Ashley’s Top 50 Albums of the 2000s: 40-31

21 Mar

Hello again, people.  Right now I’m listening to Goldfrapp’s new album (quite good, I need to get back on my game where 2010 reviews are concerned) and not studying.  What a great time to write about music! I still don’t know how to make WordPress do what I want it to as far a layout of this entry is concerned, so again we will be lacking in album cover images.  If you REALLY cared, I’m sure you could look them up ;).  Tonight, I thought I’d share amusing anecdotes about each of the albums (if I have one of course) instead of trying to force a review that might just not be coming.  Join me?

40.) Elbow – Leaders of the Free World (2005)

Ah, damn, the very first album and I actually don’t have much of an anecdote to share.  I’ve only recently become friends with Leaders of the Free World, but it was love at first note.  Not as harsh as its younger brother, Seldom Seen Kid, I really get a chill, mellow vibe from this that moves me in so many ways.  I love music that does that to me.

39.) The Format – Dog Problems (2006)

The first two years I was at TCU they had this lovely cafeteria connected to a quaint little grocery store/coffee shop/pasta place/Pizza Hut.  Inside of it there were TVs and these TVs were always tuned to MTVU.  This channel was, in general, terrible.  The worst part was it had about 15 minutes of programming which was looped 24/7/365.  I was a frequent customer of Frog Bytes (There was a computer area in there as well), so I was a frequent viewer of MTVU.  This was awesome while they were pimping the hell out of The Killers’ “Read My Mind”, not so awesome when they were pimping the latest rap hit.  Then one day, they were pimping something new altogether.  That song was “She Doesn’t Get It” by The Format.  After about the 10th, 20th time I’d heard “She Doesn’t Get It”, I finally purchased it on iTunes (one of the only times I had ever done that in those days, this was before I was sued by the RIAA, and while I was still a mp3-stealing heathen…did I mention I’m listening to the new Goldfrapp album?).  I didn’t necessarily like the song in the beginning, it was the lyrics that got to me.  I still am not entirely sure what The Format were getting at with the song, but to me, the song was about me.  Cheesy, I know, but I feel like I was robbed being born when I was.  If I’d only been born 20 years earlier, I could have enjoyed the 80s for all they were worth, instead of being on the outside looking in like I am now.  It’s not just that, I’ve always felt (enjoy some pretension here) older than everyone in my peer group.  I don’t feel like I relate to them at all.  Now, “She Doesn’t Get It” could be about these exact things, or it could just be about a man in his late 20’s who has finally realized that he doesn’t connect any longer with Kids Today.  Either way, music is what you make of it.

Funny enough (it’s not really an anecdote once you move onto a second paragraph, is it?), I didn’t buy Dog Problems then.  Hell, it was another year or so before I even heard anything else by the band.  It was only when I finally got up the nerve to include “She Doesn’t Get It” on a Desert Island tournament list (I’ll explain that sometime in the future) and my boyfriend heard it, and fell in love with it, that he was filled with the desire to hear the album.  When he came running to me singing its praises, I finally gave it a spin.  God, what a waste of three years.  And there you have it, Dog Problems is a great little piece of work, simple and honest.  The Format are no longer together, the lead singer went on to join the band fun. who I’ve already spoken about, but if you get the chance to hear Dog Problems and you have even a modicum of good in you, there should be something there to enjoy.

If nothing else, this is the most adorable music video I’ve ever seen.

38.) Beck – Sea Change (2002)

To make up for the length of the Dog Problems wrap-up, the most I can say about Sea Change is that I have a pretty awesome boyfriend.  I don’t mean to brag, but, I’ve heard some pretty great music thanks to him, and I probably wouldn’t even know 1/3rd of the albums on this list if he hadn’t directed me towards them.  I had always considered Beck over-the-top and thought I would never find anything of his that would interest me in the slightest.  I was assured repeatedly that Sea Change would change my mind.  So against Beck was I, that I didn’t give it much of a chance on the first listen, but it stuck with me and eventually I was tempted into listening to it again.  Every so often on a quiet evening, perhaps one with rain, I will turn this gem on and lose myself in the music, what more can you ask for than an album that does that?

