First off, figuring out what to call the time period between 2000-2009 is way tougher than I thought. A simple search online offers some suggestions, varying from kinda-makes-sense to WTF? I’ve decided to call this time period the 2000s. In the same spirit as past musical posts like Ten Seventies, Ten Eighties, and Ten Nineties, following are my 10 favorite albums/CDs/complete recordings (not sure what we call these works nowadays either) from the 2000s.
Within this list are original works, no soundtracks or greatest hits packages, where the entire collection of tracks works best together, as a whole, rather than one or two stand-alone singles. Some are obvious choices, while others will no doubt draw the wrath of readers, but I find myself going back to all of them time and time again for various reasons and enjoying myself when I do.
With a playlist of songs from these albums blasting on a solid stereo system and a glass of bourbon on the rocks in-hand, here they are, in alphabetical order:
american idiot (2004)
Green Day had well established themselves with a string of solid hits before this came out, but when it did they were vaulted to a new level of rock proficiency and respect. This rock-opera-epic tells a rich and complex story, while toying with emotions and voicing passionate political statements. It rocks throughout and is undoubtedly their best effort to date.
Both Hands (2004)
An independent artist from Calgary, Canada, this is Wil’s first release and tantalizes to this day. I was lucky enough to work at a bar where he played for years and many of the songs on this album are from that time. His evocative voice, combined with a minimal accompaniment of instruments, and a blazing guitar that barely holds its strings together, makes for a captivating musical experience.
A super-group in every sense of the big-hair-word, Velvet Revolver came on to the scene as much as a “fuck you” to former Guns N’ Roses bandmate Axl Rose as anything else, but made a mark. Comprising former members of GNR with a smattering of other semi-glam talents, and ex-Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland, the band never hit it super big, but did churn out this effort that hit its mark of rocking the head-bang from start to finish.
While this was the fourth album from husband and wife duo The White Stripes, it was the one that caught the attention of the masses. Blistering vocals, combined with simplistic, yet captivating guitar and drum riffs took music lovers back to an era of bare bones rock, void of effects and technological tinkering. The result is a testament to the spirit of rock and roll, as it hadn’t been heard in some time.
Embracing deep funk beats, hip hop sass, and an entrancing blend of vocal styles, Jurassic 5’s final work as a complete band is perhaps their best. It’s fun, non-threatening, musically complex, and ultimately a rap album that everyone can appreciate. It’s void of rap’s typical reliance on crass lyrics and instead brings together true urban musical craftsmanship.
on and on. (2003)
Now a mainstay around the world, Jack Johnston became the go-to, chilled-out-summer-vibe-beach-goodness guy with this, his second major effort. Each song is genuine, easy to digest, yet has an interesting array of sounds and conversations playing subtly along in the background. It’s tough to go wrong with this as a soundtrack to a casual get-together.
Songs for the Deaf (2002)
Arguably Queens of the Stone Age’s seminal work, captain of the team Josh Homme gets the very best out of his rotating players, including Nirvana/Foo Fighter rock-god Dave Grohl who mans and beats the crap out of the drums. It’s pretty intense and a bit out there at times, but packed with energy and a hell of a lot of fun. Make sure the neighbors are out when you blast this one.
The Id (2001)
Sultry, thick, complex, and smoky hardly begin to describe Macy Gray’s slick voice that oozes cool throughout her second studio album. A rare combination of soul, blues, funk, and bass, she brings the party home at every beat, lyric and turn. Put this on and fun is sure to follow.
Them Crooked Vultures (2009)
Can you say ‘Super Group’? It’s fantastic to think about how these guys got together (after a dinner at Medieval Times in LA), and more importantly how awesome it is when people don’t need more success and just go for it out of sheer love of the craft. Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones venture into uncharted and seriously rockin’ territory. All we can hope for is a follow-up.
Who is Jill Scott? – Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 (2000)
Essentially spoken word laid down over soulful beats, Jill Scott’s debut is hearty, complex and crucial for any relaxed evening in. Every word carries weight, is combined beautifully with carefully crafted music and showcases an artist performing in rare air. Put it on, find a comfy chair and seriously chill-out.