Explore the albums on this list|
The Man Who, Travis
Chore of Enchantment, Giant Sand
King James Version
, Harvey Danger
The Night, Morphine
, Trans Am
, Tahiti 80
Supreme Beings of Leisure
, Supreme Beings of Leisure
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, Yo La Tengo
Disco and the Halfway to Discontent, Clinton
The Proximity Effect, Nada Surf
000, The Delta 72
The Virgin Suicides (Original Soundtrack)
Figure 8, Elliott Smith
The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy
Top Ten Albums, 2000
The year's best, to my ears, from releases in the U.S. or Europe in 2000. (Albums released in 1999 in the U.K. and 2000 in the U.S. are 2000-eligible in my book.)
What constitutes the "best?" It's not necessarily the most accomplished or important, but the most enjoyable and memorable, the albums that, after hearing once or twice, I couldn't wait to hear again. If I had to grab a handful of discs of the dozens I heard this year, these would be it.
1. Supergrass, Supergrass. Who knew rock 'n roll could still be this enchanting? With a sound that varies from song to song, Supergrass is unafraid to expose its influences, yet it never loses its own unique voice. A triumph from start to finish, with an opening track, "Moving," that is by far the best song I heard all year.
2. The Man Who, Travis. Songwriting bliss. Melodies brought forth this tenderly, yet this powerfully, don't come along often enough. Don't miss the hidden last song, "Blue Flashing Light," where the band's brokenheartedness isn't contained within the same quiet meditation as the rest of the album.
3. Kid A, Radiohead. Everyone loves Kid A despite its weirdness. It's not what I would call a great rock album; it's difficult to follow and impossible to categorize. Pearl Jam would get skewered for releasing it. But the album's obtuse melodies and rhythms and lyrics become more captivating with each listen. A bold and important work.
4. Chore of Enchantment, Giant Sand. Howe Gelb has always been an enjoyable musician, with his rambling, guttural vocal delivery and unique folk-metal style. This album finds him at a new creative peak, unafraid to expand his horizons and expose his softer side. One of rock's most underappreciated artists.
5. King James Version, Harvey Danger. Some of the most clever, thought-provoking lyrics I've heard in ages, and I usually pay no attention to the words. Harvey Danger crafts some fine melodic punk-pop tunes to boot.
6. The Night, Morphine. A fine farewell album from Mark Sandman and Co. I'm not bothering to pick up the live album, letting this CD, and its final track -- with Sandman chanting, "Take me with you when you go" -- be my coda for the band. They will be missed.
7. Red Line, Trans Am. Pushing the boundaries of art-rock in exciting new ways. The album can get tiresome, but tracks like "Play in the Summer" are compelling and startling. That Trans Am must be an '83 model, but it's turbocharged and has a heck of an exhaust note.
8. Puzzle, Tahiti 80. No other album this year brought a smile to my face so easily. Fluffy to the point of weightless, but it aspires to nothing more. Want to bounce around the apartment while cleaning the living room? This is what to do it to.
9. Parachutes, Coldplay. Likened to Radiohead and Travis, so it's no surprise that I have all three on my list this year. Wherever the origins, Coldplay pulls its influences into a warm and heartfelt set of mellow, melodromatic rock. A surprisingly accomplished debut.
10. Supreme Beings of Leisure, Supreme Beings of Leisure. Fine stuff to chill out to. Nothing new or special here, just pleasant, earthy, midrange-happy music that will nestle in nicely next to your Samples and Groove Collective CDs. Don't miss the sweet cover art and web site (sbleisure.com).
Also noteworthy this year:
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, Yo La Tengo. More beautiful and haunting tunes by Hoboken, N.J.'s most musical couple.
Disco and the Halfway to Discontent, Clinton. Cornershop's Tjinder Singh hits the dance floor, and everyone has a good time.
The Proximity Effect, Nada Surf. Forget the song "Popular" and discover this album of unheralded power-pop gems.
000, The Delta 72. Rock at its most raw, and compelling.
Stankonia, OutKast. Credit them for making me rediscover hip-hop this fall.
The Virgin Suicides (Original Soundtrack), Air. Ambient? Trip-hop? I think not -- this is a Pink Floyd album.
The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy. It hasn't grown on me yet, but this year's Mercury Prize winner has crafted an impressive debut album.
Voodoo, D'Angelo. If I were sleeping with someone these days I'd probably listen to this a whole lot more.
Figure 8, Elliott Smith. Not much of a departure from XO, but wonderful songs just the same.