37. The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)

Want to hear a rumor?  Well, a confirmed rumor?  The Strokes are playing Lollapalooza this year.  Shh, don’t tell anyone.  Exciting, isn’t it?  Here’s the thing, Arcade Fire is probably playing Lollapalooza as well.  Now, I love Arcade Fire a lot, and…if I had know that The Strokes were the band that sang “Last Night” before I heard Is This It? I never even would’ve given it a chance out of principle (no, I don’t know what those principles are), but, I’m at a loss.  You see, some people seem to think that Arcade Fire and the Strokes might play the same night, other people think that theory is insane.  Regardless, a seed of confusion has found its way into my poor little brain.  I have never seen either band, and I prefer Arcade Fire by a long run, BUT, I am far more likely to see them at a solo gig, and will likely never go out of my way to see The Strokes.  I’m using this space to seek advisement: Were you in my shoes, who would you see (if it even comes down to making this choice)?

36. Sun Kil Moon – April (2008)

One day, rather late into 2008, I decided that I wanted to hear at least 30 albums that came out that year.  I sought the aid of Travis in picking out the right albums to hear.  This was when my love of music truly turned into an obsession, but, that aside, I heard some really great albums because I wasn’t listening to anything and everything that came out, only the stuff that was pretty highly regarded.  Sun Kil Moon ended up my #2 album of 2008, if I recall correctly.  Now, the only reason it has not stood up to such a high spot (I’ll let you know what album was #1 that year later) is because Napster is a bitch.  I love Napster, and I hate her.  For the low price of $5 a month, I’m able to stream a great deal of albums, however, every once in a while, Napster won’t have something I desire (I’m looking at you, AFI albums) and I will have a sad.  In those cases, I only have so many alternatives, one of which, is Rhapsody.  The point is, I only have so many opportunities to hear April, and for some reason haven’t coughed up the cash to purchase my own copy.  I need to do something about that, this is ambient and soundscapey to the extreme.  Did I say it was easy to get lost in the music of Sea Change?  Leave some breadcrumbs if you’re going to listen to April, I don’t want to be responsible for the consequences otherwise (cheese!)

35.) Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)

Remember when I said I would explain Desert Island?  The time has come.  Desert Island is a tournament some members of the U2 community that the authors on this site are members of compete in every 6 months or so.  The original concept was to make two discs of music that you would take with you if you were going to be trapped on a desert island.  Over time the game has turned into more of a test of wills in which people try to create the smoothest transitions, the dreamiest sequences, and over-all, introduce people to the best music.  Currently the 7th edition of Desert Island is on its way, but rewinding back to Desert Island 5, I has a story.  This was the first edition that I actually listened to every list in their entirety.  This is a thing, that’s a lot of music to wade through, but from it, I ran into a lot of great new music.  One song was a quaint little diddy called “This Modern Love”.  Any song that brings me to tears automatically gets indefinite space on my iPod, and of course, I will then give the artist who sang it a chance to join in.  Also, this was 2008, that year where I was trying to listen to 30 albums? Yeah.  Bloc Party had just released Intimacy, but I didn’t want to go into it cold, and I already was in love with “This Modern Love”, so it was a natural progression to listen to Silent Alarm.  I will not say that our love was immediate, it needed time to grow, but in the time between then and now, I have become quite the fan of Bloc Party, and I hope to see them do great things in the future.

Seriously, this song is just…everything to me.

