Year 2000 musical offerings
not all bad
Cougar Entertainment Staff
The year 2000 had its share of ups and
Boy bands and teen pop princesses continued
to dominate the charts while lesser-known, but more talented, acts burst
onto the scene and appear to have staying power.
This was the year of the "thong," "who
let the dogs out" and 'NSync's "Bye, Bye, Bye."
So a group of The Daily Cougar editors
and writers decided to get together and give their thoughts on the best
albums of 2000:
Jake McKim, Entertainment co-editor
It was difficult for me to narrow my list
down to the top three CDs of the year, but after some careful thought,
the soulful throwback sounds of D'Angelo's Voodoo , the bluesy funk
of B.B. King and Eric Clapton's Riding with the King and the jaw-dropping,
soccer-mom-infuriating, highly skilled rhymes of Eminem's The Marshall
Mathers LP made the final cut.
D'Angelo's sophomore effort affirmed our
faith in good music that pays tribute to its elders. King and Clapton finally
showed us that it is possible for two guitar gods to collaborate and not
bash heads. Slim Shady's off-the-wall semantics and eyebrow-raising lyrics
captivated young hip-hop fans and proved that white boys can rap
(well, some of them, anyway).
Wyclef Jean's The Ecleftic, Boyz
II Men's NathanMichaelShawnWanya and -- no joke -- 'NSync's Bye,
Bye, Bye deserve honorable mention.
Ed De La Garza, Sports editor
Given that the music world is saturated
with boy bands and teeny-bopper acts, it becomes harder to find real gems.
But as long as Pearl Jam and Dwight Yoakam keep making music, the world
With Binaural, Pearl Jam created
the perfect mix of experimentation and straight rock 'n' roll. Gone are
the tendencies to drone on about protesting. The band grew up, as shown
on "Of the Girl," "Light Years" and "Sleight of Hand."
Although the band is still capable of turning
it up a notch ("Grievance" and "Breakerfall"), the slower numbers give
Eddie Vedder a chance to shine. The short and sweet "Soon Forget" finds
the singer accompanied only by a ukulele.
Yoakam made country marketable in the late
1980s. With Tomorrow's Sounds Today, Yoakam continues the fine tradition
of pop-savvy country mixed with just the right amount of rock. His cover
of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" does the unthinkable: It sounds
better than the original. Yoakam is the new George Jones, with a little
bit of Elvis Presley thrown in.
With Tool's lead singer Maynard James Keenan
providing vocals, A Perfect Circle burst on the scene with the hard-as-nails
"Judith." Heavy on religious imagery and progressive rock interludes, the
band's album Mer De Noms is a throwback to a time when hard rock
could be obnoxious and beautiful. The haunting "3 Libras" has a melody
that will stick with you for weeks.
Keenan Singleton, Daily Cougar music
They say video killed the radio star. But
in the world of rap/hip-hop, radio killed the musician.
The emergence of artists like Nelly and
Li'l Bow Wow and the continued dominance of chart-toppers Jay-Z and Eminem
have turned hip-hop from "Beats, Rhymes and Life" to "Weak, Crimes and
But two albums, Common's Like Water
For Chocolate and Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele, display
rap music at its best -- danceable, insightful and, most important, packed
with so many rhymes you'd want to slap Dr. Seuss.
About the only thing that isn't original
about Chicago native Common's Like Water for Chocolate is the title.
From live instrumentation to the underlying
messages of freedom and equality, Common's fourth album is like air --
it's a must-have for everyone.
Although the album's second single, "The
Light" became a major radio hit, Common did not forsake the album's dignity.
Tracks like poignant lead single, "The 6th Sense," or the willowy-light
guitar riff of the "The Questions" showcase that the artist formerly known
as Common Sense is no common rapper.
While he's not a friendly ghost like Casper,
Ghostface Killah did make one of the friendliest albums to listen to in
the year 2000.
Supreme Clientele, his first solo
offering since being released from prison, is another masterpiece from
the Wu-Tang dynasty.
From the brash, in-your-face horns on "Apollo
Kids" to the instant club hit "Cherchez la Ghost," Supreme Clientele
has a bevy of tracks to sample.
Ghostface's vivid descriptions of subjects
ranging from his first love to beating someone down and cleverly selected
samples make his sophomore solo effort splendid --not a slump.
Honorable mentions: The Ecleftic,
Wyclef Jean; Art Official Intelligence, De La Soul; Fantastic,
Vol. II, Slum Village; Stankonia, Outkast.
Jim Parsons, managing editor
It may seem odd that one of the best albums
of 2000 is a re-issue of songs recorded between 1990 and 1993. But Kelly
Willis' One More Time: The MCA Recordings isn't just another re-issue
-- it's a look at the musical near-miss of the 1990s.
Willis was expected to lead Nashville's
"alternative country" movement, but her recordings never sold enough to
satisfy the major labels. Only after her brilliant 1999 album What I
Deserve did MCA decide it would take credit for Willis' sophisticated
material, an effortless blend of classic country, rockabilly and western
swing. Enjoy the collection, but don't buy MCA's line that it was responsible
for Willis' success.
In a slightly different vein is Halfway
Between the Gutter and the Stars, the latest set from the British house-pop
sensation Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook). Although it's not as accessible
as his past work, Gutter and Stars gives Slim latitude to produce
a collection that's eclectic, savvy and just plain fun.
Every song isn't great, but the good ones
really rock, particularly the Bootsy Collins collaboration "Weapon of Choice"
and both tracks featuring Macy Gray.
Perhaps the best album of 2000 is Heartbreaker,
the solo debut from alt-country bad boy Ryan Adams. Adams, formerly the
frontman for the almost-good band Whiskeytown, has found his niche in a
range of styles from the jangly guitar rock of "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad,
Is to Be High)" to the haunting "Amy."
Adams' backup, which includes Gillian Welch
and a turn from Emmylou Harris, enhances the album's stripped-down Southern
rock undercurrent. Heartbreaker is not only an impressive offering,
but is a promise of things to come.
Brandon Moeller, editor in chief
Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around
to sampling the latest albums from Radiohead, Van Morrison, Erykah Badu
or Merle Haggard in their entirety, but I have heard three albums that
I think mark the best of Y2K.
Johnny Cash's American III: Solitary
Man is one of the best birthday presents I've ever given myself. Seriously,
from the opening cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" to Cash's version
of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger," the album is a solid piece of
work that clearly illustrates why Cash is one of the most respected artists
in country music. My other favorites from the album include "The Mercy
Seat," "Country Trash" and his cover of U2's "One."
On the jazz side, Houston's own Free Radicals
offer a delicious sample of freestyle grooves on its latest, Our Lady
of Eternal Sunny Delights.
There aren't many raps and jams on this
album; it's mostly great background music for studying. But if you've ever
seen a Free Radicals show, you know its live performance is so powerful
that the band's presence turns all heads wherever they play free shows
or benifits. Their adaptation of John Coltrane's "Mr. P C" is good enough
to warrant buying the 31-track album available through its Web site at
Despite coming out at the end of 1999,
The Roots' Come Alive live album was one of the best things I didn't
hear until 2000. The album features the hard-core lyrical masters of hip-hop
spurting out favorites like "The Next Movement," "Proceed" and "What You
Want," but the band's incredible energy can be felt more unrestrained in
a live album format.
The album also contains music and video
files that can be played on your PC.