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“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter.”
— High Fidelity

Etcetera

Best Songs of 1999

Just like I created 100-song Best of Lists representing 30, 20, and 10 years ago, I have spent the past year creating lists for every other year I've been alive. So rather than wait ten years to publish them all, I'm also going to share lists from 5, 15 and 25 years ago. I'd do 35, too, but that pesky Best of 1979 isn't quite finished yet.

In the past two years since I started this process of culling tracks from every year of my existence, I have come across a slew of great albums and artists that I had only heard of (but not heard), or, in a few cases, had never known about at all. It's been a wonderful experience, yet again, to piece together this list.

As before, this list is an honest attempt to assess a year in music, merging the reality of a list made 15 years later with the idea that, had I conceived of such a list at the time, I would have included pop hits, obscure tunes, aging favorites and new artists alike. This, more than most years, is a perfect example of that blend between the obscure and the massively popular.

For these year-end lists, I like to undertake the seemingly impossibly task of creating an hours-long mix. The order you see below represents that effort, which you can listen to via Spotify or my preferred streaming service, Rdio. Sadly all 100 tracks aren't available in either case, but you get the general idea. Track notes to come eventually or—particularly if last year's un-annotated lists are a sign of future action—maybe never.

  1. Utopia Parkway

    Utopia Parkway

    Fountains of Wayne

    Utopia Parkway

    Atlantic

    Notes

  2. Big Daddy

    Instant Pleasure

    Rufus Wainwright

    Big Daddy

    American

    Notes

  3. Lost and Gone Forever

    Center of Attention

    Guster

    Lost and Gone Forever

    Sire

    Notes

  4. The Soft Bulletin

    Race for the Prize

    The Flaming Lips

    The Soft Bulletin

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  5. Terror Twilight

    Spit on a Stranger

    Pavement

    Terror Twilight

    Matador

    Notes

  6. Keep It Like a Secret

    Else

    Built to Spill

    Keep It Like a Secret

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  7. You Must Be This Tall

    23-five

    Michael

    You Must Be This Tall

    Ghostmeat

    Notes

  8. Shield of Thorns

    Wrapped in My Memory

    Shawn Smith

    Shield of Thorns

    Establishmentstore

    Notes

  9. Mule Variations

    Picture in a Frame

    Tom Waits

    Mule Variations

    Epitaph

    Notes

  10. Magnolia

    Save Me

    Aimee Mann

    Magnolia

    Reprise

    Notes

  11. Martha Wainwright

    Lolita

    Martha Wainwright

    Martha Wainwright EP

    Querbes Service

    Notes

  12. The Hot Rock

    Hot Rock

    Sleater-Kinney

    The Hot Rock

    Kill Rock Stars

    Notes

  13. When the Pawn

    Fast As You Can

    Fiona Apple

    When the Pawn…

    Sony Work

    Notes

  14. Baby One More Time

    …Baby One More Time

    Britney Spears

    …Baby One More Time

    Jive

    Notes

  15. So Real

    Candy

    Mandy Moore

    So Real

    550

    Notes

  16. Christina Aguilera

    What a Girl Wants

    Christina Aguilera

    Christina Aguilera

    RCA

    Notes

  17. Enrique

    Bailamos

    Enrique Iglesias

    Enrique

    Interscope

    Notes

  18. On the 6

    Waiting for Tonight

    Jennifer Lopez

    On the 6

    Sony

    Notes

  19. Remedy

    Red Alert

    Basement Jaxx

    Remedy

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  20. 1999

    Feeling for You

    Cassius

    1999

    Virgin

    Notes

  21. Keep It Unreal

    Get a Move On

    Mr. Scruff

    Keep It Unreal

    Ninja Tuna

    Notes

  22. Significant Other

    N 2 Gether Now

    Limp Bizkit featuring Method Man

    Significant Other

    Interscope

    Notes

  23. 2001

    The Next Episode

    Dr. Dre

    2001

    Aftermath

    Notes

  24. The Slim Shady LP

    My Name Is

    Eminem

    The Slim Shady LP

    Interscope

    Notes

  25. No Angel

    Thank You

    Dido

    No Angel

    Arista

    Notes

  26. On How Life Is

    I Try

    Macy Gray

    On How Life Is

    Epic

    Notes

  27. Supernatural

    Do You Like the Way

    Santana featuring Lauren Hill & Cee-Lo

    Supernatural

    Arista

    Notes

  28. Subtle Ways

    Just Can’t Make It

    Maktub

    Subtle Ways

    Jasiri Media Group

    Notes

  29. Things Fall Apart

    The Next Movement

    The Roots

    Things Fall Apart

    MCA

    Notes

  30. Black on Both Sides

    Ms. Fat Booty

    Mos Def

    Black on Both Sides

    Rawkus

    Notes

  31. Hold On

    Hold On

    Romanthony

    Hold On 12"

