Fortunately for us, the widely rumored Y2K computer meltdown never happened. Instead, in the year 2000, the world enjoyed an influx of now-classic albums that are—gasp—turning 20 this year. From D’Angelo’s sultry sophomore effort, Voodoo, to OutKast‘s Atlanta hip-hop classic Stankonia to Coldplay‘s debut alt-rock masterpiece Parachutes and Britney Spears‘ bubblegum pop perfection of Oops!… I Did It Again, Y2K was filled with big albums turning 20 this year.
There was also Sleater-Kinney‘s socially charged All Hands On The Bad One, U2‘s anthemic, hit-filled All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Nelly‘s fire debut, Country Grammar. British dance music icon Fatboy Slim also dropped his third studio album, Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars, Radiohead got moody and ambient with Kid A and Madonna‘s Music, her eighth full-length, earned her another No. 1 album, among other albums we’re still spinning.
We want to know: Which album will you be blasting to get you through the turn of this new decade? Let us know in the poll below, and read on to revisit each project.
All Hands On The Bad One was Washington riot grrrl group Sleater-Kinney’s fifth album, filled with driving guitar licks and feminist power. They only released one of its 13 tracks as a single—”You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun”—whose tongue-in-cheek lyrics are still to this day the ideal flip-off to any and all haters.
Ahead of the iconic Irish rock act’s 10th studio album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2 released the uplifting arena-ready (and triple GRAMMY-winning) “Beautiful Day.” The lead single charted in multiple countries and got the music world excited for the album, including a new generation of fans. The album spawned more U2 classics, including “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” “Walk On” and “Elevation,” the latter of which got new life—and harder guitar riffs—in 2002 in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
In the summer of 2000, a young St. Louis rapper called Nelly dropped his epic debut album, Country Grammar. It was a huge success, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Top Rap Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Months earlier, his first-ever single, the unforgettable, chart-topping “Country Grammar (Hot Sh*t)” took the world by storm, setting the album drop up well. Interspersed with skits featuring Cedric the Entertainer, the LP also touted another instant classic hit single, “Ride Wit Me.”
Both of the singles were nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 43rd and 44th GRAMMY Awards, respectively. The project also earned him his first Best Rap Album nod.
In the heyday of the VH1 and MTV music video cycle, Christopher Walken was a regular, as the star of U.K. electro king Fatboy Slim’s irreverent “Weapon Of Choice” visual. The GRAMMY-winning, Spike Jonze–directed music video technically came out in 2001 as the third single from his third studio album, Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars. That song features vocals from funk legend Bootsy Collins, while “Love Life” and “Demons” feature neo-soul powerhouse Macy Gray. The album is also rich with samples, from Bill Withers, James Brown, KRS-One and more, mixing vintage vinyl soul with dancefloor-ready flourishes and break-beats.
“Weapon Of Choice” took home Best Short Form Music Video at the 2002 GRAMMYS, the LP earned a nod for Best Alternative Music Album, as no dance/electronic album category existed yet.
After the massive success of 1997’s GRAMMY-winning OK Computer and its single “Karma Police,” Thom Yorke and the motley British rock band known as Radiohead did things a little differently on Kid A. As with the prior album, they once again co-produced it with Nigel Godrich, this time adding glitchy synths and dark, emotive electronic drums. Instead of promoting the project with singles or videos, the album was made available to stream online—pre-streaming services—three weeks before its release, earning over 400,000 streams and later debuting at No. 1.
Their innovation paid off, as the album would win them their second golden gramophone, for Best Alternative Music Album. Standout tracks from Kid A include “Everything In Its Right Place,” How To Disappear Completely” and “Idioteque.”
By 2000, Madonna was already a pop and fashion icon several times over, first making her mark with her self-titled 1983 debut album, spawning hits “Lucky Star,” “Borderline,” “Burning Up” and “Holiday.” On Music, her eighth LP, she earned her fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, 11 years since her last (1989’s Like A Prayer). The catchy title track and lead single also earned her No. Ones across the globe on both pop and dance charts. The album art and music video’s glamorous cowboy chic gave the world another shade of Madonna, with outfits we still want to rock today.
The album and title track earned the Queen Of Pop three more GRAMMY nominations at the 2001 show (she already had five wins by then), including Best Pop Vocal Album and Record Of The Year. One of its other singles, “Don’t Tell Me,” snagged another nod the following year, for Best Music Video.
On Oops!… I Did It Again, an 18-year-old Britney Spears had solidified her role as reigning pop princess. Her confident sophomore album followed in the bubblegum pop perfection of her hit debut the year prior, spawning more hits with “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Stronger” and “Lucky.” She also served up a breathy cover of Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on the album, which gave her a second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.
Both the album and the title track earned Spears two more GRAMMY nominations at the 2001 GRAMMYs (she snagged her first two the year before, including for Best New Artist). She was up against Madonna in both categories in 2001, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Back in the early 2000s, British pop/rock juggernauts Coldplay were an alt-rock favorite. With the release of their haunting debut album, Parachutes, in 2000 their acclaim and fan-base swiftly grew. Full of atmospheric instrumentation pierced by Chris Martin‘s rich vocals, the album features classic singles “Don’t Panic,” “Shiver,” “Yellow” and “Trouble.”
With the successful debut, they earned their first two GRAMMYs nominations at the 44th GRAMMYs, one of which resulted in a Best Alternative Music Album win.
On Halloween 2000, Atlanta hip-hop heroes OutKast released their majorly ice-cool fourth album, Stankonia. The sprawling, funky album from the powerhouse duo comprising Big Boi and Andre 3000 included massive hits/hip-hop classics “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson” and “B.O.B.” It saw success on both the all-genre and hip-hop charts, hitting No. 2 on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The iconic album earned the pair five GRAMMY nominations at the 2002 GRAMMYs, two of which resulted in golden gramophones: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for “Ms. Jackson.”
Five years after his 1995 debut album, Brown Sugar, D’Angelo gave the world the gift of the sultry, funky Voodoo. Recording in the famed Electric Lady Studios in New York, the powerhouse vocalist collaborated with a cast of fellow soulful musicians including Lauryn Hill, Raphael Saadiq and Questlove. The 12th track on the sexy, expansive sophomore effort, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” saw success as a single, partly thanks to its steamy video. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, knocking Santana‘s Supernatural from the top spot.