FEATURE: Starting the Decade in Style: Part III/V: The Finest Albums of 2000




Starting the Decade in Style


PHOTO CREDIT: @emmafranceslogan/Unsplash

Part III/V: The Finest Albums of 2000


THE reason I am putting together this feature…


 PHOTO CREDIT: @iampatrickpilz/Unsplash

is to shine a light on the albums that started a decade with a huge deceleration. I feel it is hard to define what a decade is about and how it evolves but the first and last years are crucial – I have already looked at decade-ending albums. I am bringing to life this feature that celebrates albums that opened a decade with a mighty amount of quality and gave inspiration to those who followed. In this third part, I am focusing on 2000 and the best ten records from the year. The 2000s (the first decade of this century) was a great time for music and I think the years 2000-2005 provided some of the best albums of all-time. Have a look at ten decade-starting albums that show how sensational....


 PHOTO CREDIT: @all_who_wander

2000 was.



Radiohead Kid A


Release Date: 2nd October, 2000

Labels: Parlophone/Capitol


The experience and emotions tied to listening to Kid A are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax. It's an album of sparking paradox. It's cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike, infinite yet 48 minutes. It will cleanse your brain of those little crustaceans of worries and inferior albums clinging inside the fold of your gray matter. The harrowing sounds hit from unseen angles and emanate with inhuman genesis. When the headphones peel off, and it occurs that six men (Nigel Godrich included) created this, it's clear that Radiohead must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who. Breathing people made this record! And you can't wait to dive back in and try to prove that wrong over and over” – Pitchfork

Standout Track: How to Disappear Completely

PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea


Release Date: 23rd October, 2000

Label: Island


Harvey’s delighted at getting Yorke to sing, “Night and day I dream of making love to you now baby”, too. More than ever – check the snarling ‘Good Fortune’ and ‘You Said Something’ – she’s indebted to Patti Smith. Here, Harvey’s adopted her mentor’s positivity, so that the urban vignettes are filled with a lust for life. If the roar of ‘This Is Love’ represents the album’s sexual climax, the still moment in ‘One Line’ where she sings, “And I draw a line to your heart today, to your heart from mine/One line to keep us safe”, is its brilliant emotional fulcrum.

You could quibble Harvey has absolved her responsibilities by making an album earthed in the New York sound of 20 or 30 years ago. But when rock is so invigorating, so joyous about love, sex and living, all arguments are null and void. Hey, take a walk on her wild side” – NME

Standout Track: A Place Called Home

Queens of the Stone Age Rated R


Release Date: 6th June, 2000

Label: Interscope


That might alienate listeners who have come to expect a crunchier guitar attack, but even though it's not really aggro, R is still far heavier than the garage punk and grunge that inform much of the record. It's still got the vaunted California-desert vibes of Kyuss, but it evokes a more relaxed, spacious, twilight feel, as opposed to a high-noon meltdown. Mark Lanegan and Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees both appear on multiple tracks, and their band's psychedelic grunge -- in its warmer, less noisy moments -- is actually not a bad point of comparison. Longtime Kyuss fans might be disappointed at the relative lack of heaviness, but R's direction was hinted at on the first QOTSA album, and Homme's experimentation really opens up the band's sound, pointing to exciting new directions for heavy guitar rock in the new millennium” – AllMusic   

Standout Track: Tension Head                      

D’Angelo Voodoo


Release Date: 25th January, 2000

Labels: Cheeba Sound/Virgin


Such advances don’t negate the romance stance that made him a star — his falsetto just may serve as women’s answer to Viagra. ”Send It On” is a stately soul ballad like they just don’t make anymore, while his cover of Roberta Flack’s ”Feel Like Makin’ Love” remains a sweet, sticky delight. Only a crudely misogynistic rap from guests Method Man and Redman on ”Left & Right” upsets the organically sensual vibe. Still, what’s most thrilling about Voodoo is that D’Angelo is unafraid to tamper with his successful formula: This is elastic, impressionistic music that doesn’t cater to radio formats. If you’re looking for an antidote to the processed-cheese disease that’s infected today’s pop, a little bit o’ Voodoo is just what the witch doctor ordered” – Entertainment Weekly   

Standout Track: Playa Playa

Ryan Adams Heartbreaker


Release Date: 5th September, 2000 

Label: Bloodshot


As for the original album, Adams’ ramshackle confidence still amazes, belying the fact that it was his first solo shot. He proved right off the bat that he could find that sweet spot between Bob Dylan’s brattiness (“To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High”) and Gram Parsons’ tenderness (“My Sweet Carolina.”) It’s also interesting to hear Adams at a time when he didn’t narrowcast his albums; Heartbreaker finds room for departures like the Elliott Smith-like intensity of “Amy” and the wild rumble “Shakedown On 9th Street.”

