Critic's Pick: Jon Vena's Top 10 Albums of 1998

This year we've asked some of our favorite writers and editors to tell us what albums

stood out in '98. Today, SonicNet's Jon Vena supplies his top 10.

1. Sunny Day Real Estate, How It Feels To Be Something On (SubPop):

Four years removed from the limelight lead singer Jeremy Enigk so openly detested,

SDRE returned in 1998 with a powerful, emotionally charged record about coping with

love, enlightenment and fear -- all at the same time.

2. Neutral Milk Hotel, In An Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge/Touch &

Go): Perhaps the most brilliant pop album of the decade. Neutral 6 is clearly the

brightest star of the famed Athens, Ga., Elephant 6 collective.

3. Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West (Up):

The brash jangle of Modest Mouse's critically acclaimed third LP redefined lo-fi to a point

where Pavement sounds as if it were produced by Michael Beinhorn. "Trailer Trash" was

the best undiscovered love song of 1998.

4. Marilyn Manson, Mechanical Animals (Nothing):

In 1998, the former Brian Warner dissed Courtney Love, set backstage fires and trashed

hotel rooms with reckless abandon. And on "Mechanical Animals" he recreated heavy

metal into a powerful brand of glittery glam-rock.

5. Fatboy Slim, You've Come A Long Way, Baby (Astralwerks):

Former Housemartin bassist Norman Cook must've been aching to be back in his old

school days as a thumping stringman. Here's a guy born to major in twisted, energized

turntablism.

6. Remy Zero, Villa Elaine (Geffen):

Remy Zero vocalist -- and Alyssa Milano's boytoy -- Cinjun Tate is glam rock's latest and

greatest savior. Marilyn who?

7. Bran Van 3000, Glee (Capitol):

Bran Van 3000 is the glorious result of about a dozen musicians bringing their influences

to the table, creating an eclectic buffet of hip-hop, trip-hop, alt-rock and R&B. Canada's

most interesting musical import since The Rheostatics.

8. R.E.M., Up (Warner Bros.):

Bill Berry's departure gave Michael Stipe and company an excuse to experiment.

Up was 1998's most excellent sonic brew of ancient keyboards, seldom-heard

stringed instruments and Stipe's pretty, mysterious songwriting.

9. Evelyn Forever, Lost In The Supermarket

Expect big things from this pop quartet from New Jersey -- singer Eddie Yoo and

guitarists Reef Fanous make the bounciest bubblegum rock this side of Matthew Sweet,

The Replacements and The Cars.

10. Jeff Buckley, SKETCHES (For My Sweetheart, The Drunk)

(Columbia):

This posthumous two-disc set of Buckley's acrobatic vocals and cascading emotions

sublimely commemorated a career that should have meant so much more than tragedy.