Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mosing's Best of the Decade: Music and books that define the '00s for me.

I was nine when this decade began, and eighteen now. I am twice as old now as I was then. Obviously, then, this decade has influenced and changed my life in incalculable ways. So, for your enjoyment, for posterity, and for my biographers, I now list my favorite music and books of the '00s. Coming soon: Best movies and cars.

Best Music of the 2000s.

  1. Arctic Monkeys, Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2007

The Monkeys' brash scouser funk at its best, with lyricism and catchy beats.

9. U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000

The world's greatest band reapplying for its title and unanimously holding on to it.

  1. Norah Jones, Feels Like Home, 2004

Jones is the best-selling female jazz artist of all time and her second album remains, so far, her masterwork.

  1. Radiohead, Hail to the Thief, 2003

Radiohead has been hailed as one of the greatest bands of the 21st century. Opinions vary, but I believe this album is more coherent than their more popular offerings Kid A and Amnesiac.

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers, By the Way, 2005

Funk with heart. Kiedis's polarizing vocals, plus Chad Smith's superb drumming, Flea's driving bass lines and John Frusciante's godlike guitar skills make this the best Pepperss album.

  1. The White Stripes, Icky Thump, 2008

The White Stripes' last and best is probably one of the most American albums I have ever heard.

  1. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2002

Wilco was dropped by their record label after this album was completed, and picked up by a new one. It became a mega-hit and established Wilco's country-influenced hard rock sound.

  1. Switchfoot, The Beautiful Letdown, 2003

Sue me, but I think Switchfoot has had a huge influence on modern pop rock, and it started with this album's earnest lyricism.

  1. The Killers, Hot Fuss, 2004

The Killers' best album to date, Hot Fuss combines many elements to become an eclectic, interesting whole.

1. Audio Adrenaline, Lift, 2001

Lift is one of the most worshipful albums I've ever heard. From Ocean Floor to You Still Amaze Me, the Christian rockers keep the message coming in serious, otherworldly melodies. Also, I have all these albums on iTunes and this is the only one that writing a blurb about made me want to listen to it again. "You, you still amaze me. Bigger than the sky, brighter than the sun, you're the one."

Best Books of the 2000s.

  1. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007

Rowling's powerful finale to the best-selling fiction series ever written was a fitting end to the series and proved, once and for all, that Rowling was no mere children's writer. The Messianic allegories, the intricately crafted plot, and the unforgettable characters make this one of my favorite books ever.

  1. Rod Dreher, Crunchy Cons, 2006

Dreher's impassioned call for a Republican party grounded more in environmentally responsible, doctrinally sound, and intellectually honest philosophy is the political book with the most influence on me, ever.

  1. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Shadow of the Wind, 2001

Zafon's book is magical. Simple as that.

  1. Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace, 2007

William Wilberforce, “God's politician,” has long been one of my heroes. This biography of him, then, naturally attracted me. It was the best biography I have ever read, and slim as it is, it provides a rather complete assessment not only of Wilberforce but of his allies and conditions in early Victorian England.

  1. Stephen Marche, Shining at the Bottom of the Sea, 2007

This exquisite collection of short fiction from the fictional island of “Sanjania” is as beautiful as it is inventive.

  1. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism, 2008

Pastor Keller, leader of New York's most vibrant evangelical church which he himself founded in the 80s, gives an impassioned, orthodox defense of traditional belief.

  1. Timothy Zahn, Allegiance, 2007.

I know, I know, a Star Wars novel. Truth be told, though, Zahn is ten times more talented than the other hacks Lucas hired to write his sequels, and is an accomplished sci-fi author in his own right. Allegiance is not his best, but the others were published in the last millennium and he needs to be on this list.

  1. Adam Nicolson, Seize the Fire: Heroism and Duty at the Battle of the Trafalgar, 2006

As an anglophile, I've always idolized Nelson. This book is less about him as it is about the greatest naval battle in history, but how can one define Trafalgar without Nelson, or Nelson without Trafalgar? A great read. It also introduced me to one of the best poems ever written.

  1. Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, 2009.

This rousing mystery features a ridiculously young protagonist, but is nevertheless a great book.

  1. M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies, 2007.

A reasoned defense of one of my heroes. McCarthy's methods were way over the top, but his evidence of communist infiltration, Evans points out, was unassailable. This has been proven by declassified Soviet records. The fact that he remains a favorite target of liberals should remind us which side it is that has reason on its side.


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