Hudson's Best of the 00's (Part One)

For the past twenty or so years, I’ve concluded every year with a list of my favorite albums. The first ten years or so, these were prepared for Tempest Magazine, but sometime in the late 90’s I also used these essays to put together compilation albums for friends and family.

Tempest may have folded at the beginning of this decade, but that didn’t stop me from compiling my year-end epic rundown of my favorite albums of the year. The CD project expanded along with the scope of these writings, from single disc compilations in the early years to last year’s insane four-disc “box set”.

Since I have no life, I’ve decided to add to my workload this year with a “Best of the 00’s” report. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been knee-deep in my CD room going through pile after pile of the music I’ve accumulated for the past ten years.

Besides the actual discs, I’ve also re-evaluated the compilations and essays from this time period. It’s interesting how time has changed my opinion of so many albums. Some discs that topped my “chart” don’t appear in this list; others that lingered at the bottom of that year’s list found themselves much higher. One album that almost topped this list was never even recognized the year it was released.

Over the next few days, I’ll unveil my 50 favorite albums of the decade. We’ll start today with the bottom ten (#50 - 41).

50. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Global a Go-Go (2001). Joe Strummer’s sudden death in 2002 was easily the saddest musical loss of the decade, especially given the fact that after over a decade in semi-retirement he was finally creating new music. Global a Go-Go was the second of these albums, and it was a stunning melting pot of music styles from all around the world.

49. Pete Yorn, Musicforthemorningafter (2001). Although he’s usually lumped into the singer/songwriter category, Pete Yorn is really a power-popper at heart. This debut combines the usual classic influences (Beatles, Dylan, Nick Drake, etc.) with mid-80’s college rock (Smiths, R.E.M., Smithereens)  to create a driving, jangly collection of pop goodness.

48. White Stripes, De Stijl (2000). On their second album, Jack and Meg White truly begin their decade of world domination. While the Detroit rock/classic blues template of their debut is retained, the production and songwriting had grown by leaps and bounds…and would continue to improve throughout the first half of the decade. Yes, there will be more appearances by the Whites on this list.

47. Modest Mouse, Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004). Sometimes good things happen to those who deserve it. Modest Mouse had been around for quite a few years before “Float On” became the surprise hit of 2004, and while many may prefer 2000’s The Moon and Antarctica, this is the album that has stayed on my play list over the last few years.

46. The Jayhawks, Smile (2000). Like many of the alt-country leaders of the early 90’s, The Jayhawks had moved away from their trademark twang by the time the decade ended. Produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Lou Reed), Smile found the band refining the slicker, poppier sound they had introduced on 1997’s Sound of Lies.

45. Spoon, Gimme Fiction (2005). The follow-up to 2002’s breakthrough Kill the Moonlight found Spoon expanding their sound to include elements of Bowie, Jagger, Prince, and even Plastic Ono Band-era John Lennon. Yet it still worked, as did every thing this band touched over the past decade.

44. Camper Van Beethoven, New Roman Times (2004). While many reunions work in a live setting, it’s a rare thing for a reunited band to match their glory days on record. Not only does New Roman Times close to as good as anything in the CVB catalog, it’s a concept album to boot.

43. Sonic Youth - The Eternal (2009). On their latest album, Sonic Youth not only returns to their indie label roots but the supercharged sound recalls their late 80’s SST heyday. Twenty-five years after their formation, Sonic Youth remains one of the most essential bands of our time.

42. Marah, Kids in Philly (2000). Combine the loose swagger of the Replacements and the drunken, Irish roots of the Pogues with the sentimentality of Springsteen and the rocking twang of Uncle Tupelo and you have this underrated classic.

41. Muse, Black Holes and Revelations (2006). There’s no true valid reason for me to enjoy Muse. After all, their main influences are Rush and Queen, and their albums are much more polished than what’s generally found on my ipod. Sure, it’s bombastic prog-rock, but, unlike most albums of that genre, Black Holes and Revelations is chock full of catchy melodies.


The Goddess said…
Completely brilliant, of course. Already there's stuff I'll need to check out, though unfortunately it won't likely be from knee deep in the cd room.
A fine list. You put me to shame -- I don't know if I'd be able to come up with fifty recommendations for this decade, and you've got some albums on there that I own but haven't listened to enough to form a definite opinion on.

"Kids in Philly" is a favorite of mine. Ever see Marah live? They're a lot of fun. When I saw them in DC, they covered "Can't hardly wait" and The Faces' "Debris."

Love them White Stripes, too, but that goes w/o saying.

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