now hear this


Here's the second part.
lifes rich pageant

R.E.M.

Lifes Rich Pageant

(I.R.S., 1986)

I came to R.E.M. late, long after they had hit the mainstream, but better late than never. This collection of odd pop songs, with Michael Stipe's off-kilter melodies, stood out from the rest.

a decade of steely dan

Steely Dan

A Decade of Steely Dan

(MCA,1985)

"Five names that I could hardly stand to hear / Including yours and mine and one more chick who isn't here" -- isn't that reason enough?

on the mouth

Superchunk

On the Mouth

(Matador, 1992)

Superchunk has been accused -- rightly -- of releasing the same album over and over. But Mac McCaughan's whining vocals and their hyperkinetic, pogo-inducing, frenzied goofball punk ballads are all over this record in glorious excess.

girlfriend

Matthew Sweet

Girlfriend

(Zoo, 1990)

Sounding like an even more hurt Neil Young, Matthew Sweet writes the catchiest songs of self-pity, bitterness and longing you'll ever hear.

remain in light

Talking Heads

Remain in Light

(Sire, 1980)

Limber, creepy funk jams and David Byrne's relentless paranoia helped make this their best album ever. "All I want is to breathe," says Byrne. "Won't you breathe with me?"

in my tribe

10,000 Maniacs

In My Tribe

(Elektra, 1987)

The music world will not see anything like this for a long time: eccentric narratives about being lost in America, captured by Natalie Merchant's gorgeous, lilting voice.

the unforgettable fire

U2

The Unforgettable Fire

(Island, 1984)

Awash in guitar-laden psychedelia from the Edge and soaring vocals from Bono, U2 at its most enigmatic and lyrical. The terrible thing is that they will never make anything like this again.

fakebook

Yo La Tengo

Fakebook

(Bar/None, 1990)

Another difficult pick: why choose an album of nothing but cover versions? Why miss out on the band's early folk-rock and later guitar-and-organ freakouts? Yo La Tengo, certainly the finest band in America today, dug into their record collection and found sixteen shining gems. Drummer Georgia Hubley's voice has never been so beautiful as on "What Comes Next."

naked city

John Zorn

Naked City

(Elektra Nonesuch, 1989)

The finest example of hardcore-avantgarde-lounge-New Orleans-cartoon soundtrack-thrash jazz to date.

All album art is the property of the respective artists.


Runners-Up




The best albums I heard in 1996:



And the best albums I heard in 1997:


The best albums I heard in 1998:


And the best albums I heard in 1999:

The best albums I heard in 2000:

The best albums I heard in 2001:

The best albums I heard in 2002:


Now Hear This, The First Part.

last updated: 1/25/2002




since June 26, 1997.
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