Daily Music’s list of the millennium’s top 50 albums continues today, moving slowly up the ladder. Today’s albums represent some of the specific tastes of our writers, manifesting itself in relative obscurities like the wordless Books or the cartoonish Viktor Vaughn. Old standbys — Dylan, Blur and The Roots — make appearances as well, rounding out our second installment. Placing our favorites next to giants of popular music led to some of our toughest choices. Enjoy the selections, debate the omissions and check back tomorrow for the next installment. If you missed 41 through 50, check out www.michigandaily.com.

Music Reviews
Be cool. Stay in school. (Courtesy of Roc A Fella)

 

40 Fugazi – The Argument

For Fugazi’s last release, I was expecting something along the lines of their previous output: furious riffs, vitriolic shouts and a visceral, “local band” quality. Yet right from the start, Fugazi challenged me with melodic tunes and complex arrangements, all the while maintaining the cathartic choruses and inspiring, call-to-arms lyrics. Fugazi started a revolution in the ’80s, and if they continue their mutation into a more mature version of the same $5 show band, they will influence a whole new generation. — Will Gary

 

39 Ghostface Killah – The Pretty Toney Album

Ghostface is hysterical yet masculine, as he gets rap’s best soul samples and spins out surreal, vibrant narratives. I want someone to make the greatest Blaxploitation film of all time just so Ghostface can stuff the soundtrack with ridiculous metaphors, grimy horns and earthy redemption. He’s got images a poet would kill for and the gusto to hammer out each verse like it owes him money. Pretty Toney is what every Jay-Z album after Reasonable Doubt should’ve sounded like. — Evan McGarvey

 

38 The Constantines – Shine a LIght

If Lou Reed dragged you into an alley and screamed the lyrics of “Rock and Roll” through a megaphone, or if Iggy Pop bled on the ground beneath your feet or if Springsteen pocketed his ham-fisted dad-rock and transmitted all of Born to Run through a cracked Telecaster, you still wouldn’t be able to fathom the youth, spirit and vitriol that The Constantines channel on this album. Castoff phrases, like post-punk and indie rock, cease to have meaning when the searing, hellhole sloganeering of “Nighttime/Anytime (It’s Alright)” hits the stereo. You want a label? How about “Best Young Band in America?” — Andrew M. Gaerig

 

37 The Roots – Phrenology

In many ways, The Roots had come to be defined by Common’s line on their song, “Hip Hop (The Love Of My Life)” — “When we perform, all you see is coffee shop chicks and white dudes.” Phrenology was billed by none other than ringleader ?uestlove as the album that would finally break The Roots into the mainstream. It was a conscious effort for more widespread acceptance, but that didn’t mean it didn’t retain the unique sensibilities of the world’s self-proclaimed indie hip-hop band. Yes, it is more accessible. But it’s also undeniably better off because of it. — Amos Barshad

 

36 The Books – Lemon of Pink

If The Books were to write one of these entries, it may look a little something like this: Bunch if a first grade collage over-perceptive musicians The Lemon of Pink with something akin they might wind up art project of to took part, in a. Non-electronic The Books listener somehow make electronic composition to a pool. Words and most basic elements to their imagery mimics the its title subliminally, dissecting music phrases. — Andrew Horowitz

 

35 Cat Power – You Are Free

Cat Power has been defined throughout her career by sadness and struggle. You Are Free shows Chan Marshall in a new light, but even this light is dark and depressing. Marshall makes incredible use of raw-sounding pianos and twanging guitars to produce slowly building, crisp tracks. The songs ring with a bell-like clarity, echoing metallic reverberations and mechanical precision. This album will put you through the emotional ringer, but at the end of the day, Marshall’s emotive lyrics and textured melodies overshadow your despair. — Jacob Nathan

 

34 Bob Dylan – Love and Theft

Love? Theft? Why not both? Shakespeare, after all, wrote, in Sonnet 35, “That I an accessory needs must be / To that sweet thief which sourly robs me.” In his twilight, Dylan is not afraid of redundancy. His persona is distant, his tours all blend together and his music sounds like an echo of lost forms. But with songs like “Sugar Baby,” he nurtures a sound and sentiment that are, if not new, at least sanguine and self-assured. In the “give and take” of well-worn styles, the album earns its name by acceding to that central contradiction in life and music. — Steve Cotner

 

33 Viktor Vaughn – Vaudeville Villain

It’s another mysterious concoction from the genius that is MF Doom, aka Viktor Vaughn, a spaced-out being traveling through multiple dimensions, gets stuck on planet Earth. With his cocky attitude, his adventure leads him through the hip-hop scene and streets of planet Earth. As Doom continues dropping classics left and right, Vaudeville Villain will always remain an interstellar masterpiece. — Cyril Cordor

 

32 Blur – Think Tank

Think Tank is a bold step forward from a band that earned its credibility writing witty, intelligent pop songs. Soulful rhythm and sparse electronics swirl beautifully throughout the album as Damon Albarn’s world music tendencies blend with the band’s strong British roots. The album is of an uncharacteristic beauty for Blur, and it’s exemplary of the evolution of an underrated musical force. — Matt Kivel

 

31 Kanye West – The College Dropout

When it all fell down, Kanye spit it “Through the Wire,” slowing it down and bringing it all back to Jesus. His impeccable production style and infectious hooks made The College Dropout one of the most successful albums among the gangster-filled, cutthroat and unforgiving world of mainstream hip-hop. In a genre filled with crunktacular club hits, Kanye instilled his genre with a roots consciousness that hip-hop mostly lacked. The College Dropout screamed for, and received, the acclaim and praise it rightfully deserves. — Chris Gaerig

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