Gabe’s Top 10 of the Decade
Amanda Palmer – “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?”
An unspoken elephant in the room is often defined by how others present dance around it without direct recognition. Many people sought this album out due to being fans of The Dresden Dolls, others because it’s artist would eventually use it as a medium and platform through which to buck the tradition of musical labels of yesteryear that more often than not treat their musicians as commodities rather than performers of the people. This is work and insight into a woman whom rips open her soul, turns herself inside out in the process, and leaves you to feel truly and utterly in touch with deep part of her despite being miles and miles away.
Fire on Fire – “The Orchard”
A fine and rich example of old traditional folk music coming from deep and dark places in the soul, this album is an amalgmation of both “blackgrass” and “love”. In it one finds a voice of work that seems to want to withdraw from the world as it fears and strays away from a contemporary feel while longingly aching for past times with warmth and love.
The Black Angels – “Passover”
This is bombast and blues moodily singing of an apocalypse one prays doesn’t arrive, though on some level one realizes already has. With a tribal rhythm rolling over itself, this is a shaman singing about Vietnam war-like terror and ferocity. The Black Angels took an album of full ideas and just let it run wherever it felt like going, making for an acid-tinged level of intensity that’s impossible not to get wrapped up in.
Nine Inch Nails – “All That Could Have Been”
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this an amazing piece of work put together by Trent Reznor, it’s not even a formal album, it’s a concert album taken from the tour of the same name, mostly to promote the release of the relatively abysmal “The Fragile”. It’s worthy of notation however as being evidence to the obsessive attitude Reznor can take at times towards the presentation of his music, and it is with this that listeners get their first true piece of that, short of concert bootlegs circulating on VHS cassettes in the 90’s. The disc is right at the cusp of Renor’s drinking problem, but right at that point where he turned himself around and became a reborn powerhouse. This is where it started, this concert recording that was so heavily produced it might as well have been a formal studio record in itself.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Fever to Tell”
An album that proved garage rock could be both arty and anthemic. This organized noise coupled with unique bittersweet balance proved to be a unique flower of chaos. Even displaying a unique beauty in slower tracks such as mainstream hit “Maps” along with numbers “Y Control”, “Modern Romance”, and secret track “Poor Song”.
The White Stripes – “De Stijil”
An album of slow burning quality that just seems to bulge with such well-rounded quality. It’s sharp, it’s got spunk. At some moments soulful, at other intense. It takes the whiskey-soaked utter abrasiveness of the previous self-titled album and “reduces” it to something much more artistic and defined. The protoplasm of the two albums to follow began here.
Man Man – “Six Demon Bag”
An album that made sure not to lose it’s downright nuttiness while somehow still managing to tighten up it’s songwriting into something more intelligent and heartfelt. I defy one not to listen to the album’s first two tracks and not thing “Damn, I’ve got to see what else is on this thing.” Sounds like the “crazy” Tom Waits, like if the seven dwarves got loaded on forest wine and decided to make a band singing about unrequited pain of life.
The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
Clearly a pop record with a fair bit of poetic edge. This album exhibited an artistic perspective that the band would prove expertly adept at displaying and cultivating over their coming years.
Death From Above 1979 – “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”
An intense, slap-you-in-the-face, testosterone-filled record with dance sensibilities, that was amazing for so many reasons if not defying the odds by becoming a huge success despite this odd combination of qualities. This album was a howitzer of lyrics, songwriting, and head-shaking riffs.
The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot”
This was a perfect gateway into the Flaming Lips. Arrive into their world of abstract musical weirdness, and suddenly find yourself traveling into all directions of their career. No no no, it enters you into this temporal vortex that sends back into elements of their previous musical work, while unknowingly experimenting with elements that would become ever-present in work to be produced after this.