20 albums you didn’t realise were turning 20 this year
- Credit: PA
Ready to feel old? It feels like yesterday that some of these chart-topping albums were released.
With a mix of both career-beginning and career-defining records, 2000 gave us a brilliant year for music. In no particular order, here’s 20 pivotal albums that are celebrating their 20th anniversaries this year.
White Pony, Deftones
Californian alternative rockers Deftones released their seminal album White Pony on June 20 2000 – and helped shape the face of metal for years to come. Marking a significant shift in the Sacramento five-piece’s sound, the band experimented with an array of influences including shoegaze, dream pop and post-rock, helping move them away from the nu-metal school of artists they’d been banded with.
Considered by many fans to be the group’s best album, White Pony is Deftones’ highest-selling record to date, with its track Elite winning the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. Melodic and multi-layered from start to finish, the album’s standout track has to be Passenger, featuring guest vocals from Tool’s Maynard James Keenan.
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To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the band confirmed via a virtual press conference that White Pony will be getting a reissue later this year, as well as a remix LP titled Black Stallion – featuring brand-new track remixes, each one by a different producer.
Kid A, Radiohead
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The autumn of 2000 saw the release of Kid A – the fourth studio album by indie rock darlings Radiohead. Following on from the critical success of 1997’s OK Computer, the experimental fivesome incorporated influences from a variety of sounds including electronic music, jazz, ambient and krautrock – and was met with a just as varied response upon its release. While topping album charts across the world – and becoming the band’s first number one album stateside – Kid A divided fans and critics alike, receiving only two stars in The Guardian and a lowly one-and-a-half stars in the now-defunct music magazine Melody Maker.
Fast forward to present day however and Kid A has firmly cemented itself as a cult classic, topping numerous greatest album and end-of-decade lists, and remains to be a must-have record in any alternative music aficionado’s collection. Tracks such as The National Anthem, Idioteque and Everything In Its Right Place are some of the biggest songs to come from the record.
One of Kid A’s standout features is that it was one of the first releases to rely on the internet as a promotional tool – with it being available to stream online, and was promoted with short animated films rather than actual singles. Ahead of the curve in more ways than one, Radiohead continue to be at the forefront of musical innovation to this very day.
The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
Eminem’s third studio album The Marshall Mathers LP undeniably propelled the Detroit rapper to sky-high heights in 2000 - and helped introduce rap to a whole new generation of fans along the way. Produced mostly with the help of Eminem’s mentor Dr. Dre, the 18-track release was recorded over a period of two months and features a whole host of cameos from some of the biggest and best in rap royalty, including Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Xzibit and D12.
Like with most of Eminem’s work, the album acts as a form of catharsis for Mathers, who raps about biographical themes such as his rise to fame, his detractors and being estranged from his wife and family.
Interlaced with skits throughout, the album’s standout track of course has to be Stan - often cited as Enimem’s magnum opus. Sampling Dido’s Thank You, it is written from the point of view of Stan, a protagonist writing letters to Eminem who grows increasingly obsessive as the song goes on. The song has become so revered that the term ‘stan’ has firmly cemented itself into pop culture lexicon. Officially entering the Oxford Dictionary in 2017, ‘stan’ can be used as both a verb and a noun, in order to describe someone who is ‘an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan’.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgina, Outkast are one of the best-selling rap duos of all time, and while they’re probably best-known for their pop-friendlier 2003 release Speakerboxx/The Love Below, it was 2000’s Stankonia that first catapulted them into the mainstream three years prior.
Well-known for fusing a range of diverse genres such as funk, jazz and psychadelia with Southern hip-hop, Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s fourth album garnered a huge amount of critical-acclaim, winning them Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo Group for Ms. Jackson at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
For the hip-hop heads amongst us, skip to track six on the album, Snappin’ & Trappin’, where you will no doubt recognise one of the guest vocalists as none other than Killer Mike in his pre-Run The Jewels days.
