Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Noughtie: Overall Favourite Artists

Overall Favourite Artists Best of 2000Overall Least Favourite Artists | Best of 2001
Hey everyone, welcome to the Noughtie series! From now until... when I finish basically, I'll be revealing what I think the best songs, artists, albums and music videos are of the last decade. This is alternative, rock and metal music primarily, but there will be bits of dance and rap as well, but it has to fit with an alternative, rock or metal audience (eg Eminem, The Prodigy). Above you will see what I will be covering, it's a mixture of listings and mixtapes. The last two though, will be the big meat pieces. The 100 Favourite songs, is my personal list, it's my favourite singles of the 10 years we're covering. I'll probably do that in 10 days, so that's 10 songs per day. The 100 Most Important songs though, is what I truly think are the most important and memorable songs are of the decade. They are, what I think, will be songs best remembered, most fond of. It's been very difficult narrowing that list to 100, and am more than willing to change it if a lot of people criticise. The difficult thing about that list is that I've got rock and metal, and naturally, not many metal songs were commercially successful, chart-wise, but that doesn't mean they won't be well remembered. That's the difficult part, for me anyway, is differentiating a commercially successful song with a song very well received and remembered, maybe even years later. So that final listing will be 100 days long.

Anyway, that's the end, we're at the beginning! This is listing is starting it all off. I thought I'd start with a biased listing, a listing that will tell you something about me. The last decade in music for me has been amazing. So many new artists made good music, so many established artists improved from where they started. Some just stayed consistent, in a good way. The list you will see below is not in order of how I view them overall of all time, but how they performed from the years 2000 to 2009. For instance, my favourite artist as many of my friends and family know is Nine Inch Nails. But I'd be lying if I said they, from 2000 to 2009 were my favourite artist. They didn't release anything until 2004 and then released two more albums, one fantastic the other only good. Get my drift? So I'm talking about the whole decade, and the quality of music they produced in that decade. Let's just get going.

10. The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
Albums: Hörse of the Dög (2002), The Royal Society (2004)
TEMBLD kick off my listing. I did a review on their third album on this site, you can read it here. If we were including that third album, TEMBLD would have been shot up this list because I love this band so much. As I say in my review, they're not very popular. I doubt they ever will be. But they are stupidly talented, and do their very best to resurrect the great sounds of Psychobilly and Gothabilly music. Their first album is one of the rawest albums I've ever heard. It's 25 minutes of pure psychotic punk licks. The problem for me is that it's a bit too raw, and a bit too short, but it's a great piece. I'd give it **** if I were to review it now. The second album however is my favourite album by this band. The Royal Society tones down some of that raw energy and manages to create an album with a good combination of melody and creativity. I'd give that album ****1/2 as it's definitely one of my favourite albums of the decade.

9. The Fratellis
Albums: Costello Music (2006), Here We Stand (2008)
The Fratellis are if you didn't know a Scottish band that in 2006 found decent fame with their song Chelsea Dagger, that's still played in some football stadiums today. What a lot of the people in the UK didn't realise, is that their albums are fantastic too. This is a band that I would thoroughly recommend you get into if you like their singles. They have done two extremely solid albums before going on hiatus (I'd rate them both ****1/2 actually) with some brilliant tunes. They do very catchy songs and they are very reminiscent of the good parts of Brit-Pop. I hope they go off hiatus soon because I can't wait to hear a third album.

8. Marilyn Manson
Albums: Holy Wood: In the Shadow of the Valley of Death (2000), The Golden Age of Grotesque (2003), Eat Me, Drink Me (2007), The High End of Low (2009)
Manson is probably my second favourite artist of all time. In the nineties, he was phenomenal. He was fresh, he was different, he incorporated many different sounds into his music. Working with Trent Reznor obviously helped too. But he really started to lack ideas in the Noughties. Holy Wood is a good album, I'd rate it ****, it has some great tracks on there. The Golden Age of Grotesque I'd also rate **** as the start of the album really kicks ass, but then it runs out of steam quickly. The last two albums are mediocre at best. I'd probably rate Eat Me, Drink Me at ***1/4 and The High End of Low as a slight improvement at ***1/2. So that's two albums that in my opinion were good, two that were okay. That's why he just pips into my Top 10, as I can definitely listen to these albums, but man, I'd choose Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals anyday.

