Pop Goes the Runtu

Since the decade is almost over, I thought I’d devote some space to what I think are the best things produced since 2000. I’ll start with music.

My favorite CDs of the decade by year. I’m rating them by how much I listened to them rather than some specific aesthetic reasons:

2000: Juanes, Fijate Bien. Juanes’s later stuff is good, but nothing he’s done quite matches the amazing fusion of themes and genres of this one.
2001: Bjork, Vespertine. Weird and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.
2002: Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. No popular music has ever moved me like this CD.
2003: Damien Rice, O. Maybe it’s just the simple arrangements or the ragged vocals, but it’s just lovely.
2004: Brian Wilson, Smile. Imagine what people would have been saying had he actually finished this in 1967. Even for 2004, it’s still astonishingly good.
2005: Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. Who doesn’t like Conor Oberst?
2006: Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Snarky punk-pop with brilliant lyrics.
2007: Radiohead, In Rainbows. It’s Radiohead, OK?
2008: Vampire Weekend. Yeah, I know, it’s silly trust-fund fake Third World pop, but it’s damn catchy.
2009: Neil Young Archive (though it really doesn’t count because it’s a box of old stuff).

CD of the Decade: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

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4 Responses to Pop Goes the Runtu

  1. MC says:

    Great picks. It’s nice to see someone with good taste in music–someone who isn’t still listening to the hair bands of their youth, or (even worse) the awful crap that gets radio play today (Maroon 5, Nickelback, Rise Against, a thousands other bands that I don’t even know the names of but which all sound the same).

    Yankeehotelfoxtrot is indeed an excellent album. It’s too bad Wilco’s last effort didn’t rise to the same level.

    If I was going to nominate a Bright Eyes album, it would be Fevers and Mirrors–by far the best CD Oberst has ever made (although I don’t know if it was released in this decade.) I lost my “I’m wide awake” CD and didn’t bother to replace it. It was a little too sappy/sentimental for my taste, but I guess that’s what to expect from a band that embodied early emo.

    With every new Radiohead album, I go through the following stages:

    1- Eh…this isn’t BAD, but it’s not as good as their last album. They must be slipping.
    2- You know, this is actually pretty good. I like the new direction they’re taking.
    3- This is my favorite Radiohead album of all time.

    Vampire Weekend: This band got so much buzz that I had to check them out. I appreciate what they’re trying to do–like you said, fake African pop. I like the combination of dry percussion, clean, telecastery guitars, and upbeat tempos, but I feel like they’re missing something. It just didn’t resonate with me. Maybe I’ll go back and listen again.

    Neil Young: ugh. I don’t get it. I’ve never understood his appeal.

    A few of my picks for the decade:

    Sparklehorse, Dreamt for Lightyears in the Belly of a Mountain

    Camera Obscura, Let’s Get Out of this Country (also Underachievers Please Try Harder)

    M. Ward, Transistor Radio

    Any “Belle and Sebastian” album

    Elliott Smith, New Moon

    Cursive, Ugly Organ

  2. runtu says:

    Well, of course Belle and Sebastian are amazing. For quite a while I couldn’t stop listening to “The Boy With the Arab Strap.” So, honorable mention to them, Magnetics Fields, and Art Brut.

    Hair Bands? Really, Odell? I’m going to have to send you something better than that. We’re about the same age, but somehow I missed out on the hair band thing. I never understood the appeal, and still don’t.

    And MC, NY is definitely an acquired taste.

  3. jr says:

    Love the Neil Young choice.

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