Top 20 Bands: 6 & 5
6. Sufjan Stevens [UPDATE: moved to number 3.]
My deep admiration for Sufjan Stevens is paired with the sad realisation that his rapid rise to fame in 2005 inevitably wore him out. Many feared that Sufjan wouldn’t make another proper record after certain statements he made last year, but lo and behold, this year he unexpectedly released a new EP (All Delighted People) and his newest album, The Age of Adz was released on 12 October [and topped my and Greg’s Top 10 Albums of ’10]. Exciting times, and from the sound of his newest material he is pulling away from the mass appeal generated by Illinois. This recent venture back into semi-electronic, erratic, avant-garde territory is incredibly appealing to me. Three of his records are featured on my Top 50 Albums list: A Sun Came (2000), Greetings From Michigan (2003) and The Age of Adz (2010).
‘For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti’ from Greetings From Michigan, live on a farm:
‘Too Much’ from his forthcoming album Age of Adz, live at Castaways in Ithaca, New York in 2009:
Sorry Sufjan fans (and if he’s reading this, sorry Sufjan), but there’s only room for five in the ‘Top 5’ and he’s not there quite yet. In order to gain membership in my coveted Top 5 [please note the sarcasm] he’ll have to beat the five to follow, beginning with The Smiths.
5. The Smiths/Morrissey [UPDATE: moved to number 6.]
There are major differences between The Smiths and Morrissey, but it didn’t used to be such a stark contrast. For instance, everything The Smiths made was great (if not better!) while the Mozzer has been on a steady decline with few recent high points. Still, taken as a single unit they are phenomenal (and I still believe in you Morrissey!). Through their charisma and uniqueness (largely on account of the Mozzer’s voice and Johnny Marr’s guitar), The Smiths have secured their place as the kings of indie pop. Three of their records can be found on my Top 50 Albums list: The Queen is Dead (The Smiths – 1986), Louder Than Bombs (The Smiths – 1987) and Bona Drag (Morrissey – 1990).
‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ from Hatful of Hollow (The Smiths – 1984), live in Madrid (after two minutes of cheering fans):
‘Suedehead’ from Viva Hate (Morrissey – 1988), live on Later… with Jools Holland: