Sending Off the Decade: Best of 2000
Editor’s note: Because 2009 is the end cap of the decade, it seems fitting to look back at the music of the new millennium. Each month school is in session, Matt Poindexter will be writing about his top ten albums of a year in the 00’s, starting with 2000 in January, and culminating with a best of 2009 post at the end of school in December. Enjoy.
Also: check back before Monday for details of the insane/amazing night Vinyl Records with the CD Release Party at Local 506!
TOP 10 ALBUMS: 2000
- Radiohead – Kid A
How do you follow up a record like OK Computer? You reinvent yourself by putting down the guitars, and making record that sounds like Kraftwerk, Mingus, and Samuel Barber went into the studio together. Favorite song: “The National Anthem”
- Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica
As the first Modest Mouse record for a major label, The Moon & Antarctica combines the raw sound and subject matter from earlier records with the pop feel that made Modest Mouse stars later on. Favorite song: “Gravity Rides Everything”
- Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump
What does a lo-fi album about the problems of technology sound like? In this case, haunting. I fell in love with the album one summer in the Bay Area, listening to songs about depressed androids and trapped miners while I rode subway cars late at night with no one to talk to. This band is America’s answer to Radiohead, and they were just as good. Favorite song: “Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)”
- The Weakerthans – Left & Leaving
A record that somehow captures what it is like to be a sad 16 year old in the middle of nowhere, and a happy 21 year old college student that doesn’t want to graduate. That’s a hard one to pull off, but John K. Samson does. Favorite song: “Aside”
- At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command
When this record came out, I remember watching the video for “One Armed Scissor” on MTV (when they still played music videos). At the Drive-In were the next big thing: Carson Daly or someone with clout called them the next Nirvana. The band broke up after this album and never became Nirvana (which we’re all better off for), but they did make one of the best post-hardcore albums ever. Too bad Sparta and The Mars Volta were so terrible. Favorite song: “Sleepwalk Capsules”
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven
Why do I like this album so much? Because in the very beginning of the second half, when the old man is telling the story about being at Coney Island, getting lost, and sleeping on the beach, you go through the full range of emotions until you feel a terrible lump in your stomach. You know how Cormac McCarthey’s book The Road made you weep like a little baby? That is how LYSFlAtH will make you. Favorite ‘song’: “Sleep”
- The Microphones – It was Hot, We Stayed in the Water
I’ve got a thing for music that sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track in a bedroom, but done in a way no one has ever thought of before. This is one of the first records that made me think, “Yeah, I have a cheap guitar and microphone, I can make something great!” (even though I couldn’t). This record deserves to be on any year 2000 list just because it has the first incarnation of “The Glow” – a song that Microphones head guy Phil Elvrum brought back again and again in the following years. This album is where the Elvrum mystique really took off. Favorite song: “The Glow”
- A Silver Mt. Zion – He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corners of our Rooms
When does an album that features many near-instrumental songs longer than 7 minutes feel accessible? When the same people who are in Godspeed You! Black Emperor make it. ‘HHLUAbSoLSGtCooR’ – an album made after Efrim Menuck’s dog Wanda died of cancer, isn’t as scary as the other Menuck album from 2000, but equally emotionally resonant. Favorite song: “13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed”
- Various Artists – O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Simply put, without this soundtrack, I wouldn’t have gotten into folk and old-time music. I owe the Coen Brothers and T-Bone Burnett a big one. Favorite song: “I’ll Fly Away” as performed by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
- Cat Power – The Covers Record
People might not have seen it at the time, but this record was the first clue we could have had that Chan Marshall wasn’t just an indie rocker. Songs sources include the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and traditional folk tunes. Now thanks to Juno, everyone has heard “Sea of Love,” one of the best tracks here. Take the girl + guitar formula of her earliest work and put it over the inspirations for her album The Greatest and you have this gem. Favorite song: “Salty Dog”