Rolling Stone Top 100 Albums of the 00s listening thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Mike B, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Hi, I'm gonna do another Rolling Stone listening thread.

    Top 100 Albums of the 00s

    So last time I schlepped through 500 records of ALL TIME. This thread's gonna be a little different. It's gonna go slower. Fewer albums means more time for each one. Also I'm less familiar with more of these because like most of you most of my music is from the previous century.

    I also think we won't have the weird thing where there's like 2 jazz albums for some reason- I haven't read the whole list of albums but I doubt Rolling Stone will include some Dave Holland Quintet record or something.

    Newer music, and a smaller period, should provide more consistency and order.

    Everyone join in on the discussion. Only rule: be nice. And let's not spend a lot of time complaining about the list of choices, we're just using this as a jumping off point for listening/discussing.
     
  2. Bravo - you're last thread was one of the best things ever on this board. Looking forward to another great journey!
     
  3. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    #100: Ten New Songs- Leonard Cohen

    An American woman once journeyed to Tibet to seek out a revered but secluded Buddhist monk. She would tell the locals she sought the answer to but one question that only he could provide. When she finally gets to the monk's temple, she begs and pleads with his followers to let her ask him her question. Finally, she gets in front of the monk and a servant asks, "What will you ask of this holy man?" She asks, "Itzhak, when are you coming home?"

    When Leonard Cohen came back from his spiritual vacation, his meditations apparently helped him conclude that he was no longer interested in visiting The Future in Various Positions (album name puns! you're welcome). Big drum beats are gone, synths are gone, and all we have here is mostly acoustic bass, light drum ticking for rhythm, and Cohen (with sometimes collaborator Sharon Robison) talk-singing his trademark literary and melancholy musings.

    On every song. It's like one of those kinda-good-but-not-great Lou Reed albums, where you appreciate what he's trying to do but after a while, all right, you get the point.

    I once was saying something about Dylan to some dude and says, "I like some Dylan but I Leonard Cohen a lot more." At first I didn't get why he even brought up Cohen but then I realized that apparently people like to compare the two, I guess because they're both singer-songwriters originally from the 60s that fans love for their lyrics as much as, or more than, their music, the same way people compare the Beatles and Stones because they're the two biggest British rock bands from the same time period.

    So, yeah, I guess I'm more of a Dylan guy. Dylan goes for a more guttural effect, like the blues, while Cohen is more classically writerly and college-y. Both are great (and you cold argue that Cohen's is more authentic, as Dylan wore his blues/country stylings as affectation sometimes), but few will be equally moved by both approaches.

    When I hear Cohen, the effect is: "here's what I came up with." And I examine it, and usually admire it. But then I put it aside and movie on. It doesn't crawl into my soul like I think it wants to.

    It is perhaps with some irony that I therefore enjoy almost all of his work about equally. His early work is the classic stuff and must be consider his "best," but I don't love it that much more than this record, or I'm the Man. Contrast with Dylan, where Highway 61 kicks my butt so hard I can't even stomach anything he did between Blood on the Tracks and Time Out of Mind because of the drop-off.

    One thing Cohen does great musically is age gracefully. He figured out how to develop a great "old man voice" in the 80s. Although I do wish he'd put just a tad more effort into actually singing on this record. There are moments that sound like just talking when there's clearly supposed to be a melody somewhere.

    Cohen is the master of writing lyrics that look pretentious when read but sound awesome when sung:

    Go ahead and write that 2nd line in an English class homework and see if you don't get an F. But then he rhymes it with "lord," in that old-man voice, and it's so cool.

    One of my most loved/hated music critic cliches- if you already like this artist/band, you'll like this album, if not, you won't. Well.. it's true here. I mean, it's Ten New Songs of Cohen telling us about lost love and regret and such. It is what it is.

    Hey anyone hear the album Robinson did, that also has the same song I think? Is it any good?
     
  4. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    Location:
    detroit, mi
    I own 2. Norah Jones and U2.
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    I own 43 of them, heavily skewed to the top end of the list. As a result, I am most looking forward to the first half of this thread since I have more of a chance to discover something I may have missed. :)
     
  6. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale Dixie Fried

    Location:
    South Carolina
    Nice...your last thread along these lines was a great read. Good luck!
     
  7. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Hey so no one has anything to say about a Leonard Cohen record? Odd, figured there'd be more fans here.
     
  8. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    #99: Almost Killed Me- The Hold Steady

    I wanted them to call me Freddie Knuckes but they called me Right Said Fred.
    Yeah, I hate when that happens!….wait, wah?

