I'll let you in on a dirty little secret of mine: I am convinced that pop/rock music reached it's pinnacle in the 2000's. I suspect this isn't the majority opinion, particularly among people of my generation who grew up on seventies rock bleeding into punk and new wave. The music I grew up with will always be special to me, but I can't remember any era as exciting to me as the first decade of the millennium.
Even if several of my favorite acts, like The Futureheads, Stellastarr*, The Hives, The Kaiser Chiefs, MGMT, and the late, lamented Ambulance, LTD didn't have the long, successful runs they deserved, bands like Metric, The Arcade Fire, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, and especially The New Pornographers** turned out great record after great record during the aughts.
We're well out of the 00's now, but The New Pornographers have just released yet another album that one could argue is their best yet. I was chuffed from the get-go about this one. Carl Newman has always done a brilliant job describing the influences on their upcoming albums and this one was the most evocative yet:
If that doesn't get you excited, then you have different tastes in music than I do.
After several listens, start to finish, I think it's safe to say they hit the target. This is the most uptempo album they've made since The Electric Version. It's easily the the brightest record they've ever made. Sure, it sparkles, but it rocks as well. Check out "Backstairs", which is probably the best ELO song ever made. Unfortunately, it's not on Youtube yet, so you'll have to use a little ingenuity to dig it up. You know, like "buying it" or something.
* The asterisk is actually part of the band's name.
** The videos are kind of great, so it's worth clicking on all three.