Noughties kids will love this.
Time – it just keeps fucking happening, doesn’t it? The years trudge on, an imperial death march to the grave. But hey! It’s fun to look back on the past, and as we prepare to enter the year of our Lord 2018, there’s the troubling fact that some records whose releases you remember like yesterday are, in fact, about to turn a decade old. If you were there in the first place: congratulations, you’re a fucking fossil. If not, here are some musical time capsules for your perusal. Some have aged like a fine wine, others like a decomposing body. Enjoy!
Before they were bruising rock God heroes, Yannis and co. were twitchy math-rock clever-clogs. The likes of ‘Cassius’, ‘Balloons’ and ‘Red Socks Pugie’ showed they had an unbeatable knack for a melody and complex songcraft. Who knew that, 10 years later, they’d lasso you with massive rock riffs?
The Last Shadow Puppets, ‘The Age of the Understatement’
A fine bromance began here, as Alex Turner teamed up Miles Kane to shimmy their way through some Scott Walker-inspired pop masterworks. The world was hungry for more Monkeys and, instead, we got this musical feast. Delicious.
Kanye West, ‘808s & Heartbreaks’
This might be the most controversial album on the list. Recorded in the aftermath of his mother’s death and the breakdown of a relationship, the record saw ‘Ye ditch the braggadocio for bleak introspection and auto-tuned vocals. The response was muted at the time, though the years have been kind to 808s & Heartbreaks, which has been cited as an inspiration for the likes of Drake and the Weeknd.
Frightened Rabbit, ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’
Dour dudes moaning about how much they hate their exes: not typically the stuff of amazing albums. Yet the salty language (“it takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm”) and epic instrumentation made this a rites-of-passage for many. No wonder the band’s touring the album in full next year.
Mystery Jets, ‘21’
Another band tipping their hat to nostalgia: the indie scamps held a ‘Jetrospective’ earlier this year, marking the anniversary of their beloved second album, ’21’, which featured bangers such as ‘Young Love’ (featuring Laura Marling) and everyone’s favourite, ‘Two Doors Down’.
Vampire Weekend, ‘Vampire Weekend’
Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma? The smarty pants Ivy League grads went a bit Graceland with this shiny pop record, which combined summery guitar rhythms with observations about college life. How many records filled provincial indie clubs with songs about good grammar?
Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends’
Now, this really was a biggie. Chris Martin and co. had a monster hit with the title track, which won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but the release of the album is packed with sophisticated pop gems such as ‘Strawberry Swing’, ‘Lost’ and ‘Lovers in Japan’. It was the world’s biggest-selling album in 2008, so there’s almost certainly a CD copy gathering dust in your local charity shop.
Bloc Party, ‘Intimacy’
The London indie heroes stumbles somewhat with this third album, which lacked the immediacy of 2005’s Silent Alarm and the complexity of its follow-up A Weekend in the City. Still, ‘Mercury’ bangs and the excellent ‘Flux’ was tacked on to the iTunes release, so it’s not all bad.
The Long Blondes, ‘Couples’
Man, do you sometimes find yourself missing The Long Blondes? Vocalist Kate Jackson released a cracking solo album last year, but the band themselves bowed out with 2008’s ‘Couples’. An artier affair than its predecessor, ‘Someone to Drive You Home’, this one packed the glam-tinged tales of ‘Round the Hairpin’ and sleek lead single ‘Century’. Long live The Long Blondes!
The Kills, ‘Midnight Boom’
The Kills: a band so good they didn’t even need to try. James Hince hardly breaks a sweat with his minimalist guitar playing and Alison Mosshart sounds half-asleep as she purrs through lyrics about late nights and cheap and cheerful love affairs. Just imagine what they could achieve if they applied themselves.
Late of the Pier, ‘Fantasy Black Channel’
How’s this for a blast from the past? 10 years on, this still sounds utterly bonkers, a wildly eclectic and endlessly inventive sound-explosion of glam, punk, electroclash and, at one point, a smashed glass used as percussion.
Hot Chip, ‘Made in the Dark’
Before The Two Bears there was Hot Chip, who combined the chipper ‘tude of mid-noughties indie with the pounding dance beats that instrumentalist Joe Goddard would later bring to his aforementioned furry moniker. If ‘Ready For The Floor’ doesn’t immediately transport you to a sweaty nightclub dancefloor, we’re sorry to say you simply were not doing 2008 correctly.
Death Cab for Cutie, ‘Narrow Stairs’
Death Cab were Seth from The OC’s favourite, which is all you need to know about how a) neurotic and b) excellent they were around time they released this, their sixth album of self-deprecating soft rock. If you listen you only one track from Narrow Stairs, make it ‘You Can Do Better Than Me, which features the line: “You can do better than me / But I can’t do better than you.” Sort of heartbreaking, sort of silly, it might be the most Death Cab thing ever.
Slipknot, ‘All Hope Is Gone’
You what definitely isn’t the most Death Cab thing ever? This harrowing album from the masked metalheads formed in Iowa/your nightmares; it’s a brilliant but relentlessly bleak battery of kickdrums, razor-riffs and rageful, nihilistic lyrics. Seth from The OC would quake in his boots if you played it to him.
Metronomy, ‘Nights Out’
Is this Joe Mount and co.’s best album? It was certainly one of the best albums of 2008, projecting Metronomy from bedroom electro project to beloved indie band, winning it a 9/10 review in NME. As we said back then: “Within the first two songs it’s ripped through Middle Eastern exoticism, synthetic Tetris wonk-pop, oriental melodica jams and psycho speed synths.”
Lil Wayne, ‘Tha Carter III’
We’ve been waiting for That Carter V for years now and, given the disputes Weezy’s been having with Cash Money, there’s no sign of it landing soon. In its absence, you could do worse than revisit its predecessor, a near-perfect hip-hop masterclass that proves that, at his best, Wayne’s lyrical prowess – knock-out gags, bizarrely inventive metaphors – is second-to-none.
Lightspeed Champion, ‘Falling Off the Lavender Bridge’
After he was a dance punk in Testicicles, but before he was a hipster producer as Blood Orange, London musician Dev Hynes was Lightspeed Champion, weaving deeply textured tales of heartbreak with an acoustic guitar and sarky, disillusioned one-liners (“More I hear them, the more I hate”).
The Killers, ‘Day & Age’
It’s the one with ‘Human’ on it. That immediately marks this out as a must-hear album, but there’s much more to the Vegas’ dons’ Bowie-does-showtunes third album. Forget their weary glamour of ‘Hot Fuss’. Forget the dusty Americana of ‘Sam’s Town’. Here it’s high camp all the way, as The Killers ride into the night clad in feathery capes and ready to dance themselves silly.