Music Features

Top 50 Albums of 2002

A guide to 2002 in fifty albums.

. . .

50. Mike Johnson - "What Would You Do" (Up)

49. Miss Black America - "God Bless Miss Black America" (Integrity)

48. Roots Manuva - "Dub Come Save Me" (Big Dada)

47. The Bees - "Sunshine Hit Me" (We Love You / Astralwerks)

46. Crooked Fingers - "Reservoir Songs EP" (Merge)

45. McLusky - "McLusky Do Dallas" (Too Pure / Beggars)

44. Tom Waits - "Blood Money" (Anti)

43. Reindeer Section - "Son Of Evil Reindeer" (Bright Star)

42. DJ Shadow - "The Private Press" (MCA)

41. Spoon - "Kill The Moonlight" (Merge)

. . .

40. Camper Van Beethoven - "Tusk" (Pitch A Tent)

39. Smog - "Accumulation: None" (Domino / Drag City)

38. The Lollies - "Taste" (Fortune & Glory)

37. Boards Of Canada - "Geogaddi" (Warp)

36. Belle & Sebastian - "Storytelling" (Jeepster)

35. Gomez - "In Our Gun" (Hut)

34. Lewis Parker - "It's All Happening Now" (Melankolic / Virgin)

33. Malcolm Middleton - "5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull..." (Chemikal Underground)

32. Sleater-Kinney - "One Beat" (Kill Rock Stars)

31. Brendan Benson - "Lapalco" (StarTime)

. . .

30. Pearl Jam - "Riot Act" (Sony)

29. Low - "Trust" (Kranky)

28. My Computer - "Vulnerabilia" (13 Amp)

27. Mike Doughty - "Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis" (Self-released)

26. Ballboy - "A Guide For Daylight Hours" (SL)

25. Mink Lungs - "The Better Button" (Arena Rock)

24. The Coral - "The Coral" (Sony / Deltasonic)

23. Ben Kweller - "Sha Sha" (679 Recordings)

22. Lemon Jelly - "Lost Horizons" (XL)

21. The Catheters - "Static Delusions and Stone-Still Days" (Sub Pop)

. . .

20. Weezer - "Maladroit" (Interscope)

19. The Breeders - "Title TK" (Elektra)

18. Sigur Ros - ( ) (FatCat / PIAS)

17. The Libertines - "Up The Bracket" (Rough Trade)

16. Clinic - "Walking With Thee" (Domino)

15. The Streets - "Original Pirate Material" (Locked On)

14. Hayden - "Skyscraper National Park" (Hardwood)

13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - "Yanqui U.X.O." (Constellation)

12. J Mascis - "Free So Free" (Ultimatum)

11. Queens Of The Stone Age - "Songs For The Deaf" (Interscope)

. . .

10. Tom Waits

"It's obviously been a good year for Tom Waits. He may not have been the only artist to have released two or more albums this year -- Frank Black memorably released two on the same day -- but I can't see any of the others in the Top 10. Good work, Mr Waits, and long may it continue..." - David Coleman

. . .

9. Wilco
"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"

"On this, their fourth album, Jeff Tweedy and co. simply stun with sheer reach and ingenuity. They will just as quickly make you shake your smiling head (Heavy Metal Drummer), as break your sorry heart (Ashes Of American Flags). And with Jim O'Rourke on hand, to add yet more spiky touches of genius, only the bleakest of hearts will fail to be touched by the colossal weight of aching creativity that flows through this record" - Mark Mason

. . .

8. Sonic Youth
"Murray Street"

"Considering that it's the first Sonic Youth album since Jim O'Rourke joined the band full-time, Murray Street has a surprisingly accessible feel. Oddly enough, the man renowned for pushing Smog and Wilco into more experimental territory, has if anything, tidied up the Sonic Youth sound for this beautifully focused collection of songs. Even lengthy cuts like Rain On Tin and Karen Revisited never lose their sense of purpose, and if it wasn't for the strangely out-of-place Plastic Sun, this album may well have topped this very list. Even so, a truly essential record." - David Coleman

. . .

7. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
"Source Tags & Codes"

"Even in the most open-minded fans of indie music, the phrase "major label debut" conjures up images of compromised sound and "selling out". Thankfully, Texas four-piece ...AYWKUBTTOD not only proved their doubters wrong -- they released the most accomplished record of their short career, and in Another Morning Stoner, one of the most memorable singles of the year." - David Coleman

. . .

6. Beck
"Sea Change"

"After the bloated purple homage of Midnight Vultures, Beck Hansen has written the perfect negative of that particular psychedelic puke-fest. Sea Change is a folk record of beautiful clarity, with enough contemporary sonic swirls to save it from retrospective purgatory. Whether it was a conscious decision to strip things down to their minimalist bare bones, or as a result of emotional triggers, this is a stroke of genius from the tripping troubadour of the bizarre." - Mark Mason

. . .

5. Neil Halstead
"Sleeping On Roads"

"When Sleeping On Roads hit the shops earlier this year, many critics seemed to miss the point. Perhaps they spent too much time pondering as to why Neil Halstead was releasing a solo record and not enough time actually listening to it. I must admit that my first impression was one of "Mojave 3 lite" but with a bit of patience, Sleeping On Roads really pays off. This is the sound of one of the UK's finest songwriters truly on top of his game. Cherish it." - David Coleman

. . .

4. The Polyphonic Spree
"The Beginning Stages Of..."
(679 Recordings)

"Whatever twenty-five robed Texans conjures up in your mind, nothing will prepare you for the cinematic masterpiece of surround sound ecstasy that is The Beginning Stages Of.... It could soundtrack The Wizard Of Oz; it's that bizarrely brilliant. The Tin Man would rust solid as he wept for joy, as soon as he heard Days Like This and its "Days like this keep me warm" refrain." - Mark Mason

. . .

3. Bright Eyes
"Lifted or the Story is in the Soil Keep Your Ear to the Ground"
(Saddle Creek / Witchita)

"Another sterling effort from Nebraska's favourite son, Conor Oberst. Lifted... may have it's share of flaws but on a track-for-track basis, it's as strong an album as you're likely to hear this year. Don't believe me? Have a quick listen to songs like False Advertising, Bowl of Oranges and Method Acting then. Still don't believe me?" - David Coleman

. . .

2. Interpol
"Turn on the Bright Lights"

"In the end, this year's race for the top spot proved to be a two horse affair. Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights may have lost out, but it remains by far the most impressive debut album of the year. Forget the Strokes, forget the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, forget anyone else from New York for that matter -- Interpol are quite simply the Big Apple's finest musical export for years. They've worked hard, produced a masterful debut and now they're finally receiving the credit they deserve. For once it seems, justice has been served." - David Coleman

. . .

1. The Flaming Lips
"Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots"
(Warner Bros)

"On this, their latest journey into the sublime, Wayne Coyne and crew expand on the musical and emotional themes that ruled the glorious Soft Bulletin opus. Fundamentally, the album is based around the concept, that life is scattered with random shots of excruciating pain, but there is such beauty and wonder to be found that you need to hang onto it as it passes and cherish it's fleeting brilliance. The way in which The Flaming Lips have managed this with such style, is testament to the genuine enthusiasm for life that the people involved have. This is the equivalent of having sunshine beaming from your speakers. Breathtaking!" - Mark Mason