Friday, November 13, 2009

Notes from the Decade

Given that its almost the end of 2009, I thought that I'd put my list of my top 5 albums for 2000-2010. Perhaps lists like these are becoming more pointless, as the way we listen to music has changed. More often than not we listen to music shuffled. I'm old fashioned in that I like listening to albums from start to finish. Before I get on to my list, here's a discussion piece about the trends which have defined this decade in music (via NPR). NPR will have a list of the most influencial albums of the decade online on Monday (I think), I'll post the link once I find/hear it.

With the provisio that they may change from time to time here's my top five albums from the decade. My honorable mentions are: No Line on the Horizon and I'm Wide Awake it's Morning.

5. Limbs and Branches - Jon Foreman
During 2008, Jon Foreman the lead singer of the Calfornian band Switchfoot released a series of EPs titled Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. The album Limbs and Branches is a compliation of songs from these EPs. The most striking thing about these albums, are the faithful yet not preachy lyrics.The album gives Foreman the opportunity to display his craft with music.

4: Good Monsters - Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay were the first Christian band. I'm not sure whether Good Monsters Jars of Clay's best work, especially given the release earlier this year of The Long Fall Back to Earth. Both albums are perhaps more complete works than the their earlier albums. Good Monsters provides an account for our capacity as humans to be equally good and depraved.

3: Albertine - Brooke Fraser
I remember when I first heard the title track. The words and music blended together to create an athmosphere of urgency -"Now that I have seen - I am responsible, faith without deeds is dead". Quite a challenge. I'm impressed with Brooke's honest and thoughtful lyric's which quite easily cross to the mainstream. At the moment Brooke is posting articles on songwriting on her blog, which are worth a read too. Brooke Fraser isn't on this list just because she is a Kiwi, but it sure helps. Aside: Brooke is in the process of writing her third album.

2: Kid A - Radiohead
I wasn't so sure of this one when I first heard it, but it has really grown on me. It was quite a change following the critically acclaimed OK Computer, but now its one best enjoyed through earphones, and perhaps from start-to-finish. "How to Dissapear.." is such a hauntingly beautiful song.

1: The Swell Season - The Swell Season
The Swell Season is a collaboration between the lead singer of the amazing Irish band the Frames - Glen Hansard, and Marketa Irglova (a pianist from the Czech Republic). The highlight of this album to me is the harmony between the voices of Marketa and Glen and how well they compliment each other. In some ways the story has been part of their (broad) appeal, Glen Hansard with the band The Frames were searching for success, and then through the film 'Once' made for less than $200k, they were thrust into the spotlight. Hansard since then has had fun dealing with how the "whole word" has turned and noticed them. more here. As I wrote earlier their 2nd album 'Strict Joy' is not suprisingly almost as beautiful - you can read the poem that inspired the title.

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