Albums Of The Decade Pt.2

Posted by StevieD on November 30th, 2009

NME_logoSo, Sunshine Playroom’s Top 10 Albums of the decade continues with the top five. I’ve already discussed Flight Of The Conchords, The Cure, Suzanne Vega, Lloyd Cole and Sia, but who will top the tree? Will it be an old stalwart from decades past, or someone new? Before I reveal all, I’ll just take a moment to mention a few albums that didn’t make the Top 10, but are also highly recommended. The Eels Daisies Of The Galaxy (2000), New Order Get Ready (2001), The Bangles Doll Revolution (2003), Homespun Homespun (2003) and Elbow Cast Of Thousands (2003) were all snapping at the heels of the Top 10. So with that out of the way, let’s move on to the all important Top 5…

5. A Camp – A Camp (2001)
A Camp is a solo side project from Nina Persson of The Cardigans, released during a break the band were taking after years of heavy touring. Produced by Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse (who also co-wrote the closing track Elephant), Persson shares the writing credits with Niklas Frisk (of Swedish band Atomic Swing) and Nathan Larson (now her husband).

When you start listening to it’s opening track Frequent Flyer, you realise it’s a long way in style from The Cardigan’s usual output, finding it’s roots in country music, and continuing this throughout whilst mixing them with more familiar rock sounds. (In fact when The Cardigans returned in 2003 with Long Gone Before Daylight, the same influences can be heard.)

What follows is a musical cornucopia. Cellos, violins, steel guitars and harmonicas all mix with Persson’s rich, strong trademark tones, all blended to perfection by the brilliant production work. Songs such as I Can Buy You (the first single released from it), Such A Bad Comedown, and Algebra all shine, and as the album draws to a close they serve up possibly it’s most beautiful moment with a relatively obscure cover version The Bluest Eyes In Texas, originally recorded by country outfit, Restless Heart.

A follow up was recently released, Colonia, and alongside the last two Cardigans albums, show what a musical treasure Persson’s work has become.

4. Beck – Sea Change (2002)
Beck Hansen had given us seven studio albums in the nineties before Sea Change became the first of his noughties output. His previous work had varied in style from one release to another (with some albums themselves varying from track to track), so it was somewhat of a surprise to find this one had such focus. Lyrically drawn from an emotional romantic break up, it’s underlined throughout with beautiful string arrangements, and Beck’s melancholic acoustic guitar.

From the opening track The Golden Age, you’re drawn in to a wonderful, lush, late night soundtrack for the broken hearted. Gone is the overblown, bombastic production sound of much of his better known work, replaced with evocative and sometimes psychedelic arrangements. This continues throughout, among the many highlights being Guess I’m Doing Fine and Lost Cause. The latter was released as a promotional single (with accompanying video), no other singles were released from it, unusual at the time, especially for an album released on a major label.

The style of Sea Change has been likened in many places to that of the legendary Nick Drake, and it’s fairly easy to see where this comes from. If you’ve played all your Drake albums to death, and are unfamiliar with Beck’s work, this is a perfect album to try out.

At the end of 2002, Rolling Stone magazine named Sea Change as the best album of the year, an accolade it truly deserves.

Please click on the next page below for the Top Three

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4 Responses to “Albums Of The Decade Pt.2”

  1. There’s some stuff there I’d like to hear that I’ve not. Just a couple of days ago I was visiting a friend in the branch of Oddbins he works, where they were listening to Aerial and criticising the song about a washing machine. I thought that sounded brilliant. She’s one of those eccentric treasures that make me surprised the mainstream ever accepted them.

    Anyway. Ten albums from this century that I’ve enjoyed listening to loads are….
    1. The The – Naked Self (2000)
    Matt Johnson does seem to take things jolly seriously but he really is trying to figure things out, not simply complain about them, I think. As the sleeve art suggests, these are songs about being a dark place but searching for the light.
    2. Klaxons – Myths Of The Near Future (2007)
    What a great new band, every song’s a catchy super-hip rockin’ trip!
    3. Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control (2006)
    What a sensational voice- with such a groovy bassline to that title track! Another pop album where every track is great.
    4. Foetus – Flow (2001)
    The opener is one of the most exciting things ever and the epic closer about the cycle of abuse through generations of families is compellingly disturbing and wow. Uncle Jim’s the man.
    5. Einstuerzende Neubauten – Silence Is Sexy (2000)
    I thought the title implied that this was going to be their mellowest yet (I was fearful it would be dull- Neubauten have certainly been painful, difficult to sit through but never dull before). It’s not, it’s gorgeous and noisy. Last year’s The Jewels is great too, hearing a song off it recently I mistook it as a recording from about 25 years ago. They somehow still have that energy and still sound absolutely sincere and well into it.
    6. Killing Joke – Killing Joke (2003)
    Very drum heavy, Dave Grohl recording them seperate from the rest of the band and a really shit experience was had by the band during the making of this. But the songs rock. They are still one of the best live bands around.
    7. Luke Haines – Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop (2006)
    Under-rated man. He’s a flipping genius and I love him. Singing about things the tabloids wrote about thirty or more years ago, but in a far less condescending way. Bloody funny.
    8. The Strokes – The Strokes (2001)
    I just love it, again – every track is a stunner.
    9. Spinnerette – Spinnerette (2009)
    Brody Dalle from The Distillers brought us this with her new band and her voice sounds better, the rock much fuller. Fantastic hard-rocking shit.
    10. Prodigy – Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004)
    I can’t get enough of Spitfire, the first single off this. It’s like Breathe or Firestarter- it’s a shot in the arm, whether I want it or not. Play it at my funeral. I am not awfully keen on Juliette and the Licks’ albums but the tracks she puts her vocals to on here and the rockingest, though the whole show is a bomb (a good one that blows away sadness and boring stuff).

  2. Some interesting choices there. The The were on my original shortlist, but it didn’t quite make the grade for me. Maybe I need to give it a closer listen.

    I love the Prodigy album too, and at some stages of the process was in my 10. I don’t understand why it didn’t get the aclaim their new one has, as you say, Spitfire is like a bomb exploding! Only weak track is the Gallagher one.

    I think I need to get myself some more Luke Haines, like the stuff I’ve heard, and someone else recommended his latest album to me too.

    Good to see the ‘Nu-Rave’ movement in there…:)

  3. I’m remembering more now! Metric’s Live It Out; Death From Above 1979’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine; Queens Of The Stone Age’s Era Vulgaris; LCD Soundsystem’s first album; Shellac’s 1000 Hurts; The Fall’s Imperial Wax Solvent; The Cure’s The Cure; Siouxsie’s Mantaray… Should’ve done a top 50.

  4. I liked Mantaray too. Not as much as I like lists though.

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