-like visions of Justin Bieber's slow, turtorous demise, I bring you:
The Mortification Rotation, Pre-2000 Edition:
I kept these buried under my punk and alt-rock CD's. I am so ashamed of this list.
BTW, I saw the Backstreet Boys in concert like, four times. I had t-shirts.
Jewel- Pieces of You
Limp Bizkit- Significant Other