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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Top 20 Albums of the 2000s (#20-16)

20) Demon Days - Gorillaz (2005)
Damon Albarn was all over this decade, producing 2 excellent albums with Gorillaz, doing several solo works, and recording with a side project, "The Good, The Bad, and The Queen." All of this after a great career with his old band Blur. With 2005's "Demon Days," Albarn reached arguably the pinnacle of his career, creating an album that blends rock, dance hall, and hip-hop to form some catchy singles and some even more impressive deep cuts. The album addresses the insustainability of our modern lifestyle, but more important, it rocks the house.

Gorillaz - Kids With Guns

19) The Electric Version - The New Pornographers (2003)
The term "power pop" has been around for a long time, but The New Pornographers have mastered the art, creating with "The Electric Version" an album that is first and foremost a rock album, but with pop sensibility. The minute-long sections of harmonious "na-na-na"s and "no-no-no"s never feel forced or drawn out, but instead add another layer of texture to the driving rock and roll sound. The talent of Neko Case and Dan Bejar added to AC Newman made the New Pornographers one of the most exciting out of the many indie "supergroups" of the decade.

The New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed

18) The Meaning of 8 - Cloud Cult (2007)
The whole story behind Cloud Cult's music makes you want to love them before you hear a single song. A married couple loses their very young child and then spends the next 10 years writing songs about purpose in life, how to deal with the shit life throws at you, and in general spreading more love to the world as a way of coping. Even better, they are an entirely carbon-neutral band, recording, distributing albums, and touring in an eco-friendly manner. What's more, THE MUSIC IS GOOD. Blending experimental elements with gorgeous instrumentation and lyrics that probably should be too cheesy, but instead feel just right. "The Meaning of 8" shows a Cloud Cult that has had time to mature and, frankly, become better songwriters. The album is so much more than an ego-boost for all those who feel a bit beaten by life, but is a well-composed effort that deserves to be heard by all.
Cloud Cult - Chain Reaction

17) Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? - Of Montreal (2007)
Who knew break-up albums could be this fun? From start to finish, "Hissing Fauna" leads the listener on a ride through all stages of break-up depression, hatred, and indignation, but is simultaneously arguably one of the most fun albums of the decade. The album is poppy, funky, disco-y and dangerously catchy. It is also provides some fantastic one-liners that might come in handy for anybody who has recently gone through the difficult process. When Kevin Barnes sings lines like "I want to pay some other girl to just walk up to her and hit her" one instantly understands and even wants to sing along. And it's great for dancing.
Of Montreal - Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider

16) Blue Scholars (Self Titled) (2005)
During a decade when artists like Lil' Wayne and Kanye West topped the charts (and most decade-end lists) for their excellent production and "clever lyricism," Blue Scholars deserves a nod for the music they have created. MC Geologic's lyrics happen to be right on par with anything mainstream rap produced this decade, but without any of the ego that one comes to expect from rappers, and intended to empower and break stereotypes, rather than reinforce them. If the decade wants to be defined by Lil' Wayne singing "Shorty wanna fuck..." and Kanye rapping about "gettin' brain in the library cause I love knowledge," then those artists deserve to be on the list. But the fact of the matter is that in a decade full of economic strife, selfishness, and prejudice of all sorts, Blue Scholars were writing about ways to solve these issues, all over some sick beats from producer Sabzi that rival anything Timbaland made this decade.

Blue Scholars - No Rest For The Weary

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