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January 04, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-04

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8A -- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 4, 2001


Best albums of last
year highlighted by
expenmentation, soul

By C.D. Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
Perhaps the most striking thing
about 2000 was its incredible
length - a total of 365 days, during
which time many, many things
happened: We laughed, we cried,
we read a lot of books and drank a
lot of alcohol. We also listened to
a lot of music, and since we here at
the Daily have prided ourselves on
our ability to come up with reason-
able facsimiles of the lists of the
top this or greatest that put out by
VH-l and Rolling Stone, we
thought we should hop on the list-
making bandwagon once again and
offer up our picks for the 10 best
records of the year.
The list purports to be neither
authoritative nor democratically-
seiected - but, hey, neither does
the President Elect. The list does,
however, showcase those records
that highlight two big trends in the
best music of 2000: Hip-hop lived
up to its inclusive ethic, moving
both bodies and souls with open-
armed and electrifying releases
from Outkast, Erykah Badu and
Common, while rock seemed to
favor inwardness, from Radio-
head's magnum opus about the
first human clone to Yo La Tengo's
mellow balladry. Without further
10) Radiohead, Kid A
Who dares dispute the colossal
greatness of Radiohead!? Why,
where other bands concerned
themselves with such rock cliches
as "Inelody" and "rhythm," Radio-
head did away with that nonsense,
summoning all of their progres-
sive-rock smarts in order to craft
an unearthly tapestry of electronic
flotsamand distorted vocals. Seri-
ously, the worst effect of Radio-
head achieving art-rock sainthood
is that Kid A is way, way overrat-
ed. On the bright side, Radiohead

seemed to have retained their mar-
ket clout despite Kid A's doggedly
unconventional qualities, which
means that a million or so kids
bought an album that's simultane-
ously beautiful (in a cinematic,
trippy kind of way) and strikingly
9) Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour
Qf Bewilderbeast
If rock albums about alienation
and disaffection were films, Kid A
would be a blockbuster directed by
Stanley Kubrick, while The Hour
Of Bewilderbeast would be its
low-budget, indie counterpart.
Winner of Britain's Mercury Prize
for best album of 2000, Bewilder-
beast is the work of Damon
Gough, a.k.a. Badly Drawn Boy, an
introverted studio-tinkerer with
folk-rock roots. Bewikaerbeast, in
fact, sounds something like a Nick
Drake album recorded with Beck
at the mixing board, and its very
sweet and poignant tunes range in
style from the spare balladry of
"Magic In The Air" to the funk-lite
bounciness of "Once Around The
Block." And speaking of Kubrick,
if "The Shining," -Bewilderbeast's
entr'act, doesn't sport the year's
most charming melody, then
George W. Bush is a goddamn
Rhodes Scholar.
8) Erykah Badu, Mama's Gun
While VH-1 has taken "diva" to
mean "any black female with a
recording contract," those in the
know recognize that Erykah Badu
is the real thing, a neo-soul pio-
neer with tons of ambition and a
voice like that of an old-time
chanteuse. Mama 's Gun only
improves on the sultry-yet-in-yo'-
face vibe of Baduizm, Badu's
debut, as Badu's mellifluous vocals
find themselves surrounded by
laid-back jazz, light funk, hip-hop
and even the occasional acoustic
guitar. Hot shit.
7) Sigur Ros, Agaetis Byrjun

Courtesy of Arista

Sorry Ms. Jackson, but Stankonia clocks in at #6 on our countdown. And yes, I am for real.

The title of these Icelanders'
debut means "Pink Floyd is King
Shit, yes?" Actually, although
these guys share the Floyd's
predilection for slow grooves and
head-trippiness, Agaetis Byrjun is
chock full of escapist thrills -
ghostly vocals, shimmering, lan-
guid melodies - where Dark Side
of the Moon had more to do with
grim psychedelics. Close your eyes
and picture a polar icecap in your
mind as you listen to "Sven-G-
Englar" and you'll find yourself in
your own winter wonderland.
6) Outkast, Stankonia
Stankonia is the rare kind of rap
album that can both crack your shit
up, make you think and bowl you
over with the sort of furious
rhyming that lesser MCs can only
dream about. Much has been made
of the eros that pervades several of
Stankonia's tracks, but the record
is really about the sort of non-sex-
ual, brotherly love that fueled P-
Funk's output - Stankonia posits
one nation, under a Stankadelic.
5) Yo La Tengo, And Then Noth-
ing Turned Iseif Inside Out
Yo La Tengo .didn't reinvent
high-fidelity with And Thcn Noth-
ing..., but they certainly made
proper use of it, on two fronts: By
making their most hi-fi (as in
sound quality) record yet, cram-
ming its songs full of synthesizers,_
drum loops and exquisite, dreamy--
melodies, and by using those songs
to celebrate the "high fidelity"
that's held together the marriage of
Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley,
the duo who founded the band 15
years ago. The ultra-rockin' quali-
ties of YLT's older releases may
have disappeared in favor of laid-
back tunes about marital stability,
but one listen to A nd Then
Nothing... is enough to make you
feel warm all over.
4) D'Angelo, Voodoo
Mmm-mmm, girlfriend, this man
is soooo smooth.
3) Aimee Mann, Bachelor No. 2
Rescued from obscurity by that
connoisseur of coolness known to
insiders as P.T.A. (director Paul
Thomas Anderson, who used four
of her songs in "Magnolia"),
Aimee Mann turned out one of the
year's most tuneful albums with
Bachelor No. 2. Though her lyrics

