When we looked at Pitchfork’s 20 Greatest Songs Of The ’00s, we also went through the entire list and found the 15 songs they included from 2009, noting that Animal Collective was far and away the the highest placer from our current 12 months. A great song doesn’t always equal a great album, but in this case, it worked out for Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist: Merriweather Post Pavillion did very well in Pitchfork’s 20 Greatest Albums Of The ’00s, too. (Actually, A.C. and A.C.-related projects placed multiple times across the Top 200 list — two in the Top 20 — basically winning the > contest by a landslide.) Since Merriweather Post Pavillion is the only ’09 album in the Top 20, those of you with short memories will have lots of rediscoveries. (As far as other buzzed about ’09 records, Bitte Orca made it to 56, Veckatimest to 42.) Fans of a certain kind of rap should be happy. Your Dad might be, too. Fans of any kind of metal will weep bitter tears. Finally, if we’re to believe the folks at Pitchfork, 2002 and 2000 were pretty good years and 2001 wasn’t any slouch either.
20 Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights [Matador, 2002]
19 Spoon – Kill The Moonlight [Merge, 2002]
18 Kanye West – Late Registration [Roc-A-Fella, 2002]
17 LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver [EMI/DFA, 2007]
16 Sufjan Stevens – Illinois [Asthmatic Kitty, 2005]
15 The Knife – Silent Shout [Mute/Rabid, 2006]
14 Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion [Domino, 2009]
13 OutKast – Stankonia [La Face, 2000]
12 The White Stripes – White Blood Cells [Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001]
11 Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele [Sony, 2000]
10 The Avalanches – Since I Left You [Modular/Interscope, 2000]
09 Panda Bear – Person Pitch [Paw Tracks, 2007]
08 Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun [Smekkleysa; 2000]
07 The Strokes – Is This It [RCA, 2001]
06 Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica [Epic, 2000]
05 Jay-Z – The Blueprint [Roc-A-Fella, 2001]
04 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [Nonesuch, 2002]
03 Daft Punk – Discovery [Virgin, 2001]
02 Arcade Fire – Funeral [Merge, 2004]
01 Radiohead – Kid A [Capitol, 2000]
Most of the writeups cover what you’d expect them to cover, but I like what Ian Cohen writes in his blurb on Funeral. Even if I don’t necessarily agree, it does raise some interesting (and appropriately dramatic) questions:
Will there ever be another album like Funeral? Sounds silly considering the second half of this decade has seen plenty of bands establish nice careers by ripping off the communal euphoria that Arcade Fire made fresh after four years of rock records that boasted metropolitan chic, emotional austerity, or lyrical removal– the music was amazing, but it was all kind of a downer. It’s debatable that Funeral itself is even original– considering they share a label, love of archaic brass and string instruments, and an undeniable ability to wring life affirmation in the face of personal tragedy, it might just be a crossover version of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
But besides being a turning point for indie rock, Funeral was one for the indie community as well. Whether it’s due to increasingly fractious listening habits or the increased ability for dissenters to be heard, Funeral keeps on feeling like the last of its kind, an indie record that sounded capable of conquering the universe and then going on to do just that. The consensus hyperbole that met Funeral resulted in any record that threatened to reach that level becoming met with severe scrutiny or even outright derision. And still, we wonder if there will ever be anything quite like Funeral — something tells me that as music becomes even more readily available to us in the next decade, we’ll still go through it all in the hopes we can find something with the unifying force and astounding emotional payload that only albums like Funeral can provide.
Not one pun on the word “funeral”? You can read the rest of those Top 20 blurbs at Pitchfork.