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.
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail Of Dead, Source Code and Tags
Kronos Quartet, Nuevo
The Streets, Original Pirate Material
Hajime Chitose, Hainumikaze
NUMBER GIRL, NUM-HEAVYMETALLIC
Quruli, THE WORLD IS MINE
Zoobombs, love is funky
Hatakeyama Miyuki, Diving into your mind
Patty Griffin, 1,000 Kisses
Other favorites from the year:
Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf
Damien Jurado and Gathered In Song, I Break Chairs
Pedro the Lion, Control
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Missy Elliott, Under Construction
The Decemberists, Castaways and Cutouts
Sonic Youth, Murray Street
Sleater-Kinney, One Beat
Kylie Minogue, Fever
The Roots, Phrenology
The White Stripes, White Blood Cells
The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious
Catilin Cary, While You Weren’t Looking
BUGY CRAXONE, Northern Hymns
N.E.R.D., In Search Of …
The Books, Thought for Food
Nappy Roots, Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz
Minako, Suck It till Your Life Ends mata wa Shine Made Sono Mama Yatte Iro
The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot
Shiratori Maika, Hanazono
The Back Horn, Shinzou Orchestra
Joan Jeanrenaud, Metamorphosis
I picked up Original Pirate Material for $1 at Lifelong Thrift Shop, and now I understand why it was all over the place in 2002. I couldn’t open a music magazine without seeing Mike Skinner mentioned in it. I’m pretty sure the sample of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 sealed my admiration for the album.
THE WORLD IS MINE is something of a mea culpa. At the time of its release, I recognized the album as being Quruli’s most complex, but I just couldn’t get into it. I probably felt that it didn’t go far enough if it was going to be ambitious.
Well, the joke’s on me. I listened to it again before its reissue on vinyl, and I really dug it, much more than Antenna, which I praised effusively at the time. So it knocked Minako’s one and only album off the Favorite 10. UA also had to make room for the Streets.
The extended list includes albums I originally dismissed: Murray Street by Sonic Youth and One Beat by Sleater-Kinney.
I remember stocking Nappy Roots during my shifts at Waterloo Records and wondering what the big deal was. A $1 copy from Lifelong Thrift Shop 16 years later educated me. I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to Nappy Roots, The Decemberists or ISIS without having worked at Waterloo.
I worked at Waterloo Records from 2002 to 2005, and while it wasn’t the most lucrative job, it was one of the most influential.
It also taught me the quickest way to kill enthusiasm about music is to work at a record store.
For the most part, everyone on staff got along. We all shared different aspects of the same sense of humor, fueled by skepticism of the world in general and customers’ tastes in particular.
None of us could fathom why Bob Schneider or Norah Jones sold tons of discs, but we rang up those purchases anyway because, hey, paycheck!
The one point of contention that threatened this egalitarian ideal was the in-store player. We could play six tracks of anything we sold in the store. Some staffers were more aggressive about queueing items up, and a large portion of the staff preferred those items to be garage rock.
I would make some controversial picks myself — Duran Duran being a natural choice. Enya was one that caused a miniature staff meeting.
Thought For Food by the Books was one of those rare instances where I would stop what I was doing and see what was playing. It was a fleeting experience, though — something else would come on the player that would erase my desire to see what was queued up next.
I didn’t actually listen to the album all the way through till I found it at a book sale for the Seattle Public Library. I picked it up knowing I vaguely liked what I heard.
I can now say I concretely liked what I heard. It’s equal parts Slint and Scott Johnson, the sampled voices contributing musically to the laid back post-rock.
As much as I like the album now, I’m not sure I would have liked it as much then. I was still deep into Japanese indie rock, and it would be another five years before I dove deeper into the Temporary Residence catalog.
I may not have meshed with my coworkers taste-wise, but they did help strengthen my opinion on what I liked while also showing me how to expand those tastes.