    Roule

    Notes

  32. Vertigo

    I See You Baby

    Groove Armada

    Vertigo

    Zomba

    Notes

  33. Surrender

    Let Forever Be

    The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher

    Surrender

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  34. Astro Lounge

    Stoned

    Smash Mouth

    Astro Lounge

    Interscope

    Notes

  35. A Place in the Sun

    Miserable

    Lit

    A Place in the Sun

    RCA

    Notes

  36. Buckcherry

    For the Movies

    Buckcherry

    Buckcherry

    Dreamworks

    Notes

  37. Neon Ballroom

    Ana’s Song (Open Fire)

    Silverchair

    Neon Ballroom

    Epic

    Notes

  38. Enema of the State

    Adam’s Song

    Blink-182

    Enema of the State

    MCA

    Notes

  39. Millennium

    I Want It That Way

    Backstreet Boys

    Millennium

    Jive

    Notes

  40. LFO

    Girl on TV

    LFO

    LFO

    Arista

    Notes

  41. The Ego Has Landed

    Millennium

    Robbie Williams

    The Ego Has Landed

    Capitol

    Notes

  42. Willennium

    Will2K

    Will Smith

    Willennium

    Columbia

    Notes

  43. The Antidote

    Ooh La La

    The Wiseguys

    The Antidote

    Wall of Sound

    Notes

  44. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    Beautiful Stranger

    Madonna

    Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    Maverick

    Notes

  45. Go

    Cha Cha Cha (Go Remix)

    Jimmy Luxury & The Tommy Rome Orchestra

    Go

    Sony Work

    Notes

  46. You Can't Stop the Bum Rush

    Steal My Sunshine

    Len

    You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush

    Sony Work

    Notes

  47. Mobile Estates

    Better Days

    Citizen King

    Mobile Estates

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  48. Make Yourself

    Stellar

    Incubus

    Make Yourself

    Sony

    Notes

  49. No. 4

    Sour Girl

    Stone Temple Pilots

    No. 4

    Atlantic

    Notes

  50. Euphoria Morning

    Can’t Change Me

    Chris Cornell

    Euphoria Morning

    A&M

    Notes

  51. There Is Nothing Left to Lose

    Learn to Fly

    Foo Fighters

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose

    RCA

    Notes

  52. 11 Love Songs for Your Shallow Broken Heart

    Map of New Jersey

    Late Night Television

    11 Love Songs for Your Shallow Broken Heart

    self-released

    Notes

  53. Another True Fiction

    Another True Fiction

    Jeremy Toback

    Another True Fiction

    RCA

    Notes

  54. Useful Music

    Trailways

    Josh Joplin Band

    Useful Music

    SMG

    Notes

  55. This Desert Life

    High Life

    Counting Crows

    This Desert Life

    Interscope

    Notes

  56. Scream 2

    Help Myself

    Dave Matthews Band

    Scream 2

    Capitol

    Notes

  57. Liquid Skin

    Blue Moon Rising

    Gomez

    Liquid Skin

    Virgin

    Notes

  58. Jewels for Sophia

    Viva! Sea-Tac

    Robyn Hitchcock

    Jewels for Sophia

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  59. The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

