Radiohead Kid A The most adventurous rock album of the year takes dreamy twists and turns while veering off into nightmarish cul-de-sacs. But it ultimately arrives at its hopeful destination with a message about survival in an alienated world.
Sarah Harmer You Were Here The brilliant solo debut from the former lead singer of Kingston, Ont.’s Weeping Tile signals the arrival of an exceptional singer-songwriter—and a major new star.
Shelby Lynne I Am Shelby Lynne She’s all that Nashville isn’t— passionate, tortured, rootsy and real. That makes Lynne’s soulful album easily the year’s best country release.
Paul Simon You’re the One With songs about fate and mortality, Simon has created a gem that seamlessly blends world-beat rhythms and poetic wisdom.
The Tragically Hip My Music @ Work. Canada’s quintessential rock group keeps growing, finding new ways of showcasing Gord Downie’s imaginative lyrics in ever more eclectic songs.
Neil Young Silver and Gold Harkening back to Harvest and, more recently, Harvest Moon, this is vintage Neil Young, full of sun-flecked images, rustic guitars and harmonicas that buzz like cicadas on a hot summer day.
Steve Earle Transcendental Blues Another Nashville survivor, Earle keeps his sound fresh by combining his brazen rock ’n roll spirit with country’s real roots—namely, bluegrass and Celtic music.
Blue Rodeo The Days in Between. Confident, cohesive and full of fresh, pop-oriented tunes, from “Begging You to Let Me In” to the bittersweet “Sad Nights,” this ranks among the best in the band’s long career.
Femi Kuti Shoki Shoki Fusing elements of soul and hip-hop to Afrobeat, this Nigerian musician—son of legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti—is cleverly blurring boundaries between the global and dance music worlds.
Barenaked Ladies Maroon. Proof that Canadian pop’s class clowns have graduated to a more grown-up depth, with crisply produced songs about death, adultery and domestic bliss.
Originally published in Maclean’s magazine 8 January 2001