Lists And Mixes

A Retrospective Top 15: Best Albums Of 2000

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I’ve decided to create an installment in which I do a recap of my favorite albums of the past ten years now that we’re coming up on the turn-of-decade – yes, 2010 is upon us. They key: I do them one at a time. I figure contemplating the weight of albums that have been instituted in my library for the better part (or even just half) of a decade would warrant a skewed opinion when comparing them to those released just this month. And, as these things are all truly opinion-based, well I just couldn’t have that.

(Besides, an appreciator such as myself would have an even larger and more time consuming task ahead of them were they to go through the thousands of albums that have been released, listened to, loved, etc. over the past ten years. No, much easier to split it year by year. And yes, when available for public consumption, I’ll include an mp3 for your enjoyment.)

These are the albums that stick with you – or at least the ones that have stuck with me; they have longevity. They’re ones I’ll listen to for decades to come. We begin with my freshman year of college, 2000. Well, second half of my freshman year, that is. That being said, I would love for this to be a friendly dialog. So please feel free to chime in with some of your favorites as well…

Here we go: my top 15 albums of 2000…

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Fevers & Mirrors by Bright Eyes

15. Fevers & Mirrors by Bright Eyes
Odd as it may seem here, Bright EyesFevers & Mirrors was a favorite of mine around 2000 and 2001. Songs like “The Calendar Hung Itself” and “When the Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass” just fit with my persona at the time. I was a sad bastard back then, but I’ve outgrown that phase. Still, every so often I revisit those albums of old and it still astonishes me that I can feel good while listening to them. Fevers & Mirrors is one such album.

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Crooked Fingers Self Titled LP

14. Crooked Fingers by Crooked Fingers
Like Fevers & Mirrors, Crooked Fingers‘ self-titled LP had me in its grip for a long time. “A New Drink For An Old Drunk” was a perfect song back then, and in various scenarios today it works just as well. And who could forget “She Spread Her Legs & Flew Away”, or “Juliette”, or even “The Man Who Died Of Nothing At All”? Crooked Fingers was a difficult one for Eric Bachman to top; he didn’t until last year’s Forfeit/Fortune.

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Delgados: The Great Eastern

13. The Great Eastern by The Delgados
I don’t think I started listening to The Delgados until sometime around 2004, possibly even 2005. And while my initial love was Hate, eventually the power of The Great Eastern took hold. Sure, specific tracks on Hate may stand out more than some on this record (“All I Need Is Hate”, for example), but as a whole I think The Great Eastern is more consistently good.

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

12. Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Containing only four songs, only one of which was under 20 minutes (“Antennas To Heaven” came in at just under 19, far from brevity), Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven is all about building up to those epic climaxes and throwing out spacey shoegaze-like drones while maintaining that almost classical music approach signature to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. To say this album is breathtaking would be an understatement. I’ll probably kick myself later for not putting it in the top 10.

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The Lioness by Songs: Ohia

11. The Lioness by Songs: Ohia
The Lioness remains one of my all-time favorite releases by Jason Molina, no matter which moniker he may be using at the time of release. The only LP truly capable of exceeding its greatness is Trials & Errors (2004) by Magnolia Electric Co. Molina excels, especially under the guise of Songs: Ohia, at creating minimalistic country-folk tunes that on The Lioness dabbles lightly in a bit fuller sound.

‘The Lioness’ by Songs: Ohia

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Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse

10. Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse
Like many albums in this list, Moon & Antarctica remains a favorite of mine from the Modest Mouse catalog. It was around this time I really began expanding my music horizons and Modest Mouse was a band that helped push me down this path. Tunes like “I Came As A Rat”, “Gravity Rides Everything”, and “Dark Center Of The Universe” all carried me toward this true obsession with music, from which I doubt I’ll ever return.

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He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms by A Silver Mt Zion

9. He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms by A Silver Mt. Zion
A Silver Mt. Zion snared me in its trap – looking for some great study music but not willing to seek out the limited classical music of my parents and their parents (and not knowing the immense modern artists who were more than worthy), I ended up landing on A Silver Mt. Zion. And while it wasn’t always instrumental, at the right volume it worked perfectly. Only later did I come to truly fall in love with this album, as well as their brethren, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

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Ugly But Honest by Carissa's Wierd

8. Ugly But Honest by Carissa’s Wierd
I discovered Carissa’s Wierd from a magazine. It was a fairly random encounter, actually, but it led to an obsession like no other. I ultimately downloaded everything I could find from the band. Eventually, I would collect every album of theirs I could find – all in physical form, of course. To this day, the only item that eludes me is a rare 7″ single containing a remix or two; I even snagged a copy of that rare Scrapbook disc. I still find songs like “Drunk With The Only Saints I Know” and “Fluorescent Lights” to be among the most moving and personal songs around.

