Brother Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 16 Sep 2013, 05:54

11. Ween: White pepper

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Country: US
Artist: Duo
Career: recording since 1988
Language: English
Genre: Subversive pop

Who made one of the greatest blue-eyed soul records ever in ‘Freedom of ‘76’?
Who followed with a country record that stiffed?
Who made a masterpiece ‘White pepper’ when no one listened?

Ween did.

Who’s got the studio nous of Steely Dan?
Who writes better songs than anyone can?
Which band has two very twisted men?

Ween do.

Who writes soft rock classics about bodily harm?
Who follows tropical bongo pop with a hardcore jam?
Who has three backwards guitar solos in the first three songs, man?

Ween do.

Who sang ‘Bananas and blow’ out loud on the train?
Who thinks this record is a drug from which he can’t abstain?
Who just got 11 more of their records and has only one complaint?
Why so few?

That’s me.





At its best: Exactly where I’m at, Flutes of Chi, Even if you don’t, Pandy Fackler

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby The Modernist » 16 Sep 2013, 11:16

I enjoyed that St Germain album a lot at the time. It's not the kind of thing you return to years later, it's perhaps too lightweight for that durability, but it's utilitarian music in that it's great background music for creating a good vibe. Music snobs tend to disdain music which does that, but there's always been a place for that in my world.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Leg of lamb » 16 Sep 2013, 12:50

And there's my favourite record of the year, one of my favourites from any year: Rated R. I was crossing my fingers that it might sneak in at number one, or at least the top five. Anyway, glad that the track that gave me my BCB name was included in your highlights!

And can I say that this wonderful project is reaching a very satisfying conclusion. Seeing all of the reservations drop away as you write about records that you just straight-up love is great - rather touching, even.
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:50

The G Experience! wrote:I enjoyed that St Germain album a lot at the time. It's not the kind of thing you return to years later, it's perhaps too lightweight for that durability, but it's utilitarian music in that it's great background music for creating a good vibe. Music snobs tend to disdain music which does that, but there's always been a place for that in my world.


I agree with you except for the durability - that lightweight stuff still sounds golden.
Did he disappear after this record?

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:51

10. Hakan Hellstrom: Kann ingen sorg for mig Goteborg

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Country: Sweden
Artist: Male solo artist
Career: debut
Language: Swedish
Genre: Maximalist pop

At the beginning of the century, a whole slew of bands turned up using Bruce Springsteen as their jump off point, but making two important corrections: ‘Born in the USA’ is fine but what’s with the minimalism, can’t he get a couple more people in the band? And why can’t he be obsessed with 80s UK indie instead of rock’n’roll? The new Springteenian tradition is often dated back to Arcade Fire, but this guy was there first, and there’s no other way to put it, in contrast to those other ‘artists’, he’s good.
Because I was checking out all these albums on a budget, most of my copies are secondhand (or virtual), and the first track – Hellstrom’s Scandinavian superhit which started his career, and apparently his classic – is unplayable. No matter, the other nine songs are enough to convince me. This is a sugar rush of peaks, very high valleys which are really mountains too and peaks again. It’s kinda built to perform shock therapy on an audience as jaded with mass media as we’ve all become, but it works in the great tradition of pop, using whatever means necessary to make a lot of people feel the same thing at the same time. There is not a bad song on this album, and –to coin a cliché- if it was in English, some of these songs would have been hits all over the world.





At its best: En van med en bil, Ramlar, Uppsnarjd i det bla, Jag var bara inte gjord for dessa dar

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:52

9. D’Angelo: Voodoo

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Country: US
Artist: Male solo artist
Career: recording since 1995, 2nd album
Language: English
Genre: R& B

Did I ever tell you about the time I saw D’Angelo play live following this album? He had Ahmir Thompson on drums, and a huge horn section. Midway through he got out this ancient guy with a trombone, and the guy played this amazing solo on the trombone, and it was like D’Angelo had breathed the breath of life into this ancient shell of a human and granted him the life force for that solo.
Bullshit story? In the spirit of this album, see what you believe. The last minute of ‘Playa playa’ is all disembodied voices and backward percussion and it may get you spooked. There’s a monumental bass line in ‘Devil’s pie’ that slithers like a big fat snake crawling through thick bush. A couple of tracks later – ‘Chicken grease’, ‘The root’, ‘Spanish joint’ – you can see the drum circles, big guys dancing naked down to the waist, sweating, holding live chickens in their hands, girls dancing with their eyes rolled back in the heads (in case you think I’m indulging in racial fantasy, I’m just describing the pictures in the book).
After this album and the tour, D’Angelo disappeared. It’s hard to see where an artist can go after something as primal and spooked as this. But it’s like losing Sly Stone all over again.