    This is the group's first record (and so far the only one I've heard) and it seems like they decided to make their mark by yelling rhyming things that I'm pretty sure are supposed to be about something but half the time sounds like nonsense.

    If Quentin Tarantino were a music album it would be this. Like Tarantino, The Hold Steady are raised on multiple generations of material from their respective art forms, and each generation feeds off of each other, making the scope of reference actually narrower and narrower. Remember, original rock 'n' roll came from blues and country, and then people added psychedelia and world music and whatever, but then somewhere in the early or mid-70s rock music would mostly be influence by other "rock" music, and now carry that over to the Hold Steady and they end up deconstructing, folding and re-folding and referencing a bunch of names to use as filter for what their songs are supposed to actually be about in the first place.

    I imagine the main theme of this list might be called, "Well, now what?" We've had rock 'n' roll, British invasion, prog, punk, post-punk, post-post-whatever, hip-hop, grunge, the anti-grunge backlash, all before the year 2000. So, now what? What do you if you want to make your mark on popular music and it's the 21st century?

    The Hold Steady layers on sincerity on top of irony on top of each other and I admit it's hard for me to figure out where the borders are between them. The vocalist, with his bursts of pop-culture name-dropping and funny(?) one-liners is the key attraction and I have to say I'm split down the middle- at any given moment I am either amused or supremely irritated.

    The fact that the songs all kind of bleed into each other and all have the same gringy noise (except for one song that features a piano and is my favorite song because it's different) makes it a chore or a great cohesive album experience, depending on your point of view.
     
  9. dolphyfan

    dolphyfan Member

    Location:
    Upland,California
    How is Aaliyah not on this list? Complete trash
     
  10. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    #98 Return To Cookie Mountain- TV On the Radio

    Lord spare us another Brooklyn music nerd who goes on about how awesome TV On the Radio but I can't help it. Before I heard them I was imagining the kind of band that would be perfect for these times- blending synths, electronics and high production with traditional rock/pop instrumentation seamlessly; experimental but within the context of strong songwriting; some of it danceable but also textured;…

    And then I heard Return To Cookie Mountain and I was like, yeah, that would be it.

    I think the first thing that grabbed me was the sheer amount of ear candy. Like the best music by Peter Gabriel or King Crimson, you never know when you're gonna hear a bold synth line here, harmony vocals there, a trance beat there. But it's rarely done like a stunt, it all makes sense in its own way and serves the song, which is what makes this group so special, and rewards repeated listens.
     
  11. shokhead

    shokhead Wear baseball cap in the direction your life goes

    To bad the cd of Green Day – American Idiot is so loud! Man o man.
    Just noticed neither of Steely Dans releashes in 2000 are on the list.
     
  12. ricebear

    ricebear Active Member

    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I'll actually comment on the albums on the list-;)
    LOVE Leonard Cohen! This and "I'm Your Man" are genius! His other albums have moments, but "Ten New Songs" is a complete work. Just pretty and nice and ...sexy. I'll admit to doing the do to this album!

    The TV On The Radio....I'll give it two "Ugh"'s and a "Geesh". It's college music, for college guys who think it's cool to name drop them.
    I hate the singer of this group- sounds like a talentless Peter Gabriel. And, I'm not totally close-minded. Hubby has the vinyl of "Dear Science" and I admit, it's a better album. This one has songs that just drone on and on...

    Haven't heard the Hold Steady. Doesn't sound good. Doesn't Springsteen like them? Well, he also likes Suicide...hmmm
     
  13. jmcgoldrick

    jmcgoldrick Active Member

    Location:
    Moore, OK
    I really like the first Hold Steady album... the first time that I saw them was at a old gas station converted into a very small concert venue and they closed with "Killer Parties" and it was great. I think that is an awesome song. I also really like "The Swish".

    To me, their best is Boys and Girls in America (although even that has a couple of cringeworthy songs) followed by Separation Sunday and then this one. To me, the last couple have been very mixed bags and a little too samey
     
  14. jmcgoldrick

    jmcgoldrick Active Member

    Location:
    Moore, OK
    With regard to TV on the Radio, I am not as familiar with them as I probably should be. I really like Wolf Like Me, but haven't bothered to check out the rest of the album. Maybe someday I will get around to it.
     
  15. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    #97 Sky Blue Sky- Wilco

    Isn't it great that there's still at least one rock band that puts out different albums each time and we all get to argue about them? I don't mean the latest from some nostalgia act or "classic rocker" (in which those who like the new material end up saying it's the best since whatever their last universally liked album was), but I mean a still-working actual band that's pretty famous.

