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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Millenium Project: Day Nine (Albums 20-11)

20. Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This (2002)
When I first heard the title track of this album, I was instantly obsessed. And I mean…obsessed. I would listen to the sound samples of the album on Bedingfield’s website almost everyday before the thing was actually released. It was actually pretty pathetic. But, at the time there was nothing like this out there, at least in the States. Being able to make an album that actually lives up to the brilliance of such a brilliant single as Gotta Get Thru This is no small feat, but Bedingfield did it here. There’s just the right amount of uptempo stuff (the superb James Dean) and beautiful ballads (Honest Questions). A pop album like they don’t make anymore.

Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This

19. Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
A rap album up this high in my countdown? It is a rare thing, as I’ve really had a falling out with the genre the past few years. But, this double cd is much more than a simple rap album. It is truly an everything album, meaning that there are different genres mixing in and out of every beat. Although both discs are great, The Love Below is definitely the standout. It is just massively creative. Nothing this decade has come close to the pure weirdness on display here. Yet, it’s still pop. Hey Ya! is the obvious standout, yet there’s plenty more where that came from.

Outkast - Hey Ya!

18. Bodies Without Organs - Prototype (2005)
BWO’s debut album eclipses their follow-up (though not by too much) because from the very first listen, it sounds like a classic. There were so many hits off of this album. My favorite actually is the sole ballad on the cd, Open Door. It gets stuck in your head like no other. Sunshine In The Rain is another highlight, with its happy summer sound. The songs are all pretty similar in sound and structure, but this is not a problem because it makes the album really cohesive and perfect for long periods of dancing.

Bodies Without Organs - Sunshine In The Rain

17. The Sounds - Living In America (2003)
The Sounds’ debut is the stuff of legends, at least in attitude. Despite being ultra-pop, it’s also got a real punk edge to it. It’s like the new Blondie, only better. The singles, of course, are excellent. Living In America also includes the best Sounds song ever, Dance With Me. The synth line and chorus are pure rapture. Meanwhile, Rock ’N Roll, Hope You’re Happy Now and Mine For Life crank up the synth and dance elements and all could have been massive singles as well.

The Sounds - Dance With Me

16. The Mo - City Heart (2002)
An album full of irresistible, glam-tinged pop, City Heart is the perfect driving through town (or perhaps…a city’s heart - lame -). The album is led by three classic singles, I’m Gonna Dance being the best of the bunch. But, instead of falling apart after the “hits” (and I use that term loosely…the album was a moderate success in Scandinavia and nothing more) the album gets better and better. Krakow Love, Fast Love Takeaway and City Heart have classic pop melodies. Every song here is a sing-along.

The Mo - I’m Gonna Dance

15. The Ark - We Are The Ark (2000)
The album that introduced the world (well…Sweden at least) to the best band in the world, this is probably the most scattershot of the Ark’s releases, but also has some of their best songs. Hey Modern Days opens the album with a kick of glam (as well as being one of my favorite songs ever) and then there is a string of absolutely perfect singles. Echo Chamber, It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane, and Joy Surrender deserve to join the pantheon of classic rock songs. The album tracks here are fantastic as well. Angelheads is like Rocky Horror in pop song format, and You, Who Stole My Solitude provides a fittingly epic ending.

The Ark - Hey Modern Days

14. Melody Club - Music Machine (2002)
If you’re ever in a bad mood, feeling a bit down, listen to Melody Club. Poppier, catchier music has rarely been made. Music Machine was the band’s breakthrough and is absolutely filled with hits. Each song sounds like a forgotten eighties classic. Electric, Covergirl and Play Me In Stereo are instant dance floor smashes, while My Soft Return and Golden Day are some of the most beautiful (and simple) synth ballads you’ll ever hear. Plus, Angeleyes sounds like the theme song for an eighties anime cartoon. It just does.

Melody Club - Electric

13. Do Me Bad Things - Yes (2005)
One of the stranger pop/rock releases of the past decade, Do Me Bad Things incorporated elements of Queen, Rocky Horror Picture Show, 80’s pop and straight ahead rock. It was a brilliant album, sadly the band’s only release. The drama is turned up to 11 on all of the tracks and there are three lead singers, making for an eclectic listen. Time For Deliverance is an epic classic while Liv Ullman On Drums is a synth-rock jam like nothing else out there. Shame this album was overlooked, as it sounds like some strange glam-pop-rock-punk-theatre gem forgotten from the seventies.

Do Me Bad Things - Time For Deliverance

12. Pink - Missundaztood (2001)
I was so happy when Pink’s second album morphed into this gigantic, worldwide hit. Playing it now, it really has the trappings of a classic, milestone album. The songs are anthematic, just begging for singalongs. The subject matter is smart and timely. The singing’s first rate. Everything that makes a fantastic pop album is running full throttle. Forget about the ridiculously good singles for a moment and the album’s still a keeper. The title track is breezy, funky and weird, while 18 Wheeler and Lonely Girl both sound like songs that have existed forever.

Pink - Just Like A Pill

11. Elkland - Golden (2005)
The classic synth-pop album of the new millenium, Golden simply shines with summertime bliss. Jon’s voice fit’s the genre perfectly and anchors the strong songwriting on display throughout the record. The initial highlight is first (and only) single Apart, but there is so much else here as well. Opener Put Your Hand Over Mine is perfect for driving to the beach, while the closer, We Share A Heart, works perfectly for sunset. And, in between, there is nothing but pure pop bliss.

Elkland - Apart

(Music is for evaluation purposes only. Buy these fabulous albums here.)


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