Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Albums I Like Most From Each Year I've Been Alive

Because everyone is doing it and I'm a hopeless follower. The rule is the album I like most, not the album that is generally considered the best album from each year. If the first years of the list look canonical, that's because they are. I learned about most of these bands in my 20s from all the typical places you go digging for such bands. Okay, The Smiths, The Fall, New Order, etc. don't exactly need much digging but whatever.

1982: Hex Enduction Hour by The Fall

1983: Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order

1984: The Smiths s/t
This was a good year - Zen Arcade by Husker Du, I Often Dream of Trains by Robyn Hitchcock, Double Nickels on the Dime by The Minutemen, Let It Be by The Replacements, and stuff that I never really listened to even though they're pretty ubiquitous like the Unforgettable Fire and Purple Rain.

1985: Psychocandy by the Jesus and Mary Chain, though I could also go with Rum, Sodomy and the Lash by The Pogues

1986: The Queen is Dead by The Smiths

1987: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by The Cure

1988: Going by the number of times listened to, Viva Hate by Morrissey, over Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies

1989: Doolittle by The Pixies, just edging out 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul

1990: Fakebook by Yo La Tengo

1991: Loveless by My Bloody Valentine

1992: It's a Shame About Ray by The Lemonheads

1993: March 16-20, 1992 by Uncle Tupelo
Grindstone and Wait Up are my favorite Tupelo songs. And Sandusky is gorgeous for such a simple instrumental track.

1994: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement
Back then, my favorite album was a toss-up between River of Dreams by Billy Joel and Cracked Rearview by Hootie and the Blowfish. My love affair with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones would soon follow. I am ashamed of none of these. I'm actually pretty shamed of all of them.

1995: The Bends by Radiohead
This list is starting to depress me.

1996: If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle and Sebastian
When I started high school, I started being slightly more assertive about what I would listen to. My favorite bands back then were still Hootie, Cake, Ben Folds Five, 311, The Urge, and a slew of ska bands (some with redeeming qualities, others not) and... Sublime. I am so embarrassed by that. When I worked as a sub teacher a few years ago, a bunch of high schoolers would say that's their favorite band of all time. I feel I am partly to blame.

1997: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One by Yo La Tengo
Travis released Good Feeling in '97. When I was a freshman in college, a bunch of us were convinced Travis would be what Coldplay eventually became. I'd still take Travis over Coldplay.

1998: Mutations by Beck
One of my absolute favorite radio hits in back then was "The Way" by Fastball. And that Harvey Danger single, and "Your Woman" by White Town.

1999: Guerilla by Super Furry Animals

2000: The Moon and Antartica by Modest Mouse

2001: Stephen Malkmus s/t
This and Mutations might be the only albums that were my favorites then and now. I listened to Malkmus, Is This It by the Strokes and Poses by Rufus Wainwright pretty much on a loop around that time. This was also when I was a sophomore in college and had a crush on this girl so that when another girl who was really cute said she missed having me in class because we took the same Spanish class freshman year and then said I should stop by her room whenever I wanted, I thought nothing of it and remarked to myself, "Gee, what a nice girl." I hang my head in shame over this more than many other things. What an idiot.

2002: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
I was severely depressed in '02-'03 and listened to a lot of Wilco, Doves, Eels, Whiskeytown, and Super Furry Animals. Though it was a really bad time, I still have fond memories of sitting around that summer listening to them all with that endless fog bouncing around my head. You Forgot It In People by Broken Social Scene would have fit right in.

2003: Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins
I haplessly advocated for Thickfreakness by the Black Keys over Elephant by The White Stripes for that whole summer. Lots of very good but not great albums this year - Decline of British Sea Power, the aforementioned Thickfreakness, Room on Fire by the Strokes, Dear Catastrophe Waitress by Belle and Sebastien, The Electronic Version by The New Pornographers and one that I still love but don't listen to much anymore - Gallowsbird's Bark by The Fiery Furnaces.

2004: Smile by Brian Wilson
From 2004-present, I've bought more music each year. This makes it much harder to pick one because the memories of those years are all relatively fresh, and I still listen to most of these albums at least every once in a while. Back then, Franz Ferdinand and Good New For People Who Love Bad News were pretty high on my list. Smile makes it ahead of TV on the Radio and The Arcade Fire because I listen to it more now than those two.

2005: Oh You're So Silent Jens by Jens Lekman
This was a close call, because I love Apologies to the Queen Mary by Wolf Parade. I still prefer Wolf Parade to The Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown, the side projects of Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug.

2006: Bitter Tea by The Fiery Furnaces
There is some fierce shit on First Impressions of Earth by The Strokes. It's definitely worth revisiting. This was another good year for very good but not great albums - I loved Return to Sea by Islands, The Crane Wife by The Decemberists, and sundry other albums I'm not willing to look up right now.

2007: This may as well be a tie between Kala by M.I.A. and Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem

2008: Stainless Style by Neon Neon
Also love Fleet Foxes.


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