Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 100 Albums of the 2000s: 90-81

Older posts: Honorable Mentions, 100-91

90. No Age - Weirdo Rippers

Despite living within a few miles of No Age during their emergence, I never saw them at The Smell when they were mainstays at the Downtown L.A. venue. Weirdo Rippers was my introduction to these modern noise rockers, and it's an assured debut reminiscent of Sonic Youth's Evol. It's a breakthrough that introduces them as a force in rock that's both fuzzed out and stripped down.



89. At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command

Throughout the early part of the decade, you were either an At The Drive-In fan or a closet At The Drive-In fan. Very few of us in those days weren't turning up the volume on "One-Armed Scissor," even if we'd never do so in public. Relationship Of Command is the post-hardcore band's best album, and pretty much superior than anything Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala have done with The Mars Volta.



88. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock And Roll

An antimeta-meta rock album, Art Brut went out of their way on their first album to let you know that they were very cool without being your idea of cool. Eddie Argos sings on opener "Formed A Band," And yes, this is my real voice, it's not irony. But is it? Either way, these are 12 high-powered songs, only three clocking in at over three minutes. "Modern Art" may be my favorite, as it certainly "makes me want to rock out."



87. Beach House - Devotion

Beach House's wonderful second album showcases Victoria Legrand's voice as one of the greatest assets in modern pop. Add that to dreamy songs like "Turtle Island" and "Heart of Chambers" and you've got a beautiful 44-minute lullaby that works just as well alone in your room as it does driving up the PCH.



86. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

Dan Bejar had a busy decade. He added a deft and complex songcrafting style to The New Pornographers and Swan Lake, but his style is on display full time under his Destroyer moniker. Destroyer's Rubies is the best of these albums. It's bookended with "Rubies" and "Sick Priest Learns To Last Forever," the former a 9-minute mish-mash of everything Destroyer, while "Sick Priest" opens with a more familiar classic rock jam. It's a complete album, ordered just as it should be.



85. Cam'ron - Purple Haze

One of the most misogynistic albums ever made, Purple Haze piles on the guests, the skits, the samples, and ends up with a giddy, overwhelming 70 minutes of hip-hop. I'm not sure if anybody's counted, but it must have more "niggas" and "bitches" per minute than any other album. Cam'ron introduces himself (Killa!) at the beginning of each song. He wants you to know exactly who's responsible.



84. The Deadly Snakes - Ode To Joy

When you title your album "Ode To Joy," you better have something impressive in store. While The Deadly Snakes produced something perhaps not quite as instantly memorable as Beethoven's ____, their third album is a hell of a fun trip back to 60s energy-rock. Think The Monks and Bob Dylan circa 1966 mixed together. In fact, "Everybody Seems to Think (You've Got Some Kind of Hold on Me)" could have fit right on Dylan's infamous Manchester setlist. A fantastic album that far exceeded the more popular Vines/Hives sound of 2003.



83. Black Mountain - In The Future

One thing the 2000s had a lot less of than the 1970s was drug-addled hard rock. Oh sure, 1967 had plenty of psychedelia, re-energized in this past decade by Black Moth Super Rainbow and the like, but Black Mountain make the drug-fueled sounds of old, classic rock-style jams enhanced by Stephen McBean's subtle latter-day hippieishness. Interestingly enough, several members of the band volunteer for an organization that helps provide the needs of drug addicts and the homeless. On In The Future, their second album, Black Mountain explore more complex, drawn out songs, but they're at their best at their most simple. "Angels," would have topped the charts in 1971 and loses none of its punch over time.



82. Califone - Heron King Blues

Califone's 2004 concept album about a weird druid man-bird contains some of Tim Rutili's most brooding and even "groovy" sounds. "2 Sisters Drunk On Each Other" and "Sawtooth Sung A Cheater's Song" are as close as Califone gets to danceable. Heron King Blues and its mysterious tone flow beautifully. The title track and a curious "Outro" take up 17 minutes and close out what may be Califone's finest moment.



81. Peter Gabriel - Up

This one really came out of nowhere. Gabriel's first proper studio album since 1992's Us was dark and demented, but in a far less radio-friendly way than "Shock The Monkey." His most experimental work since the 1970s, Up sees Gabriel lamenting the watch-anything media in between the major themes of birth and death. The album begins with "Darkness," the album's scariest song (after all, coming into this world is scary), and ends with the soft and touching "The Drop." Though it seems perfectly in place on the album, it's interesting to note that "Signal To Noise" is played during the opening fight sequence of Gangs of New York. Up is Peter Gabriel at his most outlandish, proggy best, and he's still able to mix it up and make it mainstream nearly 20 years after "Sledgehammer."

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