34.) Coldplay – Viva La Vida (2008)

Damn it, I wanted so badly not to like Coldplay, and they hooked me in anyways. I thought I was safely out of their clutches after the release of the atrocity that was X & Y but then they had to go and work with Brian Eno.  It’s not fair, I tell you, they follow the damn U2 formula too well, and here I am, an admitted fan.  Viva La Vida had a lot going against it, especially a misunderstanding I had of the lyrics to the title track (I could’ve sworn the lyric was “I know St. Peter will call my name”…ass.).  When I finally went ahead and heard the album, one major thing changed my mind: “Life In Technicolor”.  I love me a good instrumental, “LIT” is that and so much more.  Now, of course, Chris Martin eventually must kill everything I love and “LIT2” is out there, but, let’s just ignore it.  Part of my love/hate relationship with Viva La Vida also revolves around the hidden tracks on the album.  They’re partially my favorite parts of the album, and unfortunately that means I rarely get to hear them since they’re cut off of the single versions of songs, and as a result, I never get to hear them on the radio.  I haz a cry :(.

33.) U2 – No Line On The Horizon (2009)

In respect to the already towering length of this post and the fact that there is another U2 album on this list later that I want to save most of this spiel for, I am going to make this brief.  I spent a lot of time waiting for NLOTH to come out, and I think I vested too much interest into its coming.  I’ve spent the better part of the last year coming to terms with this album, and in the end, I think it’s a great piece of work by a band I desperately love.  It will never be my favorite album of theirs, and I will never hate it.  Overall, I think it’s a great addition to their catalog.

32. Eyes Open – Snow Patrol (2006)

My senior year of high school, every girl I knew had “If I just lay here, would you lay with me and just forget the world” as their sub-title on MSN.  I’d only heard the song a handful of times myself and found it cheesy as all get-out.  Four years later, Eyes Open is one of my favorite albums…of all time.  It’s pure adult alternative pop, and I find myself, and obviously many others, not caring.  The songs are rather emotionally raw, and they touch me, almost too near the bone on occasion.  I am involved in a long-distance relationship, and, it’s tough.  I never quite noticed how apt this album could be in that regard until I made the mistake of listening to it on one of my darker days.  That was when I noticed the lyrical content of “Set the Fire to the Third Bar”.  I was cut quite deeply, but, in one of those good purifying ways that music can sometimes do.  This is not the best musical work I’ve ever heard, but I think Eyes Open is a testament to how good pop music can be.

31. The Killers – Sam’s Town (2006)

I like the Killers a whole heck of a lot.  I’m not sure I ever anticipated an album as much as I did Sam’s Town (That’s not true, but this is my story).  My freshmen year of college was an interesting time, and in it, I made a few friends.  One of them had a car.  I liked him a lot.  He had a car, and he took me to Best Buy, and there, I purchased Sam’s Town.  The summer prior to its release, I accidentally listened to “When You Were Young” 22 times in a row because I left repeat on iTunes and was just that lost in how much I loved the song.  Hopefully understandably, I had lost a little favor with the track by the time the album came out.  It ended up working about because Sam’s Town had so much more to offer me.  In the end, I listened to the tracks from it 227 times the first week it was out (This was that year I got last.fm) and was introduced to “Read My Mind”.  I have very rarely been that touched by a song, but it’s happened (“This Modern Love” can attest to that, but the connection isn’t anywhere near what I feel to “Read My Mind” and that’s saying a lot) five other times in the past (maybe a list of my top ten favorite songs ever will come someday).  In the end, I can only make my own guesses as to what the song itself is about, but overall, the album gives me the sense of an urge to break away from your home, to seek out your own life, and then, the sudden realization that home is not the horror you remembered it to be.  For me, a girl from small-town Indiana who suddenly found herself in Fort Worth, TX, I could relate.  I could relate all too well.

I hope you were all able to hang in there, this was a lengthy read, I realize.  Even if you weren’t, I appreciate the thought (comments are always welcome as well ;)).  Tomorrow I’ll be back with 10 more, and maybe an editor.  Goldfrapp has long ended, maybe I’ll listen to April.

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