College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 22 and 21

22. Air, 10,000 Hz Legend If there was any doubt whatsoever about the appeal of the crystalline French duo Air to a certain subset of college radio denizens after their widely adored 1998 debut full-length, Moon Safari, it was surely eradicated once the band provided the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. There couldn’t have been a better cinematic match for Air’s precious pop than the achingly beautiful feminine fragility of Coppola’s first feature as a director. With 10,000 Hz Legend, the follow-up to their dalliance with movie scoring, Air pushed even more deeply into strange, ethereal electronica with … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 22 and 21

College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 26 and 25

26. The Living End, Roll On In tracking through the top college albums of 2001, I’ve spent a lot of words–an embarrassing amount of them, perhaps–detailing how poorly informed I was about many artists before personally beginning the rediscovery process that particular summer. Generally, though, I wound up with a strong working knowledge before too long and many of these releases are now things I can discuss with some level of capability. That’s not the case with Roll On from the Living End. This is the one album and the one band in the Top 50 that, to this day, … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 26 and 25

College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 28 and 27

28. U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind There were other artists from my day still lingering around the college charts ten years later–both R.E.M. and Nick Cave have already had their places in this countdown and I remember full well when the first PJ Harvey album arrived in the station’s rotation–but among those acts that still had one stylish boot planted on the left end of the dial, there was no one bigger than U2. When I arrived at 90FM in the fall of 1988, we were revving up to give away tickets to the local premiere of the … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 28 and 27

College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 30 and 29

30. Rocket from the Crypt, Group Sounds Given that the main context I’ve brought to these College Countdown posts on CMJ‘s 2001 year-end has been one grounded in my own relationship with the individual artists–either of discovery, familiarity or pure puzzlement–there’s an interesting bit of symmetry to the two bands paired this week. Both were groups with a strong punk influence, and I had previously purchased and loved earlier efforts from both of them during the span of time between my commercial radio tenure and my return to college radio, when I was toiling (and somewhat floundering) in an effort … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 30 and 29

College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 34 and 33

34. Mogwai, Rock Action The Scottish band Mogwai is named after the critters in Joe Dante’s 1984 dark comedy Gremlins. It was intended to be a temporary name, but the band never switched it and it eventually took hold. Certainly, they were locked into it by the time their third album, Rock Action, was released. Mogwai had a reputation for ethereal, meditative music, largely delivered as instrumentals, although Rock Action featured guest vocals by the likes of Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals (singing in Welsh, no less) and David Pajo of Slint. Further demonstrating their fascination with bygone pop … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 34 and 33

College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 38 and 37

38. The Shins, Oh, Inverted World The debut album from the Shins holds a special place of significance for me in my return journey through college radio. This was the first CD I bought at the primary local, independently-owned record store in my new city of residence. What’s more, I bought it specifically because of the songs I heard played on WPRK. I think I actually decided I had to have it when I myself played “Know Your Onion” on the air, a return to a happy, costly time several years later when filling out my radio playlist directly coinciding … Continue reading College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 38 and 37