As a music fan, there are plenty of times I wish I could have come of age in the mid-to-late nineteen sixties. Just plant me somewhere in 1965-1969 and I will survive on the greatest musical innovation ever known. It's rather mind-blowing to think of how many great albums were made in such a short period of time - and even more mind-blowing when you consider that the greatest innovators would return to the studio and release an even greater album six months later. Perhaps being idealistic, I seem to think that music would never cease to blow my mind were I to have experiences the Beatles, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Who, etc. etc., in their day. Certain albums still do have a tendency to grab my attention, forcing me to ask myself whether what I am hearing is actually happening.
When the decade began, I was starting college and hungry for new music. I was in luck - there was a record store nearby and Napster had yet to be brought down. As the decade comes to a close, I find my interest in new music waning, and again I return to my beloved era of 1965-1969 to treasure the sounds I love and discover new ones I have missed.
I remember being in a record store listening to Kid A for the first time and just being in awe, unable to find the words to describe it, relying on the almost embarassing, "that was so fucking good." I stayed up late listening to Kanye West's Late Registration and Blur's Think Tank, too excited to go to sleep. There was an absolute thrill in listening to The Streets' A Grand Don't Come For Free and M.I.A.'s Kala - the thrill of hearing something new, exciting and fresh. For pure emotional resonances, it is impossible to top Bjork's Vespertine, but a pair of albums from The Twilight Singers come pretty darn close.
This is a list of albums that renew my faith that innovative and exciting new music is still possible (even if it is not as abundant as in my favorite era). These albums tug at me everytime I hear them. They are my 20 favorite albums of this decade.
1. Kid A - Radiohead
The obvious choice, yes, but quite frankly, the only one.
2. Late Registration - Kanye West
3. Vespertine - Bjork
4. A Grand Don't Come For Free - The Streets
5. Kala - M.I.A.
6. Blackberry Belle - The Twilight Singers
7. Graduation - Kanye West
8. Destroyer's Rubies - Destroyer
9. White Blood Cells - The White Stripes
10. Think Tank - Blur
11. Powder Burns - The Twilight Singers
12. Stankonia - OutKast
13. Sea Change - Beck
14. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips
15. Two Suns - Bat For Lashes
16. The Hour of Bewilderbeast - Badly Drawn Boy
17. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
18. Bubblegum - Mark Lanegan
19. Love and Theft - Bob Dylan
20. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer, Of Montreal