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Wednesday, January 20, 2010 

Design of a decade (it begins, pt. who even knows?)

I still (arrrrrrghhhh) haven't found the time to sit down and read all of the Stylus Decade, but it looks like we're not posting our individual lists. So here's mine, with the usual caveats:

Next time I'm asked I reserve the right to totally contradict this. Honestly, just about every album here could have been #1 and I'd be happy (all of them feel like they ought to be higher, except for the actual #1). There are at least 50 other albums from the time period I didn't think of/had to leave off/wish I could include. Only two bands have two records on here (Low and the Mountain Goats, surprise surprise), but that wasn't necessarily deliberate, other than usually I wanted to include more rather than fewer bands. The decision making process involved me looking at all my old lists, then Stylus, Pitchfork, Metacritic and Acclaimedmusic for each year, then looking at my CD collection. They were ranked according to personal affection, my opinion about what "best" means, sheer bloody whim, and when it came down to it, how often I listened to the damn things. For better or for worse, here's what I voted for, unchanged from what I sent to the Stylus guys:

01. Samamidon - All Is Well (2008)
02. Tindersticks - Can Our Love... (2001)
03. The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed (2004)
04. Low - Drums and Guns (2007)
05. Primal Scream - XTRMNTR (2000)
06. The National - Alligator (2005)
07. Stars Like Fleas - The Ken Burns Effect (2008)
08. MONO & world's end girlfriend - Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain (2006)
09. Six By Seven - The Closer You Get (2000)
10. Clinic - Walking With Thee (2002)
11. Los Campesinos! - Hold on Now, Youngster... (2008)
12. Readymade - All the Plans Resting (2005)
13. Out Hud - S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D. (2002)
14. The Delgados - Hate (2002)
15. Hood - Outside Closer (2005)
16. TV on the Radio - Dear Science (2008)
17. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)
18. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters (2007)
19. The Wrens - The Meadowlands (2003)
20. Fever Ray - s/t (2009)
21. Songs: Ohia - The Lioness (2000)
22. Smog - Rain on Lens (2001)
23. Phosphorescent - Pride (2007)
24. Eluvium - Talk Amongst the Trees (2005)
25. Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead (2006)
26. Belle & Sebastian - Fold You Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant (2000)
27. Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas (2002)
28. The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (2002)
29. Ladytron - Witching Hour (2005)
30. My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves (2003)
31. Guillemots - Through the Windowpane (2006)
32. Low - The Great Destroyer (2005)
33. Burial - Untrue (2007)
34. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark (2008)
35. Broadcast - Tender Buttons (2005)
36. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off (2006)
37. The Knife - Silent Shout (2006)
38. The Necks - Drive By (2003)
39. Hefner - We Love the City (2000)
40. Thom Yorke - The Eraser (2006)
41. Joe Henry - Tiny Voices (2003)
42. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
43. Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things (2007)
44. Liars - They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (2002)
45. Mountains - Choral (2009)
46. Life Without Buildings - Any Other City (2001)
47. The Avalanches - Since I Left You (2000)
48. The New Pornographers - Challengers (2007)
49. The Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle (2003)
50. Oneida - Secret Wars (2004)

Also, on a more current note, here's my Pazz & Jop ballott for 2009.

Nice list Ian. Lots I haven't heard but should probably check out.

Wouldn't really know where to begin with doing this kind of thing - it's tough enough just trying to put together a list at the end of each individual year...

It was tough, I won't lie. Took about eight hours of sustained effort, and if it weren't for the Stylus Decade I wouldn't have bothered - but I am glad I did.

I'm sure your list would have a similar percentage of stuff I should check out, though, so if you ever do decide to give it a go...

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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