Tool — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:59:17
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
1. Tool – 10,000 Days
Tool painted a delicate pastiche of emotion and sound with 10,000 Days. The record literally lives and breathes, growing deeper and more impactful as the years go by. There's a sonic richness and attention to detail—even down to achieving the Grammy Award for Best Recording Packaging—that cultivates this entire experience. The record is an investment of trust, and it's rewarded over and over again.
Talks with Tool fans can be the most divisive and passionate as the band's music has resonated so powerfully on a deep level. You can often associate that with the moment of introduction, whatever it may be. Typically those who found them on Opiate or Undertow will profess their merits undyingly, whereas the enclave that experienced Ænima or Lateralus first will proclaim either of those eras definitive. However, 10,000 Days feels like the destination that Maynard James Keenan [vocals], Adam Jones [guitar], Justin Chancellor [bass], and Danny Carey [drums] had always been headed at lightspeed. It's worth discussing, and that's what makes any Tool album special. A conversation starts. An answer doesn't need to be found, but a dialogue begins. People start thinking again. That's the whole point of alternative music and why 10,000 Days tops this list. So, we're going to properly talk about it...
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!