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Top 100 Albums of 2000 (100-81)

Finally the countdown begins.  Get in touch with us if you want to know where to get ahold of the album legally.  Again, an asterisk next to the album’s title signifies Android50’s approval.  – Songssuck

2000: the year I really began paying attention to music not heard every day on the radio.  This should be fun.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.


100.  Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of the Bewilderbeast *

I checked out this album because of Damon Gough’s soundtrack to the movie, About A Boy. Whether you like this album as well as the music to that movie depends on your tolerance for eccentric self-indulgence and experimentally laced White Album length pop album. – Kid Kilowatt

99.  Death Cab for Cutie – We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes

The first band on this list I checked out because of Built to Spill comparisons.  Even though they are probably now the biggest/most popular of the Pacific Northwest bands, they have never gotten that many plays at my crib, they’re usually too mopey and depressing.  But this is their best album, it has some great songs and if you’re in the mood it hits the spot. – Songssuck

98.  Go-Betweens – The Friends of Rachel Worth

I’m not that cool, so this was the first Go-Betweens album I heard.  I had read about how great their 80’s output was, but had never dived in to find out for myself.  Actually, it was hearing that Elliot Smith, Sam Coomes and the ladies from Sleater-Kinney were the backing band that made me check it out.  I was at first disappointed as it was only on 3 songs I could tell S-K was involved, the riffs on “The Clock” and “German Farmhouse” were clearly S-K’s doing, and Corin Tucker sings on “Going Blind” even though she is so subdued one cannot tell it is her.  It was the Australian duo’s first album after disbanding in 1989, so it should have been a disaster, but these two clearly know their way around a pop song. — Pthestudp

97.  Burmese – Monkeys Tear Man to Shreds, Man Never Forgives Ape, Man Destroys Environment

Literally probably the aural equivalent of the album’s title.  Two basses, no guitar create some intense noise with lots of low end crushing with spastic drumming. – Dr. Anonymous

96.  Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump *

I remember buying this album based solely on comparisons to the Flaming Lips and Radiohead.  I could never hear the Radiohead, but listening to it now it does remind me of the Lips a bit. – Kid Kilowatt

95. Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy *

The Eels’ Daisies of the Galaxy is an album you put on to lay back, chill and drink an ice cold beer.  This album has attitude, despite being the Eels’ softest album.  The attitude can be summed up with the chorus of the closing track: “Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day.”  Mark E’s vocals and overall simplistic style make this album worthy of any music lover’s collection. Mondo Topless

94.  Mouse on Mars – Niun Niggung

Oftentimes when an artist releases an album that has a lighter, happier feel than their previous works, it is dismissed as a lesser or somehow trivial work.  (I’ve often said that Radiohead only need to release a “party” album to get horrible reviews).  For some reason, playful and fun albums are seldom considered as significant; when is the last time one heard one described as “timeless?”  So even though Niun Niggung probably isn’t as good as Iaora Tahiti or Idiology it is not because of its bouncy playfulness and it is worthy to sit along side them in the Mouse on Mars canon. – Suzy Cream Cheese

93.  Two Lone Swordsmen – Tiny Reminders

Small aide memoires?  More like bitch slaps to the face (delivered via fucked up electro, call it techno if you must). – Songssuck

92.  Sonic Youth – NYC Ghosts & Flowers

NYCG&F’s tribute to beat poetry, bohemian New York, and avant-garde noise was recorded shortly after all of Sonic Youth’s inimitable, custom-tweaked & tuned guitars were stolen.  Pretty much the redheaded stepchild of the SY discography (it was given an unwarranted ‘0.0” by Pitchfork). – Dr. Anonymous

91.  Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows *

Really these songs could be on any alternative/modern rock station.  But I keep coming back to it after all these years and I wasn’t even expecting to like this anymore when I listened to this again for this list.  But I did.  I’ve heard them compared to Nirvana and R.E.M. a lot, though I don’t hear it.  But something about it makes it impossible for me to describe so I’ll go with it.  It’s like Nickelback + Green Day with awesomer guitars and a better vocalists.  No one is going to want to hear it after that comparison. – Pthestudp

