The Aughts were one hell of a decade. I don't mean that in a good way. Whereas the 90s were (or, at least, people remember them to have been) an era of general prosperity and good feeling, lifted by a strong feeling of optimism in the waning years of the millennium, the first decade of this new millennium has been pretty shitty from the get-go. It started off well enough, but went careening off the cliff far more quickly than we could possible have imagined on December 31st, 1999. I'm sure I don't need to go into details, we can all cite chapter and verse. Everything about these past ten years has been peevish, disheartening, soul-crushing and painful - the incredibly euphoric, seemingly authentic optimism of the last year or so notwithstanding, we're not out of the woods yet.
I'm not just speaking in terms of national and global politics, but personally as well. Long-time readers should remember that this blog began as a beacon in the darkest hours of my life to date, and has remained throughout all the ups and downs that followed. I had reason to reflect on this recently when I saw that both Polite Dissent and PostmodernBarney turned five - this blog is a few months older than those, and just a few short weeks younger than Progressive Ruin. It's funny, I can't even remember all the blogs that have fallen by the wayside in that time - it seems like a whole bunch of us all sprung up around the same time, and only a few are still standing. Of all the old guard, I'm still the most erratic and inconsistent - yay! That's an achievement, of sorts. And nowadays you don't even see new single-proprietor blogs sprouting up anymore - it's all groups blogs, group blogs coming out of your ass. Phooey, I wouldn't join any club that would have me for a member. (What's that you say? Bitter I didn't get asked to join the Savage Critics? I assure you that I have no idea what you are talking about.)
Right now, a few nagging financial disasters aside (remember to tip your blogger!), things are pretty good. I daresay that if I work my ass off, at the end of '09 I may have successfully clawed my way back to where I was in December of '99. Perhaps in a few years' time we will all be able to look back on these years as a collective "lost decade" - here's hoping! So, basically: let's all just forget this decade ever happened.
Except time won't let us, we're still stuck with the awesome responsibility of writing up the inevitable best-of lists.
I hate best-of lists. They piss me off. I have to grind my teeth every time I go to the Comics Reporter between November and March because I know half the links are going to be to best-of lists, the contents of which I have read little and have no feelings for other than rank jealousy for people who are better able to organize their reading time than myself. But even if I ignore them (lists, that is) that doesn't mean they'll go away. Right now I can already hear the collective red pencils of magazine (and internet) editors across These United States being warmed up in anticipation of the "Best of the Decade" lists which should begin to hit newsstands sometime around September. (And yes, I know the pedants will say that the decade doesn't end until 12/31/10, but let's just acknowledge the fact that no one cares.)
So, what are the best albums of the decade? Although I do not assume the responsibility of making imaginary blog lists lightly, I will nevertheless conduct myself with a solemnity befitting the occasion. So, let's give this whole thing a go, pull the trigger, get the car out of the garage: let's start thinking about the decade that was, and all the ways it sucked, and the very few ways it didn't. Let's put the last few years into the ground already, shall we?
Oh look, here's a handy-dandy list in convenient top-ten form, like the kind you can imagine soliciting comments about and discussing in depth over the next couple weeks:
10.The Field - From Here We Go SublimeLet's get this party started, like the Black Eyed Peas.
9.Spoon - Gimme Fiction
8.The New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
7.Girl Talk - Night Ripper
6.The Roots - Phrenology
5.LCD Soundsystem - Sounds of Silver
4.The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
3.Radiohead - Kid A
2.Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
1.Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot