2001: Radiohead Amnesiac (Capitol)
Many people will surely slam me for not including Dr. Dre’s comeback success (Chronic) 2001 anywhere in this list, but then they’ll inevitably take a moment to look up from their bongs and realize 2001 was actually released in 1999. Radiohead’s psychedelic electro-rock classic Amnesiac, however, was released to widespread acclaim in the summer of 2001, debuting on the U.S. charts at #2. Recorded at the same time as their more abstract 2000 collection Kid A but released eight months later, Amnesiac began with tentative techno swirls and hostile lyrics –“get off my case…you’re looking in the wrong place” – probably aimed at fans and critics expecting the arena-rock follow up to OK Computer that was eventually delivered by Coldplay. Instead, Amnesiac listeners swam with black-eyed angels, shoved mice in their mouths, and enjoyed eleven weirdly beautiful songs that juxtaposed technological creativity with lyrical daring and comfortably numb garage-rock.
Honorable mention: Bob Dylan “Love and Theft” (Columbia)