Friday, December 4, 2009

My Album of the Decade

There have been lots of lousy "Top 10 (or 50) albums of the Decade" lists floating about the blogosphere, and most of them have been complete crap. The AV club picked White Blood Cells by The White Stripes. Wrong! Pitchfork selected Radiohead's Kid A. How predictable can Pitchfork get? Both NME and eMusic selected Is This It by The Strokes. As if! Paste choose Sufjan Stevens Illinois. Barf! Paste's readers picked Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco. Don't get me started!

Full Disclosure: I own all of these albums and they are all actually really good.

The real best album of the decade came out in 2000. All hail Slobberbone's Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today. It starts out with "Meltdown" a metaphor on a relationship falling apart. "Hey baby, its the end of the world, I hope you had fun." Then takes it up several notches with "Placemat Blues," possibly the most rocking song of the decade. The record just gets better from there.

EYTWRWWT perfectly blends punk rock and country, and uses a wide range of instrumentation, from horns to banjo to harmonica. It even resurrects the power ballad with "Josephine." My favorite song is "Lazy Guy" which I have posted before. Its my theme song. Check out these lyrics:

I'm a lazy guy
I'm amazed at the way some people try and try and try
To erect and then perfect some kind of proof that they're alive before they die
Well not me, 'cause I'm a lazy guy

Now that's just good song writing. No pretense here. Yeah, I'm talking to you Wilco and Radiohead.

Lead singer Brent Best has the perfect country/rock voice, sometimes sounding like he gargles with Jim Beam, and at other times sounding like a sweet raspy-voiced folk singer. Here's a funny quote by Best about EYTWRWWT from a recent interview, "What the hell do you do with a Grammy anyways? Can you Ebay them for cash?"

You can hear how influential this album was to subsequent 2000s releases, most obviously Lucero's new album 1372 Overland Park.

Although Slobberbone disbanded in 2004, they have recently resurfaced for a new tour. And, my man on the ground tells me that a new album is in the works. Can't wait!

Placemat Blues.mp3
Pinball Song.mp3
Buy: Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today (2000)


Kelly said...

WOW! I have been rocking this cd recently as I have wondered why this hasnt been getting more "best of" talk! Couldnt agree more with you. I even posted about it this morning over on my blog...I'll be catching another dallas "reunion show" in a couple of weeks also...

Peter said...

Here's an album I forgot about until reading this post. No exaggeration. I bought the CD just after moving to California in 2001. Found a used copy in the 99-cent bin at the Bionic Records in Cypress. I had read some positive reviews of the record on Amazon, and if the price didn't convince me to make the purchase, a song titled "Placemat Blues" did. Being a Replacements fan, I caught the reference straightaway.

So with a high degree of anticipation, I played the disc, skipping to the aforementioned song. And I sat there. Listened. And the song ended. Replacementsesque? Perhaps not. More like a musclebound Jay Farrar-fronted Uncle Tupelo song. Not getting a then-necessary respite from the Paul Westerberg drought there. I skipped back to track one and let the disc unfold, also reaching its conclusion with nary an ear getting perked. Subsequent revisits failed to find any connection.

However, I would like to note one special find that satisfied my Replacements jones this decade. (Short of Westerberg's excellent torrent of new albums and the thoughtful Mats reissues, of course!) This record involved another song title that told me to give the music a chance. Sitting in a Tower Records back-room bin of unloved promos was a CD by Tommy Womack, who I though might have been related to Bobby. Oh, the ignorance! But the album Circus Town had a song called straight up "The Replacements." If Slobberbone alluded to Minneapolis's finest, here was a clubbing over the head.

Circus Town sounds like Westerberg's recent home recordings: sloppy, rambunctious, and full of spirit. But the lyrics hearten back to the middle third of the Replacements discography, where the band seemed to sober enough to consider talking to girls. Amidst the bed head, four days of whiskers, and trembling heart, there is the desire to connect. "Sleeping with Cecelia," "You Could Be at the Beach Right Now, Little Girl," and "Everything with You" brim with a ideal mixture of self-deprication, naivety, and sincerity. Lyrical elements that hit like arrows to the bull's eye of my heart. And of course the epic story song that is "The Replacements" help make Tommy Womack's Circus Town one of the decade's best albums.

Rockstar Aimz said...

Great stuff Peter! I wrote a series on the Replacements starting on July 30, and included the Tommy Womack song. Wait, you already commented on it! Ha ha ha! You rule!

Anonymous said...

Umm...I think you HAVE to go to SXSW this year. We have to talk.


oaneto said...

Great album. Thanks for sharing. I found your blog while searching for something.

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Jeff said...

I think you're dead-on right. YHF is #2.


Rob said...

They are killing it live. Atlanta was a great show. Rumors abound about a new album, looking forward to it.

LD said...

Awesome, also my #1. Bravo for having great taste ;)

Anonymous said...

I would bet that Jeff Tweedy's voice is sexier