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Unnofficial best of the decade.


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I love Paste as much as anybody here, but I am duty-bound to ask...

No Nick Cave?

No Bob Dylan?

No Sam Phillips?

No Joe Henry?

No Robert Plant/Allison Krauss?

No Andrew Bird?

No David Bazan?

Believe me, I understand, Jeffrey. I'm wondering where some of those people are, too, and I'm scoffing at some of the "artists" who made it on to the list. Conor Oberst, the Singing Sheep, in the Top 10? Scandalous. Outrageous. Wrong. And baaaad. Evil, even.

But witness the power of music. I can just about guarantee that in the coming days Paste will be swamped with comments on this list, and that the outraged commenters will nominate, oh, probably five or six hundred albums that should have appeared on that Top 50 list. This is because music is powerful, there's a lot of it, much of it is good, and people respond strongly to the albums/songs that have become intertwined with their lives.

It's totally baffling to me why Joe Henry doesn't have three albums in the Top 50 of the decade. I'm not kidding. He doesn't even get a mention. And part of me really doesn't understand, because those Joe Henry albums are so wise, so beautiful, so far above, both musically and lyrically, some of the common pop pap that does show up, that I want to rend my nice, new business casual shirt and gnash my teeth and consign the lot of people who voted (minus myself; one has to have standards) to the outer darkness of Rolling Stone and/or Pitchfork. What the hell is wrong with these people?

The thing is, occasionally I remember that my exquisite tastes are not shared by everyone, and that some of those everyones actually appear to be astute, thinking human beings. Behold, I tell you a mystery: I do not run the universe. Damn. I hate that. I really do. So watch the comments roll in. Tally up the votes. Count how many albums actually get nominated for the Top 50. I'll chalk it up to the wonders of music, and that it remains a powerful force for beauty in the world, even as I shake my head in disbelief.

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It's easy to quibble with many of the selections (that's what these lists are for, right?), but I enjoyed it as a stroll down memory lane if nothing else.

For example, I played Heartbreaker nonstop in the fall of 2000 and have rarely listened to it since. The same was true for the Oh Brother soundtrack five months later. It's nice to read some evidence that they've held up well for some listeners.

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It's easy to quibble with many of the selections (that's what these lists are for, right?), but I enjoyed it as a stroll down memory lane if nothing else.

For example, I played Heartbreaker nonstop in the fall of 2000 and have rarely listened to it since. The same was true for the Oh Brother soundtrack five months later. It's nice to read some evidence that they've held up well for some listeners.

I just saw the Oh Brother soundtrack at the library last week and thought, "Oh what the heck," remembering the Soggy Boys' main song and one of the tunes we sing at church (the River song). So I picked it up and gave it a listen. For the first time. And I think it is fantastic. But I'm not surprised (T-Bone). :)

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I extoled this album in another thread, but want to include it here just so my vote is counted-- The Strokes, Is This It. There.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Paste's countdown right here: http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2009/11/the-best-albums-of-the-decade.html (sorry, the link feature doesn't appear to be working properly).

So many records in this list I'd need to listen to... Apparently, purchasing 50 new CDs a year (and that's not counting all the reissues) isn't enough. At least I have four of the Top 5 (never bothered listening to Kid A). And wouldn't put any of them that high (my fave of the bunch being Wilco, though).

Funnily enough, among the 2009 releases included in this decade Top 50 list, the Animal Collective one is at the end of my 2009 list of favorites! That means I put 40 2009 releases above Merriweather already.

So, two observations:

1) I think Paste worries about some accessible stuff that is at once great and reaching some kind of "consensus" one way or another.

2) I have no problem with that, it's logically tied to the goal of such game, and that doesn't keep me from really needing to listen to all the records listed I don't know yet. But, hey, a whole life wouldn't be enough, I know that, too.

bonus remark:

3) Yesterday I was listening to a YouTube interview of the greatest French singer songwriter (Georges Brassens), where, with a friend, he was talking about all his reading, his literature favorites. I realized he was spending more time reading - reading a lot, lot - than listening to music. And I thought I wasn't reading enough myself, being so taken by "music listening".

