Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 2001
By Zach Patterson Thursday, 20 May 2010

Continuing our series of the 20 best albums of each year, we turn our eyes towards 2001. 2001 was a bit of an odd year, in that there were a bunch of albums I really like that were released, but overall the selection of albums seems a little more meager than other years on the list. Nevertheless! Here’s Good-Evil’s crew with their top 20 albums for 2001.

Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet

Why it’s on this list: Steev Mike. Either you know him, or you don’t. Doesn’t really matter either way, because Steev Mike would love this album. Andrew W.K. brings the party with I Get Wet, and boy does he bring it well. I listen to it every Friday after work. It is the ultimate weekend record. All of the songs are based around repetitive guitar riffs and catchy piano lines, along with lots of shouting, fist pumping and beer chugging. It is one of those things you either get, or you don’t. He has since never really recaptured that wonderful cover image of a long haired, homeless looking man in a filthy white T, sporting a busted nose that’s blown ten pints worth of blood onto his chest. That’s fine, because this album is a sonic uppercut straight into your jaw, primed to blow off the top of your skull. Long live the party. – Mike Callahan Recommended Tracks: Party Hard Ready To Die (link) Party Til You Puke (link) I Get Wet (link)

The Cult- Beyond Good and Evil

Why it’s on this list: The Cult faded into obscurity after the early 1990’s. After releasing a string of successful albums in the 80’s, the band would eventually break up in the mid-nineties. They later reformed in 1999 and decided to make new music. Beyond Good and Evil came out in 2001 and surprised fans and critics who had written the band off as dead. This album is soaked with heavy guitar riffs that come at you like a Mike Tyson upper cut. Billy Duffy deserves some serious recognition for his guitar work because he is the one that keeps this album chugging along. Beyond Good and Evil also contains two ballads that fit in well with the rest of the album. They break up the hard rock at just the right points and are good songs in their own rights. What makes this album so great is that The Cult was coming back from a long hiatus and no one thought they had any good music left in them. Beyond Good and Evil proved a lot of people wrong. – Charlie Goodrich Recommended tracks: Rise War (the Process) (link) Nico

Daft Punk – Discovery

Why it’s on this list: Oh man, this is the quintessential Daft Punk studio album (otherwise, my vote would go to their live album, Alive 2007, but more on that another time). I usually place a great emphasis on intricate and complex song constructions but Daft Punk are an exception to this preference, and songs like Face To Face and High Life provide such catchy and iterative tunes that it’s impossible to not hum or bop you head along with it. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger is also one of the most cleverly arrange songs I have ever heard: two sets of interlaced lyrics are first sung independent of each other, but as the song continues the lyrics weave together and a new meaning emerges. Flangers and pitch benders are expertly used to modify vocals, smooth and muffled tones create evocative soundscapes (as in Nightvision), and the layering of music and vocals coalesce into a fabric that lends this album its epic nature. – Sherv Recommended Tracks: Harder Better Faster Stronger One More Time (link) Face To Face (link) High Life (link Voyager Nightvision Superheroes

Explosions in the Sky – Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever

Why it’s on this list: Following their debut album, Explosions in the Sky changed things up a bit and began moving toward what would become their signature sound. Boomy and anthemic, this album lives up to their name much more. It’s hard to define what makes Explosions in the Sky enjoyable, and it seems most people love them or don’t. In the world of post-rock this record helped give a new dimension to the already loosly defined genre, and that is important enough. – Andrew Raub Recommended Tracks: Greet Death (High quality) Greet Death (Funny vid) (link)

