Nov 15, 2009

Chapter Fifteen: November Rain

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain, ohhh yeahhh
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You're not the only one
You're not the only one

Autumn officially lasts another month, but winter is coming. Brutally hot as the summer blazed, the winter is not to be outdone. Armed with freezing cold and bolstered by frigid Siberian winds, winter is not worried about living up to its end of the bargain. I walked through a foot of snow yesterday in the mountains a few hours north of here. I like winter a lot. My favorite thing about winter is neither skiing nor eggnog nor Christmas. It's pockets. You put on a sweater and a jacket and suddenly you have pockets coming out of your ears. It's all well-and-good to chuck on a t-shirt and shorts in the summer time, but what about your pocket needs? You really have to look to winter for those. Stuffed with books, mp3 players, snacks, phones, and whatever else you want, it's easier to be prepared in winter.

As of today, I've hit my three-quarters mark here in Korea, which is strange for two reasons. Part of me thinks I've only been here for 9 days, whereas the rest of me is convinced that I've been here for 9 years. I suppose 9 months is a happy medium. It is a bizarre amount of time, though. I have the ennui-laden ambivalence that college kids call senioritis. I feel like I have one foot out the door already, but 3 months is no short time. Sure, in retrospect it will have gone by quickly, but what part of life doesn't, in retrospect?

Like Bilbo Baggins before he gave the ring to Frodo, I am feeling a bit stretched out. A bit weary. Luckily, Rivendell looms in a few short months. and though there be orcs, Nazgul, and forgetful innkeepers opposing me, I'm pretty sure I'll make it. As rewarding as teaching the young kids can be, if I teach again I think I'll go for a slightly older crowd. Like high school students. Or senior citizens.


Do you know what's weird? This decade is almost over. Wha? Y2k was ten years ago! Holy hell, that makes me feel old. And did we ever decide what to call this decade? Aughts? Naughts? I guess it's a moot point now, but here's a more topical question. Do we call 2010-2012 the teens or the pre-teens?

Hmmm. Anyway, in recognition of the decade's closing, I've compiled a baker's dozen of the best albums of the decade. I make no claims about these other than personal preference. If it wasn't already clear, this list reveals that I am not a scenester. This music is all pretty well-known and accessible. I'm also trying to rank these based on how great I thought they were at the peak of their popularity, not how I feel now.

Compiling this was tough. This soon-to-be-gone decade tried to help by completely sucking for the first 2 or 3 years, but the middle years of the decade were not nearly so complacent. I think the 2000's rank with the best of any other time in terms of quality rock.

First the honorable mentions, and there are quite a few. Many of these albums could be in the conversation for best ever, and if you were to tell me one of them was your favorite album, I would perfectly understand. The list includes:

Black Keys: Rubber Factory.
Audioslave: Audioslave.
Battles: Mirrored.
QoSA: Songs for the Deaf.
Killers: Hot Fuss.
Xavier Rudd: Solace/Food in the Belly.
Weezer: Red Album.
Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend.
Pendulum: Hold Your Colour.
Camille: Le Fil.
Bernard Fanning: Tea & Sympathy.
Tegan and Sarah: So Jealous.
Decemberists: Plcaresque.
Snow Patrol: Eyes open.
Arcade Fire: Funeral.
Datarock Datarock.

And now, the top thirteen albums of 2000-2009.

13. Gorrillaz: Demon Days. Albarn at his best and the videos are awesome.

12. Postal Service: Give Up. Such Great Heights might be THE anthem of the decade.

11. Pinback: Summer in Abadon. These guys are just amazing.

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Way. An album that sounds better the more time goes by.

9. Death Cab for Cutie: Plans. Gibbard again. Though fans will claim the earlier albums were better, this is the one that will always remind me of 2006.

8. Into the Wild Soundtrack As good as anything Vedder has ever done.

7. Interpol: Antics. Like their global crime-solving namesakes, there's nothing these guys can't do.

6. Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand. This album restored my faith in music.

5. Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News. One of the rare albums without a bad song.

4. Bloc Party: Silent Alarm. There's never a time I'm not in the mood to listen to this.

3. Kings of Leon: Only by the Night. Good old fashioned rock, at times reminiscent of The Joshua Tree.

2. The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely. After seeing them live, my respect grew exponentially.

1. Wofmother: Wolfmother. Though they split after this album, it was enough. Like the previous two albums on this list, it was a throwback to the 70s and enhanced by blues. I wish I could have seen them live.

Special mention goes to The Knife, one of my favorite bands. But I can't decide between Deep Cuts, Silent Shout, and their self titled album to list just one.

Next month, I'll try to come up with something even more challenging. The top 10 films of the 2000's. And then maybe even the top 10 books too. I like lists.

What bands/albums did I forget? Please comment with thoughts or complaints.