Lifes Rich Pageant
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
"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 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.
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
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
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
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.
Yo La Tengo
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."
(Elektra Nonesuch, 1989)
The finest example of hardcore-avantgarde-lounge-New Orleans-cartoon soundtrack-thrash jazz to date.
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Now Hear This, The First Part.
last updated: 1/25/2002