Here’s part three of my list of albums of the decade. These are albums I love and have listened to, ooh, hundreds of times over the years. Pretty much all of them are still on my very full iPhone, instead of more current stuff like Animal Collective or whoever, because they are great. Oh yes.
Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans (2004)
For all the wondrous musicality of his “States” albums, this stripped-down, acoustic album shows the beauty and tenderness of his songwriting at its absolute height.
American Music Club – Love Songs For Patriots (2004)
Making an album with the word “Patriots” in the title at the height of post-9/11 anguish and rage, then filling it with songs of anguish, rage, and the wonders of male strippers, was never going to make them too many new friends. But it’s their best album, and Mark Eitzel at his finest.
Joanna Newsom – The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004)
If you find the first minute of “Bridges and Balloons” utterly wonderful, then you’ll love this. If you think she is a wailing harpy, then you may probably just want to move onto the next record. You’re missing out though, mind.
Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
Or how the Internet will get you noticed. Sure, there’s more that a touch of the U2’s about their later material, but go and listen to this again and be utterly transfixed by their tales of lost childhood all over again. So filled with drama that you need the quieter songs to catch your breath.
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner (2005)
Lovelorn tales from Sheffield’s finest guitarist. His most complete album; this could just as easily have been made in 1957 or 1963, but it’s far too lovely to be snooty about.
M Ward – Transistor Radio (2005)
This could also say “The Transfiguration Of Vincent” or “Post War”, but look, I had to make a choice and as this was the first record of M Ward’s I ever heard, this is my choice. Go for all three, frankly. Ageless, timeless beauty.
MP3: Hi-Fi by M. Ward
(2005 will continue in Part Four)
And out of chronological order, because I forgot it earlier:
Tortoise – Standards (2001)
Electro-free-jazz-noise-post-rock-funk, as played by aliens. Wonderful, exasperating, confusing and brilliant, usually at the same time.
MP3: Seneca by Tortoise