thanks for all of the guesses on my top ten! i appreciate your readership and am excited about the chance i have to give back to my supporters. let's get right into the top ten.
10. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003) - If Narrow Stairs got me listening and Plans got me hooked, then Transatlanticism proves the legend of Death Cab for Cutie. This was not my favorite album of theirs at first. It definitely takes some listens to really get into it. Listen to the lyrics, though, and you'll see where Ben Gibbard's status was really solidified. The title track is the most legendary, but some of my favorites are the tracks with the catchiest hooks, like "Title and Registration", "Expo '86", and "Death of an Interior Decorator".
The uniqueness of Death Cab is the musicianship that builds and drives like a flawless novel combined with Gibbard's lyrics which contain not one wasted word. When listening to any song on Transatlanticism, you can hear the story on Gibbard's lips, see the drama unfold behind your eyelids, and feel the pain of lost love in your heart as if it were the love you have lost yourself.
Key tracks: Transatlanticism, Title and Registration, Expo '86
9. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005) - Talk about songwriting! Conor Oberst wrote a collection of ten fabulous tracks for this acoustic-driven gem. I don't generally care for social agendas, especially Oberst's, but anti-political statements ("we must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul") speak into a disconnect from our self that we need to reconnect. Oberst does his best to find the reconnection through the next 9 tracks about life as we see it. His voice shakes as the emotion spews out. You can feel the genuine sentiment flowing from the guitars.
Legendary lines spew from the speakers. "Why are you scared to dream of God when it's salvation that you want?" "I've found a liquid cure for my land-locked blues." "I could go anywhere with you and I'd probably be happy." The list goes on.
Oh, and Emmylou Harris provides some of the most incredible cameos I've ever heard.
Key tracks: First Day of My Life, Poison Oak, At the Bottom of Everything
8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (2008) - The most beautiful album on this list was saved for number 8. Justin Vernon wrote this album while living in his father's Wisconsin cabin battling mono and break-ups with his band and girl. I've never heard heartbreak more clearly than on this album. Vernon's acoustic guitar is often tuned awkwardly, allowing for chords that are unique and difficult to replicate. The man himself is tall in stature, but possesses a distinctly deep voice with an enjoyable falsetto compliment.
Vernon wrote the perfect winter album. You can picture a weekend in the cabin with your closest friends, opening up with one another about the heartache you've experienced. For those too proud to have such an experience, just light a candle and play this album at a medium volume. Don't worry, I won't tell.
Key tracks: Skinny Love, Re: Stacks, Flume