By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Spoon, Girls Can Tell (Merge): Forget Alicia Keys, Macy Gray, Maxwell, Angie Stone, India.Arie, Mary J. Blige, whoever. This is the soul record of 2001, even if it isn't, packed with Stax/Volt sentiment and enough Attractions to hold your interest.
Squarepusher, "My Red Hot Car" (Warp): As in, "I'm gonna fuck you with my red hot car." Aphex Twin with a pulse. And an ass.
The Strokes, Is This It (RCA): Five guys in their early 20s who care more about writing good songs and playing them on guitars, drums and bass than working on their choreography or getting tats or pointing their open mouths at Carson Daly's crotch. Shouldn't more people be excited about that fact? They should. So shut up and listen.
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (somewhere on the Internet): Everything Jeff Tweedy loves about music cut and pasted and cut up again until you can't recognize where any of the parts came from. And that's just the first song. Guess what? It'll probably be on this list next year, when Nonesuch gives it a proper release.