OK so here we go… There’s really no need for introductions this ride around, we both know why we are here! I apologise for making you wait two weeks for this but lemme say this in my defence, this has been quite hard!
Anyway… Unto my Top 15 BUT before that, these are a couple albums that I feel I should mention even though they haven’t made my list this time around.
Kanye West – Graduation (2007)
Alright, I know what you’re thinking and it’s either one of these two things.
1. ‘This should MAKE the list!’ <— You’re TOO right! & on any other day, this album makes my top 15 albums of the decade list easily BUT I just couldn’t bring myself to replace it with the 15 albums I am about to show you after the jump. I don’t tend too much to use ‘perfect’ to describe a hip-hop record so I won’t BUT what ‘Graduation’ is, is a Masterpiece! From ‘Good Morning’ to ‘I Wonder’ to ‘Barry Bonds’ to ‘Flashing Lights’ to ‘HomeComing’, I dare to ask if there is a bad track on this album? Cos there isn’t!
2. ‘This isn’t Kanye’s best album!’ <— You’re WRONG! I invite you to re-evaluate your stance if you will and go back and listen… Graduation is less personal that his previous albums granted BUT way better on every front!
Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
No they’re NOT Joy Division wannabes & quite frankly the comparison is condescending. YES there are certain similarities BUT you hear the ‘Punk’ on Joy Division’s sparse & melancholic records that you don’t here on Interpol’s grand & largely theatrical productions… this NYC Indie-Rock band offer you something else on ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’… They offer you a GREAT album!!!
OK HERE goes…
15. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
I’m betting some of you couldn’t (or didn’t) last through the 70-0dd minutes of this Indie Rock Concept album like the lucky few of us did & you missed out such gems as ‘The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulder’ & ‘Out of Egypt’… I was of the wrong inclination that you needed to be American to enjoy this album because let’s be honest, it is about an American state BUT I find this to be far from the case, I do enjoy this album, maybe because of its numerous Religious themes & references, but also because of its lush & impeccable musical arrangements and grandiose orchestration.
14. Sade – Lover’s Rock (2000)
Controversy Number ONE… BUT those who KNOW, know init! That’s more than I choose to say about this album… Ok maybe I’ll add this! For all the hard-core ‘Diamond Life’/’Love Deluxe’ fans, ‘Lovers Rock’ is a bit more electric or shall I say ‘Rock-Infused’ than the usual Sade albums but it’s still vintage Sade & thank God she rallied the original troop for this one because they created a colossal record! When the newbies rant & rave about Usher’s ‘Confession’ or Justin Timberlake’s ‘Future Love/Sex Sounds’ as the best R&B record of the decade, I just want you to smile & walk away singing aloud to yourself ‘Somebody Already Broke My Heart… I Can’t Go There Again’.
13. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
Is it better than their 1999 classic, ‘The Soft Bulletin’? Well certainly NOT, let’s not get TOO ahead of ourselves here BUT this album was/is and for all intents and purposes just out of this world. It was as ‘pushing the envelope’ as other ground-breaking albums before it such as ‘OK Computer’ & ‘Paul’s Boutique’… Is it a Pop record? NO it’s so much more than that. Heavily clad with beautiful electronic sounds, psychedelics & synthesizes strings as on ‘Do You Realize’, impeccable musical arrangements as on ‘In the Morning of the Magicians’ & of course Wayne Coyne’s amazing vocals & heartbreaking lyrics as on ‘All We Have is Now’, ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ is so amazingly good, you have to make up words to qualify how good this album is!
12. Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
When I remember this album, I only remember GOOD VIBES… I remember being HAPPY! That’s what this record did to you, still does to you… I remember seeing and enjoying the video of ‘One More Time’ and just wanting to dance my socks off to ‘Areodynamic’ & sing along every time I heard ‘Digital Love’ & ‘Something About Us’… Asides the joyous feeling the album gives you, it is also essentially an AMAZING record! It’s a shift from the ‘Chicago-House’ record that their debut album ‘Homework’ was into a futuristic electro-pop style that took some inspiration from 70s & 80s disco and R&B… Simply AMAZING.
