100. Pee – Now, More Charm and More Tender
There was always something incredibly quirky about this album that stuck with me. It’s composed of about 20 or so songs of utter nonsense, including a tender lament about trying to part with a Metallica obsession and a forty-nine second song about hating vegetables. Pee was mostly known for their ability to…yeah… you’re right — Pee was never known for anything except fluorescent green t-shirts.

Just when I’m coming clean I try to embrace the darker side again – “Metallica”

99. 764-Hero – Weekends of Sound
Truthfully, I’m not as big a fan of 764-Hero’s music as I am a fan of what they remind me of, which is Seattle on a spring day in March, walking around the Pike Place Market with a slight beer buzz. More than Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, their northwest brethren, 764-Hero reminds one of rainy, sloppy downtown Seattle streets. Truthfully, they are kind of boring, but I still find ways to like a few songs, and this CD is filled with most of the good ones.

You were the long way home/You love the way it’s out of focus right now – “You Were The Long Way Home”

98. The Polyphonic Spree – Together We’re Heavy
I first heard the Polyphonic Spree, a band that sounds like the Flaming Lips with more members…like 35 more members…when I was trying to win Modest Mouse tickets off of KVSC, the St. Cloud State University college radio station, last year. There are between 13-20 members in the band, and, as far as I can tell from the CD sleeve, they wear nothing but variously colored robes. It’s all very hippie, and, amazingly, very good.

Hold me now/Don’t start shaking/You keep me safe/Don’t ever think you’re the only one when times are tough in your new age – “Hold Me Now”

97. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
Yeah, I know, for a lot of people this would be higher – possibly top 10 material. It would have been the same for me, had this been an all-time top 100, but then again, so would Metallica’s And Justice For All. As it is, this is a “re-entry” type of CD – one of those great ones that re-enter a person’s life after years away. I’ve always liked R.E.M. (there, I said it) and Automatic is the one that started all of that. It’s really the perfect R.E.M. album – meaning that it’s powerful, clever, and palatable to any time of life, whether you’re cranky or happy.

Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess/Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah – “Man on the Moon”

96. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
I’m not going to try to fool everyone and say that I’m some sort of hip-hop aficionado – in fact, I’m the exact opposite. An aficionado knows and savors every morsel of good in whatever he or she loves, while I, unfortunately, know nothing about hip-hop and instead just cling to the same CD’s I’ve always liked. The one I like most of all (thanks, somehow, to an old friend named Misha) is Tribe’s Midnight Marauders. This is the first album that ever dared me to step outside my usual genres and listen to rap, and to this day it still remains my favorite. It’s pretty “old school,” as they say on the street, but it’s still great in that “non ganster-rap/jazzy” sort of way.

So, do dat do dat doo dat dat dat (come on)/Do dat do dat doo dat dat dat (OK)/Do dat do dat doo dat dat dat – “Award Tour”

95. The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin
I was reintroduced to The Flaming Lips in college, years after buying Transmissions From the Satellite Heart for the song “She Don’t Use Jelly” like everyone else did in 1995. However, the band I knew in ’95 was far different from the band I discovered again in 2001. For one thing, they seemed to be on more drugs, which usually bolsters a bands sound, and they had lost their underground qualities to become more spacey and, dare I say without sounding ridiculous, trippy. Why they took their two best songs, remixed them (or so they say… I can’t tell the difference) and stuck them at the end of the CD again I’ll never know, but I guess with Wayne Coyne, it’s nobody’s business to ask.

They’re just humans/With wives and childrens – “Race for the Prize”

94. Bright Eyes – Lifted…Or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Bright Eyes, or Conor Oberst (as he’s labeled by his drivers license) and “band,” were indi rock darlings for this album, and all of the praise is well deserved. Oberst pulls off the sad and pining emo-kid act off way better than Dashboard Confessional ever did, and does it with a touch of originality and class. “From a Balance Beam” and “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” are some of the best pieces of music I’ve ever heard – ironic and touching and powerful all at the same time. Too bad he was trashed by critics for his last two albums… but that’s neither here nor there.

It was in a foreign hotel’s bathtub I baptized myself in change/And one by one I drowned all of the people I had been –- “From a Balance Beam”

93. Rainer Maria – Past Worn Searching
There was a time in my early college career, a time when I worked at a “radio station” (and I’m using that term very loosely) and was hopelessly in love with anything “emo,” especially any of the major players in the genre at that time. I set out to collect the biggest emo releases of the year, and then make the greatest emo compilation ever known to man. With that in mind, I purchased Post Worn Searching, and fell in love with Caithlin DeMarrais’s voice (and, found out later in concert, that the voice was coming from the body of a 1st grade school teacher). To this day, her yelling “God damn it!” makes me smile.

God damn it, I’m not talking about my heart like it’s something you could break – “Tinfoil”

92. Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise – s/t
Imagine you are a member of a rock band, practicing in your practice area, and you hear the bluesy sounds of a blind homeless man outside your window. So, naturally, you go down and ask him to join your band. In this way, Robert Bradley became famous. He was the blind guy, and the Blackwater Surprise was the rock band. M2 brought these guys to my attention, and their song about Otis Redding and Martin Luther King brought it to my collection. Seeing them in St. Cloud at the Red Carpet cemented their legend.

I remember Marvin Gaye singin’ “Let’s get it on” – “Once Upon a Time”

91. Keane – Hopes and Fears
This is one of three 2005 entries, and by far the most British of them all. Keane is, simply put, Coldplay without the ego, Travis with piano. They have become icons in England, but here in the States, they are still relegated to indie rock stations and Channel 26 on Sirius. “Somewhere Only We Know” is as close to perfect Brit-pop as one can get these days, and it’s refreshing to see someone in that vein doing something new, instead of trying to put out Definatly Maybe 1.2.

This is the last time/That I will show my face/One last tender lie/And then I’m out of this place – “This is the Last Time”

This was lovingly handwritten on March 3rd, 2005