By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
7. Robbie Williams, Sing When You're Winning (Capitol): There's no bigger egotistical prick in music today than Robbie Williams. Just flip through the CD booklet--dozens of pictures of Robbie playing soccer, pissing on a wall, standing naked in a hot tub. He can't get enough of himself, so he figures we can't either. Wrong, champ. The album itself is a dreadful mix of shlocky love ballads and recycled dance hall trash; "Supreme" exemplifies the latter, nothing more than a cheeky redo of "I Will Survive." Williams does try to muscle it up on occasion with some heavy guitar, but it doesn't work--he still comes off like the Neil Diamond of the oughts. On "Knutsford City Limits," Williams pleads, "Don't hate me 'cause I'm handsome." OK, how about we hate you 'cause you suck? --D.L.
8. The Offspring, Conspiracy of One (Columbia): I hated this two years ago when they were calling it Americana. And two years certainly hasn't sweetened the taste of this shite; these guys make Blink-182 sound like The Clash. The only thing worse than last time around, other than the band's full-bodied embrace of joke-rock, is the fact that they had to drag a quality rhymer like Redman down with them. For shame. If these guys slip any further into self-parody, they'll put Weird Al Yankovic out of business. They're punks, sure, but not punk. Prolly never were. --Z.C.
9. Veruca Salt, Resolver (Beyond); Nina Gordon, Tonight and the Rest of My Life (Warner Bros.): These two albums, each by a woman who once identified herself as a "seether," stained 2000 for what may be the worst reason imaginable: utter irrelevance. When Nina Gordon left Chicago alt-rockers Veruca Salt to not-so-homegirl Louise Post and those two rhythm-section guys in 1998, she got out just in time, disowning Eight Arms to Hold You, the band's clunky sophomore album, and barely dodging Resolver, the bomb Post went on to make with boyfriend Brian Liesegang (formerly of goateed grimacers Filter). Resolver sucks, much like Def Leppard sucked post-Hysteria, but Gordon's record, the titanically named Tonight and the Rest of My Life, is the real travesty, full of bloated, formless, nonsensical shit readymade for the in-store mix at Claire's Accessories in your little sister's mall. Music this anemic isn't music; it's advertising for compromise. --M.W.
10. The Wallflowers, (breach) (Interscope): When will he just cover one of his pop's songs and get it over with? This disc is so flat-out boring, it's difficult to even poke fun at it. Jakob Dylan's famous last name has gotten him as far as it will go; now he's got to learn to write songs. The real travesty here is that he conned Elvis Costello into singing back-ups on "Murder 101"--Springsteen's lawyer is filing the paperwork as we speak--though in retrospect, Costello would probably go into a studio with anyone except The Attractions at this point. Better start begging Dad for a job, Jake. --Z.C.
2. Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol Records): The watershed album of meta-rock for a new millennium is, you know, OK or whatever.
3. Creed, Human Clay (Wind-Up Records): With ass wide open.
4. Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (Matador Records): Distressingly unremarkable, except perhaps for the fervor with which it was declared otherwise.
5. David Gray, White Ladder (ATO Records): To call this Dave Matthews with a beatbox and a British accent would be an insult to all three. Hipster muzak for people who've just plain given up.
6. Travis, The Man Who (Epic Records): In praise of which a fragile coalition of public-radio listeners, disaffected Radiohead fans, and Billboard staffers all planted one last smooch twixt the withering cheeks of Britpop, creating in the process a final synonym for "melodic": worthless.
7. Lil Bow Wow, Beware of the Dog (Sony): This is approximately 22 kinds of wrong.
8. Elastica, The Menace (Arista): Turns out there is something she lacks when she's flat on her back: good songs. Perhaps the British have trouble pronouncing "eminence grise."
9. Barenaked Ladies, Maroon (Warner Bros.): A classic fish/barrel situation, but deserves some note as the (arguable) nadir of a band for which there is not enough heat in hell.
10. The Beatles, 1 (Capitol): Who are the 13 million idiots who don't own these songs already? --Keven McAlester