Actually, I do want to praise it, but I first must contend with almost every other critic, pundit and poser who decrees this past decade –the Aughts, or better yet, the Aught-Nots– dead on departure. That is entirely too pessimistic, and evinces a hysteria all-too-typical of our age of instant insight. Nevertheless, I would not argue that the Aughts ought to have been a bit kinder on our hearts, wallets and souls. In other words, the last ten years were a lot like the decade that preceded them, and so on and so on.
But before we set this Viking ship ablaze and steer it toward Valhalla, let’s consider how much astonishing (and occasionally miraculous) art got made these last 120 months. In fact, without this generous bit of genius, contemplate how truly unsettling it all could have been. And before I put my cards on the table, I’d admonish anyone who is interested that this is intended as an interactive endeavor. I’m counting on feedback, debate, and even disbelief at how blind I was to omit (insert name of album or movie). And some of you (you know who you are) I hope will set me straight wherever I strayed. But be forewarned, I feel OK about the way the lists turned out. Of course, there’s no point in putting it out there if you can’t discuss and defend the choices that ultimately made the final cut, right?
Enough. It’s been over a month since I threatened to bring it, so consider it brung. The list will begin (and end) with a bunch of songs –in no particular order, other than somewhat chronological– that rose above the fray and made life a whole lot more worth living.
Spooks, “Things I’ve Seen” (2000):
PJ Harvey, “Big Exit” (2000):
Erykah Badu, “Didn’t Cha Know” (2000):
Fantomas, “Theme from ‘The Godfather’” (2001):
Oysterhead, “Shadow Of A Man” (2001):
The Roots, “The Seed 2.0″ (2002):
Neko Case, “Deep Red Bells” (2002):
DJ Shadow, “Fixed Income” (2002):
TV On The Radio, “Staring At The Sun” (2003):
The White Stripes “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” (2003):
OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (2003):
Tom Waits, “Hoist That Rag” (2004):
The Fiery Furnaces, “Straight Street” (2004):
The Black Keys, “The Lengths” (2004):
To Be Cont’d…