Great Albums of the 00s

When I first wrote about my favorite music of the 00s ten years ago, I had determined that my three favorite albums of the decade were:

  • A Collision by David Crowder Band
  • No Line on the Horizon by U2
  • Emotionalism by The Avett Brothers

While my appreciation for No Line has waned somewhat, I still love the other two albums. But I’ve also developed an appreciation for a lot of the other sounds from this tumultuous decade in music. The early aughts began with The Strokes being hailed as the saviors of modern rock and ended with the realization that the entire genre seems irrevocably beyond salvation, surpassed in cultural relevancy by ubiquity of pop music and the seismic embrace of rap/R&B by the mainstream. For proof, you need look no further than the arc of Radiohead and Wilco, alternative darlings of the 90s who deconstructed the entire concept of rock with experimental albums such as Kid A and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

By the end of the decade, the very idea of mainstream rock had evolved to include the jangly, acoustic sounds of bands such as Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, who were filling arenas with bearded, flannel-clad millennials jamming out to frenetic banjo solos. And although such “old-timey” sounds proved to be more fad than trend — evidenced by both bands distancing themselves (and alienating their fan bases) by moving further away from their original aesthetic — it sure was fun while it lasted. “Go To Sleep” still gets me every time.

In the 00s, we said goodbye to Johnny Cash, his final American Recordings releases providing a fitting denouement for the Man in Black. American IV: The Man Comes Around is simply apocalytptic. There’s scarcely a Sunday morning goes by that I’m not listening to My Mother’s Hymn Book as a prelude to my own time of worship. But the decade also brought great music from new acts like Josh Ritter, whose Animal Years was a Dylan-esque powerhouse from the jump, and that Strokes record, which still holds up after nearly 20 years.

If I had to select a favorite album from among these, I might go with In Rainbows; it’s just gorgeous music and I still give Radiohead cool points for bypassing the whole commercial enterprise (basically) with its pay-what-you-want release. Conceptually, I still love the interpretation I ascribed to A Collision — humanity seeks the divine in ways as diverse as these varied genres (bluegrass, rock, balladry) assembled here. And Emotionalism will always be one of my favorites, even as The Avett Brothers drift further away from its ragged sounds in favor of more commercially viable adult contemporary terrain. But I love all of these albums on this playlist.

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Great Albums of the 90s

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately as I prep for my end-of-the-year music list. (And a lot of great music has been released this year.) But I’ve also been looking back on some of the best music from the past decade given that the 2010s are about to draw to a close. (I know that, strictly speaking, the decade ends with the “tenth” year — so 2010 or 2020 actually closes out the decade — but, come on. Who thinks this way?)

To that end, I give you my best albums of the 90s playlist. So many of these albums still hold up. To wit, my 15 year old son LOVES What’s the Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis. It’s probably his favorite album. And I listened to a LOT of Cracked Rear View leading up to seeing Hootie in concert back in September. It’s tremendous.

90s music is pretty nostalgic for me. It takes me back to when I first fell in love with rock music and when I developed my own musical sensibilities. For instance, when I listen to “Black” by Pearl Jam, I immediately go back to quiet evenings shooting basketball outside my house, ruminating on things menial (homework, friendships) and morose (my father’s death, my mother’s remarriage and my subsequent interior retreat into my head). If you want to know what 90s teen angst sounded like, look no further than Pearl Jam’s debut album.

Or take The Bends and OK Computer by Radiohead, the pinnacle of artful, “message” guitar rock. I love Radiohead’s avant-garde stuff as much as the next guy, but before they were rock innovators playing with form and structure and the concepts of songs, they were perfecters of the ubiquitous post-grunge alt sound. “Let Down” and “No Surprises” are some of the most beautiful guitar songs ever. Listening to OK Computer is both joyous and depressing; you appreciate the elegant craftsmanship while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that nothing else could ever top it.

If I had to select my favorite album of the 90s — at this point, 20+ years later — I would probably select OK Computer. It’s just beautiful music and it perfectly captures the particular late decade ethos. Morning Glory would be in the discussion as well; as I said, it holds up big time. And Ten is on this Mount Rushmore, too; it was truly a gamechanger.

This is some of my favorite music. Love these albums from the 90s.

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How You Make Them Feel

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The Crucifixion by Nikolai Ge

This might be my new favorite piece of passion art. So powerful.

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He Has Become

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

We are told that the Messiah knew no sin. He never acted out of his fleshly nature, never reached for the forbidden fruit, never defied the will of God. He stands sinless.

Spotless.

Morally pure.

Perfect.

But for our sake, he was transformed. Though he knew no sin, he has BECOME sin.

The spotless one has become blemished.

The pure one has become our defilements.

The perfect one has become our imperfections.

This means Jesus has become the grotesqueries we so desperately seek to cover and hide. He has become the secret, the shame, that which we dare not even whisper. He has become the sinful cancer infecting us that we have not yet even acknowledged. He has willingly become even this, for he has become sin.

He has become pride.

Rage.

Plagiarism.

Bitterness.

Pornography.

Gossip.

Overeating.

Theft.

Violence.

Slander.

Homosexuality.

Dishonesty.

Adultery.

Covetousness.

Hatred.

Greed.

Legalism.

Cheating.

Murder.

He has BECOME sin.

My sin.

Your sin.

Our sin.

And this so that we might become something else — that we might become the righteousness of God.

Praise the One who has become, that we might become.

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At the Movies

I find it funny that the Downton Abbey listing is followed by Rambo: Last Blood. Guess which one we’re seeing? 😀

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Furball

Found this picture on my phone. I think one of my kids took this extreme closeup of Sadie, our little furball who clearly needs a haircut!

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