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Ed's Spectacular Music Year In Review Extravaganza!

by Ed Parker

2000 was a deceptively good year for music. Despite a barrage of crappy mainstream music and rapidly increasing CD prices, there is still plenty of great music out there. Sure the major labels felt a little hurt with their problems with Napster, but not much is going to change as long as there are still groups like N'Sync and The Backstreet Boys who sell 7 million copies on the first day. The only thing different about major labels now is that they are looking for the next Brittney Spears and not paying attention to artists who need the exposure or haven't been signed. While mainstream music magazines have almost unanimously chosen Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" as album of the year, I don't like it. Eminem is a capable rapper, but not exceptional. While the album (and the artist) has been marketed as an ironic and hilarious take on the violent nature of society, it does little more than perpetuate the trend. I don't know how these magazines validate their mediocre choice. Eminem's music, to me, isn't remarkable for anything except as a hallmark of society's current cultural mood of anger and instant gratification. This trend helped make 2000 the worst year ever for bands to break up, with bands like Ben Folds Five, Soul Coughing, Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement all calling it quits this year. Next year should also be a good year for albums, with long-awaited albums coming from the likes of Weezer, They Might Be Giants, Fountains of Wayne and The Toadies. But then again I was hoping for all of those CDs to come out this year too.

This is the list of my ten favorite albums of 2000. I hope you enjoy it!

Click on the album name to buy it from Amazon.com.

1.Coldplay-- Parachutes
This young group comes from Britain and, like their Brit-pop contemporaries like Travis, The Verve and pre-2000 Radiohead, Coldplay takes a lot of inspiration from Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd and My Bloody Valentine. Coldplay singer Chris Martin sounds a lot like Dave Matthews, but with Jeff Buckley's falsetto range. You may have heard the single "Yellow" on radio or television's ABC!

2.Dandy Warhols-- Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia
This album is another fine album from The Dandy Warhols. While a couple of the songs, like "Shakin" and "Bohemian Like You" sound like normal Dandys fare, they're still great songs with great melodies. Other songs are more psychedelic than the songs on their last album and the Dandys are one of the best rock groups around.

3.Smoking Popes-- Live
The Smoking Popes were a punk-sounding band that played sappy love songs. But they were never characterized as "emo." Lead singer Josh Caterer sounds more like a lounge singer than a rock singer. This album is a recording of their final live performance and has superb versions of songs like "Stars" and "I Know You Love Me." (Read 6/00 review)

4.eels-- Daisies of the Galaxy
The eels have always been a strange band, thanks to lead singer and mastermind E. The last eels album "electro-shock blues" was dark and all about death. This album is still mostly about death, but the music is upbeat and happy, almost ridiculously so, with songs like "I Like Birds" and "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues."

5.Del the Funky Homosapien-- Both Sides of the Brain
I don't listen to a whole lot of rap, but Del is one of the new rap artists I really like. In fact I think Del is one of the only rap "artists" around. Sure I'm sure some of them are good, but Del has amazing lyrical capabilities and intelligence. On this album, Del not only raps about normal stuff like how much better than other MCs he is ("Jaw Gymnastics") but also about stuff like video games ("Proto Culture").

6.Ass Ponys-- Some Stupid With A Flare Gun
The Ass Ponys are cool. This isn't an "alt-country" band like Wilco or Uncle Tupelo, more like a punk-country band. They throw in some psychedelic guitar work and crazy lyrics to complement their great melodies and tight harmonies. (Read 9/00 review)

7.At the Drive-In-- Relationship of Command
The songs on this CD are great; the band combines hardcore punk with some funky stuff and politically charged lyrics. And holy fucking shit, are they awesome live! These crazy fuckers have giant Afro haircuts and thrash around and break shit.

8.Sunny Day Real Estate-- The Rising Tide
So maybe Sunny Day Real Estate has turned into indie rock's closest thing to superstars and their sound has become more accessible, but this album still has some of their best songs since "Diary." (Read 10/00 review)

9.Ol' Dirty Bastard-- N***a Please
ODB rules. He's one crazy mother. I'd hate to see him quit drugs and become all lame or something. (Read 4/00 review)

10.U2-- All That You Can't Leave Behind
I've always liked U2 and I'm glad they've returned to simple pop songs. It's too bad I've gotta have them knocked off.

Here's some other great albums that came out this year!!

Barenaked Ladies-- Maroon
Barenaked Ladies are a wonderful, consistent band and songs like "Humour Of The Situation" and "Sell, Sell, Sell" are welcome additions to the glorious pantheon of BNL! (Read 10/00 review)

Gostface Killah-- Supreme Clientele
Yeah, he's pretty good Killah's raps are more like stories than anything else. And of course he talks about kung fu

Harvey Danger-- King James Version
Harvey Danger is an underrated band and this record has lots of great songs. Singer Sean Nelson frequently goes from his nerdy nasal voice to a clear falsetto to Frank Black-like screaming in one song. The first single "Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo" is one of the weaker tracks and that's one of the reasons the album hasn't been noticed.

(International) Noise Conspiracy-- Survival Sickness
INC rose out of the ashes of seminal Scandinavian hardcore band Refused but have a very different sound. They still have the Marxist political agenda, but the music is more like 60s psychedelica loaded with keyboard goodness.

MC Paul Barman-- It's Very Stimulating
Paul is a nerdy Jewish guy from New York and his EP is very funny. He's a very good rapper and the production by Prince Paul is great

Phish-- Farmhouse
I don't know, I've never really liked pot, but I've got a couple of friends who like it a lot. Even though I'm in college I've never been in a situation where I really wanted to try some. Maybe I will. My best friend says he's going to try it with his new girlfriend and I never thought he'd ever try pot. And "Heavy Things" is a cool song too.

Princess Superstar-- Last of the Great 20th Century Composers
Princess Superstar is a rapper from NYC who is extremely innovative and has a dirty mind. Just listen to songs like "Sex (I Like)" and "Come Up To My Room."

Queens of the Stone Age-- Rated R
The Queens have their stoner rock masterpiece here. I may have put them in my top ten, except the bassist insists on playing naked in concert.

Radiohead-- Kid A
I don't think I'm smart enough to enjoy this album. So then why did I buy it? Okay, so it's not all that bad but as many times as I listen to it, I think it should get better. Songs like "Optimistic" and "National Anthem" are pretty good though. (Read 10/00 review)

Reverend Horton Heat-- Spend A Night In The Box
The Reverend left Sub Pop after 10 years and went back to a sound more like that from their first record 10 years ago. After their last two albums had more in common with heavy metal than country, this album sounds more like the Reverend I like. (Read 6/00 review)

They Might Be Giants-- Working For The Man
Our favorite band finally came out with some new music this year. It's just an EP and some of the songs are just radio promos, but "Working Undercover For The Man" is better than a lot of the songs from Their last album 1996' "Factory Showroom" and "Robot Parade" makes me drool in anticipation of Their children's album.

Ween-- White Pepper
I love Ween, but I think they don't want our love. They make great music but I think they want it to be shitty. If this album had been put out by somebody with less skills than Ween I'd hate it. (Read 9/00 review)

I believe in order to remain on staff at The Shrubbery, Jessica requires that I mention that Belle and Sebastian and Squirrel Nut Zippers also released new albums this year, but I didn't listen to them.






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