I really can only remember the past by recalling the music I regarded at the time. So I'll list some decent albums from the last decade. It should be an interesting exercise to lead me into my own Best Music of 2011 Extravaganza every Monday in December. Despite the morass of music I listen to, the following albums stand out as...outstanding. Give a listen. Travel through my time portal to the past...
2009 Passion Pit Manners
Icy synths and high falsettos. Passion Pit takes the best parts of the 80's new wave revivalist sound and perfects it. Great dance beats, sing song melodies. Ear candy in the best of terms.
2008 Ladyhawke Ladyhawke
Immediately hooky, Ladyhawke is the dance music I wish would sweep the world instead of the likes of Gaga and Perry. Shades of the 80's seep into the production, which only makes me enjoy the songs more. Each song is memorable and actually makes you think you must have heard it all before, but only because it's so instantly beguiling.
2007 Robin Guthrie / Harold Budd
After the Night Falls and Before the Day Breaks
If ever you need a calmative, the beautiful ambiance created by Guthrie and Budd will not fail. Guthrie's magical guitar production, coupled with Budd's minimalist piano work is the soundtrack they play in heaven. I'm serious. They released these two albums in conjunction with one another. They're pretty much the same sound, just more of it, so I'm listing both.
2006 Belle and Sebastian The Life Pursuit
The best Belle and Sebastian album, with the possible exception of Dear Catastrophe Waitress...or Write About Love. Either way, The Life Pursuit is stellar twee indie pop, with influences everywhere from French pop to 60's swing and jaunty folky 70's organ funk. Give it a twirl.
2005 Mew And the Glass Handed Kites
Mew is a tough band to describe. On most songs, there's some heavy, layered guitar work that rock away, then it slows down for a brief interlude, only to take off again. Over all the swagger creep in the penetrating vocals of Jonas Bjerre leading to a simply dazzling chorus.
2004 Keane Hopes and Fears
I can't help but say it: Keane sounds like Coldplay. Exalted piano melody but with less arena rock bombast and more soaring falsetto. Each song on Hopes and Fears is a gorgeous gem of a pop song. Go ahead and sing along.
2003 Delerium Chimera
Much-maligned for metamorphosing into the poppy step-cousin of the aggressive industrial Frontline Assembly, Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb's Delerium is extremely catchy and accessible without being boring. They clearly have a need for such and outlet, and they utilize a variety of (mostly) female vocalists to help them do it, from Sarah McLachlan to Leigh Nash and Julee Cruise.
2002 Sigur Ros ( )
This album is commonly called Parentheses, and every song is called "Untitled." They're from Iceland, so they can do that. I have an aneurism every time I hear this album. It's that good. Every song starts slowly and softly, adding layer after layer of sound and singer Jonsi's voice until you just can't stand it any more and it blows you away.
2001 Lamb What Sound
Lamb is one of my first trip hop loves, probably second only to Massive Attack. What Sound begins to digress from the heavy breakbeat sound of their first two albums, adding more chill out waves. But there's still plenty of freak-out drum & bass to jam on, too. First and foremost, though, is always the sultry voice of Louise Rhodes to carry it along.
2000 Emiliana Torrini Love in the Time of Science
What a quiet, smokey, powerful voice. No wonder Emiliana Torrini was tapped to sing the moody credits tune for Peter Jackson's The Two Towers. Each song on her first album Time of Science is easy on the ears, with great hooks and a soothing, summery combination of guitar string melodies and trip hop beats.
There's my musical trip backward through the Noughties. Listen and learn and love, people.
Below is a list of other participants in the fest. Go. Read. Remember the Noughties.