Best of the Decade: Part 3

It's the final countdown!

25. Turn On the Bright Lights--Interpol [2002]

Interpol is one of the most difficult bands for me to judge. I always like their music more than I think I do, so they're prone to be over or underrated. But I think it's safe to say this is their best album.

Highlights: Obstacle 2, Say Hello to the Angels, Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down

24. Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea--PJ Harvey [2000]

PJ Harvey's sleekest, most produced album showed another side of the singer and the versatility of her talent.

Highlights: We Float, Kamikaze, The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore

23. If God Had Curves--David Usher [2005]

David Usher has had the daunting task this decade of trying to recapture the magic of a superb debut album. If God Had Curves is the closest he's come so far. More acoustic than his other albums, this album captures some of the raw qualities of Little Songs.

Highlights: Souring, See You Fall, Long Goodbye

22. The Photo Album--Death Cab For Cutie [2001]

I didn't know it at the time, but this was the beginning of the end of Death Cab as a quality band. Back in 2001 though, I loved this album because of it's wintry feel and everyday-ness of songs.

Highlights: Blacking Out the Friction, Debate Exposes Doubt, I Was a Kaleidoscope

21. On--Imperial Teen [2002]

A very solid indie pop album full of catchy songs and boy-girl vocals. A favorite of mine during the summer.

Highlights: Our Time, Ivanka, Baby

20. Amnesiac--Radiohead [2001]

Kid B for the win! That's right, I put Amnesiac higher than Kid A. I am a Radiohead blasphemer. In putting this list together, I realized that I actually like Amnesiac more than Kid A. Obviously they are very similar in sound, and while Kid A has some amazing songs, as a whole I enjoy Amnesiac more.

Highlights: Dollars & Cents, Pyramid Song, Knives Out

19. Uh Huh Her--PJ Harvey [2004]

Opposite in many ways from her previous album, Uh Huh Her is much more raw. I enjoy the rockier, edgier tone that the songs take on the album.

Highlights: Shame, Cat on the Wall, The Darker Days of Me & Him

18. The Con--Tegan and Sara [2007]

Diverse in sound, yet cohesive, The Con is full of catchy indie pop songs that easily get stuck in my head.

Highlights: Knife Going In, The Con, Back in Your Head

17. Help Wanted Nights--The Good Life [2007]

Storytelling is Tim Kasher's greatest ability, and on this album he weaves together the lives of bar patrons who I imagine live in a town where everyone has a story to tell.

Highlights: A Little Bit More, Heartbroke, Your Share of Men

16. 19--Adele [2008]

The biggest omission from my 2008 list (rendering it obsolete), I spent most of 2009 listening to this album on repeat. The contemporary soul/jazz sound of the album is well executed and Adele's voice is mature beyond her years .

Highlights: Cold Shoulder, Melt My Heart to Stone, Best for Last

15. Pebble to a Pearl--Nikka Costa [2008]

One of those albums with great variety and depth. What I enjoyed most about this album were the variety of styles throughout. You get 70s funk, acid jazz, 90s R&B, blues, 60s soul...a little bit of everything, and it's all done well.

Highlights: Keep Wanting More, Pebble to a Pearl, Keep Pushin'

14. The Eraser--Thom Yorke [2006]

Thom Yorke is a treasure.

Highlights: The Clock, Harrowdown Hill, And It Rained All Night

13. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga--Spoon [2007]

What I love about this album is that it mixes "classic" sounding Spoon songs with songs that incorporate elements from soul and R&B. You can hear where the band is going but you also hear where they've been.

Highlights: Eddie's Ragga, Black Like Me, You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

12. Middle Cyclone--Neko Case [2009]

Repeating what I said on my 2009 list...Another high quality album, still an amazing voice, hard to pick favorite songs. There's not much left to say.

Highlights: Magpie to the Morning, This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping

11. Twin Cinema--The New Pornographers [2005]

Polishing their sound from previous albums, Twin Cinema is The New Pornographers at their best. Excellent contributions from all the players. Well crafted quirky pop songs at their finest.

Highlights: Jackie, Dressed in Cobras; Falling Through Your Clothes, Streets of Fire

10. Black Out--The Good Life [2002]

Black Out is the story of someone who is dealing with a failed relationship and not coping with it particularly well. The relationship is the catalyst but not the whole story. The emotions throughout the album are complex and never cease to feel authentic.  As Bright Eyes sings in "Nothing Gets Crossed Out", "Tim I heard your album and it's better than good."

Highlights: Drinking With the Girls, I am an Island, The Beaten Path

09. Time Travel is Lonely--John Vanderslice [2001]

For me, this is the classic JV album. It has most of my favorite songs on it, and really set the tone for his following albums. While his sound evolved over the rest of the decade, it's great songs like "Keep the Dream Alive" and "You Were My Fiji" that provided the foundation for what was to come.

Highlights: My Old Flame, Time Travel is Lonely, You Were My Fiji

08. Mass Romantic--The New Pornographers [2000]

The upbeat poppiness of this album is infectious from the moment it starts. You feel as though you're having as much fun listening to it as the band had while recording it. And while maybe not the most polished album, the potential for great things was clearly there.

Highlights: Jackie, Mass Romantic, The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism

07. Fever To Tell--Yeah Yeah Yeahs [2003]

The right mix of new wave and punk, the attitude of this album is what makes it go.

Highlights: Y Control, Black Tongue, Maps

06. Goddess--Emm Gryner [2009]

A near perfect album that captures winter as it was intended to. Of all the albums she released though the decade, Goddess feels the most natural. I think Goddess is the beginning of a wonderful new phase of Emm Gryner's career and I'm excited to hear what comes next.

Highlights: Killing Spree, Match, Die Evergreen

05. Alligator--The National [2005]

More approachable than Boxer, Alligator has a mix of cockiness and insecurity that makes it instantly engaging. Yet despite that, I really don't know what any of it is actually about.

Highlights: Karen, All the Wine, Baby We'll Be Fine

04. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood--Neko Case [2006]

Fox Confessor has a 40s/50s country (place not music) feel to it, which makes it stand out from her other albums. "Maybe Sparrow" has become one of my all time favorite songs, and solidified my opinion of Neko Case as one of the best voices and talents of the decade.  

Highlights: Maybe Sparrow, That Teenage Feeling, The Needle Has Landed

03. Hail to the Thief--Radiohead [2003]

Most people's least favorite Radiohead album of the decade, is one of my favorites. While not a game changer like Kid A, Hail to the Thief takes that same sound and gives it more of an edge while making it less ominous.  

Highlights: Myxamatosis, A Wolf at the Door, A Punchup at a Wedding

02. Gimme Fiction--Spoon [2005]

Spoon is one of my favorite bands, yet I've found it very difficult to pick a favorite album of theirs. However, the album that I seem to come back to more than the others is Gimme Fiction. Probably because some of my favorite Spoon songs are on this album. The simple bassline groove of "I Turn My Camera On" and the acoustic driven "I Summon You" highlight one of Spoon's most diverse albums.

Highlights: I Summon You, The Delicate Place, I Turn My Camera On

01. In Rainbows--Radiohead [2007]

Before listening to this album I never knew there were albums that made other albums sound almost unlistenable in comparison. The layers of sound create such richness and fullness that when I'd listen to something else it would sound thin and bare. Like the difference between a fully furnished room and an empty one. Luckily this experience was only temporary, since that would pretty much ruin music for me. The best example of this is "Nude", easily my favorite on the album and an amazingly gorgeous song. The understated nature of the album along with the sense of the band's cohesiveness make this their best album of the decade.

Highlights: Nude, 15 Step, House of Cards

Happy New Year!