The Best of the Ought Nots Revisited, Part III: 41-60

The halfway point of this list is where we start to get into the truly excellent, A-grade stuff. I’m fairly stingy about giving out A’s, so it’s actually a little surprising that I gave that distinction to just over 50 albums over the course of the decade (and retroactively, in a few cases), averaging about five such records per year.

As I did with my “Best of the Tenny Tweens” list, I thought it’d be interesting to break this list down by geographic location, and see which places the artists represented most commonly come from. Here’s what I came up with.

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Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2020: Wait, That’s Not an Album! (and Last Year’s Leftovers)

2020 turned out to be a pretty good year for musical miscellany. With a lot of their plans for big album releases and all the media hype and big tours that typically follow botched by a global pandemic, many artists connected with their fans by going smaller, putting out something sentimental to remind us of past live shows we’d enjoyed being part of, or even documenting the process of performing remotely for socially distanced fans all over the globe. Understandably, many of these artists had to put out something to make ends meet, but given the desperation I was initially anticipating that might have led a lot of favorite artist to clear the vaults of every dodgy demo idea they had once clumsily spouted off into an iPhone, what we got this year clearly exceeded expectations.

Oh, and 2019 gave us a few more good records than I had given it credit for in my last year-end Favorite Albums rundown. Not many more, mind you – and only one of my belated finds is a full-length record this time around – but it’s still a year that I feel like I’m working on unearthing the best of (and that I’m weirdly nostalgic for at this point, seeing as it now feels like it was at least five years ago).

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The Echoing Green – In Scarlet & Vile: It’s not easy being green when you’re seeing red and feeling blue.


Artist: The Echoing Green
Album: In Scarlet & Vile
Year: 2011
Grade: B+

In Brief: A strong comeback for an underground favorite of mine who had been gone for far too many years. The Special Edition’s worth the extra expense.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #51: July-August 2004

In the summer of 2004, I began to set plans in motion to take hold of the future I really wanted for myself and Christine. Slightly hampering those plans: A few sudden, unexpected financial difficulties. It was demoralizing at first, but I was beginning to believe quite strongly in the value of delayed gratification.

In with the New:
Modest Mouse

It Was Worth a Try:
Neal Morse

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #50: May-June 2004

I was really high on life when I made this mix. While it isn’t without the usual aggressive, angsty, and melodramatic material, I feel like there was a conscious scaling back on that side of things to allow more room for the wistful, romantic stuff. That’s what best represented how I was feeling at the time.

In with the New:
Joe Henry
Ron Sexsmith
Something Like Silas
Sufjan Stevens

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #49: March-April 2004

The spring of 2004 found us settling into a comfortable groove. Christine and I went on hikes together, attended our fair share of concerts, and in general just came to love the rhythm of our lives. Life wasn’t without its challenges, but for the most part, we had attained the stability I had spent most of 2003 longing for.

In with the New:
Falling Up
Abra Moore

Out with the Old:
Dave Matthews (as a solo artist – appears later with Dave Matthews Band)

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #48: January-February 2004

I felt like the year 2004 began with a renewed sense of certainty. Its earliest months are memorable to me and Christine for our first real experiences of traveling together. Whether alone or with a group of people, I learned that she’s a really good travel buddy.

In with the New:
Christine Denté (as a solo artist – appears previously with Out of the Grey)
Sleeping at Last

Out with the Old:
Vertical Horizon
Ashley Cleveland

It Was Worth a Try:
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Listen on Spotify:

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The Echoing Green – The Winter of Our Discontent: Wintergreen, my new favorite flavor of ear candy.

Artist: The Echoing Green
Album: The Winter of Our Discontent
Year: 2003
Grade: B+

In Brief: Just when you thought life-affirming dance pop music couldn’t have much depth to it, here comes The Echoing Green with an intriguing, captivating new disc.

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