My second favorite album of 2000 is the last record Elliott Smith released before his 2003 suicide. Figure 8 was Smith’s fifth album and possibly his best (though I have an even softer spot for 1997’s Either/Or).
Figure 8 was Smith’s second album with major label Dreamworks, and the baroque instrumentation on much of the record stands in stark contrast to his ultra lo-fi beginnings.
Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia is my third favorite album of 2000. This was Knopfler’s second solo effort (not including soundtrack work) and the first album of his I really dug into since 1988’s Dire Straits greatest hits collection Money For Nothing.
I’ve always loved Dire Straits’ sound, particularly Knopfler’s guitar work, but I’m far from a completist. I own Making Movies and Brothers in Arms — classics both — but other than the early hits, that’s it.
But Sailing to Philadelphia struck a nerve and continues to resonate nearly two decades later.
My #4 album of 2000 is a record I still consider Eminem’s best: The Marshall Mathers LP. The celebrated rapper has put out a number of great albums since this one (including The Eminem Show and the Marshall Mathers sequel) but this record’s culture-shattering impact gives it the edge.
Through today’s lens this album seems almost tame but at the time it ignited a firestorm of controversy over free speech and satire. Second Lady Lynne Cheney lambasted the album and called on the music industry to adopt age restrictions. The controversy just helped propel the album to a then-record 1.76 millions sales in its first week alone.
It’s been more than a year since I last contributed to my Decades series. To refresh your memory, this is where I highlight albums from a specific year across four decades. I started with 1972 before covering 1982, 1992 and 2002, then moved to 1970, 1980 and 1990. Which brings me to 2000.
As always, I will feature my own top five albums of the year before exploring songs from ten celebrated albums I’ve never heard. All clear?
This is the fifth track I’ve featured from No Doubt’s 1995 album Tragic Kingdom, and the third on a Random Weekend. I wish I’d been keeping stats from the start, so I’d know if this is one of the most-represented Random Weekend albums or somewhere in the middle of the pack.
‘Happy Now?’ was written by Gwen Stefani about her breakup from band member Tony Kanal, with whom she had a 7-year relationship. How odd it must have been for both of them to perform this song (and others with a similar theme) night after night.
Today’s random selection comes from the artist who originally launched Random Weekends more than six years ago — Sarah McLachlan.
‘Rivers of Love’ appears on McLachlan’s rather weak 2010 album Laws of Illusion. I’ve been very dismissive of that record, but I have to admit this song isn’t half bad.
I first watched my favorite 2017 film three months into 2018, on a small seatback screen during a flight from Florida to California. Less than ideal conditions, which makes my ecstatic reaction to The Florida Project even more legit.
I have since watched Sean Baker’s film two more times under better conditions, and those viewings have only solidified my opinion that this is not just the best movie of last year but one of the best of the decade so far.