It is that time of the decade where one stares at their music collection and promptly regrets buying 95% of the music they now own. Everyone does it. Okay, maybe I do it.
I buy a lot of music, so much so my children are convinced that I actually buy milk at the local vinyl store and bread from iTunes. This small habit has created a massive music collection that can be somewhat unwieldly. It doesn't stop me from gathering up hundreds of albums from the past decade and asking myself a very simple question:
If I could only save fifty of these albums from the past ten years, what fifty would it be?
It would be easy for me to write-up a list in which only Green Day, and White Stripes albums are on it, simply because they produced amazing albums this decade. I could have simply gone with my kids suggestion and made the list all about Hannah Montana and the Wiggles. That was tempting, they could have written it for me.
My criteria was simple. First, I must have actually listened to it. I still have a couple of albums in the plastic. Most of these albums were gifts from well-meaning people who thought that I really needed Daniel Bedingfield's album.
Second, I ask myself how often did I listen to this album? Having the most listens didn't mean that it would be number one. Music is very much my day between the hours of six a.m. and six p.m. There are albums on this list I only listened to once and found so compelling that I felt it needed to be on the list. Most I have listened to so often my CD player refuses to open to play them again and my iTunes has decided that they are the only artists I listen to.
Finally, I must have had fun listening to it at some point. Dreary music is of no interest to me. That doesn't mean sad music is ignored for the oeuvre of Britney Spears. On the contrary, I find Britney Spears to be enormously depressing. But her greatest hits album makes for a delightful coaster.
I have decided to break this list of fifty down into five articles of fun and fantastic lists of ten. This decision is for two reasons. It makes it easier for you to read. But, and I apologize for my self important reason here, it makes it easier to write. Also, there is the fact that I am currently listening to a Tragically Hip box set that sometimes requires my attention.
So, to begin, albums fifty through forty-one, in tiny bite sized pieces. Enjoy.
50. Joyful Rebellion, k-os (2004)
Canadian hip hop hippie rebel tears the music industry a new one with melodic cynicism and spacey joy.
Download: " Man I Used To Be", " B-Boy Stance", "Crabbuckit"
49. The Greatest, Cat Power (2006)
Indie darling writes own songs, suddenly becomes big star who has her music used in commercials.
Download: "The Greatest", " Love and Communication", " Willie"
48. Accelerate, R.E.M. (2008)
After a decade of being not as good as they once were, Athens greatest band returns to the guitars and musings of old and prove they are still relevant.
Download: " I'm Gonna D.J.", " Until The Day Is Done", " Living Well Is The Best Revenge"
47. Dangerously In Love, Beyonce (2003)
The diva of the new century goes solo and hooks Jay-Z. Thankfully, she has really awesome songs to go along with the voice.
Download: " Crazy In Love", " Naughty Girl", " Dangerously in Love 2"
46. Back To Black, Amy Winehouse (2006)
Troubled junkie has throwback sixties soul voice, teams up with super music genius Mark Ronson for some of the best songs of the decade.
Download: " Back To Black", " Rehab", " You Know I'm No Good"
45. The Chemistry of Common Life, F***ed Up (2008)
Canadian hardcore band with the unprintable name create loud chaos with artistic ambition, win prestigious music prize, get Canadian newspapers to print their name. Seriously.
Download: "Black Albino Bones", "Twice Born", " Days of Last"
44. Figure 8, Elliott Smith (2000)
Sad singer songwriter of note creates masterpiece of simple beauty. One of the saddest losses in music.
Download: "Pretty Mary K", "Somebody That I Used To Know", "L.A."
43. The Rising, Bruce Springsteen (2002)
The Boss gets all classic Springsteen after 9-11, evokes resurrection to make a compelling study of human nature in the wake of tragedy. It's no accident he went on to record an album of Pete Seeger songs a few years later.
Download: " The Rising", " My City of Ruins", "Mary's Place"
42. Chemical City, Sam Roberts (2006)
Canadian wunderkind returns a little wiser and a little more mature, still kicks ass.
Download: " The Bridge To Nowhere", "An American Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay", " The Resistance"
41. In Your Honor, Foo Fighters (2005)
Dave Grohl is the hardest working man in music. This collection of blistering rockers and gentler acoustic songs shows the conflict of the era and within the man who wrote the songs.
Download: " Best of You", " Friend of a Friend", "Resolve", " Miracle"