The Nightcap

The Beach Boys I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

This year more than any prior, I’ve spent consuming a ton of older bands that I never heard or just plain missed. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds LP is quality in any era.

The best 100 albums of the decade (2000-2009)

If someone wants a euphonium player to join their rock band, let me know. I’m totally down.

In any case, here’s my Top 100 albums of the decade list. The international brand master himself commissioned a few of us higher ed blogger types to each come up with our own lists and together, we’re running down a list of the Top 100 albums of the decade.

What’s released below is my personal list. The only real rule for me was ensuring I didn’t pick two albums from the same artist. I could’ve in a few cases, but opted against it. It’s also possible if I’d poured over this, I’d have chosen a different set of albums in a different order literally each day I did it, so at some point I just had to stop.

So I did it all in one sitting after compiling an initial list in a different series of sittings, then made a bunch of changes to make sure I didn’t miss anything huge (for me) and well…what we have results in a fairly accurate reflection of my listening habits. The rankings are a bit curious, but then, what rankings aren’t? (Hello US News & the BCS!?)

With that, here’s my list:

1. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods (2005)
2. Alison Krauss & Robert Plant – Raising Sand (2007)
3. Laura Veirs – Year of Meteors (2005)
4. Bright Eyes – Lifted or The Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground (2002)
5. Brand of Horses – Cease To Begin (2007)
6. Frou Frou – Frou Frou (2002)
7. Dr. Dog – Fate (2008)
8. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief (2003)
9. Metric – Fantasies (2009)
10. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
11. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2009)
12. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary (2005)
13. Little Brother – The Listening (2003)
14. Interpol – Antics (2004)
15. The National – Boxer (2007)
16. Blindside – About A Burning Fire (2004)
17. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)
18. Tegan and Sara – This Business of Art (2000)
19. Ray Lamontagne – Till The Sun Turns Black (2006)
20. Appleseed Cast – Peregrine (2006)
21. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)
22. Keren Ann – Nolita (2004)
23. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)
24. Other Lives – Other Lives (2009)
25. Field Music – Tones of Town (2007)
26. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (2009)
27. Heartless Bastards – All This Time (2006)
28. Julieta Venegas – Bueninvento (2000)
29. Mirah – Aspera (2009)
30. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros (2009)
31. Outkast – Stankonia (2000)
32. Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere (2006)
33. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (2008)
34. Basia Bulat – Oh, My Darling (2008)
35. Flaw – Through The Eyes (2001)
36. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)
37. Cake – Fashion Nugget (2001)
38. Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antartica (2000)
39. Architecture In Helsinki – Fingers Crossed (2004)
40. 30 Seconds To Mars – 30 Seconds To Mars (2002)
41. Ha Ha Tonka – Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South (2009)
42. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine (2005)
43. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
44. Brand New – Deja Entendu (2003)
45. Nelly – Country Grammar (2000)
46. Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)
47. Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (2006)
48. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (2008)
49. Jill Scott – Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 (2000)
50. Passion Pit – Manners (2009)
51. Pretty Girls Make Graves – Elan Vital (2006)
52. TV On The Radio – Dear Science (2008)
53. Sondre Lerche – Faces Down (2002)
54. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s – The Dust of Retreat (2006)
55. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American (2001)
56. System Of A Down – Toxicity (2001)
57. The Dears – Gang of Losers (2006)
58. Deftones – White Pony (2000)
59. Esperanza Spalding – Esperanza (2008)
60. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)
61. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War (2008)
62. Kings of Leon – Youth and Young Manhood (2003)
63. Circa Survive – On Letting Go (2007)
64. Dungen – Tio Bitar (2007)
65. Devotchka – A Mad & Faithful Telling (2008)
66. The Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army (2007)
67. The xx – xx (2009)
68. Feist – The Reminder (2007)
69. Devendra Banhart – Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007)
70. God Forbid – Earthsblood (2009)
71. Panic at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005)
72. Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift (2005)
73. Floetry – Floetic (2002)
74. A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms (2000)
75. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World (2001)
76. Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (2008)
77. Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
78. Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein (2001)
79. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – Source Tags & Codes (2002)
80. The Wrens – Meadowlands (2003)
81. Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000)
82. The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan (2005)
83. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans (2005)
84. Regina Spektor – Begin To Hope (2006)
85. Land of Talk – Applause, Cheer, Boo, Hiss (2006)
86. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)
87. Two Gallants – Two Gallants (2007)
88. Black Gold – Rush (2009)
89. Stew – Something Deeper Than These Changes (2003)
90. The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)
91. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)
92. Zero 7 – The Garden (2006)
93. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (2009)
94. Guster – Keep It Together (2003)
95. N.E.R.D. – In Search Of… (2002)
96. Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows (2000)
97. Spoon – Gimmie Fiction (2005)
98. Murs – Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition (2004)
99. Paramore – Riot (2007)
100. The Roots – Game Theory (2006)

Most overrated album of the decade?
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (2006)
Runner up: Vampire Weekend (2008)

Most underrated album of the decade?
Richard Swift – Dressed Up For The Letdown (2007)
Runner up: Hilary Hahn – Violin Concertos (Mendelssohn/Shostakovich) (2002)

Song of the Decade:
Fiona Apple – Better Version of Me (2005)
Runner up: Plus/Minus (+/-) Steal The Blueprints (2006)

If you find yourself wanting to make album cover wallpapers of your Top 100 albums,

Be sure to check out the countdown on the Higher Ed Critics list. I can assure you if you didn’t love my rankings (and heck, I look at them now and would make some changes!) you might find the taste of the collective better than what I managed to do alone.

