43. Sleater-Kinney, One Beat (Kill Rock Stars, 2002)

This album arrived when I desperately needed it. I had lost hope, my heart blistered, my trust betrayed, my soul wrung through an endurance test I never thought I’d have to face. The rest of the world was in a funk, too, barely a year after 9/11. Although only two songs here directly reference the event (a few others subtly allude to it), this bold album seethes with defiance and strength (and an ever-growing musical vocabulary). Even when celebrating a quirky news story in “Light Rail Coyote” or professing ballsy out-and-out lust in “Oh!”, the passion these gals display is both infectious and absolutely vital, because it’s what we all live for. When Corin Tucker asks/commands “Why don’t you shake a tail for peace and love?” on the landmark punk/Motown hybrid “Step Aside”, how can any reasonable person resist her?