Essential Albums From 2001


2001 was a sea of indie/alternative rock acts constantly trying to hit sweet success of the mainland shores. Few were lucky to catch the big waves and ride it all the way such as indie rock legends; The White Stripes and The Strokes that had people trading in mainstream pop for the cooler, more obscure alternative.

Meanwhile, others like Death Cab for Cutie and Muse had barely made it to the shorelines, but we will try not to be too harsh on their premature attempt.

Now hang on tight for the bumpy trip down memory lane to ’01, because it’s going to get messy.


The Photo Album, Death Cab For Cutie

Looking back at the long discography of Death Cab For Cutie, The Photo Album is probably everyone’s least favourite album considering what frontman Ben Gibbard has cropped up over the last few years. Still, Gibbard’s third studio album was receiving attention for his melancholic singing style, which manages to make mediocre songs like ‘I Was A Kaleidoscope’ and ‘A Movie Script Ending’ forgivable.

The band’s unique style of suiting heavy lyrics to mellow, digestible melodies such as in ‘Styrofoam Plates’ allows us to enter the dark void in Gibbard’s mind about a father’s estrangement from a family without making it too hard hitting for those who do not relate.

Although not their best work, The Photo Album was merely a stepping-stone to unleash the true potential of Death Cab.



Is This It, The Strokes

Hell yes. The Strokes appeared on the Indie Rock scene with Is This It that piqued the interest of the mainstream with their laid-back garage band sound, winning hearts across the UK, U.S. and eventually every Indie fan around the world. Here are three things their debut album did for the world since 2001:

1. They commercialised the damping post-punk sound with consistent, short guitar riffs as we know it today
2. ‘Someday’ and ‘Last Nite’ became the go-to song every aspiring Indie Rock band would play to pep up their half-asleep audience
3. Became precedent for the classic modern relationship woes of men who like their beer and women cold



Oh, Inverted World, The Shins

Laid back and light, The Shins debut Oh, Inverted World featured classic indie tunes perfect to close your eyes to on your picnic mat in the middle of summer.

A mixture of more pop, Beach-Boys vibes such as in ‘The Celibate Life’ and an attempt at garage, somewhat half-hearted punk sound in ‘Know Your Onion!’ makes this album surprisingly catchy. Their ability to add enough to bop your head makes this album far from falling flat. For a debut album, Oh, Inverted World goes alright.

Oh, and it included this timeless classic.



Gorillaz, Gorillaz

If you think concept bands are going too far, nothing beats a Hip-Hop, Rock, Britpop virtual band with its very own webtoon to go along with it. You’ll either love it or hate it. Gorillaz is the debut album featuring some of the most memorable tracks such as ‘Clint Eastwood’ and ‘19-2000’ with a Indie, Hip-hop sound distinctive to Gorillaz, and Gorillaz only.

A collaboration between various musicians, you really can’t pinpoint the definitive sound so just don’t fight it. Strap in for an eclectic ride with 2D, Niccals, Noodle and Hobbs through a mash of hip-hop and rock in ‘Re-Hash’ to the playful nature of Electronic-Punk in ‘Slow Country’.



Amnesiac, Radiohead

The thing about Amnesiac is that fans cannot see past it’s predecessor Kid A, considering that they were recorded during the same session. The fifth studio album contains music that were “not B sides”, from Kid A but a series of tracks claimed fit for separate album release. Well, considering they’ve chosen to allow ‘Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors’ , a series of glitchy beats accompanied by an occasional muttering from Yorke a slot on the track list, maybe Amnesiac was better left to gather as scraps beneath Yorke’s feet.

Radiohead may not be my favourite band (I know ridiculous right?), but after looking at Amnesiac in depth, it’s hard to ignore the artistry and complexity of their music that isn’t meant to be your ordinary Rock. If Experimental Rock may not be your cup of tea (English pun absolutely intended), give Amnesiac a chance for the odd gem such as ‘Pyramid Song’ and ‘Life In A Glasshouse’ with bears Thom Yorke’s beautifully haunting voice languishing about old flames and the liberation of death. Totally relatable.



