15. Sarah Slean, Night Bugs (2002)
Night Bugs, Sarah Slean’s major-label debut, showed the young artist possessed the musical and lyrical maturity of a seasoned performer. The album’s songs, rooted in a love for poetry and jazz, sparkled with clever arrangements (“Drastic Measures”, “Dark Room”) and inventive lyrics (“Book Smart, Street Stupid” and the closer “Bank Accounts”) as theatrical as they were restrained. Setting the bar extremely high for the rest of her career, Night Bugs gave the hope that artists of the same caliber as Slean would continue to appear throughout the decade.