Hot damn, it’s list time! I was talking the other day with a Pipeline Person about the LCD Soundsystem self-titled album, and how I thought it was one of the best records of the last five years. I made the statement without thinking much about whether it was true, having not actually made a list of what I thought the best records of the of the last five years were.
Being thorough, I decided to close the loop and make such a list. First, the obligatory disclaimer, which is despite what the post title claims, I do not consider these the top 10 records of the last five years. Rather, I consider them my favorite records of the last five years. Ask me in five years and another 20 listens to each, plus some belated discoveries of things surely missed since 2002, and the list will look different. Every list does.
Also, it’s difficult to evaluate relative newcomers like Wilco’s outstanding Sky Blue Sky, or the Heartless Bastards’ excellent All This Time, or my infatuation du jour, Blitzen Trapper’s Wild Mountain Nation. Also in that category are older records I just recently discovered, like Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, although I can tell you Emily Haines has pushed aside Liz Phair as the official Pipeline Rockstar Crush.
Also, there are 11 records listed. If you have a problem with that, or even if you don’t, I suggest you make your own list. In no particular order…
Libertines/Up the Bracket-Just straightforward British rock and roll from a band with two frontmen that write great songs, have a shitload of charisma, and very likely bad body odor.
Spoon/Kill the Moonlight-Sometimes less sound is more, especially when you’ve got Brit Daniel’s voice and a willingness to explore a lot of different sounds. My kids love to mimic the beatbox sound on “Stay Don’t Go”; crank it up and hear that bass drum kick on Jonathan Fisk. Great record, possibly my favorite on the list.
New Pornographers/Electric Version-A great record from a group of very talented Canadians, really a supergroup. Fans might take issue with listing Electric Version instead of Mass Romantic, but I solve that problem by…
New Pornographers/Mass Romantic-Yeah, they’re both that good. Strictly catchy pop, but done about as well as it can be done. And Neko Case may be Pipeline Rock Star Crush #2.
The Shins/Chutes Too Narrow-Several great songs here; I’m always left with the image from the song “Young Pilgrims”, about grabbing the yoke from the pilot and flying the whole mess into the sea.
Arcade Fire/Funeral-This one was the toughest call, but the record is just too good, covering too many genres too well. I found Neon Bible to be huge disappointment, but no follow-up was going to top this debut.
Broken Social Scene/Broken Social Scene-Another Canadian supergroup, containing the likes of Feist, Jason Collett, Amy Millan, Emily Haines, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. The result is sprawling and excellent, a record that will both grab you right away and continue to reveal layers after dozens of listens.
LCD Soundsystem/LCD Soundsystem-Another easy call, also possibly my favorite on the list. A tour de force of electronica, rock, and genres yet to be named. If pressed, I would probably call this the best record of the last five years. Hell, I don’t have to be pressed. This is the one.
Queens of the Stone Age/Lullabies to Paralyze-I have a relatively extensive speed metal/heavy metal background, so the hardness of this record fits easily into my catalogue. But I didn’t expect the songs to be so damned catchy. This album is pretty much loaded.
Arctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not-Yeah, I’m a little surprised this made the list, too. But it’s just very solid all the way through. Very solid, very fun. Don’t knock it till you rock it, that’s what I say.
White Stripes/White Blood Cells-I burned out on the White Stripes about two years ago, to the point where I really can’t listen to them at all now, but this record is the real deal. I actually prefer De Stijl, but it was too old. As far as I’m concerned, the last decent White Stripes record.
Now I must stop because there is a huge storm going on, and I fear the electric outage. No more power surges, please…