Fugazi – The Argument

Why it’s on this list: If this truly is Fugazi’s last album, it is their swan song. They’ve taken all the techniques they’ve used in their entire discography and incorporated them in The Argument expertly. The one element I’ve always loved most about Fugazi is the dynamics between Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye. Their back and forth vocals and winding guitars are always done tastefully. Your ears did not deceive you, there are two drummers there keeping the percussion interesting. Some of the strongest songs are the more somber laid back ones. “Life and Limb” gives off a sort of 60’s Acid Rock feel to it with yo-yo guitars. Guy and Ian sing a tripped out chorus until the song comes full circle into an unusual guitar solo complete with claps. It’s just a really fun song to listen to. At the other end of the spectrum, the songs that rock realllly rock. “Epic Problem” is well…epic. It’s presented in a telegram format with stop and go tempo “Congratulations. Stop. Wish I could be there. Stop.” It all transitions smoothly into what is one of the greatest endings to a song ever. One that begs to be blasted with the windows open. Hopefully Fugazi comes back from their “hiatus” which seems to be a trend in band these days. I have a feeling they have a lot left in the tank. – Matt Gulbrandsen Recommended Tracks: Epic Problem Full Disclosure (link) Life and Limb (link) The Kill (link) Strangelight (link)

Gorillaz – Gorillaz

Why it’s on this list: Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Gorillaz came into the pop world as a cartoon band that blended pop, rock, dub, and hip-hop. The video for “Clint Eastwood” was enough to make me (and many others) fans of this gimmick. But gimmick or not, this self titled debut is packed with enough quality to show that the Gorillaz are more than just a cartoon schtick. Their subsequent albums are much less cheery and playful, and the debut remains a unique mark in their career. – Andrew Raub Recommended Tracks: Clint Eastwood 19-2000 (link)

Lovage – Music To Make Lover To Your Old Lady By

Why it’s on this list: On top of never expecting to hear Mike Patton crooning sensual verses in such a romantic manner, I never expected to actually like it. Man, Patton and Jennifer Charles are the most sultry, seductive, and erotic duet of our era. It stands unique in its genre within my music collection due to its intrinsically overtly sexual nature, but I find myself putting it on every so often as I pour a glass of wine, dim the lights, and cozy up next to a lady friend /sleaze. – Sherv Recommended Tracks: Book of the Month To Catch a Thief (link Sex (I’m A)

The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2

Why it’s on this list: The Glow Pt. 2 is one of those rare but entirely magical albums that listeners will either love or hate. It’s easy to compare to Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea: acoustic guitars, ambiguous and sometimes whiny vocals, noise, periods of beauty, lo-fi, etc… Generally fans of one will be fans of the other but probably for entirely different reasons. While Jeff Mangum pulls at heartstrings through his fierce vocals and wild attack on his acoustic guitar, here Phil Elvrum is much more delicate when he sings. The melodies are gentle and the songs are often very ethereal. This album tricks listeners by starting strong and seeming like it is going to be filled with verse-chorus songs. However it quickly changes into songs with minimal vocals, focusing much more on ethereal short compositions. And while much of the album is gentle, there are spats of noisy and explosive songs such as the beginning of “The Glow Pt. 2” and “Samurai Sword”. It’s a strange, depressing album, but it’s hard not to feel a spurious connection to it and see the bizarre genious in its creation. Each time I listen to The Glow Pt. 2 I want more and more to know what the creative process and emotional atmosphere behind this album was. – Andrew Raub Recommended Tracks: The Glow Pt. 2 The Moon (link)

Mogwai – Rock Action

Why it’s on this list: I first bought this album when I was in Nantucket, MA in what was the only record shop on the island. The owner was Scottish and told me “Mogwai, those are my boys”. I could see why. I quickly unwrapped the package and popped the CD into my trusty Sony Walkman. It was the most appropriate album for the time. The band with the name taken from Gremlins won me over. I ended up going on a whale watch that day and didn’t take my headphones off once. The most perfect moment was standing at the front of the boat listening to “2 Rights Make 1 Wrong” – a beautiful instrumental for a beautiful day and all was at peace. It’s the most uplifting moment on the album and it comes after a series of dreary songs that you would listen to while sipping a beer and having a “woah is me” moment. In a dimly lit bar, you could easily listen to “Take Me Somewhere Nice”, “Secret Pint” or “Dial Revenge” in the background. They truly represent their hometown, Glasgow, Scotland. This was my first taste of Mogwai and not the last. They kept me drinking their catalog until the very last drop. I suggest you do the same and promise that there is no hangover afterward. – Matt Gulbrandsen Recommended Tracks: 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong Sine Wave (link) Take Me Somewhere Nice (link) Dial Revenge (link)

Neurosis – A Sun That Never Sets

Why it’s on this list: I didn’t really get into Neurosis until 2007 with the release of their album “Given to the Rising” (which also shows up on this list later on), but once I did, I felt the need to rediscover the back catalog of theirs that I missed. I had purchased this album a couple years previous to GttR, but couldn’t really appreciate it until I absorbed GttR and listened to it with a more open ear. When I did, I was absolutely pummeled by the heavier tracks and entranced by the mellower ones. “The Tide” starts off rather haunting and turns into an aggressive assault by the end, always building on the earlier themes of the song with ease and never growing tired throughout its eight minute duration. Better still, the closing track “Stones from the Sky” is a near ten minute track in 3 / 4 time that starts out haunting with a clean guitar and bell samples and grows into a crushing wall of sound by the end. Neurosis are definitely an acquired taste, but their songwriting and their clean, yet rather raw recordings are something that really draw you in. I know I’m a lifelong fan at this point and they can do no wrong to my ears. – Jason Vincion Recommended Tracks: The Tide A Sun That Never Sets (link) Stones from the Sky (link)

Opeth – Blackwater Park

Why it’s on this list: Blackwater Park is one of the best metal albums ever. It is one of my personal favorite albums of all time. Every song is precisely crafted. Akerfeldt’s vocals both crush and soar, which is a magical thing. Opeth’s career is based around the give and take of unrelenting metal parts juxtaposed with delicate acoustic passages, and it works no better than on this album. Every song with the exceptions of Harvest and Patterns In The Ivy sway between these two styles, and each of them does it masterfully. It is one of the few albums where I can listen through it, non-stop, over and over and over again. This is one of metal’s finest examples of awe-inspiring music – a reason why I’m proud to call myself a “metalhead”. – Mike Callahan Recommended Tracks: The Leper Affinity Harvest (link) The Drapery Falls (link) Blackwater Park (link)

Phantasy Star Online – Original Sound Track

Why it’s on this list: 2001 was the year that I spent a lot of time playing Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast with my good friend Brandon and these songs have been ingrained in my head because of that. I can’t remember ever turning off the sound and putting on a CD because the music was that well-suited to the game. Even though the pieces were short and looped fairly frequently, they never got old and fit extremely well with the game. Not all of the music was just atmospheric, as there is one theme that really sticks out with its strong rhythms and atmospheres, and that is the track for the Pioneer 2 spaceship. It’s basically the only city in the game, so you hear the song quite a bit when you go back to buy new items or heal up your character. I can safely say that this soundtrack was likely a big influence on all of my forays into the electronic genre. The sound is incredibly lush and I love how atmospheric the album is. Had it not been for the soundtrack for this game, I wouldn’t have been inspired to make “Mindtrap” or “Dark Side of Zebes”, or have such an interest in listening to and creating lots of atmospheric music. – Jason Vincion Recommended Tracks: A Song for Eternal Story Pioneer 2 (link) Mother Earth of Dishonesty Part 1 (link)

Pinback – Blue Screen Life

Why it’s on this list: It’s remarkably difficult to put into words why Blue Screen Life is one of my favorite albums of the entire decade, not just for 2001. A quick listen through of the album might lead one to believe it’s a generally listenable chill record that doesn’t particularly stand out in any one way. That’s what I thought when I first heard it, but something kept me coming back to it. I think as you listen to it more, the mood and the atmosphere of the album begin to seep under your skin. It’s a generally downtempo and sad album that’s best taken in by yourself, one that I’ve found myself playing late at night when I can’t sleep or when I need something to listen to while lost in thought. It’s also a deceptively complex album musically and lyrically, as the arrangements are sophisticated and engaging, while the lyrical flow and the back and forth between Crow and Smith is both soothing and inviting, bringing me back to the album over and over for more listens. One of my true go-to records anytime I need a soundtrack to slow things down in my life. – Zach Patterson Recommended Tracks: Tres Penelope (link) Offline P.K. (link)

