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TOP TEN PICKS FOR 2000

Here are our top ten picks (in alphabetical order) for 2000.

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Go to Top Ten Picks for 1999

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Go to Top Ten Picks for 1998
 
A*TeensA*Teens, The Abba Generation - What's wrong with a little bubblegum? The four perky teenagers from Stockholm make good pop music, and work from a great template - the Abba songbook.
 
Sue FoleySue Foley, Love Comin' Down - Hotshot blues guitarist Sue Foley returns to her native Canada after nearly a decade blistering the stage in Austin, Texas. You can rock out all night long with her killer original, "Two Trains," a song that sounds like it's been around for 20 years on the bar-rock scene.
 
Mark KnopflerMark Knopfler, Sailing to Philadelphia - For a guy who says "I love touring, I love writing, I love rehearsing, I love recording - I'm one of those lucky people who likes the whole shebang," Knopfler took his sweet time recording Sailing to Philadelphia.

Knopfler sounds like a somber philosopher - throwing off catchy guitar riffs, yet making deep observations about topics like perseverance and suffering. The centerpiece of the album is the remarkable "El Macho," which has that classic, deep-in-the-hip-pocket Knopfler sound, with a bouncy marimba sound that will make your heart soar.
 
Shelby LynneShelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne - Big-voiced country singer Shelby Lynne cuts loose on I Am Shelby Lynne. On these ten tracks, Lynne heads toward Memphis side of the state, with a slice of soul that brings to mind Dusty Springfield and Lucinda Williams. The album's real pleasures lie in such sultry tracks as "Leavin'" and "Gotta Get Back," in which Shelby gets down and dirty around midnight.
 
MagnoliaSoundtrack to Magnolia - Working with director Paul Anderson, the soundtrack to Magnolia is a tremendous return to form by Aimee Mann (best known as the lead singer for the 80's Boston band, Til Tuesday).

Aimee is again writing emotionally complex songs like "Build That Wall" (a terrific single) and "Save Me," which fit exactly into the tight human drama. With a down-tempo folk style and use of minor keys,
Magnolia is a welcome return from a wayward voice.
 
Carlos MenciaCarlos Mencia, Take A Joke America - Carlos Mencia is a comic from East Los Angeles who has been performing for more than a decade. While his language is certainly colorful (Mencia uses the "F" word more than Quentin Tarrantino), and his humor often ethnic (focusing on his Latino roots), Mencia delivers the goods.

There's no easy description for
Take A Joke America. And you'll never hear this material on mainstream radio. But if you enjoy sharp comedy, focusing on classism and current issues, then Take A Joke America will have you rolling.
 
MobyMoby, Play - Play is the fifth full-length release from chameleon musician Moby, who has also recorded under the name Voodoo Child. Play is hard to describe, yet grows with repeated listenings.

The arrangements are remarkable, as Moby effortlessly blends genres, sounds, and samples, all based around a keyboard-oriented background. Throughout Play is an underlying spiritual element. Concedes Moby, "The album is good, if I dare say so myself. Much more down tempo than previous stuff."
 
Terry RadiganTerry Radigan, Radigan - Radigan marks the debut release from this Nashville songwriter, and is a labor of love. Terry Radigan has a friendly voice and walks solidly on the ground of 60s girl group power pop.

Tracks like "When I Get Around You" and "Blink" have an infectious pop sound, with a head-turning tremolo in the background on "When I Get Around You." Put it this way: if you like Sam Phillips, or girl pop with a John Lennon edge, then
Radigan will turn your crank.
 
SauceSauce, Where Are You Going? - Fun, energetic, and full of piss and vinegar. That's Sauce, hailing San Pedro, California. This indie band kicks butt on the two-minute nautical ditty, "Never Saw the Minutemen" ("Drove through Pedro every day/Never saw the Minutemen play/Must have played a thousand times/All those years what was in my head?/As I went to see the Grateful Dead"). What a delicious tribute to local hero, Mike Watt.

SauceAnd it gets better. The hilarious "Message From a Fan" (which sounds like an actual phone message from a self-righteous neighbor griping about the band) slams headlong into the punk rocker, "Penetration Tonight," before melding into the South-of-the-Border strummings on "Fish Taco" and the surf pounder, "San Pedro."
 
Thomas Crown AffairSoundtrack to The Thomas Crown Affair - Another soundtrack in the top 10? Yes, as The Thomas Crown Affair score captures the film's suspense and elegance. The real treat lies in the first four tracks, including Sting's tasteful remake of the Academy Award-winning title song, "Windmills of Your Mind."

Thomas Crown Affair
The Thomas Crown Affair also includes a ten-minute "live in the studio" version of "Sinnerman" by jazz vocalist Nina Simone. Simone displays her androgynous vocal inflection on this entrancing recording from 1965, which juxtaposes neatly against the Sting track.
 
- Randy Krbechek © 2000

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