PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 1999

Like 1998, 1999 was a tough year for compiling a “best of” list. Fact is, there were no absolute knock-outs, no dead-on number one picks, no era-defining or mind altering albums, precious few that soundtracked the Zeitgeist (Travis’ The Man Who being the exception in the UK). That said, there was an astounding array of really good records, but few if any came from the mainstream. While mainstream rock, pop and country continued to bore all but the most gullible listeners, innovative sounds were bubbling ferociously well below the Soundscan radar screen. You only have to look at the wealth of near masterpieces in the electronic music arena and coming out of the indie pop underground to realize that, despite that crap peddled in Rolling Stone, the Billboard charts, and the music superstores, you’re surrounded by literally tons of brilliant music. You’re just gonna have to look a lot further than your local Sam Goody or FM superstation.

Sarah Zupko, PopMatters Music Editor

OK, on to the picks for 1999 (two of us picked Beck as the best of the year, though your humble editor disagrees with that selection):