2000 – 2009 in Albums

Kid A
#1 Album of all Time. Rolling Stone says it’s the #1 album of the decade and the #428 greatest album of all time. This must have been a terrrrrrrrible decade for music. I actually remember exactly where I was when I noticed the bass in my favorite song, Kid A. That was quite possibly the first time I ever thought about a bass line. I remember the best concert ever, when Radiohead opened with National Anthem into Morning Bell on August 1, 2001, a time when nothing bad ever happened. I remember that this album was the first real topic of conversation with me and Victor on September 10, 2005. Favorite album? Me – Kid A. Him – Beatles something or other.

I don’t differentiate a whole lot between Kid A and Amnesiac, so this was an easy #2. Thanks for the guitars, guys.

Did you pay for this album? Seriously, you didn’t? I paid $10 because that’s what I figured Best Buy would have priced it at, had I bought it there. Ok, wait, before you judge: I would have bought it at a local music store. Probably Indy CD and Vinyl. That’s where I bought my last physical album in 2005. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something that feels very different about this album than the previous two (or Hail to the Thief, which did not make the list). It feels like new, modern Radiohead that I was lucky enough to stumble upon one day. I guess I am still stuck in an old-fashioned era where, because this was first released as download-only, it’s hard for me to think of it as a real album. And maybe because it was self-released and didn’t have a huge promotional push behind it unless you sought that out (I did). I’m sure in the future that will be the norm.

I was a little slow on the uptake from this – 2004. A coworker urged me to listen to Wilco but I blew it off, like I blew off Ryan Adams, as being “too country”. I’m an idiot. Then one day I saw ‘Heavy Metal Drummer’ on VH1, which sounds nothing like its name implies. It was.. cute! So the next day I thought I’d try my luck with Half-Price Books so I could buy a used copy of the CD and.. wouldn’t you know.. not only did they have it, but it was on display and was the first cd I saw when I walked in. Another weird coincidence in my life. Alanis Morisette probably think it’s ironic, although we know it’s not..yeah I really do think. I know a lot of people associate this album with 9/11 (it was supposed to be released that day), but for me it’s associated with a different kind of sadness. Within a few days of buying it, I was on a road trip to Ohio to bury my Grandma.. and listening to this the whole time. Also, great album cover! I went to Chicago a lot as a kid and those were two of my favorite buildings. People live there! Also also, remember when their label dumped them because of this album? Fools.

Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Neon Bible are VERY NYC, very mid 2000s, very emotionally tumultuous. I listened to it a LOT. Then my date for their concert left in the middle of it. I don’t really understand how anyone who likes music can’t like this. Then I had to walk from Harlem to Randall’s Island on a day in October when it was approaching 90 degrees to see them. And when they said “we are going to take a long break after tonight”, I was okay with that. And I haven’t seen or heard from them since. I’ll gladly welcome them back with new music some day.

It’s summer 2005! I just moved to NYC! I’m working at Vice! I’m spending all my free time in Williamsburg or the Lower East Side or East Village! Kanye’s Gold Digger is on the radio! I’m sweating a lot! LIFE IS GOOD!
That said? Can’t really take Sufjan seriously anymore.

The Strokes – Is This It, a perfect album for the times. It was good to be 21 years old and listening to the Strokes. I used to have a hard time figuring out which one was the hottest. Fabrizio Moretti has emerged as the clear winner there. I came to NYC in 2003 with my friend Nathan who was looking to go to an audio engineering school here. We spent our free time in “the Strokes bar” (7B). Then, the first week I moved here, I saw Julian and Albert coming out of Veselka. Life was complete. Unfortunately, I get the sense that that was it for The Strokes. I just can’t picture them coming back with something as culturally relevant or awesome.

If I had to pick an album that really represents the decade, not just for me personally, but for everyone.. this would be it. And yeah, I have been going a little U2 crazy lately. But to me U2 is the band I associate with the biggest event of the 2000s (you know it – 9/11). It’s mostly because of this:

I know the song is older, but that performance is from 2002.. and that is some powerful television, no? Back to the album, I think ‘Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of’ is one of the most underrated U2 songs ever. LOVE that The Edge sings at the end of it. Oh love, look at you now!

Sea Change
Broken-hearted Beck proves sincerity > sarcasm.

I know, I can’t really take Death Cab for Cutie anymore, either. Although that song on the New Moon soundtrack – ‘Meet Me on the Equinox’? Not bad! It’s certainly no ‘I Will Possess Your heart’ (gag). But this album, Transatlanticism, says it’s fall (very fall) 2003 and I am young, single, and love going out in Broad Ripple. I think I could still listen to it and not want to stab my ears.

My last rock star band crush. The last albums where I knew every single lyric. They, too, are over. RIP Interpol.

Strange Little Girls
Yeah – a covers album! My first and last. Also the end of my relationship with Tori Amos, the longest running and most intense of my life. Side note – just walked by her this week a block from my office. She’s still beautiful.

Good News
This is the ultimate music experience – sweaty, packed concert, great album and promotional artwork (hot air balloons! arrows! green and pink!).. and was there a more perfect song to drive to with the windows down in the summer of 2004? No.

In retrospect the unifying theme is that almost all of this music came from the earlier parts of this decade. The newest, ‘In Rainbows’ is over two years old. I should probably admit that’s a side effect of my aging. I know the kids these days are all into Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors, but… I’m just gonna go take a nap now.

I’d feel much better if these album covers were all the same size.


New Rule

If you are lucky enough to be  a middle-aged man who can grow a pretty fantastic head of hair:

Do not ever do this:

December 07, 1941

I’m sorry this is a day late.

Have you ever seen the attack on Pearl Harbor.. in color?

Check out the Iconic Photos blog for more. It is one of my favorites.

Here’s Abe Lincoln hanging out at Antietam, looking unreal.

Here’s KGB Agent Vladimir Putin pretending to be a tourist in order to meet Reagan.

Here is the most important picture of 1996.

Please, bookmark or subscribe to Iconic Photos and enjoy!

PS – Back to the original subject matter, my personal trivia from a visit in the mid 90s to Pearl Harbor : The USS Arizona IS still leaking oil and most everyone is a Japanese tourist getting their picture taken while smiling with a peace sign. Americans, please continue to NEVER do that at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, etc.

Magazines: In The Year Two-Thousaaand… and Ten?

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m still a believer in subscribing to the print edition of magazines. When I cancelled the New Yorker and just subscribed to their RSS feed, it was a chore getting through their 2million word articles. But once I caught up on several years here and there of old copies, I re-subscribed, and now feel my intellectual life is back in order. I don’t read every single article, because, honestly, on the commute today, I couldn’t handle reading about Pakistan’s nuclear issues. So I skipped ahead to the one about F Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood. And this week they have new David Foster Wallace! Lest you think I always stick with the lighter side of it, know that I read that 25ish page article about the 8 Days of the Financial Crisis, which was quite possibly the most effort I’ve ever given towards a magazine.


I also subscribe to New York Magazine (not to be confused with The New Yorker), which is the one I am most excited to read each week. Sometimes they make me teary-eyed on the train, like with the recent feature on modern attitudes towards abortion or the dying teenage musician or the story of gays in Baghdad. But they also did this:

My God!

So, I love magazines. I love having two weeklies arrive each week and packing the unreads in my messenger bag for plane rides. Then I love recycling them.

The point of this post is the FUTURE of magazines. While reading magazines online is not something I normally want to even give a chance, this looks pretty cool:

As long as they can keep the interface simple, intuitive and quick to load, I’m in.

All due respect: I got this from Kottke.


Ya know that song with the chorus that goes “Give it to me right / Or don’t give it to me at all” ? I’m thinking you may know it because I have heard it in a hardware store, on the radio, on The Hills and I’ve read the lyrics on a friend’s Twitter. It samples that Zombies song, “It’s the Time of the Season”, which you DEFINITELY know. Anyway, my friend Victor played guitar on that track and recorded it and basically made it what it is.

He also recorded another song on her album, “It Kills Me”, which .. *drumroll* … was just nominated for a Grammy! He recorded the vocals for it and it was nominated for Best Vocal Performance. So, good for you, Victor, you made one of the best R&B songs of the year. You rule my world and the music world.

Bonus – he also recorded songs on albums by Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lewis in the past few years. Jennifer won a Grammy and Leona was nominated, which makes this the 3rd year in a row music that he has worked on has been nominated. So proud! Hopefully up next – BEYONCE!

So one of my favorite blogs (I have many, you’ll see) is Possessionista. I know the name is silly, like Recessionista, but we can get past it. Credit: I’m not positive, but I THINK I got the link from my Internet-friend Erika of Flowers and Sausages fame. Someday I’d like to go to the mall with her…the good mall, that is.

Possessionista seems to be most well know for and popular because she tracked down clothes worn by Jillian Harris, The Bachelorette of summer  09. i was going to post some of Jillian’s cute clothes, but looking back, she was pretty partial to rompers. Then again, it was the summer of 2009 and that’s what girls of certain proportions rocked.

The first time Possessionista really grabbed my attention was when she posted a link to a purse when I was in the market for a new bag for my trip to Spain this past spring. I needed something cute enough for Europeans to judge me and roomy enough for my DSLR camera. Like an angel from the heavens, she posted this 12 days before my trip. I’m going to spare you the image she used because, uhm, the inspiration is from Miley Cyrus. Yes, Miley was spotted with this beg. Yes, Miley and I have the same bag. Miley is actually not the worst person on the Earth, which I am basing on her now deleted Twitter, but that’s another story for another day. I don’t particularly want to style myself after MILEY. But the purse is great. It’s roomy and soft leather and I love it and will buy more from the makers of it, The Sak. Here it is:

Win on that count. It was the perfect Spain purse. So a few weeks ago Possessionista again caught my eye by equating a pair of boots as being as necessary as that purse. Really? OK I WANT THEM NOW. But it’s Christmas. I can’t buy myself boots with Christmas coming up. Obviously they will go on my Christmas list. I keep the post ‘unread’ in my Google Reader so I keep going back to it.


I get to work one day last week and my boss had sent an email to all of her female employees asking if anyone wears a size 7? Uh, I do! And guess what? SHE GAVE ME THE BOOTS I SECRETLY WANTED/BOOKMARKED.

Life rules sometimes.

Here’s the boots:

I put them on today when she brought them in for me and never took them off, even though I was wearing a black and blue outfit. She told me it was okay because the boots are “cognac”, not brown. Ha! Seriously, though, I love them. Possessionista said to buy two pairs, and I’m gonna back her up on that. They are cute, comfortable and look great with dresses or long shirts and leggings. So just remember if you think hard enough about material goods you want on the Internet, sometimes they will just fall into your lap because your boss’s ankle-to-calf ratio is not suited for these boots so she gives them to you for free. OMG, did I just invoke The Secret?