BEST ALBUMS OF 2001
It’s June 2011, almost half the year is gone and I can still hardly believe that 2001 was a decade away. That year was a troubled one as September 11 impacted the entire world and plunged everyone into uncertainly. But life still had to go on despite the circumstances and at the end of the year, Power of Pop determined that these ten albums were the best of a difficult year…
1. PERNICE BROTHERS The World Won’t End (Ashmont) Joe Pernice is not only a prolific songwriter/recording artist but a consistent conjuror of pure pop magic. Even with the sheer quality of his last three releases to consider, he was still able to top himself and pretty much everybody else. Amazing.
2. STEVE WYNN Here Come the Miracles (Blue Rose) A double album that raises the bar for all post-millennial rock, Steve Wynn proved that it is possible to be intelligent and jam hard. Dragging his incendiary Dylan-Reed-Young influences kicking and screaming into the 21st century, this is the sound of the future birthed in the past.
3. GUIDED BY VOICES Isolation Drills (TVT) After the synth-fuelled pop savvy of the Ric Ocasek-helmed Do the Collapse, Bob Pollard and co. return with a heady brew of the classic/alt. rock fusion that GBV is legendary for. Isolation Drills, if nothing else, demonstrates whilst Pollard is still channelling his heroes, the voice he follows is still his own.
4. DAVID MEAD Mine is Yours (RCA) Mead’s unique (and appealing) stylings combines an ethereal vocal approach with traditional power pop smarts. Jeff Buckley singing Paul McCartney songs is not a far-fetched description. With producer Adam (Fountains of Wayne) Schlesinger providing his indisputable expertise. Mine is Yours is a sophisticated pop fan’s dream.
5. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA Zoom (Sony) The return of the Master and quite possibly the strongest ELO set since 1981′s Time. Powerfully understated, you cannot argue with the sheer quality of Jeff Lynne’s performance & production skills and pop rock junkies should have no problems with those sweet tunes!
6. SPLITSVILLE The Complete Pet Soul (Airmail) Not the Beatles-Beach Boys pastiche you expected but a discerning study of what makes powerpop such an ecstatic and commanding medium. Crunching guitars, spine-tingling harmonies and memorable melodies. Probably the genre’s most convincing apologists and advocates.
7. THE HEAVY BLINKERS Better Weather (Brobdingnagian) The Heavy Blinkers’ third outing, Better Weather, succeeds with tunes that will melt the heart even of the most cynical angst-ridden rap metal skateboard punk. Songwriters Jason MacIssac and Andrew Watt have surpassed all previous expectations with impeccable songcraft – well orchestrated with peerless melodies to match.
8. THE ROSENBERGS Mission: You (DGM) The Rosenbergs’ debut album proper treated the astute pop-rock listener to eleven tracks of the very best that modern power pop can offer. The Rosenbergs create perhaps the perfect examples of how power pop should really be delivered: instantly hummable tunes, deft guitar work, dynamic performances and odd tangential instrumentation to keep things always interesting.
9. STARFLYER 59 Leave Here A Stranger (Tooth and Nail) Starflyer 59′s main creative force, Jason Martin, has been writing and recording for close to a decade and this is his tenth entry in an impressive discography. His unique blend of the “shoegazer” aesthetic and rustic melodic classicism mark him as a important contributor to the ‘real’ pop revival that is slowly but surely sweeping music scenes the world over.
10. LIFT TO EXPERIENCE The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads (Bella Union) No other band or album quite comes close to capturing the sound and fury of Lift to Experience’s bible-quoting apocalyptic space-rocking passion. Taking a decidedly British sensibility to guitar textures as provision of the sonic backdrop for singer Josh T. Pearson’s ramblings on God, country and the end of the world. The perfect soundtrack for these troubled times.