Monday, October 19, 2009

Deckfight's Top Albums of the Decade

Deckfight is kicking off the Albums of The Decade Blog Tour, which will feature 10 blogs over the next two weeks choosing their favorite albums of the decade. Check here for a full schedule and tomorrow's blog will be The Album Project.

Oh the '00s. Don't think anyone ever came up with a good name for them. And in the same manner, there will be no consensus about what was the "best" or the "greatest" or the "most rad." And let's remember, despite what anyone ever tells you, there is no way, absolutely no way that anyone listened to all of the albums released during the last 10 years. All of us have our personal preferences, but I think these stack up very well:

10. Thursday
War All The Time (Island, 2003)

What a theme for a decade. Yes, war all the time, all decade long. And not just war overseas, but war in the scene, war in the workplace, fight, fight, fight. The opener "From the Workforce Drowning" is the anthem for anyone stuck at a temp job with copies and "Division St" is for anyone who notices the societal injustice. Thursday picks all these hard issues and won't back down. They rid themselves of some of the cheesier elements on "Full Collapse" to come into their own with a full plate of layered vocals and sounds--showing everyone that the words "punk" or "emo" or "hardcore" has more nuances than can be described.

9. Arcade Fire Funeral (Merge, 2004)

From out of left field and into our collective hearts.

8. At The Drive-In Relationship Of Command (Virgin, 2000)

From 2000, I almost forgot about this album. But the great thing is that it doesn't sound like the 90s or even what followed in the 2000s. It balances the two moments perfectly, with an intriguing blend of math rock, punk and the hardcore direction that was to come. This actually is modern rock, no matter how many albums Green Day or the Foo Fighters release.

7. Underoath They're Only Chasing Safety (Solid State, 20o4)

Unfortunately this album has created more stereotypes than the stereotypes even know, as they copy a copy. But blistering vocals, the craziest guitar riffs, intriguing album art this is the most intense album I've ever heard. Its intense because it plays the highs and lows to great effect--its heavy never becomes monotonous, its passion never becomes derivative. Too bad their fans demanded more metal. This is exceptional.

6. Girl Talk Feed the Animals (Illegal Art, 2008)

The shape of punk to come came in a pay-as-you-want model.

5. Postal Service Give Up (Sub Pop, 2003)

Just about all I listen to in the winter months. Self-revealing lyrics with the most sterile of music genres creates a great and memorable contrast.

4. Sufjan Stevens Illinoise (Asthmatic Kitty, 2005)

Some might single-handedly blame this man for flooding Brooklyn with Midwesterners, but it's not completely his fault. This album has grown better with age as we've seen just how unwieldy and dense this album could have been. How Sufjan got the three-ring circus of his mind on the same page is amazing.

3. Brand New Deja Entendu (Razor & Tie, 2003)

Absolutely no one saw this coming. No one, not even the band themselves.

2. Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch, 2002)

This album is notable just for the amazing transition of a band from bar favorite to experimental noise makers, as if Jeff Tweedy really was strung out or actually did emerge from the bible black predawn. Everyone who listened to it knew it was a classic when released, just like they knew Ghost Was Born didn't have the same pizazz. It's kind of ironic that they reeled it back in with subsequent releases, leaving fans to wonder if this will be their peak of creativity.

1. Jimmy Eat World Bleed American (Dreamworks, 2001)

Our greatest fears about so-called "emo" were realized with this album (okay, maybe our 'greatest fears' were actually realized in the many poor stereotypes associated with My Chemical Romance), when everyone else realized that our emo music was actually pretty darn good modern rock pop music and singles from this album hit the radio airwaves. We cried foul, as we quickly tried to expunge songs like "Our Weekend Starts on Wednesday," "American Hearts" and "I'm a Loner, Dottie, A Rebel" out of our memories. The fact is, we were listening to pop music all along, we were too scared to admit it--and this album deserves all the praise and plays it received. There is not just one catchy song on here, but half a dozen and though "The Authority Song" is a little patronizing, it's supposed to be a wink and a nod to their new position: "It's how the hustle goes/See what the jukebox knows."

And for the
Clarity lovers, "My Sundown" is their kiss goodbye.

This album should represent the pinnacle of the genre, and though its peak transcended decade lines, this hopefully will be and should be the album that rock historians come back to. Sure, it would've been nice for Texas is the Reason to get this type of airplay, just as there were some who preferred Mudhoney to Nirvana. But I want this album to stand for future generations as "emo" more than anything with a black parade associated with it.

Album released in the second half of 1999 that would have made this list if released a few months later, as I'm fairly certain (though not 100 percent...) that it didn't make any decade lists for the 90s:
Brandtson Fallen Star Collection (Deep Elm, 1999)

Honorable mentions: Animal Collective Feels, Further Seems Forever The Moon is Down, Appleseed Cast Mare Vitalis, Thrice The Artist in the Ambulance, Trail of Dead Source Tags and Codes, Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism

Thoughts? Comments?


  1. Great start to the blog tour! I think we only have one album in common which just shows you what a great decade we have had.

  2. I strongly considered three of these myself.

  3. Good start. Definitely curious to see what everyone posts.

  4. Man, I loved Clarity so much for so long.

  5. Check out Ryan Adams "heartbreaker" if you aren't aware of it already, definitely a top album of the 2000's.


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