Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 5 to 1


When I first began this list I predicted that it might end up taking two months to complete. That was November 2nd, so I suppose I beat the prognostication by a couple days, and just got it under the wire for the change of the decade. And speaking of the wire, be on the lookout for my breakdown of the best TV shows of the decade sometime in the new year.

Here’s a recap of how we got here. Click on the links to read the write-ups/listen to the song samples.
25. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
24. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
23. The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight (2003)
22. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)

20. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
19. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
18. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2002)
17. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
16. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)

15. Common – Be (2005)
14. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
13. Feist – The Reminder (2007)
12. Tegan and Sara – So Jealous (2004)
11. Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins (2008)

10. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (2007)
9. Kathleen Edwards – Failer (2003)
8. Stars – Set Yourself On Fire (2004)
7. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2004)
6. The National – Alligator (2005)

Click on to find out the top five.
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Top 20 Albums of 2008

They still make CDs?

They still make CDs?

After the banner year in music that was 2007, I suppose it was inevitable that 2008 would be a let down. And it was. It’s not that there wasn’t any good music released this year; after all, I was able to come up with a full list of 20 (unlike with 2006, where I wimped out at ten). But there was a lack of greatness this year, with albums that rank very highly this year that would have ranked much lower the year previous. In fact, until I seriously started to think about how this list would shape up, many of the albums on it had failed to grab me throughout the year. In part, this has more to do with the fact that I spent the year listening to older music, but still, if I loved these albums like I loved the ones that topped last year’s list, I would’ve taken notice much earlier. The result is a list where I’m more comfortable with the bottom half (20-11) than I am with the top half. Not because the albums at the bottom are better (if they were, they’d be higher on the list), but because those albums feel like 20-11-type albums, whereas the albums that place highly on this album don’t really feel like high placing albums, but this year they are.

That said, these are all good to very good albums, and to prove it, I’ve included playable songs from each album. If that’s not enough to convince you click on the (more…) link, then there’s a good chance you don’t like my writing. And who needs you?!?
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My Record Collection: A-M

That’s right, RECORD collection, AKA vinyl, AKA those big old black round things your parents listened to music on, AKA the hipster music accessory for the new millennium. I started to collect vinyl a few years back, for no good reason other than to do it. Sure, aficionados will tell you that music sounds better on vinyl, and talk about audio waves and digital loss or whatever, but I can’t really say that’s true given that my record player isn’t exactly hi-fi.

Instead, I collect records because I like them. I like owning things, but the digital revolution has made that less and less necessary. I download music all the time, so this isn’t some luddite reactionary thing. But in an era when owning music means having something on your hard drive, I guess going back to a clunky, classic format is a way of separating myself from the herd. Any idiot with a decent internet connection can avail themselves of almost any album (and I usually do), so I guess listening to records is my way of showing that I’m more of a fan of music than them. Or maybe I just think it’s cool.

I’m posting my collection here for the usual stupid reasons: to show off my collection (even though I suspect no one cares), to have a digital copy of my collection should something happen (you know, like theft or fire), so I can remember what I have when I’m away from my house (possibly on my way to buy more records on a lunch break), and for the off chance anyone reading this is thinking of buying me a record, they can consult this list to avoid duplication (look for a link to this post on the sidebar of my blog). And, you know, the whole point of being an obsessive collector is to obsess. So feel free to peruse, critique, discuss, blahblahblah.
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List: My Favourite Album for Every Year I’ve Been Alive

This is a list exercise that has made the blog rounds of late. I discovered it via Steve Hyden of the AV Club Blog, who in turn picked it up from Idolator. The premise is simple: list your favourite album for every year you’ve been alive.

There’s a couple different ways to go about this, with the most obvious being choosing what your favourite album from a given year is now, but a different way would be to try and recollect what your favourite album was then (at least for years where you were old enough to have an opinion). I’m choosing the favourite album now way to go, since I think it’s more interesting posting opinions I can defend now, as opposed to ones where I can just say “what do you want from me; I was a kid”. That said, in years where I didn’t have a strong favourite, or needed a tiebreaker, I chose albums that defined the year for me at the time.

So here’s the list, with some thoughts about how it all shaped up to follow:
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Top 5 Concerts I Saw in 2006

I did this list last year, realising that its not exactly the kind of list others can judge. No one but my wife could say whether or not these particular shows were the best of the 8 I saw this year (9 if you include the Evening with Kevin Smith event we attended). But, it’s a fun way to look back at the year and see what kind of shows I went to. I’d be interested in seeing a list like this from others if they have one, or any year end list for that matter. Seriously, put the year in the title of a list and post it in December/January, and I’ll read it. It’s something I should probably look into.
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Top 5 Death Cab for Cutie songs

Giving nerds the world over delusions of coolness.

Way back in April when I did my Top 5 songs by The Smiths list I had intended to do more band top fives. Then… I didn’t. So I’ll try to get back on track here with one of my favourite bands, Death Cab for Cutie. The band started out in 1997 as a solo project for lead singer Ben Gibbard, releasing the self-produced cassette You Can Play These Songs with Chords. When that was met with some buzz, he formed a band with guitarist/producer Chris Walla, bassist Nick Harmer, and drummer Nathan Good (they’ve since replaced the drummer a couple times, Jason McGerr is the current drummer). They’re now 6 albums in (not including Chords, which they mostly re-recorded as a band with Something About Airplanes), with scores of EPs thrown in to fill out their catalogue. Which gives me plenty to choose from for a relatively new band.
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