Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NME Counts Down the 100 Greatest Albums of the 2000s

UK music magazine NME has compiled a list of the albums that define the 2000s. For the folks here in America, the list is definitely colored by Brit picks that would likely never make it over here (for example, The Libertines sit at #2, here they're uniformly identified as 'that band dirty Pete Doherty played in'). Topping it is The Strokes' Is This It?, an album that admittedly sat in my high school boom box for a pretty good block of 2001/2002 and that epitomized the New York garage sound that was one of the decades biggest musical trends.

PJ Harvey - This Is Love
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While the nostalgic bit of me would agree that The Strokes put together a pretty masterful debut in 30-minutes of upbeat rock, i'm not so sure i'd throw that one up as album of the decade, particularly as the band failed to fully develop a sound that moved beyond that first effort. Still, it deserves a spot on the list, and the rest of NME's picks read like a short trip through the development of my own musical tastes. PJ Harvey's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea slips into the top ten (and damn did i think she was a bad ass), as do the debuts from The Arcade Fire and Interpol, both bands (the latter especially) who i went phases of complete infatuation with. Radiohead's In Rainbows, a sonically full-bodied effort which i think may actually deserve the title of best album of the decade, is at #10.

Overall, while much of the music on NME's list is solid enough, and definitely was buzz worthy at the time of its release, together it's alarmingly safe. Perhaps i shouldn't be surprised, given the source, but for me all i can see is a sort of Introductory tutorial to the music every generic college kid should give a listen to. A sort of 101 class to being a pseudo-indie kid in the oughts. Basically... this is what the freshman kids working at the college radio station circa 2006 bust out in an effort to prove their salt (and who wind up getting schooled by the Juniors). There's not a lot of risk taking, not a lot of hip hop, not a lot of acknowledgment of stand out pop albums or genre benders, just rock.

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