So, a whole life not enough not only to listen to records made, but also to read, and also, to just live!

I do hope that critics, the good ones, will always keep in mind that great art is more often made from life than from culture. At least, that the fragments of life we can hear on some recordings may be more priceless than any artful sounds and vision.

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1) I think Paste worries about some accessible stuff that is at once great and reaching some kind of "consensus" one way or another.

They do, as does every other web site/publication that will play the End of the Decade List game. But I was thinking about this yesterday, and I wonder if it's even possible to come up with a meaningful list anymore. The music world is so fragmented, and the means of musical dissemination are so varied and so tightly tied to niche markets, that I'm not sure what "Best" would mean in the context of the culture that Paste (or Pitchfork, for that matter) caters to.

There was a time when "best" could correctly be interpreted as both "highly popular" and "high quality." Much of the best music of the 1960s fits into both categories. Thus, you have magazines like Rolling Stone compiling their canonical "Best Albums" list, and nobody really complains that The Beatles and Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are featured prominently. Today? Paste's list isn't even 24 hours old, and already irate commenters have listed several hundred albums that they are absolutely convinced should have appeared on that Top 50 list. One commenter, answering editor Josh Jackson's question "What did we get wrong?" responded, "What did you get right?" Paste is apparently 0 for 50, with Irate Commenter (hereafter, IC) crowning himself the ultimate arbiter of musical quality.

Okay, fine. Some of this is inevitable, and to be expected, because everybody's a critic, and everybody is the #1 DJ on their own personal radio stations (mine is WHIT). But it struck me, looking at Paste's list and Pitchfork's list, just how very much of this music would be unknown to casual music fans. There simply are very few bands/musicians these days who have the kind of cultural clout to be universally recognized, and the ones who do have that kind of clout tend to make crappy music (Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, etc.). What's a good listmaker to do? You don't list crap as the best music of the decade. So you, by necessity, list relatively obscure music that will be unfamiliar to many people. That, in turn, leads to all the fun responses from IC. You're too obscure! Or you're too mainstream! The greatest music of the decade was made by a band in Selma, Alabama who have yet to record an album, but I'm telling you, the five people who heard it in the basement have had their lives changed, you lame-ass posers.

Is it worth making the lists? I don't know. After reading Paste's list, gauging my own reaction to it, and reading the ICs, today I'm inclined to say No. Why bother? It's a solipsistic exercise read by solipsistic music fans who will inevitably disparage the effort. In theory, these things ought to be fun. This experience hasn't been very fun for me, either as a participant or as a participant who now gets to read the outraged responses of the ICs. I'm thinking that I'll pass in the future.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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Is it worth making the lists? I don't know. After reading Paste's list, gauging my own reaction to it, and reading the ICs, today I'm inclined to say No. Why bother? It's a solipsistic exercise read by solipsistic music fans who will inevitably disparage the effort.

I'm inclined to say No as well, even if I'd heard 5% of the music on these lists. This is why I gave up on year-end movie lists a while back, although I pulled together a "Best of Decade" list in about 120 seconds, looking at another published list, simply because I felt somewhat qualified to make a list, and once every 10 years seems like the right frequency ... if only requiring 120 seconds of my time per decade.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I'd say the lists are worth it as a solipsistic exercise to remember albums that I've enjoyed over the years. They do take a thick skin to publish. I don't have the highest opinion of the level of discourse from random commenters on a web page, though I recognize the ability to comment brings the web hits.

As someone who spent a lot of time when I was younger frustrated that the masses didn't get whatever artist I was loving at the time, it's been eye-opening to be on the outside looking in with regards to several favorites on this forum, particularly Joe Henry.

