Glance for an hour at social media or your favorite music website and you are bound to find an item mentioning how a certain album is ten, 15, or 20 years old—with the payoff being: Oh my God, we are getting so old.
We all do it. We see that it’s been ten years since some important record came out, we buy tickets to the reunion shows, read the thinkpieces, and feign amazement that so much time has passed.
With that in mind, expect buckets of ink to be spilled this year on the Honors Class of 2005: Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise, The Decemberists’ Picaresque, Kanye West’s Late Registration, My Morning Jacket’s Z, Spoon’s Gimme Fiction, LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled debut, etc.
All fantastic records, but what about the kids who sat in the back of the class and showed up to their ten-year reunion only to be met with puzzled stares? Where is their retrospective? Where is their thoughtful nostalgic critique? While there are a ton of albums that got swept under the rug in 2005, here’s an ode to a few of the rejects—good and bad—deemed forgettable by the Internet Meme Factory.
Neil Young — Prairie Wind
Why no one gives a shit: Well, Ol’ Shakey has 35 studio records, so it’s easy to lose a few in the shuffle. Despite being critically revered and serving as the centerpiece of a great Jonathan Demme documentary hardly anyone saw, it’s a guarantee most people have forgotten about it.
Why you should give a shit: It’s got everything, man: Neil’s classic country-rock ramblings, Spooner Oldham on the organ, Emmylou Harris on backing vocals, a set of horns and strings. Young wrote the album after his father passed away and recorded it just before he underwent an aneurysm surgery. This is the sound of a rock legend confronting his own mortality.
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead — Worlds Apart
Why no one gives a shit: Trail of Dead’s fourth full-length didn't meet the kingmaker Pitchfork's high standard of “epic” and was panned as a pretentious, overly-ambitious break from their previously 10.0-worthy career. The frosty critical reception makes it not important enough to merit ten-year thinkpieces, of course.
Why you should give a shit: Because it's actually a really great rock record, full of triumphant melodies and mind-bending genre-hops. Sometimes it’s cool to shoot for the stars, not necessarily hit your mark, but make an awe-inspiring spectacle in the process.
Cave In — Perfect Pitch Black
Why no one gives a shit: Boston’s greatest prog-metal quartet wowed everyone with their first two records, including the space-rock masterpiece Jupiter, but then fell back to earth when their major label debut flopped. After a long dispute with RCA, they went back to their roots with these 10 straight-up metalcore tracks. But everyone had moved on by then.
Why you should give a shit: Because the record is brutal — in the good way. Harkening back to their first two albums, it’s a worthwhile combination of guttural shouting, brutal riffage, Zeppelin-like melodies, and space-rock ambitions.
The Books — Lost and Safe
Why no one gives a shit: The Books were always a cult act — despite having Postal Service-like moments of gooey melodic bliss, they shied away from conventional electronics by sampling found footage, using S__prechstimme vocals, and leaning heavily on avant-garde tropes. They broke up in 2012 so even less people remember this now.
Why you should give a shit: Because it’s a rewarding exploration of sonic textures and samples long before “electronic music” became popularly associated with cokehead Wall Street interns waiting for that sweet bass drop, bruh.
Wintersleep — Untitled
Why no one gives a shit: Because they are Canadian and not Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Feist, or Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Why you should give a shit: It’s important to get in touch with our neighbors to the north. Wintersleep is one of the True North’s indie rock darlings: They won a Juno Award in 2008 — a Juno, for Chrissake. Just take a listen to this album’s adventurous mix of jagged epics and hushed ballads and try saying you don’t regret having not known it for the last 10 years.
Thrice — Vheissu
Why no one gives a shit: Thrice have never been one of the cool kids, resulting in their relegation to being the smart, progressive genre-benders at every Bamboozle-like festival populated by post-adolescent skaters in Dickies shorts. The band’s hardcore fans consider this record a major sonic achievement, but no one else cares.
Why you should give a shit: It’s a goddamn great album. This is the sound of a post-punk band, once preferred by SoCal mall rats, attempting to thwart expectations and break free by incorporating piano melodies, atmospherics, chain gang chants, Japanese folk, and high-concept Pynchon-inspired artwork from Dave Eggers. It sounds messy — and it is — but it’s well worth it.
The Sound of Animals Fighting — Tiger and the Duke
Why no one gives a shit: An art-rock supergroup composed of dudes from Circa Survive, The Hippos, Finch, and RX Bandits doesn’t exactly have decades-long staying power when you consider their core fan-base was just hopping from one AbsolutePunk hype band to the next.
Why you should give a shit: It’s a fascinating time capsule from a time when a bunch of shaggy-haired Warped Tour mainstays thought it wise to create a mysterious prog-rock collective mimicking King Crimson, The Mars Volta, and the Meat Puppets. And it actually kicks ass.
Weezer — Make Believe
Why no one gives a shit: Weezer hasn't exactly been a critical darling since maybe The Green Album and most people have spent the last decade getting “Beverly Hills” out of their heads. So yeah, it's probably for the best we not spend much time looking back on this one.
Why you should give a shit: Because… actually, maybe you shouldn't.
Andrew Kirell is editor-in-chief of Mediaite and no one gives a shit. Follow him on Twitter here.