11. Brian Wilson – SMiLE (2004)
What else would you expect from an album that took 43 years to be released & one that allegedly drove Mr. Wilson to a mental breakdown… It’s a beautiful record that lives up to all the hype & the comparisons with The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’ are really NOT that far-fetched, I mean in 1967, Smile was gonna be America’s version of The Beatles’ classic record & it would have done far better IMO! Smile is that good & more to the point, there is really NOTHING on a musical level that you can find wrong with Brian Wilson’s resurrection of this colossal album… The only problem is with me NOT putting this record in my Top5 *takes a gun & shoots myself*
10. LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005)
For all the electronic/dance heads & 80’s hipsters out there, this one’s for you guys! I must admit though that I was going back and forth over what LCD soundsystem to include in my list, this one or ‘Sounds of Silver’ because they’re both so damn good but for its consistency and for the lack of even one dull moment, I chose this one! I don’t know about you but full-length dance records usually tend NOT to deliver the goods that their singles promise, well NOT until this record here… Over 2 discs & over a hundred odd minutes, James Murphy commands & it’s so much more than a house record… its Disco Punk, Modern Punk, Garage Rock, Psychedelic Pop all merged together on this album.
9. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000)
I have a theory about this Tony Starks record and you can take it to the bank (or leave it, its totally up 2 you) BUT this album single-handedly put the Wu-Tang Clan back on the map for the 21st Century. Production on this opus is reminiscent of the Clan’s sophomore album but RZA, the Musician behind 1997’s ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ (one of the best Hip-Hop double discs there are) was only at the helm for 4 records on this album and you’d be forgiven for not realising that. Instead Ghostface calls upon relatively unknowns but definitely students in RZA’s classroom such as The Beatnut’s Juju & Allah Mathematics to provide him with the musical backdrop for his spitfire narrative & wordplay to create this CLASSIC!!!
8. J Dilla – Donuts (2006)
JUST BECAUSE NO WORDS ARE NECESSARY, not least to explain what this album is doing here, I WILL only say this… Rest in Perfect Peace James Dewitt Yancey aka Jay Dee, May GOD rest your soul… & Thank you for the donuts! They’re still as fresh as they were back in 06′, all 31 of them. Those 44 minutes changed many lives! GOD BLESS.
& if for some reason in this world, which I cannot for the life of me fathom right now, you haven’t heard J Dilla’s ‘Donuts’, then 1. You’re on a TIME-OUT & 2. I suggest that you correct that now!!!
7. D’Angelo – Voodoo (2000)
Asides from helping to create Erykah Badu’s ‘Mama Gun’ & the classic Common record ‘Like Water for Chocolate’, the Soulquarians collective, comprising of colossal musical talents ranging from Bilal to Mos Def, Q-Tip & Talib Kweli to Common & J Dilla, were also at the helm of putting together what is to date, one of my favorite records PERIOD. ‘Voodoo’ was an eclectic, vintage-sounding & experimental mash-up of funk, soul, jazz, afro-beat, the blues & hip-hop that all came together to create one of the best Neo-Soul records you will ever hear (but it isn’t just Neo-Soul, is it really?) & the prime suspect, D’Angelo was at his absolute best both lyrically & vocally, channeling only the greats… Marvin Gaye, Prince, Al Green & Curtis Mayfield all on this record & the delivery? OK I shall stop there…
6. M.I.A – Kala (2007)
I go to start to talk about M.I.A’s sophomore album, I go to try to describe ‘Kala’ to you BUT I can’t & I will NOT even try… Where do I even start with this record? It’s NOT Pop, neither is it Hip-Hop, so what exactly is it? Dance Music? SO MUCH More! Alternative Music? I’d dare NOT be that condescending (I mean what is ‘alternative’ really? It certainly is NOT ‘Kala’) PLUS I am too elitist to explain this one to you BUT I will say this though, if you haven’t heard the album, well that’s exactly 47:34 minutes of your life that you haven’t lived yet!
OK I’m gonna have to stop here and feed you with this, hoping that it tides you over until next week when we’ll delve into my top 5 albums of the decade. I would include them here BUT it’d take me another full day or two to write about & the Editor is on my case SO there you go Beautiful People, my TOP25 Albums of the decade… Numbers 16 – 6!!!
– Until the Next Time…
Its Triple A (Again)