The end of celebrity

Michael Jackson Star
Image via Wikipedia

A New York Times article on Michael Jackson and the demise of fame in a digital world:

When the Beatles were on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964, more than 70 million people watched, that is, more than one-third of the entire population of the United States. Yes, the Beatles were that good. But at the time, there were three networks and the radio. No Facebook, Twitter, video games, movie multiplexes, Sirius radio, malls or a dozen other potential drains on an audience.

There weren’t a lot of rock bands, either. George Harrison was the only Beatle who’d visited the United States before the group landed for that historic performance — his sister lived in Illinois — and when he returned to England he gleefully informed his mates that nobody in America could compete.

Likewise, Michael Jackson had MTV, which was the place for music videos, and as close to an Ed Sullivan platform as he needed. Of course, it’s been a long time since MTV played hour after hour of prime-time videos. Today, you watch music videos on YouTube, but because there are no programmers to curate what you see, every artist has to compete with thousands of others. And now that anyone with a computer has a miniature studio, and anyone with a Internet connection can post a song, there are more genres, subgenres and artists than ever.

That’s why even Michael Jackson would have a hard time becoming Michael Jackson these days. Come to think of it, Farrah Fawcett, who also passed away this week, would never have become Farrah Fawcett if she showed up in that red, one-piece bathing suit today. In the ’70s, she became the fantasy of choice for every post-pubescent teenage boy in the country, selling 10 million posters of her iconic, high-beam smile. Now, there are so many vixens grinning seductively from so many Web sites and lad mags that no single woman could ever commandeer the public imagination in quite the same way. There is no “this year’s model” anymore. There is this week’s model, and that’s about it.

Success is a blip. Celebrity a myth. The rules have changed.

5 links and 22 songs

A few things to check out…and then some tunes, of course. Because I’m overdue.

Elevate Web Design at the University Level (A List Apart)

Generations Online in 2009 (Pew Internet Project)

Sponty – Be Hangoutable (Sponty)

Friday Heh (Dave Coustan)

Don’t be a pain…. (Karlyn Morissette)

As for the music, it’s been a few weeks since I posted on here, but I couldn’t resist. As a result, you get 22 songs this week. It’s a wide range of things from indie fare to a hip-hop mashup of Nat King Cole and The Roots for an upcoming album that Natalie Cole was Executive Producer on (meaning I guess it’s okay with her that they’re doing it…) and a variety of new tracks from The Heartless Bastard, P.O.S. and Fiction Family, a supergroup combining Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins and Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman. Ben Kweller released a country-influence album and there’s a track here from that surprisingly good album.

Here’s a link if you can’t see the applet below in your RSS feed (to listen to the tunes) and have a good weekend!

Le Tigre – Deceptacon
Cococnut Record – Nighttiming
Great Northern – Home
The Maine – The Way We Talk
Army Navy – Saints
Nat King Cole (f/ The Roots) – Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
Outasight – Good Evening (Dream Big)
Castanets –  The Night Is When You Can Not See
Dolorean – Beachcomber Blues
School of Seven Bells – Face To Face on High Places
Glenn Jones – Little Dog’s Day
The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out
LCD Soundsystem – Watch The Tapes
The Mojomatics – Miss Me When I’m Gone
Illa J – We Here
Heartless Bastards – Nothing Seems The Same
Ben Kweller – Fight
Fiction Family – Please Don’t Call It Love
REM – Nightswimming
Mineral – Love Letter Type Writer
The Phantom Band – Throwing Bones
P.O.S. – Drumroll (We’re All Thirsty)
Kate Nash – Merry Happy


Your personal best & 10 songs (1.16.09)

Something I was once told by an experienced Master Sergeant when I was in the Air Force that stuck with me was when I’d been through a particular course and while my performance was “the best” in the group, I’d most certainly come the farthest of almost any of them. I was recognized for my performance, was put in charge of our group towards the end of the training. I must’ve looked quite surprised and he came over to me and said (paraphrasing), “You don’t think you’ve done a good job here? Do you realize where you started from to get to this point? Everyone here is judged on their own merits, has their own goals and things to get through to succeed. You’ve succeed, so don’t look surprised. But don’t stop either.”

Ok, I paraphrased that so heavily that you can attribute that quote to me now. But the point is, your personal best is where you set the bar. Only you can know why you’re motivated how you are and the only person who can truly know what’s inside your heart is you.

1. Don’t believe the hype, especially your own.
2. Never believe you’re invincible, because you’re not.
3. Check yourself at the door and understand others.
4. Challenge yourself.
5. Don’t expect to fail, PREPARE for the success you seek.

Here’s some music for the folks who come here for that on Fridays.


11 Songs (1.9.09)

Web redesign almost done, writing book proposals and just taking the New Year at full speed and well…you get 11 songs this week. I’m particularly fond of this week’s set of songs, too. So be sure to listen up and enjoy.

MGMT – Time to Pretend
Devotckha – Transliterator
Enanitos Verdes – Tentacion
Wye Oak – I Don’t Feel Young
The Roots – Bread and Butter
The Long Lost – Woebegone
The Shins – Girl on the Wing
K’Naan – Somalia
Hollowblue – We Fall
Micachu – Golden Phone
Franz Ferdinand – What She Came For (Live)