The year 2002 was incredible for music. Some of the 20th century’s most vital artists made profound statements in the new millennium, indie rock and electronic music reached new levels of artistry, and hip-hop embraced adventurous production techniques that helped usher in a new era. It was also the year that Dale’s Pale Ale was born.
Discogs has partnered with Oskar Blues Brewery to celebrate the 20th CANiversary of Dale’s Pale Ale and surface 20 seminal albums turning 20 in 2022.
Stripped down and somber, Sea Change stands as a unique entry in the Beck discography. The acoustic-based arrangements and reflective lyrics make for an intimate listening experience that has been described as one of the best sad albums of all time.
Blazing Arrow was a breakthrough for Blackalicious and for hip-hop as a whole. The album achieves the rare feat of being densely layered and eclectic without losing any sense of cohesion or accessibility.
Electronic legends Boards Of Canada built on the soundscapes of their previous album by sprinkling a sense of dread and claustrophobia throughout Geogaddi. The end result was an enthralling album that is equal parts meditative and haunting.
Upon its release, Heathen was often cited as the best Bowie album since Scary Monsters. Twenty years later, the album maintains a lasting legacy due to its confident cover songs and original numbers that embrace his past work masterfully.
The debut solo album from El-P began to blaze the trail that has continued throughout his solo career and work with Run The Jewels. With wildly inventive production and a silky smooth rapid-fire flow, El-P crafted a landmark album that forever altered the hip-hop landscape.
Building on the artistic and critical success of The Soft Bulletin, The Flaming Lips took all the pieces that worked and added more synths to the mix. The result was a moving collection of songs that tackle weighty topics with wit and levity.
The third album from one of post-rock’s most beloved bands divided critics at the time, but history has proven its staying power. The juxtaposition of beauty and dissonance found throughout creates a musical journey that only Godspeed You! Black Emperor can guide you through.
The twin guitar attack of longtime collaborators Rick Froberg and John Reis shines ever so bright on Hot Snakes’ second full-length album. With a darker and more experimental sound than their debut, Suicide Invoice is a crucial piece of the post-hardcore puzzle.
Putting a modern twist on the classic post-punk sounds of The Chameleons and Joy Division, Interpol helped carve out a moodier niche in early 2000s indie rock. Twenty years later, Turn On The Bright Lights continues to resonate with fans as one of the band’s finest hours.
With their second album, Isis began to define their trademark sound and solidify their position as post-metal pioneers. The album’s all-encompassing compositions reach magnitudes that can only be described as oceanic.
American IV: The Man Comes Around was the last album released during Johnny Cash’s lifetime and what an album it is. His rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” has been celebrated as one of the greatest covers of all time as the song takes on a whole new life through Cash’s seasoned voice.
All Hail West Texas was the end of an era as this was the last album (until recently) that was recorded as a solo effort on John Darnielle’s trusty Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox. The sparse arrangements allowed Darnielle’s incredibly detailed narratives to take center stage, showcasing his lyrical prowess.
This alt-country tour de force still stands as a crowning achievement in Neko Case’s catalog. The dark western balladry and bone-chilling vocal performances make this album a must-listen for anyone remotely interested in folk or country.
Songs For The Deaf was the album that reached a whole new generation of alt-rockers with its memorable singles and the addition of Dave Grohl behind the drum kit. With contributions from Mark Lanegan and Dean Ween, it’s no wonder that this captivating album went on to be certified platinum.
The album known as ( ) found Sigur Rós expanding their ethereal and emotional soundscapes to great effect. In this case, patience is truly a virtue as the more time you spend with the album, the more it will reveal itself to you.
Murray Street has established itself as a classic and rightly so. Elements of their iconic late ‘80s sound and new textures provided by Jim O’Rourke make this a fresh but familiar slab of Sonic Youth.
After garnering critical acclaim for his work with Mos Def and Hi-Tek, Talib Kweli worked with a who’s who of producers to create another masterwork. Full of expertly executed sampling, intelligent lyrics, and live instrumentation, Quality is an essential hip-hop artifact from the beginning of the 21st century.
Neon Golden just may be The Notwist’s magnum opus and for very good reason. When a band is able to seamlessly combine breakbeats and banjos, you know you’ve got something special.
Alice was one of two albums Tom Waits released in 2002. Praised by many as a lost masterpiece, Waits originally developed these songs with his songwriting and life partner, Kathleen Brennan, for an avant-garde opera of the same name.
Marred by inner-band turmoil and disagreements with their label, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot took a minute to get an official release. However, it was more than worth the wait as Jeff Tweedy and Co. made an album that is experimental, personal, and brimming with melody.
Feature image by Jason Leung. Published in partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery.