Where has the month gone? Between my birthday and a road trip that included three national parks, time has just flown by. Anyway, @oldfilmsflicker got me thinking about the best albums of the aughts with a tweet about Hot Fuss and so I thought I would stop by and run down my own personal top ten.
As I’ve written before, I’m not a big “albums” person, but that decade really did have a lot of great ones. Below are my favorites—those I listened to most in their entirety when they came out and where I still have most of the songs in iTunes today. Also, those I most wanted to listen to just now when I was going through my collection. My desert island picks if you will (you know, if I could choose the music beforehand and was somehow going to an island where I could only have CDs).
Because I have no idea what would fall where, these are in alphabetical order by artist.
Alkaline Trio, Good Mourning
I can’t remember when or why I discovered Alkaline Trio, but I
hadhave a lot of their albums. This is still one I’ll grab for road trips (I always like to have a few CDs for the car, just in case). I love when they take the punk edge off at the end on “Blue in the Face”.
Lily Allen, Alright, Still
Lily Allen just makes me smile. This was such an amazing debut. I could listen to “Friday Night” over and over. And I did.
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Funeral might be the obvious choice here, but I have a slight preference for Neon Bible, perhaps because it contains one of my favorite songs ever in “My Body Is a Cage” (which set to the climax of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon Time in the West is sheer perfection).
The Blind Boys of Alabama, Higher Ground
I debated about including this since it seems more timeless than most of my other selections, but, like Good Mourning, it is definitely a CD I’m likely to grab for the car. The title track is where it’s at.
Cake, Comfort Eagle
While 1996’s Fashion Nugget is my favorite Cake album, how could I not love one with a song called “Opera Singer” (not to mention “Commissioning a Symphony in C”)? But my favorite song here is probably “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” (I defy you not to bob your head along to that one).
Norah Jones, Come Away with Me
Another killer debut. This album defined much of my life in New York, when WNYC and Jonathan Schwartz helped me explore and fall in love with the Great American Songbook. Her cover of Hank Williams’s “Cold, Cold Heart” is delightful.
The Killers, Hot Fuss
The one that started it all, after I followed a link to this 2005 Digital Spy forum post. If this CD had been an LP (kids, ask your parents), I would have worn it out that first summer. “Change Your Mind” still seems romantic to me somehow.
My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade
Probably the most cohesive story album of the decade. The opening to “Welcome to the Black Parade” is hauntingly beautiful and “Teenagers” was a must for my long drives over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to get groceries in Annapolis.
Okkervil River, The Stage Names
Okkervil River was a late discovery after a friend from high school who also lives in the Bay Area invited me to a concert. But I ate that shit up with a spoon. My favorite song from the concert was a stripped down “No Key, No Plan” from Black Sheep Boy, but this is my favorite all-around album. The brilliant “Plus Ones” plays a starring role in my “numbers” playlist.
The White Stripes, Elephant
There was no question the White Stripes would be on this list, the only question was which album. But I’ll go with the one I pulled from for my Mississippi road trip mixtape (“Ball & Biscuit”) just this year.
Garbage, Bleed Like Me (I listened to this a lot back in the day and it has a lot of great songs, but they just aren’t in my rotation much anymore.)
Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (For whatever reason, I only kept a few songs from this and Frank so they just can’t make the cut.)