December 12, 2009

albums of the decade (II)

The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving (G7 Welcoming Committee, 2000)

The Weakerthans don’t brag much, and maybe it’s inappropriate to throw around lofty titles like “Best Album of the Decade” in reference to one of their albums, but with all celebratory lists and tributes floating around these days, I can’t help myself so I’ll just say it: Left and Leaving, that understated collection of songs about life in Winnipeg might just be the best album that’s come out of Canada in the last decade. At the end of the year, when everyone's touting Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene as the “saviors of indie rock,” those of us who know and love the Weakerthans might also remember that, before the indie music media frenzy began, 2000 marked the release of the Weakerthans’ second album. You can’t get any better than reckless abandon of “Watermark,” the tenderness of “My Favourite Chords,” the inspiring “Pamphleteer,” and a title track so honest and reassuring it just might be reason enough to stay put. Full of well-crafted characters and all kinds of social subtleties, Left and Leaving is an album that’s both highly literate and unapologetically local. Not only do Samson, Tait, Carroll and Sutton give us a better understanding of Winnipeg (already quite a feat), their album invites each of us see one another and our city with new eyes. How’s that for zeitgeist?

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