Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

The Beginning of a Good Time

Filed under: Features — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 9:12 pm

Recently challenged on the idea that this decade has not seen truly definitive, spectacular records that are up there with the very best ever made, I felt duty bound to refute this, I mean, this is the decade which has seen the music that has sound tracked my life and influenced my very being. To just dismiss a whole decade’s worth of albums just because they’re considerably new is just ridiculous considering the wealth of quality that has shone through. Sure, albums do take time to sink in prove their worth by remaining conscious in people’s minds for some time after their release. But true greatness is generally evident from the go, and I for one am adamant that these last seven years have seen much to rival The Smiths, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and other greats that people proclaim so often to have made the best music ever.


It may be hard to comprehend that truly revolutionary, life changing music is being made as we speak, but it is happening. Trust me. For something so revolutionary and definitive to be so tangible and current is a hard idea for many to grasp. Surely everything so incredible has already been done?

It could also be that these awe inspiring bands are not seeping into public conscious so easily as before, the music world now motivated by image and money, and with such a myriad of mediocrity out there being forced down the public’s throat. Obviously, the likes of Snow Patrol and Green Day aren’t making greatest album ever contenders, but just look that little bit further and I assure you, those kind of records are still being made.

With that in mind, I can’t really leave you without such examples of music’s true brilliance this decade, so here’s some albums that Lennon, McCartney, Rotten, Marr, Morrissey, Wilson or whoever would have been ecstatic to have made.

 

Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica

Every now and then, an album comes into your life that just makes you think “just why does anyone else bother?” That was the only thought running through my head the first time I heard this masterpiece. Modest Mouse are probably the greatest band of most who read this’ lifetime. Unrestrained, uncontrollable genius resounds from every word Isaac Brock screams, as Modest Mouse’s finest moment sees their expertise at everything between punk and post rock taken to unassailable new heights.

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

Oberst has no rival when it comes to social commentary of modern western society, and he sparkles on this superb record as his frail vocals bite vitriolic chunks out of the culture we live in.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

An unbelievably dynamic, ambitious record, with these four songs (over two CDs) managing to be among the most emotional, heart wrenching pieces of art mankind has ever produced.

The National – Alligator

For me, the greatest album since ‘The Queen Is Dead’, and an incredible trek through the depths of the inner psyche. One of those rare albums that does not have a single weak moment. Lyrics remain terrifyingly personal throughout and songs manage to appear the most simple joys when first heard, though repeated listens highlight their great many layers that make this album pretty much perfect.

The Libertines – Up the Bracket

Don’t underestimate the importance of this album. The Libertines were the band that gave British music that vital kick up the arse it so sorely needed as they inspired a generation to pick up guitars, put on fancy hats and take up a drug habit. Inspiring.

Hope of the States – The Lost Riots

If there was any justice, this would have shot to number one on release and stayed their for the entirety of 2004. But as we should all know, what with Jade Goody still breathing, there is no such justice in these harsh times. What is a masterclass in how to create a spectacular record, so soaringly hopeful and crushingly despairing, was left to be adored by a very lucky few.
The Wrens – The Meadowlands

Much delayed for silly record company reasons, this was worth every second of that near ten year wait. An American alt pop album that packed a far bigger punch than most. A distorted, addictive slice of crazed genius throughout, yet full of simple pop hooks and heart felt, lung collapsing vocals that refused to be ignored.

 

And here a select few songs that have been most ace these last seven years.

New Pornographers – Bleeding Heart Show

One of a great many reason why the Canadian music scene is probably the strongest in the world at this time. Reminiscent of Hey Jude without the boring bits, this is a harmony fueled inspiration that builds and climaxes to heart racing effect.

Coldplay – Clocks

Overplayed? Perhaps, but for such valid reasons. A simple melody that’s impossible to forget and impossible not to adore.

Sufjan Stevens – The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!

Illinoise was a rather over-rated, self indulgent affair, but this stood out from the rest on offer. Showcasing the innocent beauty of Stevens’ voice, with tender, nostalgic lyrics and spectacular orchestration, this alone made Illinoise a more than worthy purchase.

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

Absolutely triumphant in its execution, this was the peak of Funeral. Critically praised, publicly adored, one of those special records that meant everything to everyone.

Tom McRae – Walking 2 Hawaii

Britain’s finest singer/songwriter of the decade, this song showcases every reason why. Delicate guitar work can’t disguise the sinister atmosphere that fills this sombre take on the futility of life and love. McRae’s angelic voice only accentuates the devilry of the lyrics, turning this into a compelling, beautifully dark masterpiece.

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