21 Century Breakdown: Mike Farley’s Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

The past decade to me was less about musical trends and styles, and more about how I listen to music. I’ve always been a mix tape guy, and as the ‘90s moved to Y2K, I was entering the world of burning mix CDs. But then around 2004, everything changed, and changed for the better, when I discovered iTunes. Now I could not only make up my own playlists from my music collection, but I could order single songs for 99 cents and add those to my collection. Suddenly I was re-discovering songs from my childhood and teen years, and basically every phase of my music-listening life. And I could arrange all those songs any way I liked…playlists galore and, as I described them, “kickass mixes.” Every four to six months, I make a new play list of what I’m currently listening to, and date that as a new Kickass Mix, something I can go back to that makes me remember what I was doing and feeling at that point in time.

As for the actual music I’ve been listening to and enjoying, there are a few acts that have entered my iTunes world this decade that have become favorites that I can’t get enough of, no matter how many times I listen: The Damnwells, the Silver Seas, Ari Hest, Jason Spooner and Butch Walker, to name a few. I know that radio is basically a shell of its former self and we find and listen to music in so many different ways, but I, for one, have fully embraced the digital world of music.

Here are my picks for top albums of the decade.
1. The Silver Seas: High Society
2. Jason Spooner: The Flame You Follow
3. Ari Hest: The Break In
4. Stereophonics: Langauge, Sex, Violence. Other?
5. The Damnwells: Air Stereo
6. The Southland: Influence of Geography
7. The Damnwells: One Last Century
8. Josh Rouse: 1972
9. Butch Walker: Left of Self Centered
10. Paddy Casey: Addicted To Company


Mikey Wax: Change Again

Being a singer/songwriter today and trying to stand out from the pack is not an easy task. You have to be damn good, and you have to be damn good in the first 30 seconds to hook the listener in. Long Island’s Mikey Wax will hook you in with his debut, Change Again, and he’ll keep you there with melodic stuff that is also a nice mix of uplifting pop/rock and darker, slower-tempo fare. Wax has a breezy way about his songs, which have a modern yet classic feel (think Josh Rouse or Ari Hest) and his slick falsetto is the perfect vehicle to deliver that material. The falsetto is also overused, but if the songs are this good on a debut, it’s easier to let those things slide. And while tracks like “Slow Motion” and “Yes” are driving, mid-tempo hooky songs, Wax is at his brooding best on the more somber material such as “Love Light (Triad)” or “Cedars Bay.” (LABEL: self-released)

Mikey Wax MySpace Page