I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.
This past weekend was the annual Big Book Sale by the Friends of the Seattle Public Library, so I should have enough music to last me for weeks, right? Right.
- Anita Baker, Giving You the Best That I Got
- Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
- Victor Borge, Live(!)
- Glenn Branca, Symphony No. 2: Peak of the Sacred
- Cameo, Word Up!
- Capercaillie, Secret People
- John Coltrane, Giant Steps
- John Coltrane, Meditations
- John Coltrane, My Favorite Things
- John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
- Eazy-E, Eazy-Duz-It
- Bill Evans Trio, Waltz for Debby
- Fugazi, End Hits
- Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree
- Guns N’ Roses, G N’ R Lies
- Heart, Bad Animals
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?
- Ketsumeshi, Ketsunopolis 4
- LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
- Milt Jackson and John Coltrane, Bags and Trane
- Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
- Morrissey, The Best of Morrissey
- Mother Love Bone, Mother Love Bone
- Nirvana, Incesticide
- Robert Palmer, Clues
- Prince, Musicology
- R.E.M., Dead Letter Office
- Radiohead, The Bends
- Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
- Einojuhani Rautvaara, Symphony No. 7: Angel of Light / Annunciations
- Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus
- Roxy Music, Avalon (Remastered)
- Soundgarden, Ultramega OK
- Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
- They Might Be Giants, Flood
- TLC, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip
- Värttinä, Seleniko
- Soundtrack, Pride and Prejudice
- Tokyo Jihen, Dynamite Out
Tags: anita baker, beastie boys, bill evans, bruce springsteen, cameo, capercaillie, eazy-e, einojuhani rautvaara, fugazi, glenn branca, guns n' roses, heart, jimi hendrix, john coltrane, johnny hartman, joni mitchell, ketsumeshi, ll cool j, milt jackson, morrissey, mother love bone, nirvana, peter gabriel, prince, r.e.m., radiohead, rage against the machine, robert palmer, roxy music, sonny rollins, soundgarden, soundtrack, they might be giants, tlc, tokyo jihen, varttina, victor borge
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
We’re half way into the second decade of the 2000s, and I haven’t seen much punditry on what albums have been emblematic of the decade. It’s probably because listening habits have moved on from albums even if the release cycle hasn’t.
My friend will be disappointed to learn I consider 2010 the start of the decade, so I’ll restrict my list to its first five years with 2010 included (i.e. 2010-2014.)
- Jason Isbell, Southeastern: “Songs That She Sang in the Shower” and “Elephant” pretty much sold me on this album, and everything else was just seduction.
- Tokyo Jihen, Sports: Shiina Ringo loosened her writing monopoly with the band, which then internalized her style to produce its best album.
- Jarell Perry, Simple Things: Part of me thinks this album is actually better than Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE.
- John Luther Adams, Become Ocean: Does what it says on the tin very, very beautifully
- Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE: WHERE YOU AT FRANK??
- D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah: So many of my friends lost their shit when this album was released that I had to hear it for myself.
- Santigold, Master of My Make-Believe: I love her music, but damn, her videos are disturbing.
- Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds of Country Music: What happens to country music when it ingests hallucinogens.
- Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now: Thank you, Mark Ronson, for bringing Duran Duran back to itself.
- Kuriyama Chiaki, CIRCUS: Getting Shiina Ringo to write a few tracks is a sure way for Japanese actresses to grab my attention.
Tags: d'angelo, duran duran, favorite edition, frank ocean, jarell perry, jason isbell, john luther adams, kuriyama chiaki, santigold, sturgill simpson, tokyo jihen