At its best: Playa playa, Devil’s pie, Send it on, One mo’gin, Untitled (How does it feel), Africa

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:53

8. Ryuichi Sakamoto: BTTB

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Country: Japan
Artist: Male solo artist
Career: recording solo since 1978
Language: Instrumental
Genre: Piano recital

I told you Ryuichi Sakamoto is one of my discoveries of the year. So I’m also claiming this piano solo album, ‘Back to the basic’, for 2000, even though, just like ‘Cinemage’, it’s a 1999 Asian release but available in Europe and America from 2000.
Some records, they hit you the first time you hear ‘em. There’s something intangible about their beauty, something you can’t exactly locate, and it makes you think it could be fleeting, so you pace yourself, it’s a record for special moments, you don’t want to wear out its magic dust. This is that kind of record. I remember the first time I heard it (and there are very few records I remember stuff like that about – I have better things to do). The country was snowed in. I was standing at the railroad station amidst a sea of people, all trying to get home, looking at the screens telling us about the dreaded train delays. I could only hear snatches of the piano through the buzz of the crowd and the trains (not my train, than was a long way off). The first track, ‘Energy flow’, its perfectly proportioned beauty, I felt like I was in the eye at the center of the crowd, where time was standing still. It was a moment of complete peace. Then ‘ Put your hands up’, the second track, began, with its echoes of the verse of ‘Can’t help falling in love’, and my heart crumbled like wet cookie dough, dripping on the floor in thick, sticky sugary goo.
And so the record goes on. There is so much to hear in these miniature pieces, whatever you want to hear in them actually. Let me tell you just one more thing I heard in another beautiful - I can’t say this enough, the record is illuminated by absolute classical beauty - track called ‘Aqua’. The melody reminds me of a fragment of ‘Grapefruit moon’ by Tom Waits. Sakamoto lets the melody repeat endlessly but each time he puts in a little melodic variation, one extra note, one note less, a little run into an accent, a melody reversed… It’s those variations that pull you in, each one illuminating the one preceding and predicting the next one, and all of them together making up the definitive melody of the song – but that one can only be heard in your memory of the song. Listening it made me think of love in long-term relationships, of the repetitive nature of living together, all the little day-to-day household routines, leaving for work, dropping the kids off at school… Every day is not the same, but you go through the same routines. Yet every day there’s a little variation in routine, and all of them together are not meaningless but make up love, at least as much as the unique things you do. Thinking about it, it just melts your heart. Sentimental, I know, but there you go…





At its best: Energy flow, Put your hands up, Railroad man, Opus, Sonatine, Lorenz and Watson, Choral no. 1, Aqua

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:54

7. Yo la tengo: And then nothing turned itself inside out

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Country: US
Artist: Trio
Career: recording since 1985
Language: English
Genre: Indie rock

