2000- The New Millenium starts with a bang. Four absolute stunners came out that year- Outkast “Stankonia” (one of rap’s best albums), At the Drive-In “Relationship of Command” (the one saving grace of both mu-metal and emo?), Modest Mouse’s major label debut (and still best album) “Moon & Antarctica” and the incomparable “Kid A” by Radiohead- not necessarily topping ’97’s “OK Computer” but such a musical about-face, and work of both beauty and quality that it can stand right beside the band’s greatest work.
Alongside Outkast, Eminem, Ghostface and to a lesser extent the Wu-Tang Clan (with “The W”) delivered classics in the hip hop genre. Ghostface’s “Supreme Clientele” was the first truly worthy Wu release since the overly long but still great “Wu-Tang Forever” in 1997. After the collective totally dominated the rap scene in the mid 90’s, “Clientele” was a return to form after a three year slump. Eminem’s “Marshall Mathers LP” still stands as his best full length release and marked the period where he became perhaps the most well known and polarizing figure in music. Though they weren’t quite household names yet in 2000, super producers Timbaland & the Neptunes (both from coastal Virginia) would begin their total domination of the hip hop and R&B scenes throughout the ensuing decade- check out Tim’s production work on Aaliyah’s “Try Again” and the Neptunes beats on Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” and Ludacris’s “Southern Hospitality” to name just a few examples.
Neo-soul, the return to the rootsier, funky soul sound of the 70’s, had a great year with excellent albums by two of its most important artists’ D’Angelo & Erykah Badu, along with newcomer Erykah Badu and the return of Sade after an almost decade’s-long absence. Chicago rapper Common also combined elements of neo-soul with conscious rap for his “Like Water for Chocolate”.
In the rock world the garage-rock revival began most notably with The Hives and The White Stripes though it wouldn’t really reach the general public for another two years. Most of the rock landscape was dominated by dark & paranoid but very intellectual fair like the aforementioned Radiohead & Modest Mouse, the frantic & angsty music of At the Drive-In, The Deftones (their “White Pony” is still the highlight of their career) & the hard hitting techno of Primal Scream alongside the mellower & mopier Brit-rock of Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy & Doves. With all of the millennial tension thankfully bands like Queens of the Stone Age (with “Rated R”), The New Pornographers & Sleater-Kinney were also there to inject some much needed fun.
Biggest-rock-band-in-the-world U2 also released the blockbuster “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, arguably their best album since “Achtung Baby”, if certainly not on par with their best albums. Country-rock flourished in 2000 with Ryan Adams solo debut “Heartbreaker” and excellent albums by Steve Earle & Shelby Lynne (“I Am Shelby Lynne”).
Overall- it’s a very promising start to a new decade.
Radiohead- Kid A
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Clinic- Internal Wrangler
*Not available via iTunes
Buy Internal Wrangler Amazon
Ghostface Killah- Supreme Clientele
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Steve Earle- Transcendental Blues
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Sleater-Kinney- All Hands on the Bad One
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Badly Drawn Boy- The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
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Ryan Adams- Heartbreaker
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Buy Stankonia Amazon
PJ Harvey- Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
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Primal Scream- XTRMNTR
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At the Drive-In- Relationship of Command
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Buy Voodoo Amazon
The White Stripes- De Stijl
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Yo La Tengo- And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
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Jill Scott- Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Music Volume 1
Buy Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 Amazon
Modest Mouse- The Moon & Antarctica
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New Pornographers- Mass Romantic
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Eminem- The Marshall Mathers LP
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Elliott Smith- Figure 8
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Smog- Dongs of Sevotion
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