    Army

    Ben Folds Five

    The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

    550

    Notes

  60. Aware 7

    Laugh I Could Learn to Love

    Gus Black

    Aware 7 The Compilation

    Aware/Columbia

    Notes

  61. The First Ten Years

    Lately

    Shawn Mullins

    The First Ten Years

    Sony

    Notes

  62. Inside Wants Out

    Neon

    John Mayer

    Inside Wants Out

    Sony

    Notes

  63. One and a Half

    Counting on You

    Train

    One and a Half

    Aware/Columbia

    Notes

  64. The Tennessee Fire

    Heartbreakin Man

    My Morning Jacket

    The Tennessee Fire

    Darla

    Notes

  65. Fly

    Ready to Run

    Dixie Chicks

    Fly

    Monument

    Notes

  66. Burn to Shine

    Steal My Kisses

    Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

    Burn to Shine

    Virgin

    Notes

  67. 14:59

    Every Morning

    Sugar Ray

    14:59

    Lava

    Notes

  68. Blue

    Never Let You Go

    Third Eye Blind

    Blue

    Elektra

    Notes

  69. Fight Songs

    Nineteen

    Old 97s

    Fight Songs

    Elektra

    Notes

  70. This Time

    This Time

    Los Lobos

    This Time

    Hollywood

    Notes

  71. Rock Art and the X-Ray Style

    The Road to Rock & Roll

    Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros

    Rock Art and the X-Ray Style

    Epitaph

    Notes

  72. 69 Love Songs

    I Think I Need a New Heart

    The Magnetic Fields

    69 Love Songs

    Merge

    Notes

  73. Give Yourself a Hand

    Keep a Lid on Things

    Crash Test Dummies

    Give Yourself a Hand

    Vik

    Notes

  74. Breathing Tornados

    Nighttime

    Ben Lee

    Breathing Tornados

    Grand Royal

    Notes

  75. Electric Honey

    Ladyfingers

    Luscious Jackson

    Electric Honey

    Grand Royal

    Notes

  76. The Sounds of Science

    Alive

    Beastie Boys

    The Sounds of Science

    Capitol

    Notes

  77. Jurassic 5

    Concrete Schoolyard

    Jurassic 5

    Jurassic 5 EP

    Interscope

    Notes

  78. Amplified

    Vivrant Thing

    Q-Tip

    Amplified

    Arista

    Notes

  79. Nigga Please

    Got Your Money

    Ol’ Dirty Bastard

    Nigga Please

    Elektra

    Notes

  80. The Writing's on the Wall

    Say My Name

    Destiny’s Child

    The Writing’s on the Wall

    Sony

    Notes

  81. Fan Mail

    No Scrubs

    TLC

    Fan Mail

    LaFace

    Notes

  82. Ruff Ryders' First Lady

    Love Is Blind

    Eve

    Ruff Ryders’ First Lady

    Ruff Ryders

    Notes

  83. Unleash the Dragon

    Thong Song

    Sisqó

    Unleash the Dragon

    Def Soul

    Notes

  84. Midnite Vultures

    Debra

    Beck

    Midnite Vultures

    DGC

    Notes

  85. Windowlicker

    Windowlicker

    Aphex Twin

    Windowlicker

    Warp

    Notes

  86. The Three EPs

    Dry the Rain

    The Beta Band

    The Three EPs

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  87. 13

    Coffee + TV

    Blur

    13

    Food/Virgin

    Notes

  88. The Great Beyond

    The Great Beyond

    R.E.M.

    The Great Beyond

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  89. Brothers & Sisters

    Brothers and Sisters

    Coldplay

    Brothers & Sisters

    Fierce Panda

    Notes

  90. Title of Record

    Take a Picture

    Filter

    Title of Record

    Reprise

    Notes

  91. Californication

    Otherside

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Californication

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  92. Soundsystem

    Flowing

    311

    Soundsystem

    Volcano

    Notes

  93. Emergency & I

    The City

    The Dismemberment Plan

    Emergency & I

    DeSoto

    Notes

  94. Play

    Porcelain

    Moby

    Play

    V2

    Notes

  95. Central Reservation

    Pass in Time

    Beth Orton

    Central Reservation

    Arista

    Notes

  96. I See a Darkness

    I See a Darkness

    Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

    I See a Darkness

    Drag City

    Notes

  97. Rehearsals for Departure

    Ohio

    Damien Jurado

    Rehearsals for Departure

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  98. Summerteeth

    When You Wake Up Feeling Old

    Wilco

    Summerteeth

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  99. Blue Days Black Nights

    Underwater Life

    Freedy Johnston

    Blue Days Black Nights

    Elektra

    Notes

  100. Last Kiss

    Last Kiss

    Pearl Jam

    Last Kiss

    Epic

    Notes