    "Do you like Sky Blue Sky?" is the beginning of long argument or internet thread. It's too dull, it's a perfect encapsulation of their growth, there's too much lead guitar, there's not as much or it's not as good as it should be compered to their live performances, the songwriting is excellent, no it's not, I never even like YHFT that much so…. blah blah blah.

    Look, I really dig the record, except for one song. I like the fancy-pants new guitarist Nels Cline (sp? is Nels really his first name? Whatever he plays pretty nice) and how he gets into some Marquee Moon type jam. I like the sorta folksiness of the title track and the soft numbers. And I really, really love Hate It Here because it's a "perfect" song, with simple but effective lyrics, a bit of theatricality in the dynamics between verse and chorus, horns (real or synched, can't tell), and it's just sad and beautiful, like all the best songs.

    And all the tracks are pretty great like that. Except one, and it is called Shake It Off, 'cause it goes SHAKE IT OFF…BLADDA.. BLADDA.. and it really irritates me.
     
  16. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I like Steely Dan a lot but I could never get into their new ones. Maybe I'll give 'em another shot at some point. I'll just have to skip that creepy one about old-man incest.
     
  17. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    What do you think about Dear Heather? I'm gonna spin that one tomorrow (I don't know if it's on this list, I'm guessing not, but I just remembered it exists and I haven't heard it ever I don't think).

    I'm 33 and I genuinely love 'em. So.. no.
    But I hear you about the singer. Falsettos in general can be tough, at least for me. This particular issue comes up in one of the next albums.
    But it works in the context of what they do and anyway it's the rest of the group I listen for.
    However, their romantic ballad number on the new record uses his voice to excellent effect. It's also a relatively "normal" song and it works surprisingly well.


    Dunno what Springsteen likes but they are unabashed Springsteen fan and directly reference his music both in the lyrics and musically. I mean they do that with a lot of groups but Bruce is definitely a big one.
     
  18. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I listened to Separation Sunday and I like it more than their debut. Maybe I'm just getting acclimated to their sound, but I also think it's because the band sounds tighter, the guitar playing is more solid, and the singer is actually singing a bit more.

    I'm all for a bit of messiness and grit in my rock music but at some point I can't tell when these indy type bands are being "ironic" or making some point or they just suck. These guys clearly can play but I couldn't get that from the first couple of tracks of their debut.
     
  19. Mike B

    Mike B Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Yeah you should, they're one of those bands everyone who considers him/herself to be a music fan should check out. I mean if you don't dig 'em hey that's cool but they're unique and that's worth something. I do think Cooke Monster is the best one to start with even if Dear Science is probably my personal favorite just because it's slightly groovier.
     
  20. ARK

    ARK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Charlton, MA, USA
    I'm in a distinct minority, but this is my favorite in their catalog. Much better than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in my opinion. Love the ragged guitars.
     
  21. npc210

    npc210 Well-Known Member

    I own/owned 49 of the albums.

    Can't say I agree with most of it, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see "Elephant" at No. 5.
     
  22. Chip Z

    Chip Z Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    The Hold Steady definitely get more "musical." Gonna take a look at the list now. Have to imagine their better albums -- Separation Sunday and Boys and girls are in this list somewhere.
     
  23. mschrist

    mschrist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    This is exactly why I like TV on the Radio: they are making genuinely unique and different music. And it is not supposed to be the case that if you don't "get" it, you just aren't smart enough--this stuff is supposed to be accessible. And it is not sloppy and lazy, like some experimental music--it sounds like it took a ton of hard effort to make.

    I'm sensing a growing consensus here, though, that Dear Science is a better album. I agree. (So did Rolling Stone...)
     
  24. Chip Z

    Chip Z Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    I've got 73 of them. What do I win? No more Hold Steady in the list. If you like Almost Killed Me at all check out their next two. In any event, looking forward to your takes...
     
  25. mschrist

    mschrist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Sky Blue Sky, on the other hand, was a letdown to me after the two albums had preceded it. I thought it was dull.

    I'd have put its immediate predecessor, A Ghost Is Born, in its place; RS didn't even put that on one its list. Ghost is a cranky album--it's got that one song with three minutes of feedback in the middle of it, and not cool Jimi Hendrix or My Bloody Valentine feedback, just undifferentiated Metal Machine Music noise--why? But I certainly remember it, which I don't much for Sky.
     

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