And so with the decade rapidly drawing to a close, I call upon all contributors to this blog (past & present) to nominate their Album of the Noughties. As individuals, none of us will have heard enough actual albums to even begin to have a properly informed opinion, but perhaps some universal truths will leak out if we all pull together just one last time and try to get our collective shit together, maaaan.
It's been a funny old decade. So much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same. I began the decade on the threshold of my thirties, the proud father of one 3-year-old son. I had never been online at this point (seriously! not once!! Ever!!). I am ending the decade at the beginning of my forties. I am still the proud father of a 3-year-old son, but now he has two older brothers, one of whom recently became a teenager. How the buggery-fuck did that happen?
Musically, I started the decade listening to American groups like Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Bonnie Prince Billy, reading Mojo magazine and checking out loads of 'classic rock' and jazz albums. Wotta prick. Then somehow, thankfully, I got lured back to european electronic dance music. It was probably because I finally got online and started reading blogs instead of the music press - my salvation! That's how I found grime and dubstep, rediscovered minimal techno and ambient, got back into clubbing and djing again. But then I got all 'Haunted' and started wandering back into the past. These days I spend most of my time sifting through the vinyl debris of the 20th Century.
But I like to think I keep abreast of new developments. In fact the tastes of my kids are now becoming a useful navigational aid to the current pop climate. Thanks to them I know my Lady Gagas from my Lilly Allens, my Shakiras from my Alexandra Burkes, etc. In return, I have given them the gift of Toni Basil, Lene Lovich, Anita Ward and, somewhat improbably, The Flying Lizards. I'll admit I haven't really heard anywhere near enough albums to have a sensible opinion, but on balance, having weighed up the various factors, I have come to my decision.
My nominee has to be a popular album. I mean, it has to have been a critical and commercial success on a worldwide scale. It needs to be innovative and highly influential, totally plugged-in to the moment, a defining Noughties sound, but with respect and reference to the past, and also be future-proof enough to have aged well, so that it still sounds great today. Taking all things into account, the only possible album I can nominate with a straight face is one that came out early on in the decade, 2001 to be precise. It's an album that sounds cohesive and homogenised to the point of being obsessive yet at the same time all the tracks have a distinctive feel to them. It is an album that displays it's creators' gift for melody and understanding of composition and structure, yet also reveals a fetish for experimentation, textural detail, rhythm, repetition, etc. Its an album that works as a whole, yet each individual track is satisfying in its own right. In fact the only thing wrong with it is that it was made by the bloody French, and it spawned an awful lot of copycats (in both the dance and rock scenes) and a level of visibility that quickly wore away much of the goodwill bequeathed on it by the cognoscenti. I hadn't actually listened to the album myself for several years, only coming back to it this week whilst searching for potential nominees. I swear to God it sounded fucking great all over again. Brilliant. Genius. Timeless(?)
Okay, okay enough with the preamble. My nominee for Best Album Of The Noughties is.....
DAFT PUNK - DISCOVERY.
Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it.