Thursday, December 17, 2009
Chris' Decade of Music Part 3
Picking a best of the decade list has a few gray areas because, well, time changes everything. The more I’ve heard a song, the luster comes off. It becomes like leftover pizza. Sure, it’s still pizza, but after hearing a song 1,000 times, it just isn’t’ the same. At the same time, some new music is instantly gratifying but doesn’t hold up over time. It’s like Little Caesar’s. It tastes alright given that it’s hot pizza, but tomorrow, you’ll regret it. I’m not making any sense. What I’m trying to say is that my 10th band on my best of decade list is only 10 months old to me.
10. Coconut Records
I love this band. It’s what Weezer would’ve turned into if Rivers wasn’t obsessed with rappers and heavy metal riffs. It’s clever, it’s catchy, it’s pop music at it’s finest. I can’t say that it has some earth-shattering meaning or that it’s going to change the world, but you know what, screw it, music is allowed to be fun. Bonus points for fact that this band is simply Jason Schwartzman. I can’t get enough of the guy. I like the band, I like his old band (Phantom Planet) and his puts out good movies too (Wes Anderson movies/I Heart Huckabees/etc.). I like this band and don’t care if they’ve only been on my playlist for 10 months. They crack the top 10 based on what they’ve done and my belief that they’re not Little Caesar’s. They’re deep dish Chicago-style.
I’m not going obscure just for the sake of it. It’s a local Memphis band that I’ve constantly amazed by. It’s psychedelic pop with a touch of depth. The song “Dreamworks” seemed to sum up my life at the time. It’s rare to feel like you’re listening to a song about your life, but that’s how I felt on the cusp on 23. “You don’t know where you are going but tonight you’re gonna jump.” I thought they were talking about me, or to me, or identified with me. That counts for something. And this isn’t some highly personal band that other people can’t enjoy. They’re hipster popular here in Memphis but don’t hold it against them. They’ve got some chops.
8. The Killers
I don’t feel bad about going with The Killers when I see Graham with Coldplay in his top 10. The Killers are a band that was overhyped, overexposed and overplayed. That’s their first album in a nutshell. But go back and listen to Hot Fuss now and it holds up. It’s probably the premier dance-rock-pop album of the decade. We’ll look back on parts of the ‘00s and compare them to some of the cheesier parts of the ‘80s. I know we will. But the Killers are better than that.
7. Ben Folds
I’m going to confess that I wasn’t a big Ben Folds Five fan. I thought they had some alright songs but thought they were just as much of a shtick (piano rockers!) as anything else. I started to change my mind when The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner was released late in the ‘90s. I fully came around with Rockin’ the Suburbs (go figure, considering we named our blog after it). Ben Folds has become the mentoring voice of the aging dorky white suburban kid. He’s got 10+ years on me but I can’t help but listen to his songs and think, “I get it.” This song/video combo sums up the ‘00s for me, you know, other than terrorism, war and economic depression.
I dare someone to find me a better 4-year album span than Beck put up between ’98 and ’02. Mutations, Modern Vultures and Sea Change. Just listen to Modern Vultures and Sea Change and explain to me how that’s done by the same person. I’m amazed that he can go from fun neo-disco to acoustic break-up emo and pull them both off. Beck seems like one of those guys that would be successful at whatever he did, you know, so long as it was off the beaten path. I don’t listen to Guero as much as I should but like The Information and Modern Guilt. Well done Beck.