I had been hearing a lot of System of a Down’s “Toxicity” album lately–and loving it. This made me reflect on the new music I had listened to in 2001, and got me thinking on my picks for my favorite album of the past year. I basically narrowed it down to “Toxicity” and “Satellite.” For a while it was a toss-up. However, I just got done listening to “Satellite” again, all the way through, and there’s no longer any doubt in my mind–P.O.D. has produced THE best album of 2001. The CD is AMAZING. Songs like “Set if Off,” “The Messenjah,” and especially “Portrait” can rock the hell out of you and still manage to be inspiring on a very sublime level. Track-by-track, the band stays true to its roots, but never becomes predictable. Yes, you’ll here that Jesus loves you. But you’ll also hear songs about school shootings (“Youth of the Nation”), moments of well-deserved self-promotion (“Boom”), and even an angry rant against judgmental Christians (“Anything Right”). There’s considerably less screaming on “Satellite” than on albums past–vocalist Sonny Sandoval spends more time with on-the-money rhyming and several forays into straight-up melody (all of which wind up being successful –and moreso than last albums’s “Set Your Eyes to Zion,” in my opinion). This maturing of style will inevitably lead some to claim that P.O.D. has “sold out.” I pity those people–they cheat themselves out of the best sonic experience of the year!