Tuesday, 15 July 2008

British albums of the year, 1979-2008

Hello there! The internets are going ape for the latest viral-blogging think-piece phenomenon: listing your favourite album since the year of your birth. Well, not your birth; my birth.

I’m happy to help out, but I might as easily just list all the Nick Cave and Will Oldham albums, plus the same rap albums as everyone else. So here’s my favourite British albums. How’s about that, eh?

I was born in 1979, and Smashing Pumpkins wrote a song all about it:

The best British album of 1979 was nearly Judas Priest Unleashed in the East, but art-snobbery got the better of me. Anyway, a number of observations:

• The collapse of the British music industry in the late 90s was quite dramatic. A few smaller-scale bands kept things competitive – Mogwai, Arab Strap, Tindersticks and Gorky’s made it in; Hefner, Dawn of the Replicants, Four Tet and McLusky were all contenders. I’m sure the Brit blogrollers could think of more. But aside from breakthrough releases by the Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, the Streets, Dizzee Rascal and the C***plays (and waves of imitators), it’s been a pretty shapeless decade. I'm not crazy about Franz Ferdinand, The Life Pursuit or Curses, but the competition's pretty thin. Thoughts?

• I’m surprised My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Radiohead and trip-hop and didn’t get a look-in. Are you?

• Perhaps I should invest in lots of Elvis Costello and PJ Harvey records to make myself cooler and more knowledgeable.

• 1994 was right difficult.

• I might have forgotten a few.

Here we go, one video per decade:

1979 Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
1980 Dexys Midnight Runners, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
1981 Iron Maiden, Killers
1982 Richard & Linda Thompson, Shoot Out The Lights
1983 David Bowie, Let’s Dance
1984 Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Welcome to the Pleasuredome

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - 'The Power of Love'

1985 Jesus & Mary Chain, Psychocandy
1986 The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
1987 Happy Mondays, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)
1988 The Pogues, If I Should Fall from Grace with God
1989 Vaselines, Dum Dum
1990 Happy Mondays, Pills, Thrills & Bellyaches
1991 Teenage Fanclub, Bandwaggonesque
1992 Spiritualized, Laser Guided Melodies
1993 Tindersticks, Tindersticks

Tindersticks - 'City Sickness'

1994 Suede, Dog Man Star
1995 Pulp, Different Class
1996 Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go
1997 Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Barafundle
1998 Arab Strap, Philophobia
1999 Mogwai, Come On Die Young
2000 Belle & Sebastian, Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
2001 Tindersticks, Can Our Love
2002 Libertines, Up the Bracket

Libertines, 'A Time for Heroes'

2003 Waterson : Carthy, Fishes and Fine Yellow Sand
2004 Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
2005 Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock n Roll
2006 Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
2007 Future of the Left, Curses
2008 Aidan Moffat, I Can Hear Your Heart

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