It's always worse for some reason when a friend's reaction to one of my favorites is along the lines of "I can see why that works for you, but I don't love it with the same fervor."

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I'd say the lists are worth it as a solipsistic exercise to remember albums that I've enjoyed over the years. They do take a thick skin to publish. I don't have the highest opinion of the level of discourse from random commenters on a web page, though I recognize the ability to comment brings the web hits.

It's quite possible, even likely, that my skin isn't thick enough. It isn't even my list, and I played only a small role in its compilation, but I still don't understand the need to make comments like:

You can't possibly make a list like this and not expect to be labeled a douche. Sorry.

and

LOL, none of the album You mentioned should be here. You are losers :P

and

You put Kanye West on the list but not Fleet Foxes?! Have you even listened to their album?

..Well, clearly not since it's not on the list so here's a tip: listen to it!

Everybody's a critic. Also, everybody's an asshole. Well, not everybody, but there are enough of them out there to disseminate enough shit to fertilize the Great Plains. The Internet once again displays its propensity for faceless yobs to say anything, with impunity. My skin, apparently, isn't thick enough. And it stinks.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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I'd say the lists are worth it as a solipsistic exercise to remember albums that I've enjoyed over the years. They do take a thick skin to publish. I don't have the highest opinion of the level of discourse from random commenters on a web page, though I recognize the ability to comment brings the web hits.

It's quite possible, even likely, that my skin isn't thick enough. It isn't even my list, and I played only a snmall role in its compilation, but I still don't understand the need to make comments like:

You can't possibly make a list like this and not expect to be labeled a douche. Sorry.

and

LOL, none of the album You mentioned should be here. You are losers :P

and

You put Kanye West on the list but not Fleet Foxes?! Have you even listened to their album?

..Well, clearly not since it's not on the list so here's a tip: listen to it!

Everybody's a critic. Also, everybody's an asshole. Well, not everybody, but there are enough of them out there to disseminate enough shit to fertilize the Great Plains. The Internet once again displays its propensity for faceless yobs to say anything, with impunity. My skin, apparently, isn't thick enough. And it stinks.

Those comments are just so, well, dumb that they're tough to take seriously. All that was missing was a "FIRST!" and spelling it "loosers."

I grew up reading year end best ofs and saving up my money to buy any album that was mentioned enough for me to notice. I'm sure the act of investing 15 in an album made me more likely to be more patient in discovering its charms. It's a new world when I can click a mouse to hear every song on a best of list immediately and form a snap judgment, not only on the artist in question but the validity of the list and its maker.

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Is it worth making the lists? I don't know. After reading Paste's list, gauging my own reaction to it, and reading the ICs, today I'm inclined to say No. Why bother? It's a solipsistic exercise read by solipsistic music fans who will inevitably disparage the effort. In theory, these things ought to be fun. This experience hasn't been very fun for me, either as a participant or as a participant who now gets to read the outraged responses of the ICs. I'm thinking that I'll pass in the future.

Andy,

I appreciate the list. I was hugely into music growing up but post-child I haven't had the cash to drop on music so I got really out of touch with anything going on except the few old guys till making music from when I was paying attention. The last couple of years with the advent of iTunes and iPods I have been trying to get back into listening. I have found your input invaluable as well as others in this forum. I have found Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Joe Henry, the Hold Steady to name a few of the musicians that I now thoroughly enjoy. I went through the Paste top 50 list and there were a handful of people that I had listened to but a bunch I haven't. I went by the library on the way home and checked out a couple of CDs that were on the list. So, to me, it is worth it that people like you, who invest a lot of time and energy in listening to music, regularly take the time to share it with people like me who need a lot of guidance. Many thanks!

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I love all these end of year, end of decade lists. Love them! Heck, I like any list. I am always quite happy to make a list. My blog partner and I are working on a top 100 of the decade list. It's been fun and although there's much in common we diverge on certain artists. He loves the last few Joe Henry releases (I find them interesting to listen to, but find little to love) and Ron Sexsmith and I love uber-melodic concoctions like Jeremy Fisher, The Red Button and The Format. He may go to the mat for Spoon as the decade's greatest artist, I'll vouch for Ike Reilly or Lucero. Although I think we'll come to a mutual agreement that it's really The Hold Steady.

But even for two guys who have really similar tastes, we diverge often. So when you get knucklehead readers with internet balls all hopped up to empty bile sacs because Mew Delta Spirit and Suffering and The Hideous Thieves (great band name!) aren't on your list of the day... who cares? Seriously, I'd rather rather get a negative response than an indifferent one (or even worse, none at all). Imagine how bummed the Paste staff would be if there were zero comments.

Music is so personal and subjective and based on cultural setting, age, economics, location, personality, friends, and dozens of other factors that no two people will ever fully agree on anything. Use these lists (and they will keep coming) to seek out like minded souls' insights. They may steer you to the next great thing you've been waiting to hear but didn't know it.

Andy - without reading your stuff, I might never had heard Southeast Engine, Adam Marsland, Ezra Furman or Frank Turner. And that would be my loss. Keep writing, keep making lists... and I'll keep reading.

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I love these kind of lists, too. It's another way to discover new music, films, etc. And the lists I see in Paste have always been well-done and insightful.

I've always been a sucker for lists. I remember when I was a kid, for a time I was obsessed with a popular paperback book called The Book of Lists. It was basically 300 pages of lists of various and sundry information like lists of words you can't pronounce correctly, lists of trivia about English kings, worst football stadiums. A mix of a little bit of educational information and a lot of the oddest trivia one could find. I guess I have a strange fascination with accumulating useless information.

Over the next couple of months, there will be a smorgabord of best-of-the-decade lists of all types. It would be easy to be consumed by it all. It's good to have a board like A&F, who can direct me to lists that are intelligent and mean something. Otherwise, by the you get to VH-1's 100 Most Un-Metal Heavy Metal Moments of the Decade, the overload would be too much.

Edited by Crow
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Wow, November already?

I don't have the nerve (nor will presume the authority) to start an official list.

But I managed to whittle away to a list of fifteen. Fifteen, since 10 wasn't going to possible, and 20 wouldn't let me off the hook. I wanted to have to think about this. And I did, believe that.

15. Laura Cantrell – Not The Tremblin' Kind, 2000

14. Jay Farrar – Sebastopol, 2001

13. Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum, 2004

12. Silver Jews - Bright Flight, 2001

11. Wayne Robbins & the Hellsayers - The Lonesome Sea, 2004

10. Superdrag - In The Valley of Dying Stars, 2000

9. British Sea Power – Decline of British Sea Power, 2003

8. Pernice Bros - World Won't End, 2001

7. Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump, 2000

6. Spoon - Girls Can Tell, 2001

5. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2002

4. Avett Brothers - Emotionalism, 2007

3. Sam Phillips - Don't Do Anything, 2008

2. Woven Hand - Consider The Birds, 2004

1. Alejandro Escovedo - A Man Under the Influence, 2001

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Wow, November already?

I don't have the nerve (nor will presume the authority) to start an official list.

But I managed to whittle away to a list of fifteen. Fifteen, since 10 wasn't going to possible, and 20 wouldn't let me off the hook. I wanted to have to think about this. And I did, believe that.

15. Laura Cantrell – Not The Tremblin' Kind, 2000

14. Jay Farrar – Sebastopol, 2001

13. Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum, 2004

12. Silver Jews - Bright Flight, 2001

11. Wayne Robbins & the Hellsayers - The Lonesome Sea, 2004

10. Superdrag - In The Valley of Dying Stars, 2000

9. British Sea Power – Decline of British Sea Power, 2003

8. Pernice Bros - World Won't End, 2001

7. Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump, 2000

6. Spoon - Girls Can Tell, 2001

5. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2002

4. Avett Brothers - Emotionalism, 2007

3. Sam Phillips - Don't Do Anything, 2008

2. Woven Hand - Consider The Birds, 2004

1. Alejandro Escovedo - A Man Under the Influence, 2001

You know, I really appreciate this list, not only because it has quite a bit of music on it that I really like, but also because, for the most part, it avoids the obvious choices that most people will feel the need to include, even if they don't particularly love the albums. Radiohead and Sufjan, I'm looking at you. When I think about the albums I've enjoyed the most this decade, apart from cultural impact and innovative influence on the music industry, and all the other factors that typically go into these lists, most of them were made by musicians/bands who launched their works into the great void and made barely a ripple. I'm thinking about Ezra Furman's debut album, Southeast Engine, Joe Henry, Aradhna, Alasdair Roberts, Bettye Lavette, Frightened Rabbit, The Clientele, Devon Sproule, Eleni Mandell. Their influence was minimal; in most cases, only a few thousand people heard their music. But they just happened to make the most satisfying music of the decade for me, the music I come back to again and again.

I'm hoping for a lot more idiosyncratic lists, a lot more representation from the head scratchers and the musical hordes who make you ask "Who?" Well done, sir.

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I'd seen #43 at the library several times -- it's never checked out, and there's always two copies on the shelf. I'd read the artist's name, which hadn't registered, and put the CD back. But now that I know it's the 43rd best CD of the last 10 years, I'll check it out!

This album sounds exactly like I thought it would sound. Sometimes you can judge a CD by its cover.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I am an interloper in this forum, as I can't keep up with music as well as you all do. But I eavesdrop with great pleasure. This ignores Joe Henry and Radiohead by virtue of sheer ignorance:

Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight (thanks, Andy)

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens...

Beck - Sea Change

Nick Cave - And No More Shall We Part

Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn

Over the Rhine - Good Dog Bad Dog reissue

Bob Dylan - Love and Theft

Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

Welch/Rawlings: Time, the Revelator

Sigur Ros - ()

And maybe:

Medeski, Martin, Wood - The Dropper

Dirty Three - Cinder

Boards of Canada - Campfire Headphase

Patrick Watson - Wooden Arms

Outkast - Stankonia

Air - Talkie Walkie

The Clientele - God Save The Clientele (thanks, Opus)

Doves - Lost Souls

The Books - Thought for Food

Stephen Malkmus - Pig Lib

Thankful for any suggestions.

(edit: This exercise has proven how unreliable I am as an index of musical taste. I gave Silent Shout a relisten this morning. While it has a few great tracks, it really isn't that good of an album.)

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight (thanks, Andy)

Ditto to the "thanks, Andy" part. What a great find...

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight (thanks, Andy)

Ditto to the "thanks, Andy" part. What a great find...

One more thanks here. Love this album and still listen to it.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I haven't heard nearly as much as I should this decade, but here's my top 10, in no particular order:

  • Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
  • Woven Hand - Woven Hand
  • Bob Dylan - Love and Theft
  • The Postal Service - Give Up
  • The Arcade Fire - Funeral
  • Nick Cave - Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
  • The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
  • U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • Steve Earle - Transcendental Blues
  • Joseph Arthur - Redemption's Son

And my honorable mentions:

  • Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
  • Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
  • Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
  • The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
  • The Decemberists - Picaresque
  • British Sea Power - Open Season
  • Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
  • Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
  • Aimee Mann – Live at St. Ann's Warehouse
  • Patty Griffin - 1,000 Kisses* (replaces Jim White - No Such Place)
  • Jim White - Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See
  • Charlie Sexton - Cruel and Gentle Things
  • K'naan - Troubadour
  • Michael Knott - Life of David
  • Low Millions - Ex-Girlfriends
  • Nellie McKay - Get Away from Me
  • The Roots - Phrenology
  • Starsailor - Silence is Easy
  • Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies* (added)

