20. The Avalanches, 'Since I Left You' (Modular, 2001)
"Welcome to Paradise," a voice invites us at the opening of the Avalanches' debut. Yep, pretty much. The Aussie trio tapped into the Beach Boys/De La Soul tradition of all-smiles cuteness for what might be the blissiest album in dance music history. Using an estimated 3500 samples – from classics like Madonna's "Holiday" and Kid Creole and the Coconuts' "Stool Pigeon," as well as hard-to-recognize hip-hop, funk, easy-listening and cheese-jazz records – they created a concept album about getting over a breakup by embarking on an island cruise. (Call it EDM's Forgetting Sarah Marshall.) On "Flight Tonight" and "Stay Another Season" the sense of escape into something exotic, but also kind of scary, gives all the bright, swirling music a needed emotional tension, while tracks like the butterfly-light lounge pop of "Two Hearts In 3/4 Time" are perfect serotonin surges.
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