40. !!! – Myth Takes (2007)
Every great album should have a song that makes people scream and freak out, sending them running down hallways, grabbing random passersby and telling, nay, demanding they listen to this song! “Heart of Hearts” is that song and my friend Lauren ran down a short hallway in order to grab me and make sure I heard it. The pulsing funk beat of “Heart” is !!! at their finest and Myth Takes is their finest work to date, eschewing the jammier moments of their previous records and generating some good old fashion tension and release. Nic Offer’s “perv in the corner of the club” vocals hang just fine though any attempts at sincerity don’t work. Who cares? DANCING!
39. Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
If you ever see Justin Timberlake on TV, in interviews, walking down the street, you’ll notice that he is stylishly dressed and pretty pleased with himself. If you made FutureSex/LoveSounds you would also have a sunny attitude and the money in which to buy stylish clothing. While what the songs are about is nothing new(Love found, love lost, love solidified, the return of Sexy), their delivery and presentation are(or were) innovative and mindblowing. “My Love” was that shit, is that shit, shall always be that shit. FutureSex/LoveSounds is so good that Will.i.am can’t even ruin it with the worst rap in the world.
38. Nada Surf – Let Go (2002)
I was having the greatest day when I first heard Let Go. I remember picking it out of a pile of promo discs at my college radio station and proclaiming, “My day is going so great, I’m going to give the new Nada Surf album a try. I didn’t even know they still existed, and it might suck, but I’m feeling charitable.” I’m paraphrasing myself but it was something like that. Let Go extended my good mood by being a fantastic album. Nada Surf sounded confident and assured with sharp production and good tunes. While Let Go is a sad record for the most part, it’s a sincere melancholy that is earned and not at all garish. But enough about the sad stuff. This record has Nada Surf’s most rocking material: “Fruit Fly”, “Hi-Speed Soul”, and “Treading Water”, highlights all. “Inside of Love” is the standout and the blueprint Nada Surf have structured everything they’ve done since. Not a bad choice.
37. LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005)
James Murphy has this rep as being a curmudgeon which is fitting since he is a bit of a comedian. “Losing My Edge” and “Beat Connection” are funny, funny songs that you just also happen to be able to dance to. “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” has the joke right in the title, and has the common courtesy to actually address this occurrence in the song. I’m just saying, plenty of songs have titles that don’t actually pay off lyrically.
36. Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze (2005)
After three great albums Josh Homme decided to make a fourth great album. Lullabies can sorta be thought of as a break up album, seeing as it was made after Josh booted Nick Oliveri from the band. But the lyrical themes remain the same and the riffs just as heavy. Plus, when I picked it as my favorite album of 2005 I jokingly photographed myself post-coitus with the CD for a livejournal post. Youthful indiscretions.
35. Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy (2004)
Emo music tends to be the worst kind of music for the simple fact that the emotions on display never evoke any emotion from me. It is plenty of handwringing and yelping while still managing to be boring as hell. If you’re going to make such introverted music then at the very least keep my attention. …Is A Real Boy is an album that keeps my attention. Max Bemis writes personal songs about how he wrote a personal song about a girl and she heard it and now she won’t fuck him anymore so you better hit up the merch table. Hilarious! Seriously. Say Anything are a pretty great band with chops, hooks, and a just a touch of charm under all that bile. If you’re going to say things like “I want to do you right where you are standing”, at least put that line in a song with a great bait and switch open.
34. Justice – † (2007)
“Waters of Nazareth” is for parties where you burn down the house at the end, “DVNO” is for your inner diva, and “D.A.N.C.E.” is good with the kids. French people continue to be great.
33. Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)
Kanye West’s funniest album. It is so eager to please you’d think someone told him he’d never get to make another one. The skits suck and the last track is something no one ever makes it through but the guy clearly had it from the start. “Slow Jamz”, “We Don’t Care”, “Spaceship”: fire, son. Hate him all you want, but hits for days.
32. At The Drive In – Relationship of Command (2000)
The Mars Volta are too wanky and Sparta are a goddamn bore. Yet if you put them together their differences temper the others weaknesses and you get Relationship of Command, which quite simply rules. The lyrics are still gibberish as in Volta but the songs are precise jams. Powerful, speaker blowing freakouts.
31. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Source Tags and Codes (2002)
Hey, these guys were never able to top this record either. Starts loud and stays loud, Source Tags and Codes instantly solidified Trail of Dead as some bad-ass motherfuckers. The riff on “Another Morning Stoner” is effortlessly tossed out as if to say, “We do this shit all the time.” Subsequent records would prove this untrue but for Source Tags and Codes‘ 45 minute run time these guys are making it sound easy.