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Honorable Mentions: Avalanches, "
Since I Left You"; Ivy, "Long Distance"; Zero 7, "Simple Things"
10) Bjork, "
Vespertine" - Emotionally lush, despite the minimalist sonic approach.
9) Lovage, "
Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By" - Dan The Automator (Gorillaz, Deltron 3030) continues to impress with beats that are simultaneously slinky and thick, not to mention the overtly sordid lyrics (courtesy of Jennifer Charles and Mike Patton).
8) Gillian Welch, "
Time (The Revelator)" - One of the minor "O Brother" chanteuses enthralls with this pure slice of Americana, complete with ample servings of wistfully morose bluegrass.
7) Slumber Party, "
Psychedelicate" - Straight outta Hamtramck (via Kill Rock Stars), these four hotties somehow manage to combine the melodicism of Galaxie 500 with soaring (yet subtle) four-part harmonies.
6) Craig David, "
Born To Do It" - His flow is recockulous, he's probably the slickest RnB pimp to hit the scene since Johnny Gill. And his beats, courtesy of the Artful Dodger, are absolutely sick.
5) Sigur Ros, "
Agaetis Byrjun" - If you've ever found yourself turning off the TV on a Sunday night and flipping on WHYT/WDVD's "Big Sonic Heaven", this is the perfect album for you. Throw on some headphones for added effect.
4) White Stripes, "
White Blood Cells" - Whilst The Prime Ministers recoup and search for a new drummer, The White Stripes are content to carry the torch for Detroit rawk. Jack and Meg White stripped down their sound a notch for this effort, getting down and dirty to find their inspiration in the Mississippi delta.
3) Weezer, "
The Green Album" - Thank God for Weezer. Best...Comeback...EVER!!! (until The Smiths reunite, that is...)
2) The Strokes, "
Is This It?" - Ignore the hype, ignore the backlash, and throw in the CD. Draw whatever conclusion you wish, but if you don't find this the catchiest slice of punk pop you've heard in the last 10 years, your musical taste sucks.
Jay-Z, "The Blueprint" - I'll be honest. I had given up on rap music. After I stopped sharing a dorm room with Aaron Clark (The Godfather of Rochester Hills Rap) in 1993, I lost interest in the rap game. I wasn't hearing anyone as inspired as Public Enemy, as charged as anyone in the NWA posse, or anyone who could get the party started like my boys in Digital Underground. Even when 2Pac and Biggie hit the scene, I dug their singles but never really got into their albums. Then came the invasion of the Dirty South and I thought for sure that I could never be into rap music again...until I heard Jay-Z. "Big Pimpin" was just that, "I Just Wanna Love You" was probably the best single of 2000, and then on September 11th J-Hova dropped "The Blueprint" on America. Sure, no one was in the mood to get their damn hands up on that fateful day, but once "normalcy" was back in vogue, Jigga straight up took over. I think what makes this album stand out to a guy like me, a guy who would rather listen to WDRQ than WJLB, is that Jay-Ho is bringin da fun back to the rap game. Sure he's got the world's best flow and some of the hottest beats (some courtesy of Timbaland), but his charismatic braggadocio is what won me over. He absolutely destroys targets as diverse as Nas ("You're shit is gah-bage"), Sam Bowie, and his Chinese girlfriend who keeps "bootleggin' (his) shit." He songs practically explode with conviction, honesty and devastating rhyme schemes. Jay-Z sings on one track that "if (he's) not better than B.I.G., (he's) the closest one" -- with "The Blueprint", I think that crown is his to wear...for now.

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Adams, "
New York, New York"; Basement Jaxx, "Romeo"; Saves The Day, "At Your Funeral"
10) D12, "
Purple Pills" - The lazy, serpentine backbeat of this song shows that Em can produce as well as he can rap.
9) Ian Van Dahl, "
Castles In The Sky" - A hopelessly uplifting slice of pure cheeze trance guaranteed to get the glowsticks waving.
8) Weezer, "
Island In The Sun" - Up close and personal with Rivers' daydreams of love and companionship.
7) Avalanches, "
Since I Left You" - Someone else said it first, but I would have to agree that this is the happiest sad song to hit the radio in a long, long time.
6) Jay-Z, "
Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" - Fo' shizzle my nizzle, Jay Hova trumped Lil Romeo's ace card (the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back") with slick rhymes and an untouchable chorus.
5) Michelle Branch, "
Everywhere" - "I'll have the Natalie Imbruglia Special please...Yes, that is one perfect pop song along with a prompt disappearance into thin air. And make that to go"
4) Jimmy Eat World, "
The Middle" - These emo-rockers just want you to remember not to concern yourselves with what the bitter hearts will have to say. Great video, too.
3) U2, "
Walk On" - Neil Young's "Imagine" and Eddie Vedder's "The Long Road" were highlights of America's Tribute To Heroes, but this show (and this year) belonged to U2.
2) Craig David, "
Fill Me In" - Although 2-step never really caught on Stateside like the press claimed it would, this song (and 'N Sync's "Pop") proved that this movement has a future.
1) Daft Punk, "
One More Time" - When they're not busy dressing up like robots or gorrilas, these two crazy Frenchmen do nothing but make hits. From "Around The World" to "Music Sounds Better With You" to their latest slice of dancefloor bliss, Daft Punk have proved to be one step ahead of everyone else in their ability to take music to the next level. Probably the best Untz Anthem since The Chemical Brothers' "Hey Boy, Hey Girl".

Well that about raps that up. Hope that you enjoyed the year in music as much as I did.

Until next week,

NEXT WEEK: The Best DVDs of 2K1