Radiohead – Amnesiac

Why it’s on this list: Kid A is generally seen as the “big risk” Radiohead took that succeeded in taking the band to new heights of fame and acclaim. As Mike said in the 2000 article, it was a weird album, but it was also a great album. Oddly, I don’t think I ever gave a damn about Radiohead until the sister album, Amnesiac, was released the next year. Amnesiac generally doesn’t get enough credit for being as great as it was. I don’t think I would like Radiohead today if it wasn’t for Amnesiac. While Kid A and Amnesiac will always go hand in hand, to me Amnesiac was the point where the band just “clicked” for me. The lush layered instrumentation mixed with the numbing lyrics and voice of Thom Yorke in the single “Pyramid Song” just instantly resonated with me. And as I dug deeper into the album, I came to love the experimentalism, the electronic fiddling, the re-emergence of guitars and piano, the swelling sense of tension, the dream-like feel to the entire album. After a summer of listening to Amnesiac in 2001 and then giving Kid A a second chance, suddenly I got what I dismissed casually in grade school and Radiohead has since been an essential band for me. – Zach Patterson Recommended Tracks: I Might Be Wrong Pyramid Song (link) You And Whose Army (link) Knives Out (link

Röyksopp – Melody A.M.

Why it’s on this list: This is another album I discovered through following Norwegian bands, though they’re decidedly different than the mostly metal fare that I had been listening to at the time. Unlike Ulver, Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” is definitely more accessible fare that falls in the downtempo genre. The songs on the album vary from the extremely mellow “Sparks” to the hard driving and highly danceable “Poor Leno”. There are lots of analog synths present that give it a bit of a 1970s feel, but the songwriting is definitely modern. Certain songs are graced with vocals, and those that are definitely benefit from them. The aforementioned “Sparks” features the vocals of Anneli Drecker, who sings for the dream pop act Bel Canto (also of Norwegian origin), and she gives a very haunting performance on the song. Like all of the other albums I’ve reviewed, this one is influential to my own work in that the duo of Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge have created some amazingly textured work on this album that’s lively, yet mellow at the same time. This is an outstanding album to put on when chilling out or road tripping, and it’s been ranked the best album of the decade by Norway’s most widely-read tabloid, so I know my opinions are well-founded (lol). – Jason Vincion Recommended Tracks: Eple Sparks (link) Poor Leno (link) Remind Me (link)

Secret Chiefs 3 – Book M

Why it’s on this list: My friend (the same who inadvertently introduced me to Deltron 3030) described these guys as “awesome fake Middle Eastern music”. Being originally from the region, this music isn’t quite like anything to be found there but it certainly borrows some interesting qualities. I find that this album is a hit-or-miss experience as it’s not easy to pick up and just listen to. It’s on this list because of how unique I found it, a mix of modern and traditional elements combined in a novel manner. – Sherv Recommended Tracks: Zulfiqar III Horsemen of the Invisible Ship of Fools (Stone of Exile)

Sigh – Imaginary Soniscape

Why it’s on this list: Though often seen flying the black metal flag, Japan’s Sigh actually have a diverse musical gene pool and take inspiration from a myriad of genres. This was first evident on their 2001 release, “Imaginary Soniscape,” which had just as much to do with 60’s psychedelia and Beatles-derived pop rock as it did with anything that could be called metal. Sure, the vocals may fit the “metal” description well enough, but all the synths and bongos and clapping don’t conjure any images I ever associated with the genre. Always different in an “out there” kinda way and truly in a class of it’s own, “Imaginary Soniscape” is a weird voyage into a bizarre dimension of sound and color with some of the best riffs I’ve ever heard in or outside of metal. I don’t know what dimension Sigh slipped off into to make this album, but wherever this thing came from, it’s heavy, weird, and glorious all at once. Keep doing your thing, Sigh. – Matt Gburek Recommended Tracks: Slaughtergarden Suite Ecstatic Transformation (link)

