Tuesday, June 29, 2010

That Wonderful Year in Music... 2000

When I was growing up, the year 2000 was subconciously associated with the future and all that it entailed: progress, maturity, technology, uncertainty. This especially makes it hard to fathom that such a mystical year was a whole decade ago. I think it's fair to say that all the space-age sturm und drang that science fiction writers first envisioned in the mid-20th century is not going to happen --especially if said story took place in the first decade of the millennium, like so many did-- yet the myriad technological advances of the past decade are a blunt reminder that perhaps the future is now and that we undoubtly control our own destiny.

On a personal level, 2000 was my first full year as a high school disk jockey. Where my peers were playing bubblegum pop, unintelligible death metal, or "hits" from bands on the local scene, I ensconced myself into a classic rock comfort zone. If the song was recorded somewhere between 1966 and 1981, more likely than not I played it. Though current musical trends didn't interest me at the time, most of the artists mentioned below were in my peripheral and received regular airplay at the station. Like my 1999 list, I didn't discover most of these acts until after high school, when I finally tired of mimicking '70s AOR and searched for a new challenge.

1. Kid A, Radiohead. When you think about it, Radiohead had no right to record three straight masterpiece albums. They already proved their mettle on The Bends and OK Computer, so where would they go from there? Maybe Kid A succeeds because it moves in the opposite direction of its two predecessors. Upon first listen it's hard to pin down a distinct musical shape or hook; on top of that, there's no obvious single and the newfound electronic swirls are especially cold and detached. After the second and third listens the mystique dissipates, and you slowly realize that this difficult and alienating disc is a statement, a genius effort to say the least.
2. The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem. It would be pretty hard to paint Eminem as a sympathetic character if he weren't such a talented musician (or was, anyway). The Mathers persona would be ungainly in less delicate hands; why would anyone bother to listen to a tempermental, wifebeating homophobe? Where most of the mainstream rap scene was regressing towards insipid songs about bling and booty, Enimem kept it real in the most visceral and outrageous manner possible. Paired with mentor Dr. Dre and a small army of special guest stars, Marshall Mathers spotlights a gifted artist at a creative peak he couldn't possibly match or eclipse.
3. Veni Vidi Vicious, The Hives. Not released in the US until 2002, this sophomore effort launched the short-lived "Swedish invasion" as well as the garage rock/DIY revival that is still simmering to this day. I fell in love with "Hate To Say I Told You" the first time I heard the song, and I was floored that the album from which the song was culled was just as raucous and energetic. At their best, Vicious is like early-period Kinks, only without the tact.
4. Since I Left You, The Avalanches
5. Mass Romantic, The New Pornographers
6. Stankonia, OutKast
7. White Pony, Deftones
8. All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2
9. Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, PJ Harvey
10. Parachutes, Coldplay. Though I listed three debut albums in this top ten (see #4 and #5), you can't deny Coldplay had the widest-reaching impact of the three rookies. Initially written off as imitators of fellow British piano-rockers Travis, the success and critical acclaim of Parachutes and its four follow-up studio albums made people forget Travis even existed. "Yellow" was the ace-in-the-hole hit, though "Trouble" and "Shiver" are fine songs in their own right.

Honorable Mentions: Figure 8, Elliot Smith; The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse; Furnace Room Lullaby, Neko Case & Her Boyfriends; Rated R, Queens of the Stone Age; Lost Souls, Doves.


"Pardon Me," Incubus
"Teenage Dirtbag," Wheatus
"Little Black Backpack," Stroke 9
"One-Armed Scissor," At The Drive-In
"Testify," Rage Against The Machine
"Outside," Aaron Lewis and Fred Durst
"Babylon," David Gray
"I'm Like a Bird," Nelly Furtado
"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," The Jayhawks
"Bohemian Like You," The Dandy Warhols


1. "Since I Left You," The Avalanches. This could be best described as whimsical juxtaposition; though the idea of a lumbering, breakdancing coal miner is surreal, the video has a lot of heart.
2. "Stan," Enimem feat. Dido. The most haunting song from The Marshall Mathers
is fleshed out with film noir finesse.
3. "Sexx Laws," Beck. Silly for the sake of being silly, this raunchy clip is loaded with wacky sight gags and double entendres. Plus, check out the Tenacious D cameo.
4. "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," D'Angelo. The R&B star goes full-frontal in
arguably one of the sexiest clips in recent memory. (Warning: NSFW)
5. "Yellow," Coldplay. Elegantly shot in slow motion, the quartet's breakout hit finds frontman Chris Martin wandering the beach, collecting his thoughts.

Your thoughts?


  1. O_o <--- me. 2000 was lost on me forever. I was alive and my FM dial & radio was on, yet nothing registered or what memorable at all. New music was boring, bland, all sounded the same and was of no interest or anything original sounding. 1999 was bad, but 2000 sealed the deal that I was too old to understand current trends. I remember vivid memories of WLUP-FM still celebrating hourly "The Wall" 30 years later. FM radio sounded like noise pollution, even in my 22-year old ears. It was not a good time. Your blog draws blank stares from me.

  2. Good choices. I remember being completely blown away by Kid A.