7. Franz Ferdinand
Albums: Franz Ferdinand (2004), You Could Have it So Much Better (2005), Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (2009)
There's one word that I'll use to describe Franz Ferdinand, consistent. That word is actually the theme of this listing. Franz Ferdinand aren't the most original band in the world. But they do what works for them, they're consistent in their approach to music making, they've done three solid albums, all three I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to. They rarely deviate from their sound as well, but when they do it sounds great. But they always come "home", in terms of not deviating too much. Album ratings? I'd give them all ****. If I was pushed to choose a favourite, it'd probably be the latest, it's a great listen.

6. Mindless Self Indulgence
Albums: Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy (2000), You'll Rebel to Anything (2005), If (2008)
Mindless Self Indulgence are an oddity, you could genuinely make a claim that there's not a band in the world like them. I wouldn't even make a stake that they're that talented. But their music kicks ass, I don't know how, and I don't know why, but it does. They mix so much into their music, from 80's synth, to hip hop, to punk, to industrial metal. It's just an amazing blend of noise. All their songs are short and to the point and their albums don't deviate too much. Their latest album If, is a slightly softer edge on their raw sound but otherwise it's all great fucking noise. I'd rate Frankensteins (their longest album at over 30 tracks) as ****, You'll Rebel to Anything at ****1/4 and If at ****1/4 also. If you've not heard this band, I'd recommend you listen to Shut Me Up, the song that shot them into mainstream music, a song you might hear more about later on in the Noughtie series. Oh, by the way, Lyn-Z is fucking hot, she's the one on the right. Unfortunately she has no taste in men, and is married to Gerard Way. Reason #593 to hate My Chemical Romance.

5. Nine Inch Nails
Albums: With Teeth (2005), Year Zero (2007), The Slip (2008)
Note: Ghosts was also released in 2008, however it's pretty much 4 seperated EPs of instrumental music so I'm not including it.
As I said before, Nine Inch Nails are my favourite band of all time. But in terms of this decade alone, there were bands who brought out more material, over the entire decade and that were more consistent than NIN. I said the word before, consistent. You'll see.
NIN went on hiatus from 1999 until 2005, a 6 year hiatus, which is a long time in music. With Teeth was a very good album, a very fresh approach to Trent's work, he was completely teetotal for the first time in his music career. I'd say With Teeth would get ****1/4 from me if I were to review it. Year Zero on the otherhand, man, this album is just an experience you had to feel. Unfortunately it's too late now. Basically, Year Zero wasn't just an album, it was an alternative reality too, Trent made his project appear across the internet and in real life. I can't explain in a short paragraph what it is, for more information go here. Anyway, this project had to have an album that could kick as much ass as the project itself. Thankfully it did, and NIN made one of my favourite albums of the decade (listing of that coming soon) , which I'd rate ****1/2. The Slip was also released very quickly, and it felt like NIN didn't put that much effort into it. It's definitely his worst album to date, but is still good, at ***3/4.

4. System of a Down
Albums: Toxicity (2001), Steal This Album! (2002), Mezmerize (2005), Hypnotize (2005)
No releases in the past 5 years but SOAD still stand out as one of the greatest metal bands of the decade. That's my biased opinion and that's quite the popular opinion too. Their frenetic riffs, Serj Tankians unique vocal chords, everyone loves this band. Even people who don't like metal like this band. Toxicity is a solid album, I'd give it ****1/4, Steal This Album! was a decent odds and sods album too, I'd rate it ****. The duo of Mezmerize and Hypnotize is bizarre however. Apparently they had loads of material and wanted to release two albums. Fine. But don't load all the best stuff onto one album and all the excess onto the other! Mezmerize is my personal favourite SOAD album. I can listen to it anyday. ****1/2 is what I'd give it. Hypnotize however, just feels diluted. It feels like SOAD wanted to turn emo. There were exceptions of course, and it's definitely still listenable, but I'd give it ***3/4. That being said, four albums in the decade all around the 4 star is great consistency.