90.  Cave In – Jupiter

In high school all one had to say was “Slayer” to get my attention.3 So when I heard about this band who equaled an addition of Radiohead + Slayer (even though I am pretty sure all I knew about Radiohead was that “Creep” song) I had to check it out.  I fucken loved Until Your Heart Stops, and couldn’t wait for their next album.  What I got next was a shit sandwich: it was obvious to me that Jupiter was a full-scale sellout.  Soaring falsetto vocals, ornate poppy melodies fit for arenas, this shit was an obvious attempt to get on MTV (and I do believe I was right, after this they signed to a major label).  Revisiting it years later I began to like it, and now; 10 years later I can appreciate what they were trying to do (it’s called making money.  I cannot appreciate it as much as I appreciate their metal albums though). – Songssuck

89.  Zion I – Mind Over Matter

Old school loops and beats, but totally off kilter, smooth but hiccupping and rapid fire. But frankly, at 21 songs and almost 75 minutes this is a bit too much of a good thing, even if most of it is catchy and funky.  – Dr. Anonymous

88.  Damien Jurado – Ghost of David *

Sometime in 2003 I burnt Android50 a bunch of cd-rs.  He reviewed a lot of them.  Here is what he had to say about Ghost of David: “The first time I listened to this CD I almost cried… literally.  It was a rainy afternoon, had a rough day at school, and stuck this in on the way home.  Not bad… sniffle sniffle… pretty good stuff… sniffle sniffle… You’re SO right Damien!  His lyrics are great; they tell a story yet they still have that emotional edge that is sometimes lost in the narrative song.”  That’s Android50’s ’03 take and to that I would add, “it’s pretty folky and there are some really good songs.”  — Songssuck

87.  Giant Sand – Chore of Enchantment

Convertino and Burns of Calexico fame join Howe Gelb for his 10th or so album as Giant Sand.  The desert always attracts a certain type of person, and that explains where this music comes from.  It will be interesting to see where Songssuck ranks this one with Calexico’s offering from this year, but for my money I’ll take Chore of Enchantment. Add even more drugs to Neil Young’s more deserty albums or Meat Puppets’ II and one can begin to put their ears around this one.  Like tequila, an aquired taste. – Suzy Creamcheese

86.  Six Organs of Admittance – Dust and Chimes

Sunny and druggy, ragga influenced, vocal chants coming from some hallucinogenic otherworlderness.  John Fahey, Robbie Basho and early Tyrannosaurus Rex are all good reference points.  Ben Chasny is an amazing guitarist who also plays with Comets on Fire.  Should check it out if you are a fan of the acoustic guitar. – Willie Rambo Strider

85.  Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker*

Android50 and Suzy Creamcheese are the Ryan Adams fans of the BDWPS writers and the only Whiskeytown I own is a cd-r he gave me.  But I’d say this is his most country album and is overrated in my opinion.  Having said that, it has two of my all time favorite songs on it: “To Be Young (is to be sad, is to be high)” and “Come Pick Me Up.”  I could talk shit on Ryan all day long (and used to) but it would be worthless when he is capable of writing two songs like that (in fact that is why I picked up this album, after finding out that song on the movie Old School was on this album).  I listened to “Come Pick Me Up” four times in a row first time I listened to this album and once more after the record was spinning. – Dr. Anonymous

84.  Eternal Elysium – Spiritualized D

Japanese doom band carrying the torch of earlier Japanese heavy psych bands, like Flower Travellin’ Band, Blues Creation, Speed Glue & Shinki, and Flied Egg.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.

83.  Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

Everyone who knows knows that YLT is one of my all time faves.  But I must say this album still throws me for a loop.  You see, this album is completely devoid (except for the excellent “Cherry Chapstick”) of distortion, noise and hard rocking anthems.  It is what I call their ‘wussy’ album.  I mean the songs are great, but they are all gentle lullabies.  We have heard songs like these before from these guys, but where is the diversity YLT are known for?  I realize that they were going for something else on this album, but it just doesn’t do it for me.  Still, a good album (and a critic’s favorite by the way), but I have a feeling it is one of the maybe three on this list my mother might like. – Songssuck

82.  Frogs – Racially Yours

Supposedly this album was finished in ’93, but no one would release it due to the controversial cover and lyrics.  If you are not familiar with the Frogs, they are two brothers from Milwaukee who had previously written It’s Only Right and Natural an album about being gay (by two straights).  Racially Yours is sung from different first person perspectives: a slave, a slave owner, a racist, a revolutionary minded black man, a slave trader, and other various characters.  The controversy over this album is overstated, it is an indictment of racism, anyone who cannot figure that out has their head way too far up their ass.  I understand if one thinks this album is too irreverent, offensive or absurd, but it is hard to actually listen and find it actually racist.  Whether this is insulting or thought provoking depends on one’s viewpoint.  The actual music is wonderful (although out of 25 songs there are some duds), real lo-fi, glammy, melodic, lush and fun.  The lyrics are not as funny as on past releases.  Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain, Kim Deal, and The Smashing Pumpkins are all bands I remember championing them back in the day.  – Dr. Anonymous

