Been so long: Best of 2001


Although alphabetized, these are the five albums I’ve never gotten tired of:

Bob Dylan – “Love and Theft”
Aaliyah – Aaliyah
Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Maxwell – Now
Bjork – Vespertine

The inclusion of Maxwell is significant. Have you listened to Embrya recently? Just today Jody Rosen, formerly of Slate, remarked on Facebook that many members of the neo-soul movement fell under the sway of the funky space reincarnations of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder without learning the discipline of writing three-minute songs. Well, Embrya is turgid shit, unlistenable apart from “Cococure.” On Now, Maxwell took his Sade affection seriously. Or R. Kelly, author of “Fortunate,” his biggest pop hit.

Scabrous and corny, “Love and Theft” is my ideal boomer-is-exhausted album, and it beats the hell out of whatever definition of maturity pushed by McCartney, the late Johnny Cash, or what have you. I bought it on September 11, 2001 on my way home from gas and dropping off videos when Mom called and asked where the fuck I was. It didn’t reassure me like Vespertine, but it gave me lots to laugh to — until Neil Young did a few months later, unwittingly, with “Let’s Roll.”

Aaliyah – Aaliyah
Basement Jaxx – Rooty
Black Box Recorder – The Facts of Life
Bjork – Vespertine
Rodney Crowell – The Houston Kid
Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera
Bob Dylan – “Love and Theft”
Toby Keith – Pull My Chain
Ghostface Killah – Bulletproof Wallets
Jay-Z – The Blueprint
Stephen Malkmus: Stephen Malkmus
Maxwell – Now
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – Miss E…So Addictive
New Order – Get Ready
Pulp – We Love Life
Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Angie Stone – Mahogany Soul
The Strokes – Is This It
Tea in Marrakech
Rufus Wainwright – Poses
Lucinda Williams – Essence

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