Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #39 Le Loup - The Throne of the Third...
Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one album and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 album of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#39 Le Loup - The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly
This was an album that swept us all up in the betterPropaganda office. Catherine, our editor / promo CD filter, all of a sudden could not stop singing the praises of a band with a name which is French for "wolf," on the strength of their debut album, "Throne of the Something Something and Something Else." Strikes one and two on the cynicism meter (each on the account of hyper-seriousness) which very nearly sank this one for me. Thankfully, I spun the disc a few weeks later, and not a single aspect of this gripping aspect came close to constituting a strike three. Questionable naming but brilliant music, which is, at least, rarer and more welcome than the inverse of that statement.
Le Loup's The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly can be excused for such a weighty front; the deadpan seriousness serves a purpose. The album itself is named after an ornate golden throne sculpted out of trash by James Hampton, a nobody janitor from D.C. (those who discovered it after Hampton's death believed he fashioned the throne in preparation for the second coming of Jesus). So Le Loup's references to vultures, death and reincarnation, the end of the world, Rapture and so forth, suggests a project that hints at wild and flighty ambition. Peculiar, then, that the staffers here would latch on to a heavy offering so immediately. But that's what makes Throne so successful: twangy banjo, nifty electronics, the ability to compress a powerful vision into a set of relatively simple songs. It had all this – not exactly what I would call "catchy," so let's go for "immediately digestible" instead. And yet, it was dipped in enough artful delicacy and soft-cooed philosophy so as to allow the Pitchfork types to tangentialize the shit out of it, to bring up Dante and new religion and so forth, to contextualize the album on an intellectual level. We were not used to hearing such somber ambition packaged so cleanly (we still aren't), and we went nuts over it.
It was bewildering that around its release date, no one in the "real world" seemed to be talking about Le Loup (bloggers went rabid over it, but it was a self-contained feedback loop – never once heard my friends mention them). Well, we're talking about it again: it cracks into the top 40 of this decade's 100 best albums. If you didn't take notice before, now's the time.
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.