Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown - 2001

The countdown was sabotaged for a few days by a couple of freak illnesses that struck the Skog residence.  Unless we get smitten with leprosy tonight it appears we are back on the mend (I just totally jinxed us). 

Due to the fact that music has always been a huge part of my life, I am really enjoying putting these lists together.  Every album reminds me of things from each year.  2001 was an important year in my life as it was when I met Wheels.  Lots of good memories from 2001 - many concert road trips, usually with a combination of Flanksteak, Al and Herms.  Good times indeed.  Programming note: I'm putting the honorable mentions after my best of list from here on out.  Seems to make more sense.  In the words of the immortal Kasey Kasem, "Let's get back to the countdown."

KG's TOP 12 ALBUMS OF 2001

#12 Weezer - The Green Album - In 1995 I was playing the crap out of Weezer's Blue Album and then I left the country for two years and upon my return Weezer had basically vanished.  Their underrated second album Pinkerton had tanked and their lead singer Rivers Cuomo had painted his walls black and exiled himself to his bedroom (seriously).  Well much to the surprise of everyone the band resurfaced in 2001 with this album of pop/punk nuggets.  I saw them live many times this year including a harrowing trip through night fog with Flanksteak to see them play in Boise with Jimmy Eat World and Tenacious D.  Totally worth it.

#11 Clem Snide - The Ghost of Fashion - I already pledged my love for Clem Snide so just do yourself a favor and listen to clever tracks like Joan Jett of Arc and Moment in the Sun

#10 Travis - The Invisible Band - Solid, solid album by a solid, solid band.  They don't get enough love from myself or the public but they just continue cranking out top notch songs that are catchy with thoughtful lyrics.  If you enjoy Coldplay or bands of that ilk then give Travis a listen.

#9 Ryan Adams - Gold - Not quite as country as the previous year's Heartbreaker and also not quite as good.  New York, New York became somewhat of a post 9/11 anthem and gave Adams a boost in publicity to go along with his critical acclaim.  Loaded with excellent tracks but a few throw aways keep it from placing higher.

#8 Radiohead - Amnesiac - I believe Kid A from the previous year's countdown was supposed to have been a double album but in order to milk more $$ from their fans (likely) or perhaps to not freak people out (also likely) they split it up and released this album a few months later.  Not as good as Kid A but Pyramid Song and Knives Out are classic Radiohead tracks.

#7 White Stripes - White Blood Cells - My introduction to the White Stripes.  Great songs, groundbreaking music videos.  Still listen to this album frequently. 

#6 John Mayer - Room for Squares - John Mayer in front of Radiohead.  Yep.  No, the Skog Blog has not been hijacked by a 12 year old girl (although some might argue otherwise) - this is a fantastic album.  KG is a John Mayer fan and always will be unless he steals Wheels away from me.  Oh John, you are such a cad.

#5 R.E.M. - Reveal - Although I never really felt like they lost their fastball, most people saw this album as a return to form.  I just saw it as yet another R.E.M. classic. 

#4 Shins - Oh Inverted World - I didn't actually discover this album until the summer of 2002 while killing time in the downtown Borders before Wheels and I went to see LOTR at Brewvies.  I wish I had though because it is awesome (Insert joke by Flanksteak).

#3 Pete Yorn - Musicforthemorningafter - Not going to gush anymore about this one as I have already dedicated an entire Oldies But Goodies column to it.  If you still haven't listened to it then I don't want to be your friend anymore.  Can't listen to this album without remembering a road trip with Al to California.  Best of times.

#2 The Strokes - Is This It - The Strokes burst onto the scene as the next big thing among the wannabe hipsters like myself.  Many thought they didn't live up to the hype but I wasn't one of them.  I could listen to Julian Casablancas' strange drone of a voice sing a World Book Encyclopedia, Letter G.  A near perfect album from start to finish.