Toadies – Hell Below/Stars Above

Why it’s on this list: The history of why the Toadies took 7 years to release a second album after Rubberneck would be another article all together, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter why an album

took nearly a decade to put out, it matters if it is good or not. And while everyone remembers “Possum Kingdom” as their sole claim to fame from Rubberneck, Hell Below Stars Above is a remarkably polished and intense rock record. From the second the album begins with “Plane Crash” it’s a loud, brash, hard Texas rock album with punk leanings, but also has a softer side on the second half of the album with some pretty ballads that are surprisingly touching and curve away from being overly sappy, notably “Dollskin” being one of my favorites. Perhaps the song that best shows why this is one of the best albums of 2001 is the title track, which sums up everything you need to know about this album. It’s a bombastic and intense punk song which somehow morphs into a slower gospelly love song, complete with the backing choir and everything. It’s kinda silly and kinda awesome, a perfect cherry on top of an already great album, and it’s one of those songs that makes you realize “goddamn this album rules.” – Zach Patterson Recommended Tracks: Hell Below/Stars Above Plane Crash (link) Dollskin (link)

Tool – Lateralus

Why it’s on this list: After Ænema, it was tough to listen to anything that Tool put out. It was a flawless record and should be on everyone’s CD shelf. How could they have topped it? While they haven’t, Lateralus comes pretty damn close. A grower that has rewarded me with repeat listening and revisits, my love for it finally kicked in while listening to “The Patient” through a nice pair of Grado SR80’s. The album gives me a kind of Metroid feel to it. I can’t help but be reminded of Samus descending the elevator in her return to Zebes when I listen to “The Grudge”. The title track “Lateralus” took all the strong points from Ænima and molded them into one “super” Tool song. Its’ the nuances and production on this album carry it beyond the stellar performances put out by the band. To quote Zach in describing their live performance, “They are a well oiled machine”. They are more than a machine, they are the Mother Brain of rock. – Matt Gulbrandsen Recommended Tracks: The Patient The Grudge (link) Parabola (link) Ticks and Leeches (link) Lateralus (link)

Tortoise – Standards

Why it’s on this list: Three years after the expansive, epic, and organic sounding TNT Tortoise re-emerged to welcome the new millennia with an equally wonderful but entirely different sounding album. On Standards, Tortoise creates a quasi-futuristic atmosphere with tight grooves and many more electronic instruments and synthesizers. Instead of the gentle introduction on TNT, we are treated to a bombastic clash of fuzzed out guitar chords. Many of the songs sound like the Tortoise sideproject Isotope 217 but this is without a doubt a Tortoise album. What really sets this album apart is that it is the most dancable Tortoise album, making it a fun foray into the futuristic urban and spacey environments. – Andrew Raub Recommended Tracks: Seneca Monica (Live) (link)

Tomahawk – Tomahawk – What do you get when you combine Mike Patton with members of The Jesus Lizard, Melvins, and Helmet? A fucking badass record. Great rockin’ debut by one of my favorite Patton side projects. Love the unsettling, snarling feel the album has. – Zach
Listen: “Flashback” link
Yura Yura Teikoku – III – Though they were virtually unknown outside of Japan for most of their career (and caused me to fall to my knees and weep uncontrollably by breaking up at the end of March this year), Yura Yura Teikoku were a seemingly infallible three piece psychedelic rock band whose mystery and unpredictability were among their greatest assets. Their 2000 release, “III,” would be a textbook example of their musical scope, shimmering one moment and then outpouring speaker-blowing guitar fuzz the next. They will be missed dearly. – Matt Gb.
Listen: “Rame No Pantalon” link

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