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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Dry Humping The Cash Cow

festival crowd

"We're one..but were..not the same..we gotta..carry each other...carry each other..ooonnnneeee."

When I was a sophomore in high school a friend of mine watched a short MTV interview clip of a new, young band from LA. He was so intrigued by them that he went out and bought one of their albums before ever hearing a note of their music. A few months later, after he had turned me on to said band and we listened to their two albums about 300 times each, they came to play at a club in Trenton, NJ that held a few hundred at most. The show was on a Sunday night and we didn’t have our driver’s license yet (17 in NJ) therefore we were unable to see them perform. About two years later, during our senior year, we did get a chance to see them play at a different, slighty larger garden: Madison Square Garden. The band was Jane’s Addiction.

Their show at MSG was incredible, of course, because they had just put out Ritual de lo Habitual and we were totally geeked up to see them play. We had waited two years and spent most of that time listening to and discussing how important a band they were for that time. In hindsight, I wish one thing was different about that MSG concert: That we could’ve seen them play at City Gardens before they blew up and we had to share them with 20,000 other fans. I don’t mean that in a selfish way, it’s just that you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would prefer watching their favorite band play in front of 20,000 people vs. 200.

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