To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.
2009 – #1. Girls – Album
(True Panther Sounds)
A friend gave me this album. It was a promo, and he said I would love it. So many great moments in my life happened that way. The debut Album by Girls is no exception. It seemed like an album made for me.
There is a huge story behind this album, having to do with California cults. In the middle of it is Christopher Owens, a lonely boy who, if we’re not careful, we can turn him into weirdo. But even without that story, the songs have such a brutal honesty, a child like naivety and a blissful pop sense that it really out-pipped every other record in 2009.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this record in the last year and why I like it. I think at it’s heart, it’s tapped into something very primal about indie rock – low self esteem. It’s why the indie kids claimed Brian Wilson as one of our own. We’re scared. We want to be loved. We want to understand. We want to fit in. But we just aren’t right – in our looks, or in our heads.
It’s not an overt feeling. But having always had the emotional consistency of jam, I think it’s why I gravitated to indie rock – Shins, Belle And Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pulp et al. So, I guess, for me, there is little that trumps someone saying – I’m a bit weird, but please love me.
Owens goes right for the heart. In a way we have not heard in pop music in years, perhaps decades. It’s so direct. From the opening line “I wish I had a boyfriend“, “All I ever need is some love and attention” through to “I really want to be your friend forever” – it’s emotional honesty all the way. Even clunkers like “Come on and dance with me” is turned charming because the songs are so innocent.
Then there’s the music – and the sound. It’s a sun drenched, drugged out 60s mess. So many of these songs actually sound terrible. But it works, giving such classic chord progressions and lyrics a fair amount of grit. It’s exactly how freaks trying to make a girl group like record would sound.
2009 was a strange, limbo year. I’m not sure what I learnt from it, or what I have from it. I definitely started to feel worse about certain things, especially towards the end of the year. And this album quietly helped me through it. No big deals, but this is just what these albums are like.
The towering highlights on the album for me are Hellhole Ratrace, that awesome 6 minute debut single, and then Laura and Lust For Life, the blissful opening tracks. I don’t want to live in a world where these songs don’t exist. Having the rest of this record is just the kind of luck that makes one believe in something higher.
Everyone believes in something. I believe in music. And this album is like a prayer book. It’s everything about music that I love.
I’m not sure I have anything more to say about this album than that.
Hellhole Ratrace. One of my favourites from Album.
What an amazing choice for a debut single.