College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 50 and 49

50. Creeper Lagoon, Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday

Creeper Lagoon was one of those bands that was a complete mystery to me when I became reacquainted with college radio in 2001. All these years later, they’re still a mystery. Maybe the kids were playing Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday and I just don’t remember. The band name and the album title stir absolutely no memories for me, although I’ll acknowledge that some of the more obscure offerings from those first few months do tend to blur together for me. The band was a project from San Francisco multi-instrumentalist Sharky Laguana, who recorded for at least a time early in his career under the name Sharky Lagoon. Take Back the Universe was the second full-length effort from the band, and several online sources indicate it was also the last. It seems there’s been at least some self-released material since, however, coming out on Laguana’s own Neglektra Records label, a name that can be surmised to offer some amount of commentary on how he feels the band was treated by Dreamworks when they were cranking out music for that major. The website for Neglektra isn’t exactly polished, but there’s newer music there free for the taking. I’m not sure what the biggest hit from the album was, but it may have been “Wrecking Ball,” which also apparently got some exposure in an absolutely atrocious Cameron Crowe movie.

49. Ryan Adams, Gold

If there were artists that that may as well have had named rendered in backwards hieroglyphics for how well I recognized them, there were also those that I was very anxious to finally lay my ears on. I’d heard and read over and over again that Ryan Adams was one of the great songwriters plying his trade primarily for fans on the left end of the dial. There were admiring comparisons to Paul Westerberg, an association he clearly cultivated, right down (or up) to his artfully permanent bedhead. His band Whiskeytown was part of the so-called y’allternative movement of the mid-nineteen-nineties, and though I had plenty of pals who were reliable advance scouts of the up-and-comers in that realm, I don’t recall Adams’ outfit elbowing their way past the likes of the Bottle Rockets and Son Volt to win their affections. That built-up curiosity on my part may have caused me to somewhat overvalue Adams’ second solo effort, Gold, when it hit the station in the early fall of 2001. Lead single “New York, New York” made a definite impact in the broader culture given the celebratory vibe of the song and the prominence of the World Trade Center in the accompanying music video at a time when the country was blindsided by the September 11th attacks. I do like that song, but I was primarily excited about the way Gold traipsed around the full range of old school rock ‘n’ roll possibility: the rompin’-stompin’ “Firecracker,” the countrified yearning of “Answering Bell,” the strident strumming of “Gonna Make You Love Me,” the painstaking ballad “Sylvia Plath” and the tender shuffle of “Rescue Blues.” I don’t revisit Gold much any more, but any time I do, it still sounds good.

An Introduction

27 thoughts on “College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 50 and 49

  1. If they ever make a deluxe edition of #49, I hope they include all of Ryan’s angry phone calls to critics. Comedic gold.

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