PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electro-R&B.

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electro-R&B.

 
Artist: The Knife

Album: Silent Shout

Label: Rabid

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/t/theknife_silentshout_albumart200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 60

Display Width: 200

The Knife
Silent Shout

After making a strong impression with the acclaimed 2003 album Deep Cuts and bolstered by the success of the single "Heartbeats", the enigmatic brother-sister duo of Karin and Olof Dreijer returned with a 2006 follow-up that stripped the pair's already minimalist electronic music down to near-skeletal form. In fact, Silent Shout was as much a musical evocation of the near-perpetual darkness of Swedish winter as the shimmering Deep Cuts resembled the brightness of summer, a decidedly icy, gothic affair that combined clattering, nervous rhythms, severe synth stabs, and unsettling, pitch-shifted vocals into a surreal, unforgettable, wildly original experience.

True of any music coming far removed from one particular "scene", Silent Shout bears resemblances to established artists here and there, but more than anything it was the twisted product of the siblings' weird little world. There are moments of striking, stark beauty (the Umbrellas of Cherbourg-influenced "Marble House") and haunting ambience ("Still Light"), while such tracks as "Like a Pen", "We Share Our Mother's Health", and the throttling "Neverland" cast a pall over the proceedings while luring listeners with spectacular hooks. Adrien Begrand

 
Artist: Loretta Lynn

Album: Van Lear Rose

Label: Interscope

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/l/lorettalynn_vanlearrose_albumart200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 59

Display Width: 200

Loretta Lynn
Van Lear Rose

While the current trend of legendary artist/younger, worshipful producer team-ups can be traced back 20 years to Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin's American Recordings sessions, the subgenre's apotheosis is, without a doubt, Loretta Lynn and Jack White's unimpeachable 2004 offering, Van Lear Rose, the decade's best country album by a -- uh, country mile. White gave the 72-year-old icon Lynn the opportunity for a near-perfect victory lap, simply by reminding everyone what made her so great in the first place: she's fun ("Portland, Oregon"), committed to family (the campfire rave-up "This Old House"; the soaring title track), and hell on wheels if you mess with her ("Family Tree's" evisceration of the homewrecker who's "burning down our family tree"; gleefully hunting down a delinquent husband on "Mrs. Leroy Brown"). Lynn and White are having a blast making music together, and that joy shines through on every track.

Plenty of other fine albums have sprung from the fertile collaborative ground sown by Van Lear Rose -- Mavis Staples/Jeff Tweedy's One True Vine, Dr. John/Dan Auerbach's Locked Down, Wanda Jackson/Jack White's The Party Ain't Over -- but nothing will match the enduring spirit of the best album that either Loretta Lynn or Jack White have made. Steve Haag

 
Artist: OutKast

Album: Speakerboxx/The Love Below

Label: LaFace / Arista

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/o/outkast_speakerboxxlovebelow_albumart200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 58

Display Width: 200

OutKast
Speakerboxx/The Love Below

"Ready for action / Nip it in the bud / We never relaxin' / OutKast is everlastin'." Having already attained hip-hop immortality with the ambitious Stankonia in 2000, OutKast wasn't about to limit its horizons for its next LP. The plus-size Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was the next logical step for the duo, with Big Boi and Andre 3000 each allotted a full disc to themselves to indulge their freakiest musical fantasies. Both men were certainly game: even though each disc has a clearly defined character (Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is a rambunctious party record, while Dre's The Love Below is a humorous, honest examination of the artist's love life), the Atlanta rappers call upon down-and-dirty rap, bebop jazz, Prince-inspired guitar freakouts, Earth, Wind & Fire-indebted soul, British Invasion-style pop, and everything else that could add color to their already-heady sound over the course of the set's sprawling tracklist. Heralded by the one-two punch of chart-topping singles "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move", Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was the crowning glory of OutKast's decade-long ascent, and though Big Boi and Dre's output rate as a duo dropped sharply thereafter, that album assured their legacy would be secure. AJ Ramirez

 
Artist: Manitoba (Caribou)

Album: Up in Flames

Label: Leaf / Domino

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/m/manitoba_upinflames_albumart200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 57

Display Width: 200

Manitoba (Caribou)
Up in Flames

In some alternative universe, the summer of love never stopped, the spiritual energy was so overwhelming that it ended the Vietnam War and prevented 9/11, and the music kept growing and evolving with every passing technology and every creative breakthrough. Up in Flames is a transmission from that universe, an effervescent psychedelic portal to a reality so gorgeous and transformative that you can only access it through a recording. Mathematician Dan Snaith, first known by Manitoba and then, for legal purposes, as Caribou, cracked the formula to open the stargate, producing a very un-math-like rock album in the process. Up in Flames is a naughts record fluent in harmonics, but unindebted to any Beach Boys release. It's an album that's pastoral and green, but awash in syntheziser. It's an LP that floats in elegant phrases and also double-drums a holy rupture of the cosmos. It's an experiment in dynamics that is simultaneously immense and intimate, forecasting many naughts trends from the apocalyptics of M83 to the preciousness of xylophone twee and the indie obsession with innocence, all while surpassing the understudies and sounding nothing like them. On paper, you could make the case that it's spiritual jazz gone electronic psych-pop, but it's so much more of its signifiers. Up in Flames is not best measured by its impact or its significance, but by its singularity, a standalone entity that feels unlike anything else in this consciousness, a rarity in an age of recreational style curation. Snaith-Ra kept the quality levels high throughout his career, but was never as vital as this again. Timh Gabriele

 
Artist: The Shins

Album: Chutes Too Narrow

Label: Sub Pop

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/t/theshins_chutestoonarrow_albumart200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 56

Display Width: 200

The Shins
Chutes Too Narrow

Critically lauded for their 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World, the Shins upped the ante with 2003's Chutes Too Narrow. Properly produced, Chutes Too Narrow took the band's insouciant bedroom rock to a level of broader mainstream appeal. Released in a nebulous musical period with no distinct style, the Shins quickly became the indie standard bearers amongst their peers, including the nascent the Decemberists, My Morning Jacket and the Postal Service.

At its heart, Chutes Too Narrow is a pop album. Recalling '60s-era acts, the Shins mixed in chamber pop ("Saint Simon") and country ("Gone for Good") with singer James Mercer's buoyant melodies and the band's vocal harmonies. Post-release, the album and the band were given a major boost after Oh, Inverted World's "New Slang" was anointed a song that "will change your life" in the independent film Garden State. Sales of the band's first two albums more than doubled, resulting in mainstream attention. A springboard to future success, Chutes Too Narrow's 2007 follow-up, Wincing the Night Away debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and earned the band a Grammy nomination.

Formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but having relocated to Portland, Oregon, prior to recording Chutes Too Narrow, the Shins melodic approach no doubt informed its Sub Pop label brethren, Band of Horses, as well as countless other alt-folk acts now so prevalent. No longer the same band after Mercer dismissed the group following Wincing the Night Away, his time is split between side project Broken Bells (with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton) and the Shins, last releasing Port of Morrow in 2012. Despite its follow up's accolades and sales figures, Chutes Too Narrow remains the band's greatest artistic achievement, owing as much to the songs as its exposure following Garden State. Eric Risch

Next Page

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.