PRINT December 1999

Simon Reynolds

1. London Pirate Radio Rallying the city’s “vibe tribe” with patois chants and Dada sound-poetry, pirate MCs surf the DJ’s turbulent flow and together conjure a Hakim Bey–style “power surge” against Babylon.

2. Public Enemy (Fear of a Black Planet) Militant hip-hop’s last blast, before gangsta/playa/thug rap’s still-unbroken reign of false consciousness.

3. Saint Etienne (“London Belongs to Me”) Britpop’s dub-hazy pinnacle, four years before a pipe dream was realized as a ghastly hegemony of nostalgia and parochialism.

4. Beltram (“Energy Flash”) Techno’s “Raw Power,” although Joey was aiming for “Iron Man.”

5. Nirvana (“Smells Like Teen Spirit” video) Rebel rock’s glorious valedictory blowout.

6. Castlemorton Common Rave (1992) Anarchy in the UK’s rural heartland, this 40,000-strong illegal party actually provoked legislation to ensure nothing like it happened again—top that, punk rock!

7. Aphex Twin (Selected Ambient Works Volume II) Less lovely than Volume I, but deeper.

8. Aaliyah (“One in a Million”) Produced/written by Timbaland and Missy Elliott, the hypersyncopated ballad that revolutionized R&B.

9. Pilldriver (“Apocalypse Never”) Rave crusader Marc Acardipane’s career zenith, this gabba blitzkrieg feels like surging through a nebula cloud of flame, limbs slipstreamed with incandescence.

10. Herbert (Around the House) Spongy pulses, texturhythmic voluptuousness, and exquisitely jazzed vocals reveal the myriad mood shades contained in the platitude “House is a feeling.”