an article, you say? i'll slap together some ten year anniversary thing...wait...twenty years? fuck.
Well folks, I might have an article in the upcoming edition of The Climax (the Hampshire student newspaper).
In case I don't get approved, or any Tyson purists want to see the un-copy-edited article, I will gladly provide the original text...now.
How long ago IS ten years, exactly?
The other day, as I was watching Dazed and Confused I was thinking about growing up in the 00s, as opposed to the 70s. It is strange to be approaching the end of this decade so soon. It feels as if we haven’t had time to shape our culture, or to define who we are and what time we are growing up in. As it has been discussed on campus recently, it has been twenty years since the Dakin take-over. But twenty years seems so much longer ago in the abstract.
You know what occurred just ten years ago? How about the release of Saving Private Ryan, and the popularity of “Whatever” by Godsmack? “Rosa Parks” by Outkast and Cruel Intentions. There’s Something About Mary and “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Makes you think, no?
So, in the spirit of nostaligia, I decided to look back at the past ten years, and revisit an album from each year that we can look to in order to see our progress as a generation…or something to that affect. Except they’re all chosen by me…so I’ll just ignore any cultural implications, sound good? Great.
1998: Cat Power – Moon Pix
Long before The Greatest in 2006, Chan Marshall was really, really, really crazy and drunk all the time. Or at least that’s what the press would have you believe. But even if that’s somewhat true, she was still capable of producing some of the best music around. The younger, rougher Chan will be familiar to fans of her newer material, but might appeal more to those who think her sound is a little polished and same-y these days.
1999: Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun
Perhaps you’ve heard of these crazy Japanese noise/prog/whatever rockers. They are highly influential in nearly every experimental music scene one can imagine. This album is one of their few proper releases, but it is a doozy. They’ve recently started touring around again, and where just around here, playing a relatively quiet show in Northampton.
2000: O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Soundtrack
When this came out, it was one of the weirder cultural phenomenons at the time. It won Best Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2001. In beat Radiohead, Outkast, Eminem, and Paul Simon. Weird, right? Anyways, the Coen Brothers are acknowledged geniuses, as is T-Bone Burnett, and bluegrass was bound for a comeback. So really, the success of this was fortold in the stars. But we all love it, right?
2001: Radiohead – Amnesiac
The point is that Radiohead is so canonized that they released the stuff that they didn’t think was good enough for their last album, and critics still slurped it up like it was free Slurpee day at 711. My similes are usually better, I swear.
2002: The Mountain Goats – All Hail West Texas
Because I had always had a burned copy of this CD, I hadn’t realized until the other day that the subtitle for this album is “fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys.” John Darnielle’s albums are often very literary in their construction and this one is no expcetion. But where The Sunset Tree is autobiography, and Tallahassee and We Shall All Be Healed are full novels, All Hail West Texas is a series of short stories that all tie together in Darnielle’s fictional, literary universe. In some ways, this album is Darnielle’s best; on it, he’s hitting hard and often, never reaching a lull, and the lo-fi recording strips everything down to the basic necessities: his voice and his guitar.
2003: M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts
I’ve heard it said multiple times that this is one of the seminal albums of the 00’s, and I am pretty sure I agree. As far as epic, heart-pounding electronica goes, you won’t find anything as good as this album, even in M83’s later work. The band was a duo during the making of this album, and they split soon after, and it seems the albums have followed the law of diminishing returns as a result.
2004: Jens Lekman – When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog
Mr. Jens Lekman is one of my recent heroes. This guy balances sincerity with irony like only the Swedes can do, and he does it with some catchy tunes. If Lou Reed was more about disco samples, violins, and short reflectons on bananas from 711, he might sound like this. His album last year (Night Falls Over Kortedala) got him more attention and press, but that was only because people took a while to pick up on just how great this album was.
2005: Love is All – Nine Times the Same Song
I know that our Arts & Entertainment editor, Joshua “Moshua” Schneider, would support he in calling this one of the better “garage rock” (though I hate that term, for the most part) albums of the past few years. Lead singer Josephine Olausson really charges through this album about love, television, movie marathons, and angry night spent waiting by the phone. Kevin Barnes has covered “Make Out Fall Out Make Up” on recent tours, and the album got a proper US release in 06. But they still remain relatively unknown stateside.
2006: T.I. – King
This may not be the masterpiece of southern rap, but it seems like a definite pinnacle. Fans will argue that his older stuff was far more distinct, and they might be right. But this album is so consistently catchy, memorable, and listenable, that I can forgive some artistic concessions for a wider audience. Plus, I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t like “What You Know?” In an era in which everyone complains about lyrics taking a backseat to production, nobody takes the time to appreciate a good radio hit that manages to combine great beats and good rhymes.
2007: Radical Face – Ghost
The album is the work of one guy (who is also involved with Electric President [I don't care what his name is, frankly]), and it is evidently something of a concept album about haunted houses, or at least songs that sound like they could be about a haunted house. It's a fantastic winter and fall record, but it has moments of momentous pop bombast that keep the album from a strictly downer status. But honestly, bullcrap aside, the music is just really beautiful and sad and haunting. And it's kind of funny that I choose the word 'haunting', but it's not a joke. It's one of those albums that becomes especially personal the more you listen to it.
So, yeah, it's a bit of a throwaway piece, but we needed to fill some space, evidently. Plus, we already have someone to talk about movies, and various people to discuss TV. So, I write about music. I plan to never attend a newspaper meeting, and provide articles to as many issues as possible. But next article, I'm not writing about albums or doing capsule reviews. Unless that's what the people call for. Because I'm a whore.
PS: yeah, that's right, two pictures of Jeff in a row. guess I'm in love.