BMOWP’s Favorite Album of the Decade

Oh, come on. Let’s be honest. You don’t want to read another list. You’re absolutely ecstatic that I chose only one album.

BMOWP Classic Album

Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica

That’s good. I’ve skipped a lot of them this year, understanding that everyone’s “best of the year” or “best of the decade” collections are created through the ether of personal taste. One person’s Kid A is another person’s “How can you choose Kid A as the best album of the decade when it’s barely Radiohead’s third best record overall?”

The Moon and AntarcticaI was about to enter the fray, actually. My ten favorite albums of the decade:

#1 – Modest Mouse, Moon and Antarctica
#2 – Er… Um…

Well, there was a problem.

Call it a shift in execution. This was the decade in which I started listening to songs instead of albums. My personal trends were driven by college radio and the Internet instead of touring punk bands and my friends’ CD players. My tastes expanded to the point that I could no longer devote enough attention to specifics, looking for the quick fix over the long play.

Which is not to say that I completely forgot the album format. Jets to Brazil, Arcade Fire, Wilco, The Strokes and The White Stripes all threw out great albums that I listened to as a whole. Some of my favorite bands released albums that I certainly paid attention to: bands like Built to Spill and Hot Water Music put forth a great effort, but nothing compared to the albums they released in the 90s. Even recently, MGMT and The Antlers alerted me to defining music that, given another ten years, could rival the albums I’ve already deified.

For me, there’s only one album that stood strong enough for the entire ten years. And it was all rooted in a time and a situation: the summer of 2000. It was a trip to England. It was a realization of whatever I thought my talents would become. It was my first year out of the dorms thanks to a year in limbo and a year as an RA.

And while Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica works well both as a collection of spacey, intense songs and as a concept album on the meaning of life, it never would have become quite the life-altering force without the situation in which it played a part: the soundtrack to a generational change, from grown-up child to aspiring adult.

The top 10 list wilted, a strong top album unsupported by the willing (though not necessarily able) albums below it. Paired up against #1, no album really stood a chance.

I guess I knew that from the beginning.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 28th, 2009