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, Limp Bizkit
One of the most recognisable nu-metal albums from the class of 2000, Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water helped bring this rap-rock fusion genre to the mainstream masses. Anyone who grew up in the year 2000 will remember how divisive and inescapable nu-metal was. From receiving constant airplay on radio and music channels, to these bands being booked on all sorts of festival lineups, nu-metal managed to pick up where grunge left off in terms of cultural importance in contemporary culture.
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water peaked at number one on album charts across the world, including the UK, America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, and the album’s biggest single, Rollin’ won the award for Best Rock Video at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.
While many think that nu-metal should have stay in the late 90s and early 00s, it will forever hold a fond place in the hearts of many rock and metal fans. Simply head to any alternative club night on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll no doubt see everybody rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ like its the year 2000...
The year 2000 saw Coldplay begin their career as they released their debut album Parachutes on July 10 – later going on to become one of the biggest-selling bands to come out of the UK.
Singles off the album include Trouble, Don’t Panic and Yellow – the latter of which is a firm fan favourite and has been described by Rolling Stone Magazine’s Brian Hiatt as ‘a career-making record’. While the band has changed their sound over the course of their career, Parachutes remains a well-respected staple of the Post-Britpop era that dominated the early 2000s.
The 10-track record earned the band a number of accolades, including Best British Album at the 2001 Brit Awards and Best Alternative Music Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Country Grammar, Nelly
Cornell Iral Haynes Jr – better known as Nelly – released his debut album Country Grammar in the summer of 2000, and helped put Midwestern hip-hop on the map. Competing with his East and West Coast contemporaries, this 17-track record is laden with unforgettable hooks and an undeniable Missouri twang, ensuring the rapper stayed true to his roots.
Throughout, Nelly pays homage to his city - from track two’s St. Louie, to the album’s cover featuring Nelly posing under the iconic Gateway Arch.
An instant hit with both rap fans and more casual listeners of the genre, Country Grammar was certified Gold in the United Kingdom and stayed on the UK album charts for 31 weeks.
Oops!... I Did It Again, Britney Spears
On December 2 1981, the world gave us Britney Jean Spears. And just 19 years later, Britney gifted the world with Oops!... I Did It Again – her second studio album that provided the year 2000 with the ultimate summer soundtrack, further cementing her mega pop star status.
Opening with the album’s title track, what follows is a constant and steady stream of dance pop bangers. Some of the producers who helped lend a hand in the creation of this record include Mutt Lange and Max Martin – the former who has worked with the likes of AC/DC, Muse and Def Leppard, and the latter who has songwriting credits alongside Taylor Swift, NSYNC and Westlife to name but a few.
Having sold 1,319,000 copies in its first week, Oops!... I Did It Again is Britney’s most successful and best-selling album to date. Some might even argue that without Britney Spears, today’s acts who followed in her footsteps such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande wouldn’t have the sound that they do.
Born To Do It, Craig David
At just 19 years old, Craig David released his debut album Born To Do It in August 2000 – and instantly became a UK garage hit.
Debuting at number one on the UK album chart, Born To Do It was the fastest selling debut album by a male solo act and was eventually certified six-time Platinum. Its four singles – Fill Me In, 7 Days, Walking Away and Rendezvous - were all huge commercial hits, with Fill Me In and Seven Days both reaching the number one spot on the singles charts.
Produced by Craig David and Mark Hill, the album was nominated for a handful of awards, and in 2009 came second to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in MTV’s Greatest Album Ever poll. Quiz show fans may also remember the album being a question during Charles Ingram’s infamous run on ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? back in 2001.
Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Marilyn Manson
Iconic shock rocker extraordinaire Marilyn Manson is no stranger to controversy – and his band’s fourth studio album was testament to that. Released on November 11 2000, Holy Wood was immediately met with backlash from religious and political figures at the time, due to the media’s scapegoating and wrongful association of Marilyn Manson with the 1999 Columbine Massacre.
