The Uberpop

10 Albums That Shaped My Decade

Posted in Uncategorized by theuberpop on January 5, 2010

Here they are in all their glory, 10 records that spoke to me in one way or another in the last decade.  Why, because every good American loves some nostalgia and slightly less than objective listing and ranking, and maybe I’m feeling a little nostalgic and slightly less than objective.  Disclaimer: I’m going to try to avoid buzz records that typically occupy these lists like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Kid A.  I love both of those records and hold them in very high esteem, but this list is more about my journey than my indie cred…it’s not like I had any to begin with.  I started the decade as a teen (exactly 13) and I’m wrapping it up at 23, so I obviously had quite a shift in mentality and maturity about halfway through.  So, here they are:

1) Foo Fighters, There is Nothing Left to Lose (RCA, 1999): I realize that this record was released in October ’99, but it almost hit the turn of the century and that’s close enough for me.  Possibly the most overlooked and underrated Foo album, this record was likely such because it was the followup to The Colour and The Shape, which honestly was impossible to follow up.  I was in the developmental stages of my guitar playing when this record came out, and these songs and the sounds on the record greatly shaped my musical perspective.  Who cares if it was a more organic sounding pop record that sounds like the polar opposite of its predecessor, it’s a really good pop record.

2) Coldplay, Parachutes (EMI, 2000): Let’s forget about the sea of backing tracks and the copyright infringement lawsuits, Parachutes is still a great record.  Johnny Buckland’s guitar work is inspired and the songs are solid.  Tracks like “Shiver” and “Don’t Panic” set off a shockwave of imitators still being felt today.

3) Saves the Day, Stay What You Are (Vagrant, 2001): I went through a breakup around the time that I bought this record (long after its release) and this record definitely helped me through a lot of that.  Melodramatic at times, wordy at times, but quite good nonetheless.  If only we could get rid of all the bands that this record inspired.

4) Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American (Dreamworks, 2001): One of the best pop/rock records I’ve heard to this day, the story behind the record is equally as inspiring.

5) Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism (Barsuk, 2003): Sonic landscape isn’t the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.  At this point it seems that Gibbard and co. had honed their brand of pop song-ery and Chris Walla had perfected his studio craft; it was a perfect storm, an indie-rock miracle of sorts.

6) Matt Pond PA, Several Arrows Later (Altitude, 2005): This records lilts, jaunts and occasionally bounds through an indie pop candy-land that just makes you smile on the inside.

7) Switchfoot, Learning to Breathe (Rethink, 2001): It’s not the best sounding recording ever, but the songs on this record really spoke to me.  That, and apparently it’s cool to be super into the record before a band’s big major-label abomination.

8) The Killers, Sam’s Town (Island, 2006): I know, I know…but I really liked this record.  There’s no denying that “When You Were Young” has the makeup of an epic jam that will be playing on rock radio for the next 30 years, and that’s quite an accomplishment.  Is it a concept record?  Not really, but I’d be willing to bet that when future generations ask what rock music sounded like in the mid 00’s, they’ll put this record on.

9) Radiohead, In Rainbows (XXL, 2007): There’s been some trash talk about Radiohead recently, and though there is a bit too much hype surrounding these guys, they still make incredible music.  Though it’s not the “return to form” that critics keep clamoring for, it’s a more raw, visceral record than its three predecessors, with tracks like “Bodysnatchers” and the band’s 10-year-pressure-cooked “Nude” proving that Radiohead still understands how to best serve the song itself, something that most other musicians should take note of.

10) Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp, 2009): Simultaneously cerebral and dreamy, this record will make you think as well as render you sleepy…it might even make you think in your sleep…wait…  An obvious product of extreme attention to detail in every facet of the songwriting and recording, Grizzly Bear actually lived up to some pretty serious hype…which is far too uncommon these days.  Hopefully they’ve set a precedent that musicians will be following in this new decade.

So, this was my decade musically.  Am I super proud of all the records on this list?  Well, some more than others, that’s for sure.  With that said, I’m optimistic and overall very excited about what is to come in this new decade.