Remember the music of 2001? Remember BLENDER!?!? Remember when it was called "Maxim Presents BLENDER!?" I'm in the process of moving, and like anyone else who's ever subscribed to a magazine, I've squirreled a few copies away for safe keeping. Among the mags I haven't tossed, and don't think I will is the Jan/Feb 2002 issue of Blender (issue #4 for those keeping score), with Alicia Keys on the cover.
I was really into Blender for its first couple years (Dave Chappelle cover was strangely brilliant, DMX taking a piss next to a tiger was hysterical). Shamefully commercial, yes, but I'll be damned if I didn't eat up the hundreds of mini CD reviews in every issue. It was a completely different magazine by the time it closed up shop, but those early issues still have a life in my basement alongside copies of Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.
Now that I look back at their favorite records from 2001, I'm reminded that the year we will never remember for music was actually one of the year's best in that area. Here's a look at what the folks at Blender plucked from 2001.1. Bob Dylan, Love and Theft: Couldn't agree more. Easily one of my favorite Dylan records. Like #2 on this list, it was released on September 11.
2. Jay-Z, The Blueprint: Before Kanye West made us wretch, he made records like this.
3. Ryan Adams, Gold: Welcome to the frat house.
4. Radiohead, Amnesiac: Whatever.
5. Mary J. Blige: No More Drama: And zero U2 covers.
6. Macy Gray, The ID: The one after the one with "I try to say goodbye and I choke ...."
7. Alicia Keys, Songs in A Minor: She was booked to play a side stage at Bumbershoot. Then "Fallin'" became a massive MTV2 hit and, well, she canceled.
8. Basement Jazz, Rooty: OK.
9. Destiny's Child, Survivor: Hell yeah.
10. System of a Down, Toxicity: Rick Rubin's child.
Other notes from the top 50 of 2001:
14. Elton John, Songs From the West Coast
17. The Strokes, Is This It
21. White Stripes, White Blood Cells
25. The Coup, Party Music
34. Chris Whitley, Rocket House
36. Tenacious D, Self-Titled
46. LFO, Life Is Good