Music is a vital part of the Temple News. Though one staffer’s plan to issue “Best of the Temple News” compilation CDs remains unrealized (fyi, they would have included many a Wesley Willis song), we felt the need to collect the best albums of the year 2000, as interpreted by select members of the Temple News staff. Use these lists as an aid for your holiday shopping either for others or yourself (because you deserve the very finest).
Omar Branch’s Top 10 Rap Albums of 2000
10) Capone-N-Noreaga, The Reunion (Tommy Boy): There’s nothing like unique chemistry between two rappers. CNN storms back with their signature thugged beats and lyrics.
9) Jay-Z, Roc La Familia (Rocafella/Def Jam): Point blank. He’s clearly hip-hop’s most influential MC.
8) Busta Rhymes, Anarchy (Elektra): Hip-hop’s most colorful MC gets better and better as his career progresses.
7) M.O.P., Warriorz (SonyMusic/Loud): This hardcore group has always been loyal to the underground. Now the mainstream is finally starting to take notice.
6) Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek Reflection, Eternal (Rawkus/Priority): Stepped out of Mos Def’s shadow and formulated a spiritual, political and socially conscious LP.
5) OutKast, Stankonia (Laface/Arista): Simplicity is not one of their strong points. The most creative and original group in rap today.
4) Common, Like Water For Chocolate (RCA): Finally striking gold, Common establishes himself as one of the top lyricists.
3) Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Aftermath/Universal): Forget about his skin color. This guy can flat out rap.
2) Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele (Razor Sharp/Epic): A masterpiece. The only Wu member who didn’t suffer from a lackluster second solo LP.
1) Big L, The Big Picture (Rawkus/Priority): An up-and-coming premier lyricist whose life was cut short too soon.
Frank William Johnson’s Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2000
10) Eric Alexander, Alexander The Great (HighNote): This years most featured saxophonist takes time to deliver an exciting set that easily keeps the listener tuned to his soulful and engaging sound.
9) Ruby Braff, In the Wee Small Hours (Arbors): Bright interpretation of standards from a master trumpeter with string accompaniment.
8) Beatle Jazz, A Bite of the Apple (Zebra): Exciting jazz interpretations of Lennon-McCartney.
7) Dee Dee Bridgewater, Live at Yoshi’s (Verve): Grammy award winning vocalist continues to keep the tradition of jazz vocalizing fresh.
6) Eugene Maslov, The Face of Love (Mack Avenue): Stix Hooper production puts Soul into the Russian pianist’s groove. Also features Shirley Horn and Toots Thielemans.
5) Gregory Tardy, The Hidden Light (J-Curve): Saxman’s best recording to date. Rhythm section keeps it flowing. Nice ballads too.
4) Anton Schwartz, The Slow Lane (Anton Jazz): Relatively unknown saxman gives well-produced, sexy interpretations of mostly standards.
3) Gene Harris, Alley Cats (Concord): Harris’ last recording before his untimely death and one of his best. Also features nice vocals from daughter Nikki.
2) The Jazz Tribe, The Next Step (Red): Saxophonist Bobby Watson with Latin flavor… delicioso!
1) Russell Malone, Look Who’s Here (Verve): Jazz guitar at it’s best with innovative arrangements including the theme from The Odd Couple.
Neal Ramirez’s Top 10 (mostly) Indie Albums of 2000
10) Papas Fritas, Buildings and Grounds (Minty Fresh): “Mystery is the only attraction/Have you heard the sounds and the reactions/Take me on with perfect harmony”
9) The Clocks, The Saint, The Sinner, The Virgin, & The Dynamo (Track Star): “It’s been an interesting year/All your friends all ran for cover”
8) Persons, The Lainmeyers are Persons (Blackbean and Placenta): “When I listen to my Talking Heads record/It don’t remind me of you/No, not at all”
7) Lois Maffeo & Brendan Canty, The Union Themes (Kill Rock Stars): “If I only had a bit more nerve/ I’d give you just what you deserve”
6) The Mountain Goats, The Coroner’s Gambit (Absolutely Kosher): “Blood will run through the streets of Rome today/And roll across the ocean”
5) The Aislers, Set The Last Match (Slumberland): “I found where my fate lies/wrapped up like a small novella/contained by a hundred pictures all of you”
4) Masters of the Hemisphere, I Am Not A Freemdoom (Kindercore): “All I ever wanted was a rich understanding of love”
3) Barcelona Zero, One Infinity (March): “My parent’s think my robot’s trouble”
2) Mojave, 3 Excuses for Travellers (Beggars Banquet): “You read some books and they broke your heart/But you don’t know one thing about life/You’re just a pretty boy”
1) Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol): “Take the money/Run/Take the money and run”
John Vettese’s Top 10 Modern Rock/Metal/Hip-Hop/Singer-Songwriter Albums of Y2K
10) Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Interscope): Sadistic, misogynistic, and homophobic…but ultimately hilarious if you can take Em with a huge grain of salt.
9) A Perfect Circle, Mer De Noms (Virgin): A moving album that conjures up rage, sorrow, and every emotion in between.
8) De La Soul, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (Tommy Boy): Through its impressive 17 cuts of fun, fantastic hip-hop, De La shows they can still deliver the goods.
7) Joseph Arthur, Come To Where I’m From (Realworld): The sophomore album from this Tom Waits-esque singer-songwriter is so maniacally moody and emotionally driven that you feel drained by the end.
6) R.L. Burnside, Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (Fat Possum): Trip-hop beats with low-down blues: an innovative move that pays off to no end.
5) Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol): More of an impressionist painting than an actual album…but still a brilliant listening experience.
4) The Cure, Bloodflowers (Elektra): Please please please, Robert Smith…this album is wonderful, it’s one of your band’s best. For the love of god, quit while you’re ahead!
3) Deftones, White Pony (Maverick): Props to these guys for their outright refusal to get pinholed into the stagnant rap-metal genre and sonically branching off into a whole new direction.
2) Dirty Three, Whatever You Love, You Are (Touch N’ Go): Lush instrumental soundscapes that flow together into a giant opus…all with just drums, bass, and violin.
1) PJ Harvey, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (Island): YES! Polly Jean DOES remember how to rock!!
Maureen Walsh’s Top 10 Pop Albums of 2000
10) Kylie Minogue, Light Years (EMI): Bubblegum pop with intelligence (and collaborations with Robbie Williams to boot).
9) David Gray, White Ladder (ATCO/BMG): An intimate and bittersweet work.
8) Josh Rouse, Home (Slow River/Ryko): Matthew Sweet meets Tom Petty.
7) Supreme Beings of Leisure, Supreme Beings of Leisure (Palm Pictures/Ryko): Definitely the most promising act of 2000. Synth-y lounge with a twist of pop.
6) Madonna, Music (Maverick/TimeWarner): Her best album since Like a Prayer.
5) Various Artists, Kiss Clublife Summer 2000 (Universal TV): An UK import double-CD of Euro-dance favorites of the year; it’s mixed to satisfy.
4) Oasis, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (Big Brother/Epic): Not their best work but proof that Noel Gallagher can still write quite the catchy tune.
3) Little Louis Vega/Erick Morillo, House Nation America (Ultra): Two of the best DJs in the country with two incredibly tight sets.
2) Robbie Williams, Sing When You’re Winning (Virgin): Further proof that the boy’s a born star!
1) Fatboy Slim, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars (Astralwerks): Breathtaking, brilliant dance music. An absolute classic.