In a year of mostly awful album covers, let’s examine the beautiful picture on Yo la tengo’s latest: nightfall, ordinary houses with ordinary lights behind the windows, ordinary cars parked in the driveway, ordinary trees around the lane, and in the right hand corner a guy coming home from work or coming back from the take-out place (he’s got his little bag in his hand anyway), suddenly distracted by a light coming from outside of the picture’s edge. He’s looking up, what the hell is this light?, but not threatened, he lets himself get taken up in the light willingly. The light is love, and the way love colours ordinary life is the theme of this album.
Do you feel uncomfortable with that theme, do you feel it’s not very rock’n’roll, then turn away, this is not a very rock’n’roll record. But, if you accept that a lot of people settle into long term relationships not just because society wants us too, but because it’s something people value, indeed, value more than most people value most things, and if that is so, surely valued emotions should be expressed, then you’ll feel right at home.
‘And then…’ is very much a double LP, not in the sprawling ‘White album’ tradition, but in the focused ‘Blonde on blonde’ tradition – a tradition that hasn’t had as many practitioners. Side four, the sidelong meditation, side three, the playful and up tempo side, side two, the ballad and most melodic side, side one, the side on which the ideas of the record find their sternest, most crystallized form (think ‘Pledging my time’ and ‘Visions of Johanna’, not ‘Rainy day women’). It’s all there on this album.
Broadly speaking there are two types of songs on here: the ballads, gorgeously unfolding chord patterns over which Georgia Hubley (usually) sings of heartbreak and mending hearts, seeking transcendence like a great country singer. Not that country singers would recognize this as country. It may not be from the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it’s got that pining sound. If you know the record, you know what I mean.
And then there are the grooves: eviscerated shoegaze constructions. Say what you will, but Ira Kaplan is just about the only guitarist who did anything interesting with the shoegaze template for the guitar player. On a lot of these grooves the guitar is all but abandoned (and that’s interesting too). Instead these sound like songs which have been pulled apart into the smallest constituent parts of the riff, and put back together using shards and loops, fragments of a beat, a two note organ pattern going back and forth, constantly suggesting movement, harmonic and melodic, but circling over themselves in a repetitive groove.
‘Night falls on Hoboken’, the ‘Sad eyed lady’ of this album combines the two, it begins a ballad, a beautifully still ballad, capturing that image on the album cover, then it slowly dissolves into a five note bass riff, while waves of abstract sound ebb and flow from Kaplan’s guitar, until it just fades into silence. As far as I can tell, it’s just the sound of the three musicians – drums, bass, guitar, vocal and backing vocal – stretched over 17 minutes, communicating in near stillness, varying tones and pitches and feelings in what is on the surface pure repetition. I won’t get into anything as corny as comparing it to a long term relationship, but it’s the heart of the record and it’s what the record is all about. Find in it what you will, there is a lot to be found;





At its best: Our way to fall, The crying of lot G, You can have it all, Tears are in your eyes, Cherry chapstick, Night falls on Hoboken

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby Brother Spoon » 17 Sep 2013, 05:55

6. Lassie foundation: Pacifico

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Country: US
Artist: Band
Career: recording since 1996, debut full-length LP
Language: English
Genre: Shoegaze

2000 was a lonely year for a shoegaze band. It’s a shame, cause if the music industry had been paying attention, they could have jumped on this band instead of, say, the Strokes. I think we’d all have been happier. They’ve got it all. Noise, heroic falsetto singing, strong harmonies, hooks and songs, great beefy production, and above all, that feeling as if these guys are incredibly happy to be alive and play this music, and that’s what they’re born to do. And a name that sounds stupid the first time you hear it, then later on you think ‘hold on, maybe it does have something in an arena filled with names like Coldplay and U2.’
The easy addition is shoegaze + Beach Boys = Lassie foundation, but the Beach boys comparison is really only unavoidable on should’ve been a huge single ‘Come on let your lime light shine’. Apart from that it’s shoegaze, only with great singing, pop melodies and a sense of fun (all of which the Beach boys had of course).
I would’ve loved to have heard singles like ‘She’s the coming sun’ and ‘Come on let your lime light shine’ everywhere in the summer of 2000. The first one just puts that spring in my step every time it plays. The second one launches with an irresistible attack of riff and ba-ba-ba’s, then gets sucked into a vortex of overlapping vocal lines, somehow coming out the other end slow as molasses but equally irresistible. Halfway through there’s a break, repeat of the intro and this time they deliver on the energetic promise and build right to the end. I love it.
I would’ve loved for this band to have been forced to grow up in public… given some opportunities and some big expectations, who knows what might’ve been…as it is, they released a couple more records that sank and packed it in… I’ll be looking out for those. These days, now that joyless shoegaze has won, they sound more than ever like the path that should’ve been taken.





At its best: Dive bomber, She’s the coming sun – she’s long gone, Come on let your lime light shine, El Rey

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 17 Sep 2013, 06:07

that D'Angelo's great
king of the divan

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby The Modernist » 17 Sep 2013, 06:51

mentalist (slight return) wrote:that D'Angelo's great


I'm surprised by how many I have.

I liked it at the time, but I think I liked the idea of it more: combining a sleazy Sly sound with modern beats. It's a great sounding record, but I'd struggle to remember too many of the individual songs on it now.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 17 Sep 2013, 07:56

The G Experience! wrote:
mentalist (slight return) wrote:that D'Angelo's great


I'm surprised by how many I have.

