Staff picks gone wild!

Olga Robak (Entertainment Editor)

Fashion Nugget

It may be lead-singer John McCrea’s monotone, half-spoken lyrics, or it may be Vince DiFiore’s jazzy trumpet solos that lure the listener into the album. Either way, Fashion Nugget is one of the most diverse, well-crafted albums of the ’90s.

Cake stretched the boundaries of what is acceptable on a college rock album by including tracks influenced by different musical genres such as rap (“Going the Distance”), country (“Stickshifts and Safetybelts”) and disco (a cover of “I Will Survive”).

In addition to the clashing musical influences, Cake’s songs are full of sarcastic lyrics that make its albums as poignantly poetic as they are musically interesting.

Sebastian Meyer (Opinion Editor)

Sigur Rós
( )

One of the reasons why Sigur Rós titled their album ( ), and didn’t assign names to its individual tracks, was to leave interpretation open. The hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric tracks are so full of layers they practically inspire meditation. No matter in what situation I listen to this album, it always has a different effect on me. Be it walking across campus listening to it on my iPod or stuck in traffic on a rainy day in my car, it always seems to adapt to the listener’s mood as much as it inspires thought.

And besides, there are not many artists that sing in a made up language called “hopelandish,” accompanied by electric guitars played with violin bows. That alone makes them unique.

Ryan Meehan (Editor-in-Chief)

Dave Matthews Band
Under The Table and Dreaming

It’s almost become the hip thing to do in college: hating the Dave Matthews Band. Say what you will about the Charlottesville quintet, but say it after you have listened to the group’s second album, ’94’s Under The Table and Dreaming. Radio hits aside (“Ants Marching,” “What Would You Say” and “Satellite”)– all great songs in their own right — DMB’s output on this album, highlighted by the harrowing “Warehouse” and the solemn “Pay or What You Get,” harkens back to its roots. What indie-rock aficionados often forget in their Nader-esque, elitist musical snobbery is that all commercially successful music doesn’t suck. Matthews’ songwriting knocks the socks off most acts these days, and it was no different 10 years ago.

Shannon McPherson (Opinion Editor)

Kona Town
Volcom Entertainment

“Is this Sublime?”

That’s always the first thing people ask when they hear Pepper’s Kona Town. Maybe it’s because they have William Waldman playing the horn on some of its tracks, but the band’s ska and reggae combo is remarkably similar to that of the late Bradley Nowell’s infamous band. This trio from Hawaii is currently on the Volcom Entertainment label, but they’ll be touring soon with headliners such as 311 and Slightly Stoopid.

If you’re looking for a CD to slip in between your Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars albums, Pepper’s Kona Town is it. These guys aren’t a cheesy cover band, but they do have a similar Subliminal style. If you’re into mellow and laid-back Caribbean-infused beats, this is the way to go.

Sherry Mims (Copy Editor)

Alanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill

Almost every song on Alanis Morissette’s best-selling 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, hit the radio waves. The songs range from raging at an ex-lover in “You Oughta Know” to the hippie-styled “Hand In My Pocket.” Alanis became the voice of angry, sexual and contemplative women in society with this record. She has said that her aim was to empower women and especially girls with JLP.

Over the years, Morissette has been imitated but never overshadowed in the female rock category. She writes her own lyrics, sings and plays several instruments, including guitar, harmonica and flute, which is a rarity in the music industry.

Taylor Williams (Staff Writer)

Greatest Hits I & II
Hollywood Records

As far as Road Trip CDs are concerned, this one is by far the best. Queen’s Greatest Hits is a two-disc compilation of the band’s best stuff from as early as the 1970s.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” starts off the collection (You remember that song had a cameo in Wayne’s World), with “We Are The Champions” ending disc one.

Most people will only be familiar with the songs on the first CD, but true Queen fans will appreciate every song this album has to offer, from “Under Pressure” to “Radio GaGa.”

It certainly helps squash the I-75 road monotony blues.

Gustavo Hernandez (Technology Editor)

Baby Anne
Mixed Live
Moonshine Music

The self-proclaimed “Bass Queen” spins a live set that has enduring energy.

Baby Anne’s Mixed Live is one of the best techno compilations from the electronic genre. Each track seamlessly flows together to form a set that keeps all the record breaks perfectly in line and in time. The inclusion of the crowd’s reaction to the bass-induced throwdown compliments each fast-paced beat perfectly.

This album opens the eyes of general techno aficionados to other artists hailing from the break-beat genre.

Chris O’Donnell (Associate Editor)

The Jam
All Mod Cons

Eventually, if you steal a CD from your sister’s collection often enough, it becomes yours by right.

The Jam’s third album, All Mod Cons served notice that 21-year-old Paul Weller had arrived as a genuine songwriter. From the slashing Rickenbackers of “Billy Hunt” to the acoustic strumming of “English Rose, ” Weller marries punk’s energy with songwriting craft gleaned from The Kinks’ Ray Davies.

Lyrically, Weller takes the listener on a tour of post-punk Britain far removed from Willian Blake’s “green and pleasant land.” All Mod Cons is as English as fish and chips and is this Brit’s favorite homesickness cure.

Lance Craig (Production Assistant)

Joan of Arc
Live in Chicago, 1999
Jade Tree Records

This one’s a very confusing record from the start.

The title actually refers to the band living in Chicago in 1999, not an actual live show.

Several songs are long, soft, jazzy melodies that sway around, while others are short and harsh recordings that some might say are not songs at all.

Either way, the tunes have indefinitely well-written, poetic, lyrical accompaniment, although you might not notice due to what many people label as terrible singing.

Nonetheless, this album is more than just music, it’s a work of art.

Adam Becker (Assistant News Editor)

The Eminem Show
Interscope Records

I used to think rap was about nothing more than a bunch of drug-snorting, wannabe pimps.

The Eminem Show changed that.

When Eminem hit the scene, he introduced to me a new brand of rap, one that white boys weren’t embarrassed to listen to.

“Sing for the Moment,” is the best example of a song that doubles as a social commentary, opening the door for a brand of music some may have previously been afraid of.

The Eminem Show brings reality to a genre previously void of it, and the genre is better for it.