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Music

Favorite Albums

Pizza Cutter
Letters to Cleo - Wholesale Meats and Fish
No band has ever combined the modern rock sound with the pop style more effectively than Letters to Cleo, and this album is a little more rock heavy than their others. Songs like "Fast Way" and "Awake" are pop enough that you can sing along, and "Pizza Cutter" and "Do What You Want, Yeah" truly rock out. I can't say enough good things about this album.

Action & Action
The Get Up Kids - Something to Write Home About
The best album of 1999. The Get Up Kids combines late 90s punk rock with 80s synths and a singer who really emotes (thus the genre name, Emo). They have some songs that really rock, like "Action & Action", and some softer songs, like "Valentine", that don't betray their style. But behind it all is some really sincere emotion, which is what music (and all art) is supposed to be about.

Everclear - So Much for the Afterglow
In 2000, Everclear made a big deal about the release of Songs from an American Movie, which would be two discs, one of which was more pop, and the other was more rock. The problem with these albums was that they separated the two sounds. On So Much for the Afterglow, pop and rock are effectively and artfully combined in every song. Each song leans one way or the other, but the album overall provides an excellent pop/rock experience.

Here With Me
MxPx - The Ever Passing Moment
The best album of 2000. MxPx is straight late 90s punk rock. Their decision to be laregly positive and to avoid swearing and vulgar topics elevates them to a very classy and respectable level, especially in an era when the standard radio hit injects foul language purely for its shock value. Plus MxPx just plain rocks, lyrics be damned. This one is on heavy rotation in my car.

John Williams - The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition)
John Williams needs no introduction from me. This is by far his best work. He built on his themes from Star Wars and combined them with new ideas to make the best movie score I've heard. "The Asteroid Field", "Yoda's Theme", and every moment from "Carbon Freeze" through to the "End Title" are tracks I can listen to over and over again, in or out of the film's context. This is also where "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)", probably the best known original music from any movie, debuted. A must have for anyone who likes movie scores.

Favorite Aritsts

In addition to the above artists, these are some of my other favorite artists.

Sponge
Sponge is one of the best post-grunge rock bands. They combined the grunge sound with genuine musicality and gave it a hard edge. Their latest album, New Pop Sunday throws some pop into the mix for a truly compelling and fun experience.

Foo Fighters
If I had to define the post-grunge sound, I would point to the Foo Fighters. Their use of grunge guitars to produce a more musical result is typical of most late 90s bands that were making pure rock. And they make clever videos that complement the songs and never descend into the typical "bunch of random weird stuff" genre that is popular in 90s rock videos.

Lying Awake
Our Lady Peace
I think that if the Beatles had been influenced by grunge, they would have made music similar to the music of Our Lady Peace. Their songs are always bold, and usually build from something simple into something that rocks, so you get a real piece of music that starts at one point and goes somewhere, rather than just four minutes of sound. I recommend starting with their albums Clumsy or Happiness.

Alternative, Baby
Reel Big Fish
The best of the late 90s American ska-rock bands. They bring the fun into ska, and their excellent horn section really stands out. Their songs get played a lot over movie previews, because listening to RBF makes you feel like you're having a good time. They also have a lot to say about popular music, and "Down in Flames" is one of my favorite songs on that topic.

The World is New
Save Ferris
Similar to Reel Big Fish, Save Ferris is another great ska-rock band. Lead vocalist Monique Powell is talented enough to make this band stand out. Save Ferris is never afraid to lean ska a little more toward its swing roots on some songs, like the excellent "Goodbye", or bury their ska sound inside a great rock tune, like "Mistaken". They can make goofy fun songs like "Under 21", or make a point about pursuing your dreams in "Everything I Want to Be".

"Weird Al" Yankovic
Weird Al is, of course, a comedic genius. He also has pretty good taste in music, judging by both his original songs and the selection of songs he chooses to parody. I almost left him off the list, but this is the only artist I've enjoyed for more than a decade, and for whom I can say that I own all ten albums. This is a sentimental favorite, and I try to live life by the philosphy Al preaches: Don't take anything too seriously.

Aside from these, my other favorite artists include Blink 182, Eve's Plum, Goldfinger, Harvey Danger, Hum, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Nerf Herder, Liz Phair, The Rentals, That Dog, Veruca Salt, and Weezer.

Recent Discoveries

These are some artists I've discovered in the last year or so that could become favorites once I hear some more material.

Chuck-Al-Hashib
Pain
If They Might Be Giants made a bunch of ska-rock songs, the result would be Pain. Lyrically intriguing and stylisitcally diverse, Pain deserves to be better known.

Sucker
New Found Glory
New Found Glory is on the verge of being big, but I fear that not even this exciting Emo band can save popular music from the Limp Bizkit direction in which it's headed. Very similar to The Get Up Kids; if you like one you'll also like the other.

Sunday People
Supercar
Supercar is an excellent pop/rock band from Japan. They sing mostly in Japanese, so I don't know what their lyrics are about. But this is what pop/rock should sound like today. They also aren't afraid to diversify and explore multiple sounds, such as leaning heavily on guitar sounds in one song, and synth sounds in the next. I love "Sunday People" because it's just plain fun.


Version 0.1.
June 13, 2001
To do: Edit descriptions.