Styrofoam Boots' Decade List 2000-2009, Part 2

90. Yann Tiersen - Amélie Original Movie Soundtrack

Girls really, really like Amélie, for good reason. The movie is well written, funny, romantic, idyllic and fantastical; things like that, from my understanding, really, really appeal to the female demographic. However, their infatuation with the movie would not be remotely as powerful if it wasn’t for the soundtrack, which by itself conjures up the redeeming characteristics of the movie. Yann Tiersen utilizes influences stemming from traditional French music and classical, and re-contextualizes it for a modern audience by shortening the length of his compositions (when compared to romantic classical), using simpler, more accessible melodies, and the whimsical and immediately intriguing sounds of toy pianos and xylophones. The purpose of a soundtrack is to accommodate the movie it was made for, and it’s intent comes across perfectly— many of the merits of the movie are represented and remembered through the soundtrack, and although watching the movie sums up the entire Amelie experience, the soundtrack still stands on its own and is a pleasurable listening experience within itself. Even if you’re not a girl. -Adrian

89. Jesu- Silver

If you told me ten years ago that Justin Broadrick would be making pop music I would’ve laughed my ass off, but on Silver EP he makes a pretty compelling case for his own brand. Imagine the nihilistic assault of Godflesh wrapped up in a warm blanket of shoegazer fuzztone, the stark industrial doom softened by a healthy dose of autumnal gloom and gorgeous guitar drone soaked in delay. I wouldn’t exactly call Jesu happy, but there’s a definite lilt to the melancholic sound that keeps this uplifting. “Silver” and “Star” are the promise of Jesu’s concept finally realized. It’s too bad the full-lengths before and after this miss the mark by inches, losing out on some of the sepia tones and shades of grey that make this EP so damn good. -Stephen

88. The Young K

nives – Superabundance

While the Young Knives weren’t doing anything particularly di

fferent from other post punk revival groups like the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, it’s a shame that Superabundance never got noticed, because with this album they proved they could do them just as well. Nearly every song has an infectiously catchy hook and it’s almost impossible not to smile when listening to Henry Dartnall’s British, distinctly faux-upper class vocals. In fact, Superabundance may have been one of the year’s defining guitar albums: Simple, memorable and addictive hooks define nearly each and every song. If you missed it the first time around, pick it up-this one has “cult classic” written all over it. -CJ

87. Fantomas- Director’s Cut

I hope it’s not an insult to declare a pretty fucking amazing supergroup’s covers album to be the best thing they’ve ever done, because as good as their other records are Director’s Cut is the only one I would listen to every day without objection. Mike Patton, King Buzzo, Dave Lombardo and Trevor Dunn take classic film scores—some obscure, some not—and twist them into what they’d sound like if Carl Stalling was composing for Slayer. Shit yes. -Stephen

86. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

What distinguishes the good from the great in music is the ability to not only clearly convey the purposes of the music, but to make it to grow and evolve throughout its course. Although Thom Yorke is a genius for his stylistic songwriting, instrumentation and delivery, his constant advancement of sound without sacrificing any of these elements is the most impressive; Eraser is not a rehash of Radiohead songs, but an extension of Thom Yorke’s creative output. Eraser emphasizes the rhythm section and atmospherics of the album, and the songs are formulated sort of like dance tracks, with a central theme repeated throughout the 4-5 minute range that most of the tracks are in. Although accessible and interesting in its own right, Eraser could perhaps seem mundane to some listeners. Despite everything, all I’m really trying to say is that Pitchfork writers have some sort of mental deficiency by giving this album a 6.6 while giving bands like Wavves 8.1’s. Even as an average listener, Eraser has more than enough moments to justify listening to all nine songs. -Adrian

85. The Streets - Original Pirate Material

I'll be damned if I could properly explain the feeling I get when the digitally spliced up violins drones begin to play, over sharp but sparse beats, circling endlessly. When Mike Skinner comes in and tells you to walk away. When he spits poetry like Jarvis Cocker reborn as a computer hacker. When he argues for innovation, for cunning, for technology, for drugs and sex and bar fights and garage music. For a brief moment Skinner was the most intelligent, the most honest man behind a microphone in the world, and for a few songs he was even the funniest, and he's warning you not to fuck with him. -Stuart

84. The Melvins- A Senile Animal

Yeah we had to wait a while for this long-awaited and brilliant sequel to stone-cold Melvins classics Bullhead, Houdini and Stoner Witch, but don’t expect a tired retread either. Instead of yet another spontaneously combusting bassist (the last one was Kevin Rutmanis, for those keeping track) King Buzzo and Dale Crover simply absorbed equally heavy Pacific Northwest two-piece Big Business and released one of their most direct and satisfying albums yet. Bringing new elements like twin drummers and actual honest-to-God vocal harmonies to the table, (A) Senile Animal still revels in the tar bomb sludge riffing and off kilter yet rewarding song structures that only the mighty Buzzo can deliver. -Stephen

83. Frost – Milliontown

Thank Christ that someone, somewhere, figured out that modern prog does not necessarily need to have anything to do with metal. As it turns out that person was producer Jem Godfrey, a huge prog nut who just happened to be the same guy who produced albums for all-girl British pop group Atomic Kitten and even the Lizzie McGuire movie soundtrack. This sounds like the last person you’d want trying to make progressive rock, but it turns out to be a match made in heaven as Godfrey coats a catchy, poppy sheen across dauntingly composed, extremely complex prog songs. Featuring great lyrics (“My handiwork will hunt me down and masquerade as me”), wonderful piano playing, catchy alternative-meets-progressive rock hooks and a 26 minute closer that retains interest throughout, Frost created a prog album that’s one in a million…town.

Sorry. -CJ

82. King Crimson – The Power to Believe

King Crimson works with a philosophy that is in complete defiance of many other prog groups’ “It worked in the ‘70s, let’s hope to Christ it works now” strategies. One would never mistake The Power to Believe with The Court of the Crimson King, for indeed, King Crimson is a band that is never content to sit still. On their latest album, Krim deftly mixes math rock, industrial music and good old fashioned improvisation to make an album that has the classical somber grandeur that the band is known for, updated and refined for a modern listening audience. Indeed, the only place you’ll find prog comparably dark and challenging this decade is on an Opeth or Tool album. Here’s to 40 more years of King Crimson giving a good name to progressive rock. -CJ

81. Einsturzende Neubaten- Silence Is Sexy

It’s hard to pinpoint EN’s best album—after all, they’ve been around for close to thirty years now, and all their releases are at least listenable (well, depending on how much you like jackhammers…). But I can honestly say that Silence Is Sexy has gotten the most spins from me out of all of them. Usually “artistic maturity” is music nerd code for dull, but turning the volume knob down and adding more nuanced songwriting and rich melodies have done nothing to temper Blixa Bargeld and company’s high-art wanderings, and the relative absence of power tools clang makes English-language ballads like “Sabrina” and “Total Eclipse of The Sun” all the sweeter while still avoiding trite sentiment. But don’t worry, old-school fans will still find their fixes of noise in “Zampano,” “In Circles,” and “Redukt.” -Stephen

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