5 Albums Which Turn 20 This Year
Is it just us, or did 20 years fly by in the blink of an eye? It feels so surreal, it’s almost parodic… Anyway, we’re left with some great music, so let’s take a look back at what was new back then and still sounds so good today.
1. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf
The soulful singles No One Knows, First It Giveth, and Go With The Flow from this album solidified Queens of the Stone Age as worldwide rock monoliths. The album is based largely on someone shuffling through a radio dial on a road trip from the city into the Joshua Tree desert, that is why there are various ‘DJs’ introducing tracks throughout. Because Dave Grohl was an associate of QOTSA during the recording of Songs For The Deaf (on drums), the publicity surrounding it was enormous; fortunately for the band, it lived up to fan and critical expectations, and has remained on heavy rotation for many since.
2. Beck – Sea Change
By the early 2000s, Beck had established himself as a music industry veteran, with this, his eighth studio album, being highlighted as one of the greatest albums of 2002 by numerous critics. Sea Change was as widely differing to his 1999 album Midnite Vultures as it could be. Producer Nigel Godrich, best known for his classic collaboration with Radiohead, guided the band toward a more sophisticated and concise sound. With Lost Cause and Guess I’m Doing Fine released as singles in the UK, it drew comparisons to some of Beck’s favorite musicians like Nick Drake and Bob Dylan.
3. Interpol – Turn On the Bright Light
At the beginning of the millennium, New York City was savagely cool, and Interpol came at us like Joy Division in tuxedos; swaggering goths. They had that edge that defined them, unlike all the straight-up Strokes lookalikes that were swirling at the time.This moody first appearance album is a gloomy tribute to New York. Daniel Kessler’s guitar work stands out, alongside Carlos D’s groundbreaking basslines and Paul Banks’ instantly recognizable vocal slashing through everything.
4. The Streets – Original Pirate Material
Mike Skinner’s astounding debut album cost him £4000 to create; he recorded it in his bedroom in Brixton, South London, in a vacant wardrobe with duvets and mattresses to limit the resonance on his voice and beats. Music and lyrics captured the essence of British urban youth in the early 2000s. Skinner’s delivery is alternately comic and deeply moving, and back in 2002 it remained as something we’d never heard before – poetic hip hop flows over UK garage beats. The Streets would go on to have greater mainstream success later in years to come, with two UK No.1 albums and a No.1 single, but this pioneering debut is still highly regarded
5. N*E*R*D – In Search Of
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo established themselves as The Neptunes, working with the very best of US pop and R&B talents such as Britney Spears, Nelly, Usher, and Justin Timberlake. Following their accomplishments, they collaborated with Shay Thornton, a friend, to create their own album. The outcome was In Search Of, which was initially released in 2001 but was later pulled from the market because the band was dissatisfied with the accomplishments. The remake, a flawless blending of hip hop and 70’s rock, was released in 2002. With live guitars and drums substituting the original’s bleeps and beats and creating the whole thing more catchy and badassy, it has proven to be a hugely influential record.
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