I liked it at the time, but I think I liked the idea of it more: combining a sleazy Sly sound with modern beats. It's a great sounding record, but I'd struggle to remember too many of the individual songs on it now.


you remember Feel Like Makin' Love I hope

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 100)

Postby PENK » 17 Sep 2013, 08:47

Brother Spoon wrote:10. Hakan Hellstrom: Kann ingen sorg for mig Goteborg


I'm quite surprised to find this record here. He's absolutely massive in Sweden, plus he's made loads of money from assorted businesses and is held up as a style icon too - there's even been a recent film (Känn ingen sorg, which got mixed reviews and which I haven't seen because my girlfriend said I'd hate it) based on his music - but I thought he was completely unknown abroad.
I've never really got into him as I find him just a bit too derivative and second-hand, not bringing enough of his own to the music, but he has so much energy and some great hooks that some of his stuff really is undeniable. 'En vän med en bil' is one of the best indie-pop songs I've heard.
Judging by a couple of recent TV interviews he's gone a bit batty. Maybe he's trying a new persona now that he's heading towards his forties.
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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Brother Spoon » 18 Sep 2013, 05:44

5. Elliott Smith: Figure 8

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Country: US
Artist: Male solo artist
Career: recording since 1994
Language: English
Genre: Tinker tailor Miniature Pop

Smith’s White album, and what a job he does of it. This is like two records, a band album and a solo one, melded into one, except the band is also Smith by himself. Look, no doubt about it. Maybe at times his stuff gets a little overbearingly self-centred and depressing. But melodically, harmonically, arrangement-wise, production-wise, he was a master. This stuff shows there’s no real dividing line between art and craft, but at best, they strengthen each other. This may be his best work or it may be ‘xo’, it’s a draw. I’m happy they’re both out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afeAUndo ... 9y6F2nteIa

At its best: Everything reminds me of her/Everything means nothing to me, Happiness, Can’t make a sound.
Last edited by Brother Spoon on 18 Sep 2013, 05:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Brother Spoon » 18 Sep 2013, 05:45

4. Radiohead: Kid A

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Country: UK
Artist: Band
Career: recording since 1993
Language: English
Genre: Alienation

Notes from recovered diary made listening to this album:
‘Everything in its right place’: Just listen to that keyboard sound.
Yorke’s got a voice that deserves to be smeared and erased in space and time. Kid A is their only record that matters cause it’s the one where they realised that.
‘Kid A’ (the song), what makes it so pretty?: Children’s Music box – a little keyboard melody line repeated with electronic pitter patter rumbling underneath – a slurred electronic voice trying to articulate something – it stops for a moment – real drumline falls in with harmonised high vocal lines (also manipulated) – bass, it starts to cook now – stop start bit – bass drops in to a two note bit – break – drums go on alone – ambient keyboards wash over the track – music box motif returns, pitter patter and electronic voice return – drums and two note bass fall in again over swelling ambient keyboard – end noise like a wailing animal – high overtone remains. The most beautiful thing.
‘National anthem’: Forget the machines, the moments when this really starts to soar is when they let the jazz players loose! And the 20th century classical radio station!
‘How to disappear completely’: the backing (drums, bass, strummed acoustic) fades into the background, till it’s a dance between Thom Yorke’s mantra incantations, those swooping strings, slide guitar melodies(?). A lovely prayer song, really.
‘Treefingers’: I highly suspect most musicians have sketches like these in their cupboards (I certainly did at one point in my life). Maybe that was what caused the furore – all those people thinking they’d used this stuff for personal enjoyment, but you weren’t supposed to actually put them on your record company-monitored, statement/trade figures making records in the corporate ‘90s alternative rock scene. ‘What’s up with all this half-assed sun-baked ‘experiment’ that we were all up to but never thought to put on a record? They should be ashamed.’ The truth is I like these sketches (of which I’ve got a hundred in my own cupboard) better than 80% of their real songs.
‘Optimistic’: See, like this one which definitely falls in the 80%.
‘In limbo’: And this one. These two are like the drowsy centre of the record. They have lost their way. Intentionally? Am I reading too much into this? It sets you up perfectly for the finale though.
‘Idioteque’: their ‘Subterranean homesick blues’, only with all the fun sucked out of it. I get this sudden nightmare that we should leave the earth to the machines cause they will take better care of our plants. Curse you, Thom Yorke, there’s a little Michael Stipe in you yet. Other than that, a mighty and brutal track.
‘Morning bell’: it’s good they allowed the band in the studio for at least one track. And make it the soothing, gentle kiss off of ‘Morning bell’. There’s that lovely keyboard sound again – it sounds like the keys are moving all by themselves, no player required. And I just love the high guitar sounds right at the end, I know how they’re made, but they still sound like a bird on fire trying to fly.
‘Motion picture soundtrack’: Fuck, those are some beautiful fantasy sounds – the high angel voices, the swishing syrup sound that signals heaven in movies. It’s a sketch but it’s just right.
Thanks guys, for making one record that really speaks to me in between the hi-alternative posturing and the abstract ‘band as landscape architects’ phase.



