Except for Kid A and maybe OK Computer, Ágætis Byrjun
is my favorite album of the last decade. My all-time top 10 would include those two Radiohead album, some Bob Dylan, some Tom Waits, some MF Doom, maybe Neil Young's unplugged, maybe Miles Davis' Tribute to Jack Johnson and, well, THIS ALBUM. Buy why? Why do I care so much about this album? I've heard the band's other efforts, I've heard Explosions in the Sky (and love them), I've heard Godspeed (and love them), I've heard all of this stuff, yet this album is far-and-away my favorite.
This badboy is 10 songs (well, 9, I guess ... well, I guess you could call it 8, "Avalon" just kind of closes things up) of excellence. "Sven-G-Englar" seems to be the one more casual fans focus on and it certainly is a classic ... you could call it Sigur Ros for beginners, but its really just a top-notch recording. "Staralfur" is like Radiohead's "Motion Picture Soundtrack" only much longer and more mesmerizing. I love the guitars, I love the vocals and the best part is the climax, where it sounds like you are listening to fireworks underwater. And, for a band like Sigur Ros where every song sounds even better while smoking with some friends, "Staralfur" goes from mind-blowing to almost life-changing while high, I don't know what it is.
The final song I want to rant about, though they are all excellent, is "Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa." I recently saw this song live and it might be the best song I've EVER seen live ... and I've seen some damn good ones live, too. It just blew me away. But even on the CD, it is amazing ... sure, the intro is probably a little too long, but that's only because I know how good it is and I get impatient. Once the piano part starts, I'm set. I respect the hell out of Mogwai, but I think I'll take the piano part on "Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa" over anything from the Happy Music disc. Its just ***ing amazing, I don't know what else to say.
I hate ranting this much, and I hate soundling like a fan that can find no wrong in the music they like, but this is one of those albums that I truly can't find anything wrong with. As I said, I rank it up there with Kid A
as one of the most incredible albums of the last ten years. Anyone that has ever heard of Sigur Ros, but never gave them a chance, START HERE. Anyone that has heard other albums by Sigur Ros but not this one, CHECK THIS ONE OUT. This is it, folks, this is the one. It is all about "the fetus album"!
I like ( )
a lot and I love Takk ...
, especially after seeing almost the whole thing live, but this one still stands as the band's strongest effort by FAR.