Monday, December 21, 2009

What a good decade!

Although certainly not without its share of terrorist attacks, mass murder, wars, odd and regrettable personal experiences etc., the '00s was a great time to be aware of America and its continuing cultural dominance. I've worked on and off on an end-of-decade album list that still poses certain problems, and I have an end-of-year list in the pipeline, but I thought I'd share some general thoughts about what I have enjoyed during the last ten years, because there certainly is a lot.

I may add more to this as I see fit.

Album of the Decade: At The Drive-In, Relationship Of Command
Runners Up: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, Jay Reatard, Blood Visions
Song Of The Decade: Of Montreal, "Disconnect the Dots" (the only song I played so many times in college that someone in the dorm next to me knocked on my door to make sure I was okay).
Runners Up: Outkast, "Hey Ya," The Magnetic Fields, "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend," Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, "Shake The Sheets"
Band of the Decade: Liars
Runners Up: Animal Collective, Radiohead, McLusky
Comeback of the Decade: Mission Of Burma
Disappointing Comeback of the Decade: The Pixies
Guitarist of the Decade: Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age
Bassist of the Decade: Brian Gibson, Lightning Bolt
Drummer of the Decade: Brian Chase, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Songwriter of the Decade: Jarvis Cocker
Renaissance Man: Nick Cave (five albums, a screenplay, several soundtracks, a novel, etc.)
Music Documentary of the Decade: Heima
Awesomely Apropos Soundtrack Moment in a Movie: Clive Owen meets his crazy-rich autocrat brother in Children Of Men to the tune of King Crimson's "In The Court of the Crimson King" (also notable for said brother recreating the cover to Pink Floyd's Animals outside his window).
Movie of the Decade: (tie) Nobody Knows (2004) and In The Loop (2009) [have not seen Avatar yet, however]
Director of the Decade: Clint Eastwood
Rap Act of the Decade: Outkast
Rap Album of the Decade: (tie) Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II and Deltron 3030
Loudest Band: Guitar Wolf
Best Canadian Collective: Fucked Up
Best Supergroup: (tie) Them Crooked Vultures and the Good, the Bad and the Queen
Worst Supergroup: (tie) Damnocracy and Chickenfoot
Appalling Rock Critic Moment of the Decade: Sasha Frere-Jones accuses Stephin Merritt of being a racist for saying in an interview that he liked some of the music in Song of the South.
Runners Up: Kelefa Sanneh popularizes a new straw man, the "rockist"; Jann Wenner shills for Mick Jagger's solo album Goddess in the Doorway.
Worst Anti-War Song of the Decade/Ever: The Rolling Stones, "Sweet Neo-Con"
Best Song Over 30 Minutes Long: Liars, "This Dust Makes That Mud"
Guitar Solo of the Decade: Dinosaur Jr., "Pick Me Up"
Radiohead Song of the Decade: "There There" (by a nose!)
Inexplicable Cultural Phenomena of the Decade: (tie) Lady Gaga, Black-Eyed Peas, American Idol, Fallout Boy-style punk, anything Cyrus or Jonas-related, the continued relevance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the iPod, autotune, the Killers, etc. etc. ad infinitum
Best Song On Chinese Democracy: "Better"
Saddest Thing to Happen in 2001: (tie) 9/11; Fugazi go on indefinite hiatus
Most Apparent Instance of Rolling Stone acting toolish: (tie) the reality show I'm From Rolling Stone; Jann Wenner opens upscale restaurants with no live music.
Biggest Bid For Posthumous Relevance: J. Dilla
Fiction Book of the Decade: Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers
Video Game of the Decade: Half-Life 2
Album of the Next Decade I Am Most Excited About: Dr. Dre, Detox
Douchebag of the Decade: Matt Friedberger
Beck Song of the Decade: "Girl"
Song That I Will Be Obsessed With For the Foreseeable Future: Bat For Lashes, "Daniel"
Greatest Rock/Film Criticism of the Decade: Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen on Wes Anderson's soundtrack choices.
Lyrical Maxim That Will Define the Decade: "My lifestyle/determines my deathstyle"--Metallica


  1. I've resisted commenting because i don't know where i'd even start. About movies, however...

    i agree that eastwood has had an incredible decade, though i've yet to see "invictus". he certainly has few contemporaries in hollywood. would you agree that "gran torino" was his definitive work of the aughts? ("letters from iwo jima" and "million dollar baby" come close, imo)

    i loved "in the loop" too, but nowhere near as much as you did. of 2009 movies, that would maybe be my #3, after "a serious man" and "the hurt locker".

    haven't seen "nobody knows". just off the top of my head, i think my film of the decade might be "caché"

  2. Don't know about Gran Torino being his best work. It sure is awesome, though. That's the thing about Clint Eastwood that makes him the best American director out there, pretty much: just consistent quality (haven't seen "Changeling," admittedly), plus a sense of style and more importantly a belief in film that carries important social messages that don't have to be reductive or after-school special-ish. He is America's premier humanist.

    (Also haven't seen Invictus, though).

    My choice would be the Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima twofer. Can you imagine anyone else being able to pull off what he did. An American movie spoken in Japanese, showing the Japanese side of the war? Watch both of those movies back to back.

    Million Dollar Baby is another great movie, though.

    Will check out Cache.

  3. now thinking that "far from heaven" might be movie of the decade, but i'd have to see an enormous list of all the movies i watched and re-watch a bunch to make that claim with any certainty