And partially to defend myself against apologists... Heh... These were *this close* to making my honorable mention list:*



  • Sam Phillips - Fan Dance
  • Sam Phillips - A Boot and a Shoe
  • Over the Rhine - Ohio
  • Joe Henry - Tiny Voices

*Edits

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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[*]Nick Cave - Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

I know this album was popular, but I don't understand why. It is one of his worst by far. A few of the tracks played well live, but otherwise, I don't get it. I have heard him play most of those songs without much response. At subsequent shows, the pattern held. It all got kind of blah after Nocturama as far as the live shows were concerned. Dig was no different. I must be missing something.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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[*]Nick Cave - Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

I know this album was popular, but I don't understand why. It is one of his worst by far. A few of the tracks played well live, but otherwise, I don't get it. I have heard him play most of those songs without much response. At subsequent shows, the pattern held. It all got kind of blah after Nocturama as far as the live shows were concerned. Dig was no different. I must be missing something.

Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I think it's easily his best album to date. Sure, I like individual songs from many of his other albums better than any songs on here, but as an album this one just hit all the right notes for me.

My judging criteria is one part cultural impact (as you say, this one was popular), one part music creativity/industry impact (he pushed the envelope with a double album and new-to-him arrangements), and a healthy dose of "how do I feel about listening to this album straight-through?" (yes. often.).

I think judging traditional albums is getting harder by the minute. If I were to make a list of top 100 songs from this decade, I'd wager maybe 1 or 2 from this album would even be in consideration. Many artists would show up on that that weren't in this list. And live... I haven't been to nearly enough performances to even attempt a best-of-decade list - I wouldn't even attempt it. But as an album experience, this one would be in definite consideration for my all-time top 10.

I just noticed you included And No More Shall We Part in your top 10. Ha! That's my least favorite Nick Cave album.*

*Edit

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Here's my current take. This could change, as early as tomorrow.

1. Joe Henry -- Tiny Voices

2. Bob Dylan -- Love and Theft

3. The Hold Steady -- Boys and Girls in America

4. Arcade Fire -- Funeral

5. Sigur Ros -- ()

6. Sun Kil Moon -- Ghosts of the Great Highway

7. Beck -- Sea Change

8. Ezra Furman and the Harpoons -- Banging Down the Doors

9. Southeast Engine -- A Wheel Within a Wheel

10. Various Artists -- O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack

11. Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell -- Begonias

12. Eels -- Electro-Shock Blues

13. Sufjan Stevens -- Illinoise

14. Lupe Fiasco -- Food & Liquor

15. Jamey Johnson -- That Lonesome Song

16. Art Brut -- Bang Bang Rock 'n Roll

17. Frightened Rabbit -- The Midnight Organ Fight

18. Godspeed You! Black Emperor -- Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

19. Camera Obscura -- Let's Get Out of This Country

20. The Decemberists -- The Crane Wife

Honorable Mentions

Joe Henry -- Civilians

Joe Henry -- Blood from Stars

Son Lux -- At War With Walls and Mazes

Outkast -- Stankonia

Bettye Lavette -- I've Got My Own Hell to Raise

The Strokes -- Is This It?

Neko Case -- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

The Thermals -- More Parts Per Million

Willard Grant Conspiracy -- Regard the End

Buddy Miller -- Universal United House of Prayer

Jolie Holland -- Springtime Can Kill You

Al Green -- Lay It Down

Nick Cave -- Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

Josh Garrels -- Jacaranda

The Clientele -- Strange Geometry

Patty Griffin -- 1000 Kisses

U2 -- All That You Can't Leave Behind

El-P -- Fantastic Damage

Kathleen Edwards -- Back To Me

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists -- Hearts of Oak

The New Pornographers -- Twin Cinema

The Black Keys -- Rubber Factory

Interpol -- Turn on the Bright Lights

The White Stripes -- White Blood Cells

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