Additionally, the album’s graphic cover featured Manson in a crucified pose, and includes an obscured portion of John F. Kennedy’s coroner report on the bottom left corner. Its cover was deemed so shocking that many retailers sold the album encased in an alternative cardboard sleeve.
Controversies aside, this rock opera concept album saw the five-piece return to its industrial metal sound that the band had become best-known for, with singles from the record including The Fight Song, The Nobodies and Disposable Teens – the latter of which was performed on BBC One’s Top of the Pops as they made their debut appearance. Talk about teatime viewing.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2
Ireland’s biggest musical export U2 gave us their tenth studio album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, on October 30 2000. Originally named ‘U2000’, the band said on various occasions that this record was them “reapplying for the job of the best band in the world”, following on from the mixed reception that 1997’s Pop received.
Produced by Suffolk’s very own Brian Eno, alongside Daniel Lanois, the two had previously collaborated with U2 and produced a handful of other albums in the band’s back catalogue such as The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby.
Its opening track, Beautiful Day, is perhaps the band’s most-recognisable single, and saw U2 take home three Grammy Awards at the 2001 ceremony - Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
No Strings Attached, NSYNC
One of the most popular boy bands to come out of the late 90s, NSYNC’s second album, No Strings Attached, was filled to the brim with R&B-tinged hits. Seen by some at the time as a copycat clone of fellow contemporaries Backstreet Boys, NSYNC delivered a trio of solid albums during the 90s and 00s – with No Strings Attached arguably being their best record.
The album’s lead single, Bye Bye Bye, was a huge commercial success around the world, and was in the running for Record of the Year at the 2001 Grammy Awards – losing out to U2’s Beautiful Day.
While their career as an active band was relatively short-lived – having only been together between the years of 1995 and 2002 - NSYNC sold around 70 million albums, won over 30 awards and of course, was the launchpad for Justin Timberlake’s later successes as a solo artist, actor and dancer – making him the ultimate triple threat.
Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, Fatboy Slim
Norman Cook, better known as Fatboy Slim, is one of the pioneers of the big beat subgenre, and the year 2000 saw the release of his third studio album, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars.
Riding on the successes of his Better Living Through Chemistry and You’ve Come a Long Way Baby, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars features guests appearance from the likes of Macy Gray, Roger Sanchez and a vocal sample from The Doors’ Jim Morrison on the track Sunset (Bird of Prey).
However, the album’s standout track has to be Weapon of Choice. With guest vocals from American funk musician Bootsy Collins, Weapon of Choice’s music video notably stars actor Christopher Walken dancing his way through a deserted hotel lobby. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Spike Jonze, Weapon of Choice won Best Music Video at the 2002 Grammy Awards, as well as multiple awards at the 2001 MTV Music Video Awards including Breakthrough Video and Best Cinematography. While Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars may not be Cook’s most well-known release, it remains a solid album that still holds up well today. Listen to any house music produced in the last few years, and you can see how deep Fatboy Slim’s inspiration runs.
Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park
Nu-metal was king in 2000, and no album was more prestigious than Linkin Park’s debut release Hybrid Theory. Arguably one of the best debut albums from a band in the 21st century, Hybrid Theory catapulted this Californian five-piece to mainstream popularity and made them the poster boys for the rap-rock crossover genre.
Dealing with a variety of complex themes lyrically throughout, this 12-track album saw four singles released – One Step Closer, In The End, Crawling and Papercut – all of which reached the UK Top 40, with In The End peaking the highest at number 8.
20 years on, and the record’s legacy is still felt to this day. Having sold around 27 million copies worldwide, it’s the best-selling debut album since 1987’s Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, and the best-selling rock album of the 21st century according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey’s second album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea is one the best British alternative rock releases of the year 2000, and saw this solo songstress spend 17 weeks on the UK Albums Chart.
Recorded between March and April 2000, the album is seen as an ode to her love for New York City, and has been hailed by NME as her ‘magnificent, life-affirming opus’. Fellow alt-rock musician Thom Yorke makes a couple of guest appearances throughout, lending his vocals to tracks such as Beautiful Feeling and This Mess We’re In.
So highly-acclaimed, PJ Harvey managed to bag the 2001 Mercury Prize for this release, and is in fact the only artist to have been awarded the prestigious gong twice – receiving it 10 years later in 2011 for Let England Shake.
The W, Wu-Tang Clan
Often dubbed one of the most influential rap groups of all time, hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan’s third studio album The W was released on November 21 2000 – and really help set the stage for rap in the 21st century.
Peaking at number 19 on the UK Charts, this thirteen-track release is jam-packed with an array of guest features from some of the biggest names in the genre, including Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Redman, Isaac Hayes and Junior Reid.
Its best-known track, Gravel Pit, is the group’s only Top 40 hit in the UK, reaching the number six spot, and features a recognisable sample at the start – with the trumpet introduction taken from James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’.
Sing When You’re Winning, Robbie Williams
Former Take That alum Robbie Williams’ third studio album Sing When You’re Winning was released in the August of 2000 and became an instant pop classic.
Garnering hugely positive reviews from critics and fans alike, it reached number one on the UK album chart and went on to sell over nine million copies worldwide.
Its lead single, Rock DJ, was inescapable – winning British Single of the Year and British Video of the Year at the 2001 Brit Awards. Music channel-surfers will no doubt remember Rock DJ’s infamous music video, which features Williams dancing in a roller disco and stripping off as the video goes on. What people might not remember is the extended version that was censored, which ends with Williams stripping off his own skin and muscles, leaving him a skeleton at the end of the video.
Rated R, Queens of the Stone Age
The summer of 2000 saw the release of Queens of the Stone Age’s second album Rated R – and what a record. Released on Interscope Records, the band continued its stoner rock sound that dominated its eponymous debut album and frontman Josh Homme’s previous band Kyuss.
Both a critical and commercial success, Rated R features a number of not-so-candid drug references throughout, with the opening track Feel Good Hit Of The Summer infamously listing off a number of substances during its undeniably catchy and bass-heavy chorus.
To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Rated R was re-issued in 2010 with a range of B-sides and live performances from their 2000 Reading Festival appearance. The band has since gone on to become a revered staple in the world of alternative rock, with its successor Songs For The Deaf further catapulting the band into rock royalty thanks to tracks such as No One Knows and Go With The Flow.
Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, came out in the September of 2000 and was an experimental venture that saw the undisputed Queen of Pop play around with an array of influences – ranging from rock, electronica, country, folk and pop.
Earning five Grammy nods and taking home one, Music was a global commercial success and debuted at number one in over 20 countries. Having sold over 20 million copies worldwide, Madonna’s subsequent tour off this record also grossed over $75 million.
The album’s title track, Music, topped singles charts across the world, and was nominated for a slew of awards including two at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Its accompanying music video, which was shot by famed director Jonas Åkerlund, notably features a cameo from Sasha Baron Cohen’s character Ali G as Madonna’s limo driver.
The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy
Indie singer-songwriter Damon Gough – better known as Badly Drawn Boy – released his debut album The Hour of Bewilderbeast in June 2000. Eighteen tracks deep, Gough played several instruments on the record, including vocals, guitar, piano, bass, organ, harp and drum machine to name but a few.
Charting at number 13 in the UK, The Hour of Bewilderbeast managed to achieve critical acclaim and went on win the 2000 Mercury Prize – beating out the likes of Parachutes by Coldplay and Alone with Everybody by Richard Ashcroft.
Upon scooping the accolade and receiving his prize envelope from Jools Holland, Gough threw it on the floor and quipped: “I always assumed I was never going to win because good things don’t happen to good people normally.”