Friday, November 6, 2009

The 100 best songs of the first decade of the 2000s (60-51)

(Click here for the whole list.)

60. Beck - Lost Cause




59. Jem - They




58. Of Montreal - Disconnect the Dots


Kevin Barnes, the mastermind of Of Montreal, has said he doesn't understand why people compare them to the Beach Boys. What do you think?




57. Jenny Lewis - Black Sand

56. Regina Spektor - Samson 55. Spoon - The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine 54. Hot Chip - Ready for the Floor I can't tell if this amazing video makes the song seem better than it is, or if the song is actually better than it seems because the video distracts from the music. Either way, I can't stop watching this. 53. The Futureheads - Skip to the End 52. Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams 51. Adele - Cold Shoulder There's also an unplugged version here.

8 comments:

beckett said...

I wholeheartedly agree with "Lost Cause." As for Of Montreal, I would put almost anything off "Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer" ahead of "Disconnect the Dots" (for instance, "Suffer for Fashion" or even "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal"). For my money Hissing Fauna blows away all of Of Montral's earlier music and is much better than "Skeletal Lamping," which I think carries on Hissing Fauna's form while leaving behind its heart.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Thanks about "Lost Cause."

I disagree about Of Montreal. In my opinion, The Sunlandic Twins is far and away their best album. Amazing, staggering. Their clear second-best is Satanic Panic in the Attic. Aldhils Arboretum and Hissing Fauna have many strong points but are less consistent than the aforementioned two. Some of their other albums are just awful -- I couldn't get through Skeletal Lamping. It was so bad that I'm not even looking forward to their next album; they've lost me.

I considered including a song from Hissing Fauna -- it would have been "Suffer for Fashion," "Sink the Seine," or "A Sentence of Sorts..." I don't like "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal"; I'm baffled as to why it seems to be one of their most acclaimed songs. I always skip over it when listening to that album.

The song I probably would have used if I had used anything from Hissing Fauna -- "A Sentence of Sorts..." -- sounds to me like an amalgam of two songs from The Sunlandic Twins: "Wraith Pinned to the Mist..." and "The Party's Crashing Us." It's a fine song, but it smacks of the typical "sophomore slump" (even though it's not literally their sophomore album): I don't feel like I'm hearing a spontaneous expression of ebullience the way I did on The Sunlandic Twins. They're a band that knows their formula inside and out, and they've become a little too skilled at recreating it on command.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Oh, I just remembered that I blogged about this before.

beckett said...

I enjoyed the comments to the linked post. There's no accounting for taste.

A couple thoughts: The listener does have a lot to do with it. Hissing Fauna was the first album I heard from them, and I was blown away. When I turned to their previous work, I was underwhelmed. Instead of sounding fresh compared to Hissing Fauna, it sounded underdeveloped.

The "first album I heard from the band" effect is strong. For instance, the consensus is that "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" is Neutral Milk Hotel's masterpiece, but for me, "On Avery Island" can't be matched, in part, because it's the album on which I first heard NMH's singular style.

I also can't resist a quick Radiohead note: they've never matched and never will match "OK Computer." I can't fault the band for this: it is one of the best rock albums ever. Ever. I think Kid A, and to a lesser extent Amnesiac are incredible in their own rights. I see Hail to the Thief was their slump. Not many new ideas for a band built on ideas. I haven't listened to it as closely, but I was pleasantly surprised by In Rainbows (maybe because Hail to the Thief disappointed me). In any case, I think "bad" Radiohead beats the pants off almost anything else, including much music I really enjoy and admire.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Funny: the first Of Montreal album I heard -- The Sunlandic Twins -- is also my favorite. So maybe you're right about the first-album thing.

I've never understood why OK Computer is so adulated. I don't even think it's the best Radiohead album. Two of the songs are fantastic standouts ("Paranoid Android" and "Exit Music..."); nothing else on the album comes close to those, and much of it sounds like filler to my ears.

I would rank the Radiohead albums like this, from best to worst:

1. The Bends
2. Kid A
3. OK Computer

4. Hail to the Thief

5. In Rainbows
6. Amnesiac
7. Pablo Honey

The extra line breaks represent major drops in quality. In other words, I think their best three are in a class by themselves; Hail to the Thief is very good but not as good; and the bottom three are quite disappointing for one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

I don't even think OK Computer was the breakthrough for Radiohead that it's often described as. It was certainly a step forward -- but The Bends was also quite innovative. I see a lot of continuity from The Bends to OK Computer, and The Bends has more great songs.

beckett said...

I would reorder your list 3265147

John Althouse Cohen said...

Wait, surely you can't mean OK Computer is their 6th best, given your earlier comments?

John Althouse Cohen said...

Oh! Never mind, I get it. Each numeral in your comment represents the album to which I assigned that number. You've reordered those from best to worst. Thus, "3" at the beginning means you've moved my number 3 choice (OK Computer) up to first place.