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microphones-it_was_hot_we_stayed_in_the_water

7. It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water by Microphones
The great thing about A Retrospective is that it allows me to list all those albums that truly should have made my ‘best of’ list back in 2000. (Had I created one at the time, it is highly unlikely It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water by The Microphones would have made it on the list. It was just a little beyond my temperament at the time.) But these days, I cannot get enough of practically everything Phil Elverum does, this album included. That being said, as soon as I can muster the cash, I’m gonna snag one of those “Books 6 & 7” copies by Mount Eerie from Easy Street Records. Damn.

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Live by Built To Spill

6. Live by Built To Spill
A collection of some of Built To Spill‘s best tracks recorded prior to 2000, from the astonishing Perfect From Now On (1997) to selections from Keep It Like A Secret (1999). It also includes an epic 20-minute rendition of Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer” and one of the best lyrical songs of the 90s: “Car”.

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Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons by Blonde Redhead

5. Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons by Blonde Redhead
This is really a no-brainer. Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons has always been an album to look up to since its release in 2000. With songs so different – I mean, just listen to “In Particular” stacked up next to “This Is Not” and jump back to “Hated Because Of Great Qualities” – it’s amazing they go so well together. Then again, that’s something of which Blonde Redhead has always excelled: putting together exceptional tracklists.

‘This Is Not’ by Blonde Redhead

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Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant by Belle & Sebastian

4. Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant by Belle & Sebastian
I could say that Tigermilk was my first true love when it comes to Belle & Sebastian, but I’d be lying. No, it was actually Fold Your Hands opening track “I Fought In A War” that sold me on this band. Afterwards, songs like “The Model” and “Don’t Leave The Light On Baby” dominated my playlist, even through the release of The Life Pursuit and beyond.

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Designing A Nervous Breakdown by The Anniversary

3. Designing A Nervous Breakdown by The Anniversary
I can name few albums that have not only stuck with me through the years, but that also so heavily influenced my love for pop music. Designing A Nervous Breakdown by The Anniversary is absolutely such an album. The male/female vocals of Adrianne Verhoeven, Josh Berwanger, and Justin Roelofs were perfection back then. And songs like “The D In Detroit” and “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” continue to wow me today.

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We Have The Facts by Death Cab For Cutie

2. We Have The Facts & We’re Voting Yes by Death Cab For Cutie
By far, We Have The Facts continues to dominate as my all-time favorite Death Cab For Cutie album. The lackluster way Gibbard sings about driving down the “405” and the contemplations on friends and girlfriends reminds me of my college days and, later, grad school; it was the perfect accompaniment as I made my way out to Pullman from Portland, driving through the Palouse doing 75 in my Volvo wagon and watching the moon crest orange over hills at 1am. Yeah, even songs like “Scientist Studies” and “The Employment Pages” ring true today. Calm beauty seeps through every single moment of this album.

‘For What Reason’ by Death Cab For Cutie

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Radiohead: Kid A

1. Kid A by Radiohead
I mean c’mon! How could you not place this as your favorite album of 2000? It was Radiohead‘s follow-up to the amazing OK Computer and was really their first foray into a sound much more experimental than they had previously tampered with. “Idioteque”; the song remains to this day one of my all-time favorites by Radiohead. The tracklist is flawless – a feat they hadn’t achieved before, and wouldn’t again until In Rainbows.

4 thoughts on “A Retrospective Top 15: Best Albums Of 2000

  1. This is an excellent list. I love all of these albums except the Carrisa’s Weird and that may be becuase I haven’t heard it. For real, Fense, we are definatley on the same musical page. I remember going to see Grandaddy and this band I never heard of, Bright Eyes, just totally blew my mind. Who was this kid that sang so violently that he almost fell out his chair. Also it was the very first Polyphonic Spree show.

    Also, about a year ago I got obsessed with that Delgados Album. Especially that first song. Good Lord I love that song.

    1. Thanks Ben! I totally agree. It’s fun to revisit these albums on occasion – last night I was at Easy Street in Seattle and they put on Cursive’s ‘Ugly Organ’ and I had totally forgotten how great an album it was. Working on the 2001 list for this Friday right now…

  2. Kid A is hands down the most important album of the decade. 10 years later and no one has come close to the breadth and depth they produced, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if no one did in another 10 years. It’s too cogent, too understanding of post-modern music (let alone the human condition) in the 21st Century, that there hasn’t been a single band (artist? writer? director?) that has breathed that rarefied air. Not that I got me nose up their arses, but this fucker is truly timeless (in a very scary way).

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