Monday, November 16, 2009

My Decade in Music: The Best Songs and Albums of the 2000s

Well that's ten years done almost done with. Ten years of happy and heartbreak, of England and Australia, of dancing and chilling and hands-in-the-airing. Of listening to music on CD then MP3 player, then iPod. Of listening to albums entire to shuffling between playlists. From buying the odd record to obsessively scouring the MP3 blogs. From Napster to iTunes to Spotify. Can I shape the last ten years, after all only my third full decade of listening to music, into something with even the faintest accordance with my slippery memory. Let's give it a go.

Now, it’s so easy, isn’t it, it’s just so easy to scoff at those websites and magazines that have decided to publish their lists of the top albums of our splintering age, only to then have the likes of you and me point and laugh and tweet our outraged hilarity at the notion of, say, a Bob Dylan album anywhere near the top 50.

But what would make my list? Freed from having to meet demographic expectations and unrequired to satisfy a massive or medium or even discernable readership, I’ve compiled a list of the albums and tracks that have meant the most to me over the last ten years of my life, that have soundtracked my stately passage from an immature 25 to a marginally more rounded 35.

Some of the following selections may not even have been released during the decade but hey: I'm in charge, right? One thing that’ll be immediately obvious: despite my fond opinion of myself as a listener with an ear-thumb in every flavour of sonic pie (wait: is that disgusting? Or delicious?), the blunt fact is that my tastes aren’t particularly catholic. Hip hop, jazz, metal, you name it, they're all conspicuously under-represented. I can only plead honesty: if the selection strikes you as revealing a shockingly prejudiced quasi-bigotted, Phil Collinsy collection of records, well... you've got me.

One other thing: this list is more or less in chronological order. If life is just long enough to write this in the first place, it’s not quite long enough to put these records into order of preference. And anyway, would it really be fair to compare a record I've loved for almost ten years with something released only in 2009? Course not.

OK. Let’s get on with it. I'll try to publish a new piece every day. Let's start as the new century gets under way....

1: Elliott Smith, Figure 8
2: Samuel Barber and John Adams
3: Electroclash: Felix da Housecat, Miss Kitten and Fischerspooner
4: The Divine Comedy, Absent Friends
5: Dominik Eulberg, Kreucht and Fleucht
6: Royksopp, "What Else Is There? (Trentemøller remix)
7: Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
8: Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man - Out Of Season
9: LCD Soundsystem, "Someone Great"
10: Portal's GLaDOS song
11: Elbow, "Grounds for Divorce"

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