January 4, 2010, 10:28 pm

Hello all, and Happy New Year. Apologies for being the straggler here, but if anyone still cares, here are my favourite albums of the decade. I’ve put them in the rough order in which I discovered them, so that its an accurate chart of my rambling, non-sensical musical journey from the Mercury Prize to Pitchfork and beyond (hopefully).

PJ Harvey: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
My Mum used to buy me the Mercury Music Prize CD every year, and in 2001, as far as I was concerned it was the last word in music and PJ Harvey was the last word in sophistication. On the album, she seemed to be living out my ultimate teenage fantasy lifestyle, especially in the video for Good Fortune where she’s walking the streets of New York at night. I think she welcomed me to the cult of the pop star, which I’m still quite prone to. See below…

Andre 3000: The Love Below
When I finally moved beyond having Hey Ya! on repeat, Andre 3000 was there in all his splendour with more variations of style and soul than I was ready for.

The Arcade Fire: Funeral
A list like this seems like a good place to celebrate collective passions as well as personal ones, and Funeral is the ultimate example of this for me. Ollie summed it up in his list.

Joanna Newsom: Ys
Her favourite drink is raspberry beer because it tastes like a unicorn’s tears. Aleks has already put it more succinctly than I could’ve: its so complete and immersive.

Low: The Great Destroyer
I cannot emphasize how much joining LC! has expanded my horizons, musically and otherwise. I knew Tom and Aleks liked Low, and the first time I heard them was when Tom put on ‘When I Go Deaf’ during an unexpectedly long mid-night, Mid-Wales drive. It took my breath away , and I can’t think of a better way to be introduced to Low.

Nico: The Frozen Borderline – 1968-1970
I don’t know if this is allowed…Not technically recorded between the years 2000 and 2009, but surely its a testament to the decade that it chose to reissue two of Nico’s less well-known albums, The Marble Index and Desertshore in such a complete and illuminating package?! The demos that are included are so moving, the sound of uninhibited self-expression.

Deerhoof: Reveille
For many, including me, to know them is to love them. I chose this album, out of the ones that I know, for its strange and appealing mix of familiarity and weirdness. They are so unique, but at the same time seem to contain the past fifty years of musical experimentation within them. They are another band pinnacle I think, and now I will stop this vain attempt to pin them down as being anything.

Animal Collective: Feels
It would be fair to say that I am a bit of a die-hard romantic, and so I had to pick Animal Collective’s most delicate record of the ones that I’ve heard. I really love their lyrics on this album and I love the thought of people writing whole series’ of songs to celebrate when they fall in love. Sorry about this readers, but I’m letting myself go because its the Christmas holidays. (I wrote this a few weeks ago and now I can’t even use the season as an excuse)

Battles: Mirrored
Typically, I was a latecomer to Battles. Unfortunately somehow I got them confused with the band Battle when I first read about them, and I just really couldn’t work out why people kept going on about them! Luckily I realised my grave mistake just in time to get very excited at the prospect of playing on the same day as them at Melt! Festival in Germany. We watched from the side of the stage, which is good in some ways, but can completely destroy any illusion that the band you love so much is talented or charismatic. Of course Battles sounded perfect and were completely riveting. Melt Festival! was also a very aesthetically appropriate place to watch them play, as the site is surrounded by huge disused pieces of machinery looming over a very modern concrete amphitheatre. They seem to me to be the pinnacle of what a band can be, but no doubt their next album will redefine it all over again.

Camille: Le Fil
She’s a ‘world music’ artist apparently, according to HMV. This album is also terribly avant garde because all the songs grow out of a continuously hummed drone note. What she actually is is a French singer who brings the tradition of the Parisian music hall into precisely the first decade of this century. Sadly I can’t speak French but Camille’s voice is just so emotionally direct that she seems to have all human emotions covered as well as some that are just her own.

Chrome Hoof: Pre-Emptive False Rapture
My friends from Islet introduced me to this. Its such an exciting album from start to finish and I’m so happy that this band exists today. They’re such massive show-offs and clearly have a few too many ideas up their long glittery druid sleeves. The sound that somebody makes in ‘Moss Covered Obelisk’ at 6:21 is certainly my best noise of the decade.

