Top 10 Records of the Last 5 Years

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…

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11 Responses to Top 10 Records of the Last 5 Years

  1. kelly says:

    Icky Thump may reignite your enthusiasm for The White Stripes, I was surprised by how fresh it was….. perhaps it was the bag pipes. After a good 7 listens, and your strong endorsement, I now embrace LCD Soundsystem…… I loathe electronica, but I’ve come to appreciate how innovative this album really is. But look out, I don’t want them to usher in a whole bunch of crap from the 80’s. Hip Hop has been noticably absent from thee conversation of late…… and Blackalicious, my last crush, suffered a commercial hit. And while this is no surprise, Mos Def’s “True Magic” is incredibly bad ass….. and he’s such a bad ass outside of music he gets extra props. I clearly need to revisit the New Pornographers. Thanks for the list….. always good to hear about new tunes!

  2. I’ll give Icky Thump a listen. I just needed a lot of time off from the band after devouring their catalogue from 2002 to 2004.

    LCD’s only electronica in the vaguest sense. I think Sound of Silver is a very solid follow-up, if not quite the equal of the self-titled. Very solid.

    Hip hop/rap has been absent of late because I think hip hop/rap has pretty much been in the toilet of late. I know Atmosphere and Mos Def are doing some great stuff, but by and large I feel like I’m just an old school kind of guy there, and beyond the 25 or so Tribe/PE/De La/Roots/Outkast, etc. albums I have, I don’t need to take it any further. Loved that Blackalicious album, but damn, that was almost five years ago, too.

  3. mrfares says:

    YeeHaw! I own and have listened to one of these. I am Hip! I am one eleventh as Hip as Doug!

  4. pipelineblog says:

    Congratulations. Similar to some tribal membership, one-eleventh qualifies you for any gambling-related profits I may accrue over time. Unfortunately for you, you’ve seen me play poker.

    Which one is it?

  5. Neil says:

    Well, I find it extraordinarily interesting.Good luck to all of you. And I’m sure you’ll do fine. Really. Just fine.

  6. Jim says:

    I have all of these except for the Broken Social Scene album, which I hadn’t heard of. Always, of course, things to quibble with, but a very good list. At least two or three of these would be on my list, too. I’d certainly include the Fratellis.

  7. Quinton says:

    I’ve only listened to 3 of the top 10, but would say that Modest Mouse’s Good News for People Who Like Bad News would be on my list. I know several Friends of the Pipeline who couldn’t get enough of it for awhile.

    similarly, i just don’t get people’s appreciation of the White Stripes. I’ve dug a few of their tunes, but a whole album is difficult to listen to. The drums kill it for me afterawhile.

  8. For me the White Stripes are at their best when they play hard, riff-driven songs. But over time the lack of fullness to their sound starts to be an issue for me. I thought it was just that they don’t have a bass player, but neither do the Black Keys or Sleater-Kinney, and they don’t irritate me in the same way the White Stripes do. Of course, listeing to three different White Stripes records continuously for a year might also have something to do with my distaste.

    I also want to say that I think Neil’s message above is my favorite example of spam content or whatever it’s called when people fish around on blog comments. I think it’s because of the incredibly sarcastic tone I ascribe to it.

  9. mrfares says:

    I have a copy of New Pornographers/Electric Version and to offset the hipness it would otherwise rock into my boat I have only listened to it twice so far. It was something I heard on The World, a co-production of the BBC and WGBH, Boston.
    I’m sucking it’s essence into iTunes at this very moment.

  10. pipelineblog says:

    If you find you enjoy it after a few listens, don’t hesitate to get their first record, Mass Romantic. Their third, Twin Cinema, is solid, but in my mind well behind the other two. I guess they also have a new one coming out, too.

  11. martha says:

    Sleater-Kinney’s One Beat is definitely in my top ten…it may even be number one. I also love Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans. Electric Version is in there too. I’m going to see The Shins in a couple weeks at Bumbershoot! Woo hoo!

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