What’s also striking is how convincingly Adams played the role of sensitive ne’er-do-well even then; others have spent careers trying to cultivate that stance and can’t approach the authenticity he had right out of the gate. Heartbreaker gets all the bells and whistles it deserves in this deluxe edition, but the fact that it contains some of the earliest and best examples of Adams’ prolific, prodigious talent means it really doesn’t need any extras to be worth it” – American Songwriter

Standout Track: To Be the One

OutKast Stankonia


Release Date: 31st October, 2000

Labels: LaFace/Arista


"Ms. Jackson," meanwhile, is an anguished plea directed at the mother of the mother of an out-of-wedlock child, tinged with regret, bitterness, and affection. Its sensitivity and social awareness are echoed in varying proportions elsewhere, from the Public Enemy-style rant "Gasoline Dreams" to the heartbreaking suicide tale "Toilet Tisha." But the group also returns to its roots for some of the most testosterone-drenched material since their debut. Then again, OutKast doesn't take its posturing too seriously, which is why they can portray women holding their own, or make bizarre boasts about being "So Fresh, So Clean." Given the variety of moods, it helps that the album is broken up by brief, usually humorous interludes, which serve as a sort of reset button. It takes a few listens to pull everything together, but given the immense scope, it's striking how few weak tracks there are. It's no wonder Stankonia consolidated OutKast's status as critics' darlings, and began attracting broad new audiences: its across-the-board appeal and ambition overshadowed nearly every other pop album released in 2000” – AllMusic   

Standout Track: Ms. Jackson

Madonna Music


Release Date: 18th September, 2000

Labels: Maverick/Warner Bros.


“...So, yes, thank you, you do like her acid rock. It’s not that, as cynics suggest, her discovery of dance music was the equivalent of a jaded millionaire’s rejuvenating lamb foetus injections at a Swiss sanatorium; rather, her contributions splice precious pedigree pop cells into raw new matter. ‘Music’ is a bionic record, a triumph of advanced mechanics and the faultless design of a consummate superstar. Only now, the act is vanishing” – NME   

Standout Track: Music

Doves Lost Souls


Release Date: 3rd April, 2000

Label: Heavenly Records


These two songs alone chart new and comely shores of melancholic psychedelia. 'Rise' is a volcanic explosion of melodically lovely sadness, while 'Lost Souls' is like having your face brushed with warm and brightly coloured light as Jimmy Goodwin dolefully intones,"Every little thing that I say you just can't ignore/She consoles/For she cries for all the lost souls" over fluttering organs and drums.


Do the sums (Mancunian melancholia + woozy psychedelia + sonic whoosh) and you're left with the first great debut album to come from Manchester since 'Definitely Maybe'. Doves may not have any of the attitude, youth or sartorial influence of their forebears but, by God, they make being sad after drugs sound great”– NME

Standout Track: Catch the Sun

The Avalanches Since I Left You


Release Date: 27th November, 2000  

Label: Modular


It's no cloyed nostalgia trip, pieced together humbly by Aussies who are probably telling you the truth when they say they listen "to a little bit of everything." The unflinching mix offers plenty of tempo variety, knowing just when to change the pitch before hitting overkill. The second half features a subtle lull that builds up in time for "Live at Dominoes," possibly the strongest cut. There's little doubt to Since I Left You's status as one of the most intimate and emotional dance records that isn't vocal-based. Working on a mystical level, don't be too surprised if a future dig through the wallet unearths a membership card to the Summer Break Funk Association” – AllMusic     

Standout Track: Since I Left You

Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP


Release Date: 23rd May 2000

Labels: Aftermath/Interscope


I'm willing to lay money on the fact that the vast majority of people reading this have already heard this album and made up their minds. If you haven't you pretty much missed out on the most culturally important musical event since grunge - maybe even since punk. Nevermind though. (Pun intended.) And it's for that reason that I'm not sure what score to give this album. It's not perfect (the 3 skits and Under The Influence could be slashed from this album without any caring), and thus doesn't deserve 5 on that scale. Not to mention, it is an immensely opinion-dividing album, and one blamed for offending as many people as it delights. And yet, a 5 denotes an album that everybody should hear and should own - and I believe that to be true of this album. Even if you ignore the album's importance, it remains a truly special album, unique in rap's canon, owing its spirit to rock and its heritage to rap, in a way I've rarely heard. How can I give it anything less” – Sputnik Music

Standout Track: Stan