,are befitting of a melancholy
folkie, Mann (the voice behind Til
Tuesday's "Voices Carry" so many
years ago) infuses her songs with
enough memorable hooks and pop-
rock punch to make Bachelor No.
2 both good fun and emotionally
affecting - rather like a P.T.A.
2) Common, Like Water for
The title is taken from an uplift-
ing novel about cooking - fitting,
I suppose, since MC Common
Sense cooks up the year's baddest
grooves on Chocolate, all the while
peppering his tracks with some of
the most socially-conscious and
thought-provoking lyrics this side
of KRS-I and Chuck D. Where
records by heavy-hitters like Out-
kast and Wu-Tang were about all-
out sonic assault, Common chose
to be forthright with his message
and broadminded in his sampling,
as he backed up his rhymes with
swatches of jazz and lilting, old-
school grooves while eliciting

guests spots from trumpeter Roy
Hargrove, D'Angelo and MC Lyte,
among others. "I appreciate this
moment in time / Ballplayers and
actors be knowin' my rhymes" he
says on '6th Sense," and with
Chocolate, he's certainly put him-
self right at the center of the hip-
hop map.
1) P.J. Harvey, Stories From the
City. Stories From the Sea
Polly Jean Harvey has made
great records before, but on Stories
she strikes just the right balance'
between ponderous rock poetry and
visceral thrills. And like just about
everything else she's ever done, it's
brilliant - poignant but rockin',
intelligent but moving, as Harvey
sings about traipsing around New
York City and not letting bad shit
get her down with the same punk-y
thoughtfulness that Patti Smith put
into her albums. "This is Love" and
"Kamikaze," are two of the years
most arresting songs; like the rest
of Stories, they simply sock you in
the gut.

TV 2000:
Highs and
lows in the
year that wask
By Matt Manser
Daily Arts\Writer
The year 2000 brought us several
great television programs, and sev-
eral crappy ones as well. I know;
you're thinking "The year 2000'
That is so, like, a week ago." Well,
that's true. The problem is we live in
a world of instant gratification,
where we have to know who the new
president is NOW, where
microwaves prepare dinners in thre
minutes, and where we celebrate th
millennium a year early. So for once
I thought I'd wait until the year is
actually OVER before I prepare a
best/worst list. So without further
ado, here is the best and worst of
television from 2000.
The Best
5) "The X-Files," FOX
David Duchovny is only appear-
ing in a handful of shows this se
son, but as long as the cool weird
stuff continues to happen, "The X-
Files" is worth watching.
4) "Late Nite with Conan
If only it were on at a reasonable
hour. Damn you, Jenny Jones!
3) "Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO
"Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David
has created another masterpiece. '
David also stars in "Curb," which is
quite similar in tone to "Seinfeld.O
However, since it's on HBO, it gets
bonus points for not having a laugh
track and for its liberal use of swear-
2) "Daria," MTV
The perfect show for the alienat-
ed, judgemental, everyone's-an-
idiot-except-me teenage girl in all of
I) "Ed," NBC
The greatest bowling-alley lawyer
show in the history of television. If
you haven't seen it yet, you need to.
It's on Wednesdays at eight, so miss
one night of that millionaire show
and watch "Ed."
The Worst/Most Overrated
5) "The Michael Richards Show,"
Thank god it's already been can-
celed. Let's just hope this show
doesn't kill Tim Meadows' prosper
ous film career.
4) "The Tom Green Show," MTV
Hey, it's a guy shouting and mak-
ing people feel awkward! It's funny!
3) "Survivor," CBS
This one falls in the "overrated"
category. We already have "The
Real World" and "Road Rules," do
we really need another show that
creates pseudo-celebrities who
believe the general public needs to
know every detail about their lives
just because they were on some
cheezy show?
2) "Hype" WB
WB Exec: "You know, Mad TV'
is a high quality show, why don't we
do a show that's just like it, then
dumb it down by 60% and remove
anything that even resembles a
1) "Scramble Porn," The Ho*
The suits at The Hot Network
really dropped theball when they

green-lighted this one. "Scramble
Porn" combines conventional.
pornography with experimental
lighting and editing techniques that
create severe chaos within the misc-
en-scene. While the creators should
be'applauded for their originality.
"Scramble Porn" ultimately leaves
the viewer more frustrated than ful-

Courtesy of EMD/Capitol
Radiohead's Kid A. "It's like mood music, it's like mystical, y'know, like that."




Courtesy of N/stand
Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. I love PJ Harvey, and she loves me.
Drop In!! U-Move Fitness'

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