#1 Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs - This just in - KG hearts Ben Folds!  I'm sure this one comes as a shock to many of you.  Ben's first solo release was perfect.  Enough like his work with the Five to keep us pleased but different enough that it showed what he could do on his own.  So many great memories involved with this album.  It was released on 9/11 and I remember stopping on my way to work after watching the horrific events of the morning, purchasing this album and feeling a sense of normalcy.  It was also the day I gave Wheels a burned copy on CD and she gave me her phone number under the guise of helping me with a blood drive.  I am also reminded of a road trip to Denver in July of 2001 to see Ben with Al and Herms.  I was able to obtain a copy of this album before the trip and we knew every word and it was fun to see the faces of other people in the audience when they asked us, "How do you guys know these songs???"  We consumed too much Mtn Dew, I nearly peed my pants somewhere outside of Vail and I ended up with a kidney stone but that road trip was an all time favorite and I wouldn't change a thing about it.  I feel the same way about this album.

Honorable Mentions

2001 was actually a very good year for music.  I had trouble narrowing the list down to 12, so because of this there are quite a few 'Honorable Mentions'.  Back off, this is my list.

Cake - Comfort Eagle - Not as good as their other efforts so it doesn't crack the list.

Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American - Solid album.  Killed a little by too much radio play but The Middle is one of the decade's greatest songs.  If you turn on 101.9 The End you still have a 23% chance of hearing it right now.  Another interesting tidbit was the album's title was changed to just "Jimmy Eat World" after 9/11.

Rufus Wainwright - Poses - Many of these songs are still on my playlist today.  I love Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, the song not the actual items.  I don't smoke and I am a bit lactose intolerant.  Great song though.

My Morning Jacket - At Dawn - Most bands have an awesome debut and then fade.  MMJ gets better with each album and they weren't quite there on At Dawn.  Fear not, they will return on the lists from other years.  For a delightful treat check out Bermuda Highway.

Elbow - Asleep in the Back - Similar to MMJ, Elbow has improved on every album.  This was their debut and features a mindblowing track titled Any Day Now.

Rilo Kiley - Take offs and Landings - One of those albums that you hear and say, "I need to listen to this more often" but then you forget about it.  If I actually followed through and listened to it more frequently it would have definitely made the list.

Duncan Sheik - Phantom Moon - I have no idea why Duncan Sheik never became a huge star.  He had an early hit (Barely Breathing), loads of talent and whether Wheels agrees with me or not (she doesn't) he is an attractive man.  Phantom Moon is an homage of sorts to Nick Drake's Pink Moon and if I don't stop discussing it I'm going to talk myself back into having it on the list... Mr. Chess and All the Winds That Blow are the standouts here.

Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales - Anybody who doesn't like this album is a liar.  It is a delight.

Colin Hay - Going Somewhere - The former front man of Men at Work, Colin Hay is a little hit or miss but I would put his 'Hits' up against any songwriter from any era.  Beautiful World and Waiting For My Real Life to Begin are unbelievably good songs.  Please give them a listen.

Tenacious D - Tenacious D - Definitely not for everyone and especially not for kids, JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass, not the imposter who writes this blog) made an album of hilarious folk rock tunes.  Wheels and I were able to see them in concert a few weeks before we got married in 2002 and according to what JB wrote and drew on her poster as he stared into her eyes, he was very interested in her not marrying me.  Luckily she chose the imposter, KG.


Dogface said...

Oddly enough I have every one of these albums and didn’t pay for one of them-- some were more susceptible to your fancies than others (and the gift of free music sharing you gave at that time) 1-4 are absolutes although I would argue The Strokes are below the likes of Pete Yorn and Shins.

I also would ask you stop pushing your REM and Radiohead agenda. Thank you. That is all.

Also a little 311 love. Ok maybe not the whole album. At least Amnber-- that was a great song... Also knowing you I'm surprised Ricky Martin livin la vida loca didnt crack the top 12. Upside inside out livin la vida loca, your skins the color mocha

kg said...

Dogface - The reason there is no 311 love is that this is a Best of the 00 decade not the 90's. I stopped buying their albums in 1999. Also, I'm pretty sure the only straight (I use the term loosely)male in Utah driving around in their Integra bumping Ricki Martin was a boy named Dogface.

Skye said...

The Jimmy Eat World album's still one of our favorites.

Corbie said...

Keep pushing your REM agenda - it's the best stuff on the list.

Herms said...

Great trip, golf, tent, yorn and folds, and very large mugs of mtn dew all wrapped into one.
Shame about the kidney stone, but we really accomplished a lot in 24 hours.