3. Saul Williams
Albums: Amethyst Rock Star (2001), Saul Williams (2004), The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! (2007)
Thank you Trent Reznor. Thank you for introducing this artist into my life. If you're not a big NIN fan, chances are you probably haven't heard of Saul Williams. Let me introduce. Saul Williams is a poet. He writes about politics and race primarily. But he is also a more than accomplished music artist. He incorporates his poems into his music, into lyrical form. His genre is difficult to pinpoint, he mixes rap music with heavy industrial music, bits of punk and African music as well. He has worked with some of the best musicians, like Trent Reznor, Zach de la Rocha and Serj Tankian. He's also worked with Nas, the rapper, so that's further respect for breaking the boundaries of metal and hip-hop/RnB. He's produced a lot of music, a lot of it in EP and colaboration form, but he officially has released three albums, a fourth forthcoming. And man, all three of them are solid albums. His debut, is just mindblowing, at least I think so. I'd rate that album ****3/4, I'm not kidding, it's a piece of lyrical perfection. His self titled album is probably his most popular, which is also a great album, I'd rate it ****1/2. His latest album, a play on the infamous David Bowie album, is a political statement more than anything else. It's a great listen though, he continues to experiment his music in different genres, but it just doesn't sound as clinical as the other two, I'd give it a ****1/4. But he's definitely consistent, original and just plain awesome. I really recommend you listen to him.

2. Muse
Albums: Origin of Symmetry (2001), Absolution (2003), Black Holes and Revelations (2006), The Resistance (2009)
It seems to be a pattern in my listings that I have an elite two at the top. I dunno why. It's good though. Muse and the #1 entry have done something that in my opinion no other artist has done. That is produce four great albums. By great I mean every one of them being in the 4 star range. Muse is the epitome of consistent in my opinion, even more so than #1 (you'll find out why #1 is #1 if you keep reading don't worry). Every album is fantastic, you can feel the energy they put into their music when they're in the studio. Matt's lyrics, while sometimes over the top, are always good. Chris, base player, is one of my favourites and Dominic is a great drummer. Origin of Symmetry, which I'd rate ****, is a favourite among many Muse fans, it's the album that really caught the attention of the UK. Absolution for me was a better album and I'd give it ****1/4. Black Holes and Revelations (a retro review I did can be read here) for me is their best work. The more I listed to it (even after that review) the more I loved it. I'd give it ****1/2 is I were to re-review it, which I won't. The Resistance is their most experimental album yet, and had mixed to good reactions. My personal take is that I think they need to keep away from the homage to Queen and stick to their own sound, which is better. That being said The Resistance is a good album, I'd give it **** stars. But Muse are consistent, they try hard in the studio and even harder on tour, they're a great credit to British music and I'm a huge fan.

1. The Queens of the Stone Age
Albums: Rated R (2000), Songs for the Deaf (2002), Lullabies to Paralyze (2005), Era Vulgaris (2007)
Here we are, over the 10 years, my favourite artist is The Queens of the Stone Age. I love all four of those albums above (their first self titled wasn't that great though). QotSA are a brilliant band, of course with Josh Homme at the centre of everything you can't go wrong really, he's one of the true musical greats of the decade. Rated R and Songs for the Deaf are untouchable classics. They're both ****3/4 albums for me, I don't kid. I've debated for years what one is better, and Rated R has come trumps for me recently. Unfortunately with the departure of Nick Oliveri they haven't quite been the same, but that doesn't mean they haven't produced fantastic albums. Lullabies is an album I don't play often but when I do I always question why I don't. I'd give it ****1/4 stars, where as Era Vulgaris was similar to Lullabies but much better, I love listening to that album, I'd give it ****1/2 stars. They're reported to be back in the studio this month to record new material so I'm very excited about that.

So there you have it. I'd like to emphsise that this is all my opinion, I'm not saying QotSA are the best band in the world, or even the decade, but over the 10 years I'm covering, I've enjoyed their music most consistently. It's a biased list.
Anyway, the Noughtie series has arrived. I hope you enjoy the ride, it's going to be a long run. I'll be back on Friday with a Mixtape, my favourite songs from the year 2000.

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