Now the question "Do You Remember 1999?" might seem a little insulting to some, but rest assured I am not intending to insult your memory. I know it was only 10 years ago. But without looking up specific release dates, I wouldn't know that many of these "happened" in 1999. Part of that is a weird phenomena, amongst myself, where I don't remember the years I lived through as well as the years I've read about--and I really don't remember the "adult" years like I do my teens.
1999 is a blur. All I really remember is the disappointment when Y2K hit and nothing happened. The banking system eventually nearly blew up, but it wasn't because of a couple of computer clocks going wonky.
You could easily convince me that many of these albums happened a year or two before or after their actual release dates.
They're not my 25 faves of the year or anything, but 25 that represent a skewered look at what was going on.
Be sure to list your faves. But double check those release dates. You might be surprised.
Dr. Dre--2001: Who doesn't love a man who titles his album just far enough in the future that when you find it in the store two years later, you think you've stumbled upon something brand new?
24) Buckcherry--Buckcherry:I think these guys were supposed to save rock n' roll. Did they?Metallica--S&M: It's always a questionable sign when hard and heavy bands decide they need to throw some classical weight behind them. It made me question Procol Harum and it makes me wonder about that Ray Davies fella as well.
22) Moby--Play: During the indie-rock 80s and 90s, selling your tunes to commercials was a definite no-no. These days it's a no-brainer. Thankfully, I can't remember a single thing these tunes were used to sell and they were used to sell a lot of things. It's like my brain just skips commercials on impact.Rage Against The Machine--The Battle Of Los Angeles: Last I checked Los Angeles wasn't a declared war zone. The city has great weather and at least six people we'd need to save it if came under attack. Maybe even seven or eight. (OK, we'll let one of you save your MOM). Rage Against the Machine sing real loud and Bruce Springsteen likes that Tom Morello guy. Later members went on to be Audioslave, which sounds like it should be against the law.
20) The Roots--Things Fall Apart: Before they became the house band for Jimmy Fallon, giving his guests a chance to say "Let's give it up for the Roots" when fumbling between questions, the Roots were inspired by a Chinua Achebe novel that I had to read in college. I think I did.Fiona Apple--When The Pawn...: Apple named this album something so long that I would put money down that even she can't remember the whole title. Surely, she has a few fans who can. But fans are often deranged.
18) Wilco--Summerteeth: Wilco's recorded a whole slew of albums that I've listened to, thought were ok and then completely forgot about. Not on purpose. I must've filed them under "Amnesia Rock." Other people really like them.Tom Waits--Mule Variations: Tom Waits sounds like no one else. But would you encourage your child to sound like Tom Waits? I wouldn't want to pay for the eventual throat surgeries.
16) Bonnie "Prince" Billy--I See A Darkness: Will Oldham, the man of a million names, does for the vision industry what he's long done for the hearing industry.Sleep--Jerusalem: For some people, 52 minutes would be a very long album. For these folks, it's a long song.
14) Alanis Morissette--Unplugged: Shouldn't everyone record an "Unplugged" album while they can?Nine Inch Nails--The Fragile: Trent Reznor is one of the few people who likes to make music that most people aren't going to like and therefore makes it more interesting than most. I still can't hum his tunes. There are tunes, right? I like the sound of destruction.
12) Sleater-Kinney--The Hot Rock: When you have a trio who can make this much sound without relying on extra parts, you have to wonder why other bands have six members. Do some people like being paid less?Blur--13: Brit Pop bands have next to no chance to becoming a mainstream success in this country. We're too busy arguing evolution to devote time to figuring out what the rest of the world is up to.
10) Spearmint--A Week Away: Finally heard these guys this week--this very album--but anyway someone who has the ability to make me a very happy person likes them a whole lot and I've never said this column couldn't be bought. I've just never officially named a price. Now, let's see what Gummo tries to do to trump this! Your move, sentient bubble!Travis--The Man Who: If Radiohead were going ahead with their plan to become an "art" band and leave the catchy pop tunes behind, someone with a sweet voice had to come along and fill the void.
8) Paul Westerberg--Suicaine Gratifaction: Westerberg is the guy who never sells any records but gets reviews that other more successful bands would gladly pay for. Part of the reason he gets these great reviews is because he doesn't sell enough records and critics wish to boost his self esteem. Another reason might be he writes some nice songs. Sometime you follow the non-money.Foo Fighters--There Is Nothing Left To Lose: Who would think that the drummer of Nirvana could leave the drums behind and front a band that would last longer and have more hits? It's like Grohl is the new Phil Collins or something.
6) Eminem--The Slim Shady LP: Hip-hop from a rapper who happens to be a few shades lighter than his contemporaries leads to reviews declaring him to be pretty important amongst people who don't pay attention to these sorts of things--but pretend to. Then there are others who genuinely do like this stuff and swear by him. OK!The White Stripes--The White Stripes: Garage rock has been around since the 1960s. The Amphetamine Reptile label released tons of records very few people bought. Who would've thought the White Stripes would be commercially viable?
4) Red Hot Chili Peppers--Californication: Anthony Kiedis may not be much of a singer outside of the recording studio, but in that controlled environment he can grab his rhyming dictionary and cut tracks for hours. Extra points for "lacking Navarro."Randy Newman--Bad Love: Though Randy sings something about each record being like a record he's already made, just not as good, Bad Love is pretty damn fine and as worthy of praise as any half-dozen of his albums.
2) The Flaming Lips--The Soft Bulletin: You're supposed to lose track of time when listening to the Flaming Lips. You're also supposed to lose track of everything else in your life. Music is their drug and it will knock you out.The Magnetic Fields--69 Love Songs: This does not feel like 1999 to me, but all indicators say it is. The band could've turned this album into many different albums, but then no one would've cared because it's all about the concept. Anyone can release "12 Love Songs." Many do.