Micachu: Jewellery
I think Micachu is a special artist. This album manages to be simple and complex at the same time. Its so rhythmic and perfect to dance to and also, every moment is filled with ideas. When I listen to this album I get a sense of somebody who absolutely needs to make music, and would’ve created something amazing in whatever time, place or culture she found herself in.


26 Comments so far
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Hooray for Chrome Hoof 🙂

Comment by Audio Antihero

I completely agree agree about Camille and Battles. Both were in my best of the decade list, too. *Le Fil* has been in constant rotation in my stereo since I bought it three years ago.

Comment by Eric

Yay for PJ Harvey and Stories. I also was entranced by all her street-wandering and sophistication. Also, I went and bought a copy of Feels the other week due to Aleks’ list, despite having hated them for years. But Feels is very beautiful. Very good for summer afternoons.

Comment by maddy

[…] Harriet Campesinos!’ Favourite Records of the Decade Hello all, and Happy New Year. Apologies for being the straggler here, but if anyone still cares, here are my […] […]

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Sentimentally, Stories may be my favorite PJH album, because it was the first I heard and fell in love with. Although, I think my favorite PJH album of the decade secretly is White Chalk.

Surprised and pleased to see Battles and Micachu here!

Comment by Cheky

I still care, Harriet. Happy New Years!

Comment by Kyle from TX

I question whether Micachu will hold up over time, but at this moment I love that album as well. And The Great Destroyer is my favourite from Low (out of what I’ve heard). Good choices!

Comment by Julia

This is a great list! I’m actually going to check out some of that Nico stuff. After really liking Chelsea Girl, and your persuasive review, I think it’s about time I did. you should post more, Harriet!

Comment by caligula

cheky, i randomly clicked the band you linked to (I’m assuming you’re in it?). IT’S GREAT.

Comment by caligula

been waiting for this one, interesting.

Comment by tps

I’m glad there’s so much Feels love. It’s the only AC record I can really get into… maybe I should give the rest a try.

Comment by Josh

Chrome Hoof for Christmas number 1!

Comment by Raymo

I saw Chrome Hoof at TITP a couple years back. They’re…interesting live. The singer is properly hypnotic, and I don’t think the random dancer they had at the side blinked for the entire set.

Comment by Rachel

Ohh PJ!great album. Also, hooray for us Frenchies being represented with Camille. (but,srsly, HMV, ‘world music’? :D).

I’m quite curious about Joanna Newsom, as a lot of you here put her albums on yr lists (+I read a lovely itw of her years ago). I should give it a try. (It worked well with Life Without Buildings).


Comment by Veee

the love below, by miles and miles.

Comment by Samuel

Of course we still care!! It wouldn’t be complete without you. I still haven’t got that Nico reissue so thank you for reminding me to look for it tomorrow. Got to love The Love Below, though I might like Stankonia ever so slightly more.

Comment by james

Finally someone puts Love Below on a decade’s list!

Comment by Clem

I was introduced to Low in the same way. To this day, whenever I hear the overdriven guitar kick in, I get a rush of emotions. And I always listen to Broadway when I’m walking through falling snow. The album is perfect for the winter season, much like Feels is a summer album.

Comment by Matt

Cracking list, Harriet, but where’s Wild Beasts eh?

Comment by Matthew

Good list, Harriet, Love the Arcade Fire, Andre 3000, PJ Harvey and Battles, good stuff. I feel like I need to listen to Joanna Newsom, keep seeing her on lists and my sister is obsessed with her stuff, I’ll get to it.

Comment by Nick

My heart is warmed that (at least some of) you guys like Low. LC! should absolutely try covering one of their songs, don’t you think?

Comment by Ian Mathers

Of course we care Harriet!! We Love You!

Comment by Audrey

I was rather hoping it would all be Vanessa May and Nigel Kennedy. DO YOU EVEN LIKE THE VIOLIN?

Comment by Nigel Kennedy

but seriously, excellent list, even if Nigel Kennedy isn’t on it.

Comment by Nigel Kennedy


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Harriet! Long time, you’re missed. Loved your list (I will have to compile one as well), I too am a ‘hopeful’ romantic, so put it there lady, we’re a dying breed, but when Isee it and feel it, a bit of light shines upon The ‘Duke’ of Dark. Looking forward to seeing you lot again, and maybe acting in local support (3 days before my birthday, would be a wonderful gift)! x

Comment by Raven

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