The odds of them showing up twice in such a short period of time are less than one in a quadrillion — wait, I’m sorry, those are the odds of Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in each of the four battleground states mentioned in that batshit Texas lawsuit that got laughed out of the Supreme Court.
It’s time for the next installment of my Decades series, wherein I dive into the albums from a certain year across four decades. It’s time to close out the 3’s. After covering 1973, 1983, and 1993, I’ll dedicate the next few weeks to 2003.
As always, I’ll start by counting down my favorite albums from the year, and then turn my attention to some of the critically-acclaimed records with which I’m less familiar.
I opted for random seeding in Montauk Madness, but the other avenue is to seed each particpant based on stature. That’s how March Madness works, with the #1 teams (based on record) facing off against the #16 teams in Round One.
That prevents any heavyweight matchups early in the contest. Ideally, you don’t want the two best teams in a division to battle on Day One.
Going that route in this contest, however, felt wrong. If I were to rank the participants before even setting the bracket, wouldn’t I be defeating the purpose of the game? If a top contender loses in Round One because of an unlucky matchup, well, that probably would have happened in Round Three of Four anyway.
Here’s the third straight 2002 album that I discovered only after its release. It’s probably telling that the albums I discovered when they came out that year are sitting higher on my list (we’ll get to most of those next week).
I learned about Stew just a year later after the release of 2003’s Something Deeper Than These Changes. My wife heard a segment on the album on NPR and suggested I check it out. I was instantly smitten and sought out the rest of his discography.
Between 1997 and 2003, Stew released six albums (half under his own name and half under the moniker The Negro Problem). Every one of them is excellent — in fact, his first two solo albums were named as the best of their respective year by Entertainment Weekly.
Then he disappeared.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Fans of the New York theater scene might have caught him performing a couple of autobiographical musicals during the past decade, winning awards and eventually performing both on Broadway and in a filmed performance directed by Spike Lee.