Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Favorite Albums of the Past 10 Years

Whew, where has the time gone? Seems like it was only yesterday the entire country was going batshit over the impending doom Y2K was going to unleash. Fun stuff. So, this is my list of MY favorite albums released between 2000 and 2009. I'll attempt to write some sort of qualifying/explanatory entry about the Top 10 and then just list the rest accordingly. Enjoy! Or don't, I really don't give a shit.

(update)On second thought, I'll just write about these albums's the first.

1. Fugazi - The Argument
While I was aware of Fugazi's existence long before I had knowingly heard any of their music, I somehow managed to avoid listening to a band I now count as among my Top 5 favorite bands of all time. In my defense, this was before the time you could fire up the ol' computer and download pretty much any album ever recorded. How did we survive the 90s? So, one day I'm in my sister's boyfriend's brother's car (seriously) and he reaches for a cassette with a red cover and pops it into the player. The bass line to Waiting Room blasts over his stock car stereo speakers and I'm mesmerized. Since I was very familiar with Minor Threat, I knew as soon as Ian MacKaye opened his mouth that this was Fugazi and that I needed to own this album.

That was probably 1996 or 1997. I went about collecting all their older albums (many out of used bins) and then bought their 1998 release, End Hits, soon after it was released. By the time The Argument was released, I was beyond ready for a new Fugazi album. And it didn't disappoint.

End Hits had hinted at a more musical Fugazi, and while it was very good, it flailed around a bit, especially toward the end. The Argument, on the other hand, is tight, direct and brilliant. The band's trademark controlled aggression is on full display, as well as the inclusion of a cello and acoustic guitar - instruments one would not expect to find on a Fugazi album. The cello plays a big part on a few tracks, creating a haunting backdrop to more subtle vocals and guitars. There are a few classic Fugazi moments - "Full Disclosure" and "Epic Problem" are bona fide face-melters, but my favorite parts of this album shows the band at their most restrained. And restrained does not equal any less intense. If anything, these songs draw the listener in even more as the band rails against corporate greed, racism and globalization. Some things never change.

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