A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
As I mentioned in the original entry for the 2001 list, 75 percent of the year was actually really decent, especially where music was concerned. The Favorite 10 from that year remains unchanged.
- AJICO, Fukamidori
- fra-foa, Chuu no Fuchi
- Quruli, Team Rock
- eX-Girl, Back to the Mono Kero
- ACO, Material
- the brilliant green, Los Angeles
- Cocco, Sangrose
- Res, How I Do
- Utada Hikaru, Distance
- Onitsuka Chihiro, Insomnia
Other favorites from the year:
- Hajime Chitose, Kotonoha
- MONO, Under the Pipal Tree
- Fugazi, The Argument
- Low, Things We Lost in the Fire
- Death Cab for Cutie, The Photo Album
- bloodthirsty butchers, Yamane
- Kicell, Yume
- Shea Seger, The May Street Project
- Rufus Wainwright, Poses
- Semisonic, All About Chemistry
- Missy Elliott, Miss E … So Addictive
- Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
- The Shins, Oh, Inverted World!
- soulsberry, The end of vacation
- Sigur Rós, Agætis Byrjun
- Guided By Voices, Isolation Drills
Like 2002 and 2003, the extended list for 2001 overruns with quality stuff, and I’ve only added to it.
I got Gillian Welch’s Hell Among the Yearlings as part of a gift bag from a Waterloo Records holiday party. I didn’t get around to listening to it till about 15 years later, and I had to play catch-up.
I’ve known about Low for years, but I didn’t hear them till MONO shared a bill with them in concert.
The annual Friends of the Library Book Sale hooked me up with Fugazi’s End Hits for $1, so I sought out The Argument to round out my collection. I vaguely remember the news of Fugazi’s hiatus upsetting my Waterloo coworkers. I hadn’t yet jumped on the bandwagon.
Tags: aco, bloodthirsty butchers, cocco, death cab for cutie, ex-girl, favorite edition, fra-foa, fugazi, gillian welch, guided by voices, hajime chitose, kicell, low, missy elliott, mono, onitsuka chihiro, quruli, res, rufus wainwright, semisonic, shea seger, sigur ros, soulsberry, the brilliant green, the shins, utada hikaru
I balked when Barsuk Records released a 10-year anniversary edition of Give Up by the Postal Service. Yes, add 10 to 2003 and you get 2013. But 2003 didn’t seem so distant from 2013, as 2003 did from 1993.
That’s the thing about getting older — there’s more past to remember. In 1987, I had barely any memory of 1977. In 1997, I had only 1987 as a clear reference. Only in 2007 did 1987 start to feel distant. And now I’m shocked to think 1997 — the year I moved away from home — is pretty far chronologically from where I am today.
So yeah, 2007 still feels like yesterday, although 2002 does feel more like history.
Tokyo Jihen, Sports
Shiina Ringo’s albums from earlier in the decade saw her batting a hundred, but with Tokyo Jihen, it took a few albums before the band came into its own.
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Century of Self
Source Tags and Codes was the obvious choice to include on this list, but recent spins of the album revealed a number of dead spots. Lost Songs wouldn’t show up till the next decade, which leaves The Century of Self next in line on my list of favorite … Trail of Dead albums.
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, World World World
At first, I dismissed ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION as a watered-down version of Eastern Youth. Then World World World came out, and I became a convert.
Explosions in the Sky, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
It took a while for me to warm up to The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, but All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone had a clarity that hooked me for good.
Utada Hikaru, ULTRA BLUE
Utada Hikaru’s US debut Exodus went too far to rub out the alt-rock influence in her music, so it was refreshing to hear it come roaring back on ULTRA BLUE.
Sigur Rós, Takk …
I was unfamiliar with Sigur Rós when this album was released, so I asked a friend of mine to describe their albums to me. He told me to imagine a cold, flat icy land, and that was Ágætis byrjun. Then he told me to picture 1,000 angels appearing in bursts of blinding light. That was Takk …
Shiina Ringo, Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana
I’m convinced if this album had been released in the US, indie rock fans would have abandoned their Flaming Lips albums.
Molotov, Dance Dense and Denso
US promoters tried and failed to conflate Latin American rap-rock bands as epitomizing Latin alternative rock. Molotov stood head and shoulders above the rest, and they shared more with Café Tacvba and Aterciopelados than with Puya or Control Machete.
Hatakeyama Miyuki, Diving into your mind
The year I started working for Waterloo Records was the year Norah Jones made a splash with her debut album. I wasn’t convinced, mostly because I had spent weeks listening to Hatakeyama Miyuki instead.
UA and Asai Kenichi came together for only one album, but boy is it a keeper. UA had found success on the Oricon charts before this collaboration, but afterward, she embraced a more challenging sound.
fra-foa, Chuu no Fuchi
Every time I put this album on, I feel the need to fuck shit up. It’s that intense.
Tags: ajico, and you will know us by the trail of dead, asian kung-fu generation, explosions in the sky, fra-foa, hatakeyama miyuki, molotov, music discovery, shiina ringo, sigur ros, tokyo jihen, utada hikaru