Eleven albums with North Texas ties celebrate 20 years in 2024

Norah Jones
Photo: Scott Newton

As 2024 rolls on, we continue our backward glance at albums tied to Texas that are celebrating significant birthdays in the next 12 months.

For this batch, we’ve arranged, chronologically by release date, an array of mostly North Texas-rooted records which will hit their 20-year anniversaries over the course of 2024. (In case you missed it, here are the albums celebrating their 40th anniversaries, 35th anniversaries, 30th anniversaries and 25th anniversaries this year.)

LeAnn Rimes, The Best of LeAnn Rimes (released Feb. 2, 2004)

The Garland-raised vocalist was a music biz veteran by the time this compilation was released, less than a decade after she exploded onto the scene with her debut LP, Blue. The tracklist skews more toward her pop crossover successes (i.e., “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” “How Do I Live”) than her country roots, but serves as a worthwhile snapshot of all she’d accomplished to date in her career.

Norah Jones, Feels Like Home (released Feb. 10, 2004)

The Grapevine-bred and Dallas- and Denton-educated Jones had the world at her feet as she headed into this, her much-anticipated sophomore effort, following the Grammy-gobbling success of her debut, Come Away with Me. On Home, Jones gave listeners a better sense of her omnivore musical tastes, dabbling in folk, pop, and country modes. (Dolly Parton turns up for a gorgeous cameo.)

Drowning Pool, Desensitized (released April 20, 2004)

Dallas alt-metal foursome were reeling from the death of original vocalist Dave Williams as they worked to create this, the band’s sophomore album, following 2001’s debut Sinner. Jason Jones stepped in to handle vocals here (the only time he recorded as a member of the group). The album debuted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200.

The Secret Machines, Now Here is Nowhere (released May 18, 2004)

The landmark New York City alt-rock trio (which formed in the clubs of Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood) made a ferocious first showing with this, its debut album. Brothers Brandon and Benjamin Curtis, along with Josh Garza, built a soundscape as indebted to Can as it was Led Zeppelin, heavy and light simultaneously, creating lush, lacerating epics that can still take your breath away.

The Polyphonic Spree, Together We’re Heavy (released June 30, 2004)

The Tim DeLaughter-led choral rock collective wasted little time releasing the follow-up to its acclaimed 2002 debut, The Beginning Stages of … with this sophomore effort. The LP would spawn a pair of hits (“Hold Me Now” and “Two Thousand Places”), continuing the sunny-serious blend the Spree has only refined further over the decades.

Old 97’s, Drag It Up (released July 27, 2004)

The beloved Dallas alt-country quartet led by Rhett Miller tears it up as only it can on this sixth studio album. Some critics considered this effort a bit more contemplative but given that it’s the Old 97’s we’re talking about, “contemplative” is kinda relative.

Ryan Cabrera, Take It All Away (released Aug. 17, 2004)

Dallas-born singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera made a splash with his major label debut, which spawned the hit single “On the Way Down.” Although this record eventually went platinum, Cabrera’s career idled less than five years later ­— his third major label effort, The Moon Under Water, released in 2008, would be his last until a 2015 EP, which marks his final recording to date.

Bowling for Soup, A Hangover You Don’t Deserve (released Sept. 14, 2004)

The fifth studio album for the Wichita Falls-formed and eventually Denton-based power-pop outfit is the LP which, yes, spawned the smash hit single “1985” as well as the equally beloved track “Ohio (Come Back to Texas).” Lead vocalist and songwriter Jaret Reddick collaborated with a host of ace Texas-based writers here, including Butch Walker, Zac Maloy, Casey Diiorio, Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo.

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell: Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (released Sept. 28, 2004)

What the title promises is exactly what listeners get: All seven tracks from the Dallas man born Marvin Lee Aday (better known as Meat Loaf)’s breakthrough Bat Out of Hell album, performed live during a February 2004 tour, with the backing of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Ordinarily, the addition of a full orchestra to such dynamic rock songs would be considered gilding the lily, but this is Meat Loaf we’re talking about.

Jessica Simpson, Rejoyce: The Christmas Album (released Nov. 23, 2004)

If there’s a hole in your music collection and only a record featuring duets between Dallas-raised vocalist Jessica Simpson and her then-husband Nick Lachey, as well as her sister, fellow pop vocalist Ashlee, can fill it, you’re in luck. The 11-track Rejoyce arrived hot on the heels of Jessica’s In This Skin LP, which catapulted her to a new level of fame.

Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway (released Nov. 30, 2004)

Burleson-bred pop superstar Kelly Clarkson’s career shifted into another gear with the release of her second LP. The source of multiple smash hit singles (“Since U Been Gone,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” “Because of You,” the title track and “Walk Away”), the record eventually sold north of 12 million copies, making it Clarkson’s biggest-selling album.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.