At its best: Everything in its right place, Kid A, The national anthem, Idioteque
Last edited by Brother Spoon on 18 Sep 2013, 18:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Leg of lamb » 18 Sep 2013, 13:58

Forgot about Kid A and I'm right behind you, Spoon. Easily my favourite Radiohead album and a deserved top fiver in any year.
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Brother Spoon » 18 Sep 2013, 18:36

3. Uakti: Aguas da Amazonia

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Country: Brazil
Artist: Band
Career: recording since 1981
Language: Instrumental
Genre: Tuned Percussion

Uakti is a Brazilian quartet, who play percussion instruments they designed and apparently built themselves. For this record they reinterpret a Philip Glass dance score dedicated to the rivers of the Amazonian rain forest.
At this point you’ve probably stopped reading, and I can’t blame you, except you’re wrong. You don’t need a library card to enjoy this very easy, very melodic, very unique, hypnotic and beautiful music. ‘Self-built instruments’ in this case doesn’t mean you hear the bicycle wheel fall off somewhere in the third song. I’ve always loved the sound of vibraphones and xylophones, and these guys have invented some almost heavenly variations on the sound of tuned percussion. I’ve never heard the original Glass scores, but these interpretations are a mile away from some of the austere Glass music I’ve heard, they bring the sound of the earth and the body into it, not just some intellectual exercise. It’s all about those little rhythmic patterns and fragments that spin around each other, constantly changing the overall sound. Anyway, when I started this 2000 thing, I had no idea music like this existed, and now I do, and I love it.
(But then, I do have a library card and I actually found this record at the library, so maybe you do need a library card. Let me know how you fare…)



At its best: Japura river, Madeira river, Tapajos river, Paru river, Amazon river

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Leg of lamb » 18 Sep 2013, 19:24

Hello, I have a library card and I'm enjoying the number 3 record on this list. I think that I just like low-key ambient instrumental music in general, actually, and should just come out and admit it, and buy lots of it for writing and falling asleep to. I might even have a look out for this Glass Amazon thing!
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby Brother Spoon » 19 Sep 2013, 06:00

2. Phoenix: United

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Country: France
Artist: Band
Career: debut
Language: English
Genre: Pop

Christian meticulously stretched out his swimming trunks enhanced bronzed body by the pool as he contemplated why the monokini girls idling by could arouse his appetite no longer. Julie, those pert and nimble, pink-topped peaks, it had been real with her, hadn’t it? But reality was no longer the immutable surface of yesteryear, it had been become pliable and flexible with his sense of right and wrong. Noémie, the burgeoning warmth of those plump mounds, always glistening as if covered in dewdrops, but he could only ever imagine her as an alternative, a haven from the small breasted women controlling his life and mind, a mountain scale to hide out from the world and its demands. Stephanie’s stern and bitter flesh was a flashback to his father’s face – he didn’t think he’d ever told him about the collapse of his academic hopes, he couldn’t quite remember. And Marie –how many years had she left him wondering – when he finally bit upon her nipple, the taste came rolling over him like a wave of bittersweet emotion, the past gaining on the present, flying kites on the sand side by side, taking turns of the swing. He could’ve lost himself, but she could never be the future in this ever-present present. Anouk was a spectre, looming bitter fruit, he’d never really seen except through the haze of the nightlife, in public bathrooms, in rented cars, nakedly tempting as she stood by during his last confrontation with Julie.

Maybe it was over. Without really getting up, he allowed his body to slide into the forgiving water of the pool, chlorine washing out the corruption from his pores. It was time to start that band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjpoH33KrVc&list=PL494395FFCD445A44

At its best: Too young, Honeymoon, If I ever feel better, Summer days

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Re: Spoon's 100 favourite records of 2000 (NOW TOP 10)

Postby The Red Nosed Heifer » 19 Sep 2013, 07:21

Huzzah! I thought I wasn't going to see this in the countdown as I seem to be the only person that rated it really highly so I'm stoked I'm not alone.
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