December 9, 2009

Stalin Decade Retrospektacus

Everybody is taking looks at the previous decade, be it music, books, or cinema. If you're anything like me, you haven't listened to, read, or watched half of the things that are supposedly the bench marks of ten years worth of art.

So I wanted to do something different: what if I look year by year and discuss an album that meant the most to me? Not what I think was great in retrospect. That's too easy.I can look back now and say that, for 2000, Kid A was definitely the album of the year to me. But at the time? I could not have cared less for what Radiohead was doing. Year 2000 me didn't care that OutKast were doing some completely left-field, insane stuff in hip-hop with Stankonia. Year 2000 me was all emo and shit, being sad about being fat and, in spite of my life/health-crippling obesity, still managing to have two girlfriends in that calender year. Being emo and all, 2000 me was broke up with both times (you haven't been broke up with until you hear the other person in the relationship feels God doesn't want them to date.)

So this is basically a "best of album of each year that I listened to at the time that I probably still (sometimes secretly) listen to now."

So I'm going to kick this off.


In 2000, I was 16 going on 17. I was also incredibly sheltered, but my exposure to music was no longer exclusively limited to the realm of Christian music and music that didn't swear too much. Enter Elliott's brilliant False Cathedrals, which neither swears nor offends delicate evangelical parents. Calling Elliott emo is completely disingenuous. There was a second or third wave going on of guys who had been in hardcore bands putting the macho, bullshit posturing behind them and just let it all out... with restraint. This kind of "let it out in moderation!" really appealed to the obese kid who didn't feel like heavily rocking the boat but still had emotions that were just as valid as anybody else's.

So what of the album? The production is high and mostly holds up nearly ten years later. The artwork is so well done, so high quality that I'm probably getting the album cover art tattooed on me. My friend described "Drive on to Me" (track 4) as the "coulda been" relationship song of 2000. The drumming is some of the best of the post-hardcore genre. It's as if a bunch of guys listened to Sunny Day, then listened to Radiohead and said "Let's see what we can do here." It's nearly impossible for me to express in words how much this album meant to my personal development. If Revelation Records hadn't put this album out, I don't know what album I would have made out with my eventual wife to, or listened to when I was down and felt better. It might sound now like what you've heard before, but that's no fault of Elliott's False Cathedrals.

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