Will he be remembered more for his frat-boy antics and failed relationships or for his guitar chops that regularly put him onstage alongside idols such as B.B. King and Eric Clapton — legends who nod to his musical skills as very much in league with their own.
It’s short, sweet, funny and features a guitar part or two that sound delightfully out of place in a honkytonk country song.
#11 – Steven Page – Page One
There’s a rich history of lead singers leaving their bands and forging successful solo careers. Morrissey, Sting, Beyoncé, Lionel Richie… the list goes on. Hell, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins did it while fleeing the same band at different times.
Still, I wasn’t very confident that Steven Page’s departure from Barenaked Ladies would serve either of them very well. I figured the band would be weaker and I’d never hear from Page again.
#12 – Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
My affection for country music blossomed toward the end of the 00s and really took hold during the first half of this decade.
A quarter of this top twenty list (even more depending on how you categorize some artists) is dedicated to country performers.
#13 – Beck – Morning Phase
Earlier this year, Beck released a sequel (in spirit, if not title) to 2002′s gorgeous break-up album, Sea Change. Morning Phase has the same sad acoustic ambiance of its predecessor, but it is concerned more with mortality and self-fulfillment than heartbreak.
#14 – Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone
Tift Merritt makes her first appearance on this list, but not her last, with 2012′s Traveling Alone.
This album has a more laid-back, acoustic vibe than her previous work. One thing I love about Merritt is that every one of her records is distinct in sound and mood while remaining undeniably true to her general sensibility.
#15 – Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
Continuing my countdown of the best albums of the decade so far, I arrive at Paul Simon’s 2011 comeback record, So Beautiful Or So What.
Simon released only two album in the 00′s: You’re the One in 2000 and Surprise in 2006. The former was half-great and the latter a general disappointment. Before those records, it’s just 1997′s Broadway experiment Songs from the Capeman and the sublime Rhythm of the Saints way back in 1990.
Not very prolific, Mr. Simon.