1. Warren Zevon, Life’ll Kill Ya (Artemis)
If there were any justice in this world, they’d just rename this album Warren Zevon’s Greatest Hits and let the poor man finally stop playing “Werewolves of London” every time he performs. But there ain’t, and they won’t–but if you’re lucky, he’ll play this album in its entirely once he finishes with the whole “ah-woo” bit.
2. Tim Finn, Say It Is So (What Are Records)
Nope, not that Finn: Neil Finn is the one you’re thinking about, the younger brother who wrote all the radio ready pop hits with Split Enz, Crowded House and as a solo artist. Tim Finn, on the other hand, just makes brilliant albums like this one, and nobody notices.
3. P.J. Harvey, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (Island)
I’m gonna scream if I read one more turgid critical essay trying to divine which of this album’s songs are the city stories, and which of this album’s songs are the sea stories. It doesn’t matter. They’re all terrific. So shut up and listen to record, okay?
4. Steely Dan, Two Against Nature (Warner Bros.)
Like Gaucho, only with a lot more soul. Not to mention twenty extra years of anal studio wonkery.
5. Ween, White Pepper (Elektra)
The first three songs on this album may be the best twelve minutes of pure pop perfection I’ve ever heard–and the rest of the album ain’t no bad shakes either. Coulda been album of the year, if Dean and Gene had just resisted including the lame Jimmy Buffett-parody “Bananas and Blow,” which is almost as bad as the real thing. Yecch.
6. Mindless Self Indulgence, Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy (Elektra)
No sophomore slump here, babies, as Little Jimmy Urine and pals churn out 30 hyperactive, Atari-driven tunelets–then make smart by arranging them all in alphabetical order. As if we could read, sheesh!
7. Residents, dot.com (Ralph America)
America’s favorite unknown band has spent the past 15 years producing increasingly ornate concept albums–making their occasional collections of leftover bits surprisingly delightful, if for no other reason than because you don’t have to know the story behind the album in order to appreciate the music.
8. Fu Manchu, King of the Road (Mammoth)
Dude, where’s my van?
9. King Crimson, the construKction of light (Virgin)
Dude, where’s Bill Bruford?
10. Bloodhound Gang, Hooray for Boobies (Geffen)
Dude, he said boobies! That rocks.