OK. It’s time for a little self indulgence, for which I am sure you will forgive me! Feel free to ignore this post if you’re not interested in such geeky housekeeping, but if you are, here’s a few interesting stats concerning my #Top50 albums list (which you can find in its entirety here and here)…
5 – the number of decades covered by my #Top50 list
2 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1960s
6 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1970s
11 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1980s
30 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1990s
1 – the number of albums on the list released in the 2000s
Here’s the second part of my #Top50 album countdown (you can find Part One and an explanation of all this geekery here)…. plus a few long-players that didn’t quite make it onto the list but definitely deserve an honourable mention… Thank you for all of your responses to this!
25) LED ZEPPELIN – IV (1971)
24) HÜSKER DÜ – Candy Apple Grey (1986)
23) THE CLASH – The Clash (1977)
22) R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
21) NICK DRAKE – Pink Moon (1972)
20) SEPULTURA – Chaos A.D. (1993)
19) JOY DIVISION – Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Some of you may remember that last summer I was challenged on Twitter to come up with a list of my Top 100 songs (you can find those here). As a sort of follow up to all that fun and games, an albums list was proposed by various music-loving tweeters (for more on that, see here), and I couldn’t resist. This new list turned out to be quite a challenge – my Top 50 choices were painfully whittled down from a very long longlist which could quite easily have grown to twice its size again!
In compiling the final list, I worked to these (very) basic guidelines:
1) Only one album per band/artist is included on the list, otherwise it would, quite frankly, get boring
2) The list can contain studio albums, live albums, soundtracks, mini-albums and compilations
3) This is not about appearing ‘cool’ or ‘hip’: these are all albums that I love and which mean something to me.
Now that’s all clear, here’s the first half of my #Top50 from 50 to 26…
This is the third and final part of my list of albums of the decade (the first two parts can be found here and here). To reiterate: this is not a list of the ‘best’ albums of the decade, because ‘best’ is impossible to define. Neither is this listed in any hierarchical order. I just scribbled down my favourite albums of the last ten years in the order I remembered them, and this is what came out…
Antony and The Johnsons – ‘I Am A Bird Now’ (2005): A haunting, melancholy collection of fragile songs that linger long in the memory, this is a remarkable and brave album from the British-born singer-songwriter Antony Hegarty. If you can get past Hegarty’s stunning but unusual voice (many can’t), I Am A Bird Now offers a beautiful and poignant insight into his unique approach to art and his experiences of a mentally and physically marginalised transgender life. Also featuring some quite delicious guest appearances from the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Boy George and Devendra Banhart, this album rightly (in my view) won the 2005 Mercury Music Prize and gave Antony’s truly beautiful music the wider audience it deserved.
Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Songs For The Deaf’ (2002): In my book, any album that features the mighty Dave Grohl on drums (and vocals from grunge legend Mark Lanegan) has to be worth a listen – and that’s an especially valid point when the album in question is as downright kick-ass as this one is. The followup to 2001’s excellent Rated R, Songs For The Deaf has slightly shinier and glossier production values than its essential and raw-edged predecessor, but it still succeeds in creating a tight, compact, crunchy, irresistibly guitar-heavy, kinetically-charged groove that pulls no punches. This is a fiercely melodic concept album with a rich, dark seam of wit and a quirky intelligence.
At long last (sorry), here are a few more fantastic albums from the last ten years that deserve your time and attention (you can read the first part of this list here). Again, these are not in any hierarchical order, and they are not the ‘best’ albums of the decade; all of these are just brilliant albums which I love and you need to get your hands on if you haven’t already. As ever, let me know if you think I’ve missed any, or if you (dis)agree with my choices…
Foo Fighters – ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’ (2007): This was an exhilarating and immediate return to form after the patchy In Your Honor. Echoes… is easily as good as 2002’s fiery and melodic One By One, but has the added bonus of an emotional maturity and depth that results in an ultimately more satisfying album; and, in The Pretender, it also has has a good candidate for one of the best album openers of all time. This is the album that finally and comprehensively confirms that Dave Grohl is a lot more than just the drummer from Nirvana.
Prodigy – ‘Invaders Must Die’ (2009): Another, possibly even more spectacular return to form from a band who have never compromised their genius, even though their last couple of albums veered off the paths of true greatness just a tad. It’s so great to hear the return of the Prodigy’s classic, proper, old-skool hardcore/ravey sound on tracks like Warrior’s Dance, only this time round it’s even more amped up by Liam Howlett’s deeply textured modern production – and surely the fiercely kick-ass single Omen was the true Sound of Summer 2009?
It’s that time of the year again. End of year lists are listed and critics pontificate at length about their favourite cultural artefacts of the past twelve months. Normally, I’d be joining in with all this opinionated criticism by compiling a list of my albums of 2009, but I must confess that I haven’t really been paying much attention to the wonderful world of music this year. So, as the end of another decade grinds ever closer and I get ever geekier, I have compiled a list of my favourite albums of the ’00s instead.
Now, this isn’t a list of the best albums of the decade (you can find one of those here – there is some crossover with my choices, but there are also, in my opinion, some glaring omissons from The Observer‘s best of list); ‘best’ is such a subjective, relative, personal concept. My list of the best albums would doubtless be very different from yours, and for very different reasons (feel free to let me know yours!).
Instead, this is a list of my favourite albums from the last ten years. And it’s listed in no other order than the one I thought of them in; I haven’t got the mental energy to nitpick them into any sort of hierarchical order and they’re all bloody great anyway.
These are the albums that have taken up residence on my stereo and in my head. These are the albums that make me want to smile and sing and dance and play air guitar along to. These are the albums that keep me company on headphones while I go about my day. These are the albums that have become part of the soundtrack to my life over the last decade. I couldn’t give a stuff what the critics say about my choices – these albums are on the list because I love them.
As a 90’s kid, I may frequently be found in the pub, bemoaning the state of today’s music industry to anyone who’ll listen (and quite a few people who won’t), but the truth of the matter is that the last decade has actually produced some amazing music. And this is my choice of just some of it. Let me know what you think….