2020. The year of a pandemic. The year the world was essentially placed on hold and live events of all kinds were postponed or canceled. However, 2020 was also a milestone year for music. For starters, Alanis Morrissette’s iconic album Jagged Little Pill celebrated 25 years since its debut release in 1995. And had this not been the year of a pandemic, fans would have had the chance to sing along to the album in its entirety when the Canadian singer-songwriter brought the anniversary tour to cities across the U.S. No doubt the pandemic really put a damper on 2020’s plans for music fans. 2020 was supposed to be the year for fans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of so many beloved albums. Hence, the reason for this article. I could not let the year end without discussing the anniversary of some of the most classic albums from the last 20 years, and some of my personal favorites as well.
From pop rock, alt rock, and pop punk to hard rock, nu-metal, and hip-hop, the albums on this list helped define the first half of the 2000s and really paved the way for everything that would follow. If you’re like me and in your mid-thirties, then I’m sure you remember the first time you heard songs from these albums on your local radio station. These albums and artists likely stuck with you well into your adulthood, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but to this day whenever I hear a song from one of these albums, I turn the volume way up and sing like I’m a teenager again. When I hear songs from these albums, I’m instantly transported back to a time when life was a bit simpler and music was on the verge of a major change again.
Take for example an album like Lifehouse’s No Name Face. Its anxious melodies were a natural progression coming off the angst felt in much of the alt rock sounds of the 90s and launched one of many contemporary anthems that would come out of the 2000s with their smash hit, “Hanging By a Moment.” Matchbox Twenty mastered the art of contemporary pop rock with the release of their sophomore album, Mad Season and massive hits like “If You’re Gone” and “Bent.” And speaking of super hits and contemporary pop rock, 2020 also marks the anniversary of Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes, which launched one of their most popular songs to date with “Yellow.”
Of course, we can’t talk about music from the 2000s without mentioning the bands that pushed alternative and hard rock to the edge. Bands like 3 Doors Down and Fuel filled rock radio, taking us from the grittiness of grunge and into a bit harder and more melodic direction with hits like “Kryptonite,” “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” “Loser,” “Bad Day,” and “Be Like That.” The year 2000 was the year rock music as we knew it would get a colossal recharge thanks to bands like Linkin Park and Papa Roach with their unique mix of rap-rock and the release of their debut albums Hybrid Theory and Infest, which to date have sold 27 million and seven million copies worldwide. Taking hard rock and what was quickly becoming known as nu-metal a step even further was Chicagoland natives, Disturbed, with the release of their breakthrough album The Sickness. Selling more than five million copies in the U.S. alone, this monster of an album launched hits like “Stupify,” “Down with the Sickness,” and “Voices,” that would go on to become classics in the hard rock and metal genre.
Somewhere in the middle of the various sub-genres of rock that were taking over the music charts in 2000 was a band that straddled the lines between alternative, punk and even hard rock at times. And it was this year that band, The Offspring, released their sixth studio album, Conspiracy of One, which featured the fast-paced, upbeat hit, “Want You Bad,” which would go on to be featured in 2001’s American Pie 2, making the song even more successful. The “forgotten children”, so to speak, of the 2000s, though, would really prove to be the bands that followed Green Day and Blink 182 and would go on to make pop-punk not just a sub-genre but an entire scene that would be held near and dear to many music fans’ hearts even to this day. Bands like Good Charlotte with their self-titled debut and New Found Glory and their sophomore album that was also self-titled helped bring more attention to an under-appreciated genre that was growing immensely and would continue to grow larger as the decade went on. These were just two of the bands that would contribute to the incredible success of a festival like Warped Tour that would go on to be one of the hottest (literally and figuratively speaking) tickets to have by the time summer came around every year from (roughly) 2001-2010.
Rock music wasn’t the only music genre experiencing a reset, though. Hip-hop had its head turned upside down when St Louis native, Nelly came busting through the radio airwaves with the release of his huge debut, Country Grammar. Selling over 10 million U.S. copies, Country Grammar featured hits such as, “St. Louie,” “E.I.” “Ride Wit Me,” and of course, the title track, “Country Grammar,” that were blasted from damn near every teenager’s car stereo and Walkman all summer long.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the artists mentioned above have released the albums that have become not only fan favorites for many, but staples in music overall. When you think of who and what helped change music over time, I don’t think you can discuss the 2000s without mentioning the artists and albums I’ve written about here. And obviously, there are many more but with these ones specifically celebrating 20 years in 2020, it felt necessary to revisit them and indulge in the nostalgia they fill us with. So, go ahead and read through the list I’ve compiled below and take a stroll down memory lane. Think back to where you were, who you were with and what you were doing the first time you heard songs from these albums and remember life when it was much simpler and probably a lot more fun. Bask in the sounds that for many of us were the soundtrack to our adolescence. But mostly, just enjoy the music for it was – a timeless piece of history that has stayed with you through the years.
1)Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
2)Matchbox Twenty – Mad Season
3)Lifehouse – No Name Face
4)Disturbed – The Sickness
5)Papa Roach – Infest
6)3 Doors Down – Better Life
7)Fuel – Something Like Human
8)Nelly – Country Grammar
9)New Found Glory – New Found Glory
10)Good Charlotte – Good Charlotte
11)Coldplay – Parachutes
12)Godsmack – Alone
13)The Offspring – Conspiracy of One
14)Alkaline Trio – Maybe I’ll Catch Fire
15)Barenaked Ladies – Pinch Me