Friday, January 1, 2010


Well, being at my parent's house, I forgot to bring the charger for my computer. Thus, the machine died, and I'm not able to post the written explanation of my Top 20. (UPDATE: Explanations posted below video)


That's ok, because I had planned to feature some audio/visual components as well! I figure it helps in appreciating it more than my words can anyway. So, for now, enjoy this short video, and I'll post a written response later.

BEHOLD! 20-11!

#20. Odyssey Number Five
by Powderfinger (2001)

This album helped soundtrack my life on multiple occasions this decade. From the hopelessness of "These Days" to the hopefulness of "My Kind of Scene." Reuniting with a far away loved one in "My Happiness," and losing love in "Whatever Makes You Happy." Its all in there, the ups and downs. I sort of decided this group is the Oasis of Australia. So, I guess this album held me over long enough until Oasis finally gave us Don't Believe the Truth. Still, I never did get another Powderfinger album. I guess part of that was the difficulty of finding them in the states. These days I don't have much excuse though, guess I better get on that.

#19. Citrus
by Asobi Seksu (2006)

Citrus has the grand title of being the first album I purchased as a married man. I bought it the first day of my honeymoon. Granted, I didn't get a lot of time to listen to it until we came back, know what I'm sayin (nudge nudge Hey-O!) It's also the highest album on this list without a single track in my top 100 songs. But that's not because they aren't good, in fact quite the contrary. Similar to Clap Your Hands (another album with no songs on that list), my love for this album stems from its completeness as a continuous, flawless unit. Every single song is good and flows smoothly into the next. Not any one profoundly affected me more, but each contributes perfectly to the overall gorgeous mood of this masterpiece.

#18. A Rush of Blood to the Head
by Coldplay (2002)

When I worked at the music store, occasionally we'd have some thugsters roll in and their first question was "Ya'll got hip-hop?" every single time. Every time, but one. One day, two thugz waltz in, and before I can point them to the hip-hop section, one says "Yo, ya'll got Coldplay?" Admittedly surprised, I led him to Coldplay where he grabbed Rush of Blood. "Yeah man I LOVE dis'n!" he exclaimed. That's basically what Coldplay did with this album. They went from quiet club act to stadium sized thug pleasing juggernauts. When you listen to it again, it makes total sense. This album is amazing. It's funny to realize they've only had two album since...seems like they've been conquering the world a lot longer.

#17. Room On Fire
by The Strokes (2003)

The Strokes came out just before my mission, but I didn't know much about them until I got home. Since I didn't really see the hype machine that had paraded with Is This It, I think I was able to take Room On Fire from a completely non-biased stance. I hadn't glorified their debut yet. All I did was listen to the two and end up wondering why everyone thought Is This It was so great. Its good, but cultural impact aside, I truly thought... "Is this really it?" I found Room On Fire to have more groove, more emotion, more Nintendo-guitars, more fun. It magnified what they started to perfection. I think if it came first, more would agree.

#16. Amnesiac
by Radiohead (2001)

This was the first full album I tried to download before its release. I had just been blown away by Kid A and figured, "I'm leaving on a mission soon, and I HAVE to memorize this before I leave!" I listened to it a ton, and thought it was... just ok. As release date drew closer, I started hearing clips elsewhere and realized the "album" I had downloaded was a fake! To my surprise (and relief) Amnesiac ended up being completely different. I can remember going to a midnight release, and then listening to it all at once on the couch and once again being amazed by Radiohead. "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box" says it all: "You realized you were looking in the wrong place." Indeed I was.

#15. The Greatest Hits
by Love Psychedelico (2001)

I was visiting a neighboring area on my mission one evening, riding in a car with some church member I didn't know, and listening to some groovy tunes. It sounded to me like maybe Sheryl Crow kicked it up a notch, but when I asked, the dude informed me it was "Rabu Saikederico." I told him I thought it was awesome, and right there he took the tape out and gave it to me. (That's Japan for ya!) I gave 'er a lil' listen and decided I needed to buy this group's albums. So I did. What an amazing band. An aggressive and impressive retro-electro-country-rock n' roll epic, with swagger to boot. Why else would you name your first album "The Greatest Hits?"

#14. Parachutes
by Coldplay (2000)

The reason I like this first album so much is because it really is the only one of their albums I can just sit and listen to start to finish without wanting to skip around. All their albums have amazing songs. But this first, simple, humble effort left the biggest impression on me. When I put them all together this is the only one that doesn't sound like "Coldplay" as we know them now. It matches in intimacy what they've produced in grandiosity on albums since. They aren't trying to be the biggest band in the world here, they're just sharing a few tunes.

#13. Hail to the Thief
by Radiohead (2003)

I bought this album the day it came out. In Japan. I went back to the apartment with the same Elder Fuji who had introduced me to some other good stuff (see #47 and #49) and we listened to it start to finish. We both sat there, a Nihonjin and an American, enjoying the same glorious band from England. As it ended, our companions (whom had switched for the day) came home and we quickly shoved in some MoTab or something. I sent the CD home knowing if I kept it there I'd never get anything done. But for the rest of my tenure in Japan, songs like "2+2=5," "Backdrifters," and "There, There" replayed through my mind as if I had recorded them in my head. One the band's darkest, strangest, and most amazing albums.

#12. Come on feel the Illinoise
by Sufjan Stevens (2005)

I bought this because every blog on the internet said it was the best thing since processed sandwich meat. So, I wanted to see what the big deal was. My eyes popped right out of my head as it graced my ears on the way home. Its rare that an artist you know nothing about can have such an overwhelming first impression the instant you hear them, but when it happens it is magical. Part of what amazed me was reading in the notes that Suf himself played like half the instruments. And when you can hear just about every instrument under the sun, it really tends to impress a guy. Still waiting for the official follow up...I'll wait as long as I have to.

#11. In Rainbows
by Radiohead (2007)

As a Radiohead fanatic, I about had an aneurysm when they announced this baby was to be released a week after anyone knew it existed. I think we all know that story; pay-what-you-want download, etc. etc. (I think I payed a couple bux, then got me the special box set for Christmas). In Rainbows was such a breath of fresh air. Smooth and relaxed, jazzy and groovy. It's the first Radiohead album where the band feels like they're truly just going with the flow and letting it happen. Since they're so friggin' amazing, they can do that and still make a classic. This really is a Top Ten album...but the line has to be drawn somewhere and I don't want ties. I expect as time goes, it'll shove its way up.

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