This was the decade when I really started to love the output of the British Isles. On top of my beloved college roommate Kathleen getting me keen on Britpop of the 90s (hey, have you guys heard about this band Blur? They’re awesome), I also started to pay attention to the new output. That was a good call on my part.
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand: There was no way this album wasn’t going to make the list. I feel like my whole life changed the first time I heard “Matinee.” I’d given up on hearing anything I cared about on the radio right about the time I finished high school. But all of a sudden, on the strength of this CD, I cared about what was going on in music again. It doesn’t hurt that the band was relatable and interesting, making following them as rewarding as listening to their albums. But the sometimes controversial, combined with their insane, infectious enthusiasm, made Franz Ferdinand a well-deserved hit.
Goodbooks, Control: My greatest musical regret of the decade is that I never saw Goodbooks live before their breakup this summer. Goodbooks was amazing, and they distilled all of Britpop into one perfect, intense album. There’s not a single skipper. They manage to channel such amazing, clear feelings and images by simply telling stories. If you ever liked British music, you have to listen to this. You’ll bop your head and hum along and maybe get teary. And then you’ll remember that they were under 20 when they made this and wonder what they’ll do to top themselves in the future.
The Libertines, The Libertines: While The Libertines’ first album, Up the Bracket, is good, it really can’t compare to the musical perfect storm of their songwriting talent and the intense emotions of a band on the verge of homicide. Their brand of fast, jangly, messy rock (speed indie?) made the wistful, personal call and response of Doherty and Barat pack a wallop. And it was still catchy as all hell. Hands down, the best divorce album of the ’00s.
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm: There is absolutely nothing that I can say about this album that hasn’t been said. This album was a massive hit in the UK and abroad. It established Bloc Party as one of the pre-eminent bands of the decade, and with good damn reason. They’ll probably never top it, because the frenzy, the passion, the speed, can’t be beat.
Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit: When I became an indie rock fan, even my rampant love of all things British couldn’t get me into Belle & Sebastian. It was a lot of hype. I wasn’t that kind of sad hipster girl. And then The Life Pursuit came out. I got hooked by their particular brand of storytelling, just little snapshots of life or love songs and all so particularly Glasgow. Yes, it’s twee, but damnit, some days, you just want a cup of tea and and some tweeness.