PopMatters Picks:

The Best Music of 2000

By PopMatters Staff

18 December 2000

1. Coldplay, Parachutes (Nettwerk America)I was all set to dislike this band as I spent this summer in London being inundated with endless pre-release Coldplay

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Best new albums Michael Wolff, Impure Thoughts (Indianola Music Group)Pianist Wolff holds African tribal, funk, Indian drone, jazz and even a bit of the

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1. Rancid, Rancid (Hellcat)The first couple of listens are misleading. It sounds as though Rancid has abandoned the quest for irresistible hardcare hooks that made

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1. Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (Matador)So this has to be their masterpiece. A longtime coming, but what buildup. A

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1. Richard Ashcroft, Alone with Everybody (Virgin)Ashcroft’s work with The Verve solidified him as the single best songwriter of the 1990s; Alone with Everybody

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As a staunch defender of mainstream pop, the year 2000 wasn’t a great year for music. It’s almost as if all the big names

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For a music whore like myself, even a good album can be a little like a one night stand. There’s that lovely moment of

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1. Richard Ashcroft, Alone with Everybody (Virgin)Most of Aschroft’s solo album functions as a morose lullaby, meaning that this is the kind of record

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(in alphabetical order) 1. DJ Assault, Off the Chain for the Y2K (Intuit-Solar Recordings)I haven’t even heard this double album, but the man’

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1. Slaid Cleaves, Broke Down (Rounder)A singer-songwriter with a folkie flair for the story song and simple, memorable tunes. A stunning album, full of the

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1. Primal Scream, Exterminator [XTRMNTR] (Astralwerks)Writing in another venue back in February, I went out on a limb and claimed that Primal Scream had already

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1. No Doubt, Return of Saturn (Interscope)Who would have thought that songs about the desire for marriage and family could be so exciting? With equal

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1. Outkast, Stankonia (LaFace/Arista)Imagine if Sun Ra collaborated with 2 Live Crew or if Afrika Bambaataa and Chuck D had a threesome with Pauly Shore,

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In stores? Not likely. Record stores are getting weaker all the time while the Internet becomes more powerful all the time in digging up the

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Rather than present another “top ten” list of only music releases, I decided to throw in a few notable events as well. Music doesn’t

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1. Kevin Gilbert, The Shaming of the TrueMusical wunderkind dies mysteriously at the age of 29. His tapes are pored over and something closely resembling the album

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1. Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (Twisted Nerve/XL)Admittedly, a chaotic hodgepodge — but a rousing, thoroughly enjoyable one. From beginning to end, and

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1. Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol)Ignore the critics who call this too challenging, too out there. Anyone who’s ever listened to ambient, free jazz or

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1. Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (Twisted Nerve/XL/Beggars Banquet)While 2000 will not likely be remembered as a great year for music overall,

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1. Transatlantic, SMPTe ((Metal Blade/Radiant)Quite simply the best kept secret this year. A prog/rock project featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), keyboardist Neal

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1. Jennyanykind, I Need You (Yep Roc)Band on the Run was recorded on an 8-track machine in a swamp in Nigeria. Jennyanykind’s I Need

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This is the first year in several that I have heard enough good new music to make it worth worth creating a top five or

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To me, there’s no such thing as an objective “best”. Still, here’s what I liked most in 2000 1. Sigur Rós, Agæ

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My phone never rings. On the rare occasion, I make sure to grumble with a guttural: “yeah.” I want the caller to think that I’

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1. Q and Not U, No Kill No Beep Beep (Dischord)Born and bread in Washington DC and proof that rock music can be both inventive

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It was almost impossible to narrow this list to 10 recordings. My sincere congratulations to all of the artists listed here. The recognition is truly deserved.

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Best Hip-hop Albums of 2000 Hip-hop endures. Whatever the hubbub, hip-hop simultaneously accommodates and alters the cultural landscape. While superstars appear on magazine covers and TV

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1. Song: “Light Rain” by Geoff Muldaur, from Password (Hightone)The sexiest voice. Additionally, the best sustained use of steel brush on cymbals. “Light Rain” will

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The end of the year is the hardest time in a critic’s job because that means they have to agonize over each and every

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