Saturday, January 30, 2010

My favorite albums of the decade

In the spirit of listing ‘the best of…’ at the close of one decade and reading some of the lists made by others, I figured I’d sit down with my own collection and make my own list. This is purely my own, and is very subjective – I didn’t measure this according to most played, highest rating, number sold, etc., but I can tell you this: each of these albums hits a certain part of me any time I listen. It might energize me, pump me up, relax me, provide a nostalgic escape, stir up tears, get me dancing, and even inspire me to sing along. I stopped at five and these are not necessarily in order - in considering others, and there are many good ones, I realized these five stood out on a top tier to themselves.

Bluerunners' Honey Slides

Honey Slides is perfect, though probably not for everyone. Cajun, zydeco… plenty of guitar, accordion and steel pedal, the songs on this album are as good all together as a fried catfish smothered in crawfish etoufe complete with a whiskey sour on the side.

The Bluerunners have officially hung their instruments up except for playing an occasional event in and around Lafayette – they are, in fact, a scheduled performer at Festival International de Louisiane this year. It is worth me expressing here that Festival International is the best music festival in this country, period.

Ali Farka Toure Savane

The opening notes of Savane strike a thrill of potential energy - when the harmonica comes in, you realize the familiarity of this music, of what set Ali’s music apart, is how he has pieced together known environs in a comfortable way you had yet experienced.

Konono No. 1 Congotronics Vol. 1

Congotronics Vol 1, Crammed Discs named this album to expose the wonderful resourcefulness that is Konono No. 1. Amplified with used parts from cars and other such abandoned equipment, they weave incredible beats and rhythms with traditional instruments, vocals, and homemade percussion. Raw energy.

Steve Earle Jerusalem

The liberal’s get-up-and-go catalyst, Steve Earle lets his frustrations out in a time when questioning authority was frowned upon as unpatriotic. He packs a punch here, and whether one agrees or not with his lyrics, many of these songs have remained relevant years after he wrote them.

M Ward Hold Time

One problem I’ve always with such lists as this is a combination pull of the recent, but here I am placing on my own list this album that came out in the spring of 2009… but this is one of those albums that captured me upon my first listen. It’s warm, it’s playful, it’s thoughtful, happy, sad… it’s just good.

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