A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Saturday, December 09, 2000

MY ALBUMS OF THE YEAR (2000) - A PARTIAL LIST

No 3: Radiohead "Kid A" - As much as I hate to include an album that also appears on R.S.'s list--this is by far the strangest release to hit a top position on 'the charts'. The boys from Oxford tried to get as weird as possible within their status as new pop darlings...the songs sound empty--like they just didn't bother to finish them...keyboard figures that roll along with no attempt to frame a song, vocals that are buried in the mix or completely unintelligible and almost no guitars..aside from Optimistic (the inevitable single 'cause it sounds most like 'old' Radiohead). Doubtless they lost a lot of supposed fans who dug O.K. Computer with their stubborn avant-garde-ness, but I say screw 'em if they can't take a joke. Radiohead have always grown in a new direction with each release and this one is no exception. If you want guitars, listen to Travis...if you want out-n-out experimentalism in a mainstream framework...this is your band. How to Disappear Completely is definitely among some of the best stuff they've ever done.

No. 4: Outkast "Stankonia" - I know, I know..yet another similarity to the dreaded Rolling Stone list..I cain't hep it, tho...this disc is sooo great...the production is amazing and Big Boi and Dre hit hard with their distinctive rhyming styles..smooth flow and funny-as-hell...I don't want to say this is their Revolver..'cause I hope they've got better things to come..but this is some sort of high-water mark (by the way, the 'high' is not a pun)...a classic THC record if I've ever heard one. The only shortcomings are that a lot of the guest rappers don't fit well with B.B. and Dre's flow--they tend to take away from their respective tracks rather than add a new dimension to them. Exceptions are B-Real (from Cypress Hill) and Erykah Badu's soulful singing (can't remember the track she's on at the moment). Some of the lyrics fall into the sexist category at times...but then they'll have a track like Ms. Jackson...where they're apologizing to a girl's mother for treating her daughter badly and vowing to help raise their child. That's a rare thing, unfortunately, in the gangsta/thug rock reality..and the track also works without resorting to sappy cliches. You should check this disc out if you dig quality hip-hop. Plus, I think it's Dre..has a whole Jimi Hendrix thing going on with his look...and the disc I bought has a super-groovy psychedelic cover (I think there's 2 different covers available....) which brings the message across even more.