My Favorites of the Decade 2000-2009, part 3 of 3 (Music and Other Things)
Go back further if you want to [READ MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND BOOKS OF THE DECADE]
Go back if you want to [READ ABOUT MY FAVORITE MOVIES AND HORROR MOVIES]
Now we come to my last two selections: musical albums and other things. Music was tricky for me. I love music. Listen to it all the time, even when I am reading and doing other things. Music means a lot to me, but I do not listen to music in the way that some do. I do not queue up favorite bands, per se, and jam for hours on repeat. Each week, there may be one or two albums I listen to more than others, but have bought some thousand plus albums of music, hundreds since the decade began, and so there is real time for me to have a strong, for-sure favorite. What I picked were five albums out of the easily twenty or more than I could easily name off the top of my head as being "quite good". Each of these five represent, sort of, a whole genre of music. They also have helped to change the way I think about music, at least a little.
Poe - Haunted: The sister to Danielewski and the sister-album to House of Leaves, this album was picked specifically because of how it was made. It was a careful construction of everyday sounds, playfully angry lyrics, and a farewell letter to a woman's father. The end result has many flights of experimenation, but at its core is a rock album with lyrics about five-and-a-half minute hallways and the longest unzipping of his life.
Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News: The indie-alt sound of this album made me instantly fall in love with Modest Mouse. Though it is not my favorite album by them, there are plenty of irony-tossing lyrical plays and catchy tunes mixed in with good old fashioned pissed off angst.
Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - Spaceship Zero: More than just a geek-rock cash-in, this is possibly geek rock at it's most earnest. Their earnest love-of-Lovecraft was stronger on previous albums and their instrumentation and balance are better on their later Shadow Out of Tim, but this finds their middle ground. Really well crafted songs about the Innsmouth Look and whether you should push the blue switch or the red are mixed in with the best ironic anti-love song ever in "The Math Song" (he did not write another love song, because well, love songs are written for silly, emotional girls instead of smart ones, is how I took it). Lot's of fun and covering a wide range of topics, all of which have to do with SF cliches and horror cheese.
Wormfood - France: When I want to hear metal but I am not sure of what metal I want to here, this is the one that gets played. This French metal group combine some seriously dark and weird lyrics with cinematic expressionism, circus motifs, Danny Elfman-infused orchestration, and whatever the hell else they want (one song borrows a bit from the Noise genre).
Death Cab for Cutie: Pretty much no way that Ben Gibbard wasn't going to show up somewhere, but I thought about it a while before picking this one. I picked it because it was my first, partially, and because it's the Death Cab song that I rarely if ever skip tracks while listening to. Postal Service nearly got this place, and has a couple of songs I probably like more than the songs on this one, but the overall album feels stronger here. Maybe. I should have just flipped a coin.
Kingdom Hearts (Videogame): Final Fantasy characters mixed with Disney? I could almost stop there, but I just want to say that this game, especially the first one, found the common link of adventure and escapism in both franchises and brought them together in new sort of experience. The follow-up games never felt as magical to me, probably due to careful dancing around two long copyright histories, but this is fandom at its best.
Katamari Damacy (Videogame) Start small, roll a ball around, and pick up pieces of the background. Eventually, you are the size of a city-block, or more, and you wiping out entire swaths of country side ever second. All to rebuild the stars that your idiot of a father screwed up. Almost impossible to describe in a way to actually let people know how much fun it is.
The Kindle and other Human-favoring E-book Readers (Device): While copyright issues and pricing issues till threaten to derail the whole ebook thing, Amazon and Sony and Barnes & Noble have released devices with the end user in mind. Smaller, easier on the eye, and more natural with the page turns; these devices help to regain some of the coziness of books. A little early in the game to call any of them a clear knock out or anything like perfect (or to swim through all of the e-Babel going on), but it easy to see the strides being made.
Ubuntu (Linux distro): Ubuntu and its family (Kubuntu amongst them) tried to get rid of the anti-user-friendly image that Linux had taken on (partially thanks to FUD from bigwigs like Microsoft who spent a lot of money complaining about how expensive free things can cost). And, for the most part, succeeded. It installs easier and safer. Programs "just work" better. Updates are reguarly. Forum and user help is friendlier. Probably not enough to woo over any die-hard computer gamer or people who are scared of things like Firefox because they did not come pre-installed by Dell, but its enough to show that Linux is what make of it, more than most any other OS.
Walking Dead (comic book): I finally end it with this. The Walking Dead is the open-ended zombie story, which is more stressful than it sounds. One of the big flaws in all zombie things is that they end. You don't have to survive forever, just until credits roll. In this case, by denying a clear-cut resolution, characters are never safe (and many seeminly vital characters have already bit it). This isn't just good zombie storytelling, this is comic book storytelling right at its best.
file under (...on Media)
and (...on Myself)