Top 10 Albums of 2001

Lost among the 20th anniversary hype around Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten, and U2’s Achtung Baby, and all the 10th anniversary energy only focusing on 9/11, let’s pause to look at the Top 10 Albums from 2001.

Earlier this year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, and elsewhere there was some brief hoopla about The Strokes Is This It album turning 10 years old. I loved it at the time and while I don’t think it holds up quite as well as the other albums on this list, it was certainly a touchstone release worthy of the mentions.

Interestingly enough, two albums I most associate with 9/11 for some reason (Radiohead’s Kid A and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the titles I originally thought would anchor this list), were actually misremembered. They were from 2000 and 2002, respectively. Also, this list is short on hip-hop, but if you check the record books, there were several classics dropped by Outkast, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Eminem, Mos Def, and Common in either 2000 or 2002 (or in some cases both).

On to the list of the Top 10 Albums of 2001:

10. The Strokes – Is This It
Let’s go ahead and include this aforementioned Strokes debut. Mostly since this original banned-in-the-US album cover would look nice here on our website.

9. Explosions in the Sky – Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
I admit I only recently discovered this band and their fine brand of instrumental rock goodness, and after investigating their back catalog, this is one gem I certainly missed back in 2001.

8. Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera
One of their most famous and celebrated albums, the DBT’s “concept album” surrounding the legend of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the deep south is no longer their best. It’s long since been surpassed by their continuing output, but this one put them on the map.

7. Radiohead – Amnesiac
Sometimes overlooked and underrated, this follow-up to 2000’s Kid A album is usually dismissed as simply the second album of Radiohead’s Bleeps’n’Blips Era. Kid B, if you will. But Amnesiac stands on its own as yet another solid entry in the band’s great catalog.

6. Whiskeytown – Pneumonia
Actually recorded in 1999 as a follow-up to Strangers Almanac, this one didn’t see the light of day until 2001 after the band broke up and Ryan Adams released his first solo album. Finished up with producer Ethan Johns, Pneumonia was called “easily Whiskeytown’s most ambitious and eclectic work” by AllMusic.com. A really catchy record that some people might not have caught when it was released.

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Dear Kid A

Thanks Kid!

Dear Kid A,

I just wanted to thank you for the good time the other night. It was really thoughtful of you to invite me over to your, shall we say, interesting party. The hors d’oeuvre were delicious and the mood was just right. Even though the guests didn’t mingle too much I still feel like this was one of the best parties of the year–if not the new millennium!

You seem to have a real good feel for what the future might hold for us. The settings you used, the colors for your decorations, the off beat twists and turns to the themes, were of the most fascinating kind. Can’t say I have seen this type of atmosphere before but something tells me you might on to a good thing here.

Some of the guests I spoke to that had attended some of your previous parties seemed a little disturbed–some even downright annoyed–at the new direction your parties seem to be taking. They seemed confused and unhappy that you simply didn’t continue with some of the success’ of your past. I found them to be somewhat provoking yet a little too clingy for me. I, for one, think these new ideas of yours are agreeable and progressive, and will lead to even better things for you and your future attendees.

Trust me Kid, people will be talking about this party for years to come. I have already noticed that some of my other friends are trying to throw very similar affairs, yet they do not seem to be able to match the wit and elegance by which you pulled it off. I hope you do keep up the good work you have started here.

Yours truly,

Mr. Magpie