81.  Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun

How much you like this album will depend upon whether you like chaotic, spastic noise punk anthems Boredoms or cosmic hippie psychedelic trance Boredoms, Vision Creation Newsun being one of the latter.  Everyone choose sides. –Wille Rambo Strider

Boredoms?! Better than At the Drive-In “Relationship of Command”!? What a disgrace. – Android50


3 Some things never change.

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Eels “End Times”

Eels
“End Times”
(Vagrant Records)

Rating: 5.5

I couldn’t watch the Super Bowl tonight. I’d occasionally flip it on to check the score, but I couldn’t keep my attention focused on it for longer than five minutes. Being a life-long Viking fan, I couldn’t bring myself to sitting and watching the Saints win a game they didn’t even deserve to be in (Vikings had double the yards, and don’t tell me there wasn’t VooDoo at play in that game with six fumbles, two interceptions, and possibly the worst overtime officiating in NFL history).  After the devastating loss in the 1999 NFC Championship, I never thought I’d be so let down again by a Viking’s loss, but the late game meltdown knocked the optimism out of me once again, witnessing deja vu as another chance to get to the super bowl slipped away.

This is a beer label my friend and fellow Viking fan Justin LeSieur recently made in honor of the late game mismanagement of that tard Brad Childress.

In the same way, I never thought I’d see the Eel’s Mark Oliver Everett (best known as simply “E”) so depressed again, not after his 1998 album dedicated to the grieving process, “Electro-Shock Blues”.  His newest album “End Times” deals with the same feelings of desperation, this time focusing on his recent break-up with his girlfriend.  Unfortunately, this album fails in comparison to “Electro-Shock” for several reasons.  For one, the music seems bland, lacking the playfulness of E’s work from the late 90s.

Much of the album focuses around E and his acoustic guitar, strumming away, which is fine and dandy, but over the years I’ve come to expect the unexpected from E.  Most of the tunes stumble along in milk toast fashion. Yes, a break-up can deflate you, but does it have to deflate your creativity as well?  On “Electro-shock Blues”, E approached the concept of death in a way no one had done before.  He gave a creepy life to songs about cancer, hospital food, and funerals. You could still sense his misery within the upbeat tempos, making the lyrics even more jarring.

Even the lyrics on “End Times” lack the usual genius of E.  The majority of the songs are straight-forward and literal, containing little of the jarring imagery of his past work. It almost seems like he’s reading them straight out of his diary. There isn’t much that is going to catch you off guard; it’s just a sad album, nothing less, nothing more.

Only on a few songs are glimpses of E still present, including “I Need a Mother”. In the song, E dissects a one-sided relationship where he says, “I’ve been your daddy for too long. I need a little mothering once in a while.”  It plays as a modern version of Neil Young’s “A Man Needs a Maid”, discussing the simple fact that a man needs a woman who takes care of him “just once in a while”.  The song has a borderline Oedipus complex, yet it presents a view on relationships rarely touched upon.

“I Need a Mother” is followed by “Little Bird”, a total contradiction to the song prior (remember when the Eel’s songs about birds were happy?).  He jumps from “I need a lover, not someone like you” to “God damn, I miss that girl”.  While it’s okay to have songs that don’t follow an overall theme, it kind of lessens the value of the break-up concept album.  “Electro-Shock Blues” had a definite storyline, leading you from “my life is piss and shit” to E’s discovery that life goes on.  That moment of realization never comes on “End Times”; it’s doom and gloom through and through.

As I sit here typing, I can see the Saints celebrating out of the corner of my eye, a sight that makes the Taco Bell in my gut do flips.  With a six month wait until the next Viking’s season (possibly Favre-less), I could look at it from an “End Times” stand point and remain bitter about the way a once magical season ended. Instead, I’m going to take the “Electro-Shock Blues” approach and have hope for the future. As “P.S. You Rock My World” says so brilliantly, “maybe it’s time to live.”

If you are not familiar with this song, check it out below (probably one of my top 20 all-time favorite songs). To this day, it still gives me goosebumps:

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