What is it that makes us want to deconstruct art by units of time? Lists. We love making them. We love arguing over them. And here, on the verge of a new decade, we’re in a position to do the same again. What were the best albums of the past ten years?
Here at AD, we started talking it through and decided we weren’t going to add to the cacophony of lists being put out by various music pubs. There are enough of those. Rather, we elected to let our four main writers have a chance to write about any and all of the albums they felt shaped the last decade.
From now through the end of December, Monday through Thursday, AD will feature a post, or posts, from a particular writer detailing their favorite albums of the decade. On a given week there might be one album a writer talks about, there might be six, but they’ll get a chance to have their say on everything that comes to mind. Our hope for you, the reader, is that you’ll jump in with your comments on the album selections — tell us why you agree or disagree — and also be exposed to some albums that you may have missed over the last ten years. Now, as the decade starts to wind down, let’s celebrate.
The Glow, Pt. 2 sounds like a half-remembered dream. The kind you jot down at 4am in the darkness of your bedroom on whatever scrap of paper, or month-old magazine, that happens to be laying on the bedside table next to you. Its contents are barely discernible the next morning. You try to read it, put it together, figure it out; but reading your own handwriting feels more like deciphering some forgotten code. Useless.
You shrug it off, forget about it, and put on the coffee. Later, maybe an hour, maybe more, something happens. Perhaps someone says something, or maybe it’s something you’ve read, but suddenly you remember. All in a flash, bits and fragments race to the forefront of your consciousness. A hazy montage of images — people, conversations and scenes appear that only exist, or existed, in your mind. And then, just as soon as they arrived, they’re gone again. Clocking is at 67 minutes The Glow Pt. 2 is not unlike that flash — yes you can replay it, but it will always be a half formed mystery.
Microphones was for all intents and purposes Phil Elverum, and without argument The Glow, Pt. 2 is his masterpiece. He may have since given up the moniker and replaced it with Mount Eerie, but it was here that it all came together, coalesced…transcended. Released in 2001 The Glow is haunted by an unmistakable and immediate sense of nostalgia. There is a palpable longing throughout the course of the album that is conveyed not only lyrically but sonically through Elverum’s production. Coupling hushed folk with kitchen-sink noise — that at times barely manages to stay on the rails — The Glow was very much ahead of its time. It was not only a forerunner for a then nascent genre, but a blueprint for multiple artists who would go on to excel, and make a name for themselves, in its wake. Like any album worth its salt, this is one that continues to unfold years later — time after time, play after play.
If you missed this one, the LPs opener, “I Want Wind To Blow,” is as good a place to start as any. This is very much one for the headphones.
MP3: The Microphones :: I Want Wind To Blow