Take Off Your Pants And Jacket, Blink 182

The cheeky adolescent boy demeanor that the trio embodies so well was not only found in their music, but they were sure to display that in their music videos and concerts. With full-front nudity, of course. Despite their rowdy reputation, Blink 182 can’t escape the fact that they are indeed adults and prove their maturity in lyrics for ‘Stay Together For The Kids’, depicting the messy aftermath of a divorce on a younger guitarist-vocalist Tom Delonge.

The album that peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 was not an easy process. It was admittedly product of the silent rivalry between bassist-vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist-vocalist Tom Delonge to write the cheesiest summer clichés such as ‘First Date’. Regardless of the rivalry between Hoppus and Delonge, Take Off Your Pants And Jacket was that fast, punchy album that the world was waiting to jump up and down along with the boys.



Origin of Symmetry, Muse

What can I say, Muse is simply Muse in this album. Origin of Symmetry is their second studio album that shows off Matt Bellamy’s superior knack for high-pitched screaming and over-enthusiastic wailing of the guitar. A solid example is ‘Plug In Baby’, which is actually very satisfyingly loud.

Muse is often accused reeking of the same space-rock sound mastered by Radiohead, just only amped up five notches higher. It may be easy to hate on Origin of Symmetry as a whole, but Bellamy’s knack for unpredictable haunting pieces such as in ‘Screenager’ will keep you coming back for more. Keep away from his cover of ‘Feeling Good’ though.



White Blood Cells, The White Stripes

White Blood Cells was the epitome of The White Stripes’ success, the cream of the crop, the fat on the bacon.

This third album showed off the classic garage rock sound to the world with ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ leading the way. Indie Rock’s power duo, Jack and Meg White created the finished masterpiece in under four days for that raw, adrenaline-fueled feel to the songs. From the folk-rock ‘The Same Boy You’ve Always Known’, to the rather frustrated grunge ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’, you find evidence of Jack’s melancholic yet edgy songwriting ability.

White Blood Cells is undoubtedly everything you ever wanted and needed in an album.



Weezer (The Green Album), Weezer

A far cry from the increasingly popular double album format, this banger exemplifies just how good a record can be when it’s under thirty minutes long and has no filler tracks.

It also represents a comeback for the punk rock icons, breaking a five-year hiatus following their second effort Pinkerton (1996). Cuts like lead single ‘Hash Pipes’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ pack a punch underscored by infectious bass, while the slower, more melodic tracks showcase a different side to the group.

The solos are refreshingly simple, the rhythm guitar tone is killer, and every track is just so damn catchy.



All Killer, No Filler, Sum 41

Armed with this 13-track punk gem, the Canadians rockers really burst onto the scene, injecting their blistering rhythms, abrasive attitude and absolutely insane drum work from ex-member Steve Jocz.

Yet even though the album is full of fun, shouted vocals and angst, there are also plenty of emotionally hard-hitting moments that make for a stellar debut record. The nostalgia.



Iowa, Slipknot

The US heavy metal legends had promised a much heavier follow-up to their impressive, self-titled debut, and they sure delivered.

While the album is seething with hate from all facets of the band, whether between each other or towards the world in general, that’s what makes their sophomore release just so good. The album’s ability to stand the test of time not only as a studio effort but on the live stage is also particularly reflected in Slipknot’s current sets, which wouldn’t be complete without crushing staples like ‘People=Shit’ and ‘The Heretic Anthem.’



Toxicity, System of a Down

The sophomore effort by System of a Down is arguably their best.

14 relentless tracks that barely allow for you to come up for breath in between is one sure way to describe the LP. Featuring timeless classics ‘Toxicity’, ‘Aerials’ and of course the jibberish masterclass of ‘Chop Suey!’.


About Janelle Tai

I enjoy spending way too much time making playlists with ridiculous names that reflect my mood like 'I feel angry and I just want loud music'. If you ask me what my music taste is, one day I can be into punk rock, another gypsy swing jazz.

View all posts by Janelle Tai

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