Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 25 to 21

The end of the decade is fast approaching, and while some publications are starting to publish their end-of-decade lists, it does feel like it sort of snuck up on us, didn’t it? It wasn’t like that when the 80s ended, but I guess after everyone blows their collective load on the end of a millennium (that, depending on who you listened to, was supposed to portend the end of times), the passing of a decade can seem passé. Maybe it’s just because we’ve never settled on what to call this decade (is it the Ohs? The Aughts?). It’s like they settled on the name for the new millennium (2K) and just gave up.

So if there’s no consensus on what to name the decade, I suppose it makes sense that there’s been no attempt to define the decade. You know, besides the fact that it’s too soon. Cause it’s never too soon to make definitive statements online that will almost immediately become wrong and outdated! In that spirit, allow me to present my top 25 albums of the decade, two months before the decade is over.

The rules for the list are simple: anything I’ve heard that was released between January 2000 and now is eligible. I had no rule against multiple albums from the same artist (as you’ll see). But, when I was deciding between albums on the bubble of the list, those challenging for spots 18-25, I went with albums from artists not already represented earlier in the list for varieties sake. So if an artist does have multiple albums on this list, you can be assured that those albums are really good. Also, I’ve decided to publish this list five at a time, which will hopefully make it easier to read and reduce the temptation to just skim. The danger is that I’ll end up taking two months to complete the whole thing, but I figure that would happen anyway.
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List: The 15 Most Influential Albums of My Life

This is a meme making the rounds at Facebook (I guess now that everyone is done writing 25 random things about themselves, they need something else to write about). The idea behind it is thus:
“Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life, dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazzoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean.”

Okay, first off: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR AN ALBUM TO LITERALLY SOCK YOU IN THE GUT!!! Contrary to popular opinion, the term LITERALLY does not mean “a term used to express exaggeration”, it actually means the exact opposite, in that it is to be used to distinguish reality from exaggeration (or figurative speech). But, getting back on topic, this is a topic I’ve thought about in the past to use as a blog post, as I’ve seen interviews in some music magazine (maybe Spin?) where they interview musicians asking what albums changed their lives.

Of course, those interviews are generally more interesting because: A) famous people are more interesting than random bloggers (at least that’s what US Weekly tells me), and B) as musicians, they’re probably talking about albums that convinced them to become musicians and influenced their style of music. Whereas for the rest of us, we’re talking about albums that maybe helped you through a break-up/taught you about the mysteries of love/first got you laid. In my case, these 15 albums helped shape my life as a fan of music, making me the audiophile I am today. Allow me to tell you why…
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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 20 Albums of 2007

Last year, I struggled to come up with more than 10 albums I was passionate enough about to write about, so I decided to stick to ten. No such problem this year, which was a rebound year for art in pop culture in general (as long as you kept paying attention after the summer), bringing me back to a top 20 list. As always, this is a list of how I feel right now, not an attempt to make a list for the ages, which is pointless. I’ve no doubt that this list would change over time were I to revisit it, and in fact hope there’s some great albums out there that I’ve missed, because that would mean there’s more great music for me to hear. I will say that I pretty much ignored any album released in December, so if there was a great album released then that I missed, that’s why.
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Top Five Songs from the 90s

This list was the most difficult for me to make. This time out, I was both alive for the whole decade AND a consumer of music. In fact, I took music pretty seriously for the whole decade. The problem is that the music I took seriously (and bought in massive amounts) isn’t the music I take seriously today.

Throughout the 90s, I exclusively listened to hip-hop and R&B music. East Coast, West Coast, Underground, Gangsta, all of it. But, as time passed, I got a little older and the music of my youth didn’t speak to me as it once did. It also wasn’t as good as it used to be, as hip-hop became more mainstream and more predictable.
So I turned to rock, and eventually indie rock. The result is the songs I now like from 90s are quite different than the songs I liked in the 90s. But, it’s not like I listened to crap back then, so part of me want to represent that part of me in this list. But it’s hard to compare songs I listen to frequently with songs I mostly just listen to for nostalgic purposes. And thus, this list was hard.
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