Sunday, January 3, 2010
Top 5 bands of the decade (Chris)
I got a little sidetracked on my best bands of the decade countdown by the following things: eating lots of junk food, my yearly best of viral videos post and drinking good beer. It happens. I’m now comfortably ten pounds heavier and ready to finish off the best bands of the decade. It’s the top 5 that everyone has been waiting for. You are welcome planet Earth.
5. Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes held a special place in my 22-year-old heart. “Lifted…” seemed like the perfect album for my disenchanted post-college single self to stumble upon. The fact that some of his songs sound like he’s in the midst of being stabbed actually made me like him more. Let’s just say that listening to Bright Eyes defined a point in my life as well as anyone. Those feelings have past and I like to think both Conor Oberst and I have matured since then. As a matter of fact, as much as I liked “Lifted”, his next two albums, “I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning” and “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn” were both superior albums that didn’t resonate quite as well with me. I’m not sure how that happens, but it does. Regardless, when I look back on the 2000s, Bright Eyes were up there. I’m pretty sure they won’t crack my best of 2010s list as his new stuff is borderline unlistenable, but so it goes.
4. The Strokes
Of all the “the” bands of the 2000s, these guys seemed to start and end the conversation. They made NY pop-punk cool again. They seemed like the rock stars that MGMT mocks in “Time to Pretend.” They drank too much, dated celebrities, spend more time being rock stars than actually making rock music. What’s not to like? But the music stands up. "Is This It" is still a great listen. "Room on Fire" and "First Impressions of Earth" aren’t groundbreaking, but they still hold up. Plus, bonus points for the fact that each of these guys put out good solo albums. Albert Hammond Jr.’s two albums are fantastic, as well as Fab Moretti's band, Little Joy and Julian Casablanca’s recent solo album. I’ve giving this band credit for 1 great album and 6 good albums. That’s tough to beat. Bonus points for them being awesome in concert.
3. Arcade Fire
Since these guys have made just about every best of the decade list, as well as being Graham’s number 1 band, I’ll simply say, “these guys rock” and leave you with my favorite song.
"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", "A Ghost is Born", "Sky Blue Sky" and "Wilco (the album"). That, my friends, is a decade. "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is probably in my top 5 albums of the decade, and probably my 10 ten of all time. "Jesus, etc." is one of my 20 favorite songs of all-time. The rest of their albums hover somewhere along the line between good and great, but definitely worth the listen and easily re-listenable at any given moment. I’d say Wilco went from being underrated to overexposed, but really, they deserve the credit they get. I can’t recall the last time I heard a Wilco song and thought, “this one sucks.” It just doesn’t happen.
Plain and simple, they’re the best band of my lifetime, or my generation, or whatever. My parents had The Beatles, and Generation X and whatever the hell I am, Gen Y, have Radiohead. It’s that simple. Arcade Fire will probably carry the torch after these guys simply because they seem to put out music without buying their own hype. They’re constantly evolving yet keeping their core sound in place. They make music that matters, but more than that, they make music that I like. Sometimes those don’t go hand in hand (see Bob Dylan). “OK Computer” will probably be their best album, but I can’t say for certain. “Kid A” and “Hail to the Thief” are up there as well. “In Rainbows” gets better with each listen. They aren’t the best band in the world simply cause of hype (I’m talking to you, U2). They’ve earned it. Here’s to hoping they don’t burn out. Bonus points for their Stone Mountain show in the early 2000s. That show was transcendent.