Music Year 2002

As of Jan. 6, 2003, this list had grown to 62 new albums, which is pretty much record large: guess it wasn't such a bad year (for music, at least), and guess I managed to pay attention. See also my Pazz & Jop Comments and the expanded Top Ten Reviews. A new list has also been started for 2003, but this one will keep growing for a few months, while I keep on catching up.

New Records

  1. DJ Shadow: The Private Press (MCA).
  2. N.E.R.D.: In Search of . . . (Virgin).
  3. Mekons: Oooh! (Out of Our Heads) (Quarterstick).
  4. Spaceways Inc.: Version Soul (Atavistic).
  5. Youssou N'Dour: Nothing's in Vain (Nonesuch).
  6. Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation (Beggars Banquet).
  7. Buck 65: Square (Warner Music Canada).
  8. Van Morrison: Down the Road (Universal).
  9. William Parker: Raining on the Moon (Thirsty Ear).
  10. Cee-Lo: Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections (Arista).
  11. Spoon: Kill the Moonlight (Merge).
  12. Imperial Teen: On (Merge).
  13. The Streets: Original Pirate Material (Vice/Atlantic).
  14. Transplants: Transplants (Hellcat).
  15. Orchestra Baobab: Specialist in All Styles (Nonesuch).
  16. Arthur Blythe: Focus (Savant).
  17. Roberto Rodriguez: El Danzon de Moises (Tzadik).
  18. Matthew Shipp: Nu Bop (Thirsty Ear).
  19. The Mountain Goats: Tallahassee (4AD).
  20. Nils Petter Molvaer: NP3 (Emarcy).
  21. Steinski: Nothing to Fear: A Rough Mix (Soul Ting).
  22. David S. Ware: Freedom Suite (Aum Fidelity).
  23. Nelly: Nellyville (Universal).
  24. Northern State: Dying in Stereo (Northern State).
  25. Jean-Paul Bourelly: Trance Atlantic (Boom Bop II) (Challenge).
  26. The Roots: Phrenology (MCA).
  27. Buck 65: Synesthesia (Warner Music Canada).
  28. The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever (No Label).
  29. Capital D & the Molemen: Writer's Block (The Movie) (All Natural).
  30. James Talley: Touchstones (Cimarron).
  31. Atmosphere: God Loves Ugly (Fat Beats).
  32. Röyskopp: Melody A.M. (Astralwerks).
  33. Rhett Miller: The Instigator (Elektra).
  34. Me'shell Ndegéocello: Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape (Maverick)
  35. Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti (MCA).
  36. Mali Music (Astralwerks).
  37. Moby: 18 (V2).
  38. Will Rigby: Paradoxaholic (Diesel Only).
  39. Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali: A Better Destiny (RealWorld).
  40. The Donnas: Spend the Night (Atlantic).
  41. Yohimbe Brothers: Front End Lifter (Ropeadope).
  42. Papa Noel & Papi Oviedo: Bana Congo (Tumi).
  43. Kahil El'Zabar Trio: Love Outside of Dreams (Delmark).
  44. Jean Grae: Attack of the Attacking Things (Third Earth).
  45. Kasey Chambers: Barricades and Brick Walls (Warner Bros.).
  46. David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters: Yonn-De (Justin Time).
  47. Africa Raps (Trikont).
  48. The Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious (Sire).
  49. Steve Earle: Jerusalem (Artemis).
  50. Issa Bagayogo: Timbuktu (Six Degrees).
  51. Public Enemy: Revolverlution (Koch).
  52. Sonic Youth: Murray Street (Geffen).
  53. Jason Moran: Modernistic (Blue Note).
  54. Bennie Wallace: Moodsville (Groove Note).
  55. Djelimady Tounkara: Sigui (Indigo).
  56. DJ Spooky: Optometry (Thirsty Ear).
  57. Kimya Dawson: I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean (Rough Trade).
  58. Luna: Close Cover Before Striking (Jetset).
  59. Eminem: The Eminem Show (Aftermath).
  60. Neil Young: Are You Passionate? (Reprise).
  61. Ani DiFranco: So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter (Righteous Babe, 2CD).
  62. The Vandermark 5: Free Jazz Classics Vols. 1 & 2 (Atavistic, 2CD)
  63. MC Paul Barman: Paullelujah! (Coup d'Etat).
  64. Pretenders: Loose Screw (Artemis).
  65. The Capricorns: In the Zone (Paroxysm).
  66. Mr. Lif: Emergency Rations (Definitive Jux).
  67. Rachid Taha: Live (Mondo Melodia).
  68. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch).
  69. The Meat Purveyors: All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail (Bloodshot).
  70. Wayne Shorter: Footprints Live! (Verve).
  71. Raphael Saadiq: Instant Vintage (Universal).
  72. Waco Brothers: New Deal (Bloodshot).
  73. The Bottle Rockets: Songs of Sahm (Bloodshot).
  74. The Pine Valley Cosmonauts: The Executioner's Last Songs (Bloodshot).
  75. Tom Zé: Jogos de Armar (Trama).
  76. Blackalicious: Blazing Arrow (MCA).
  77. Guy Davis: Give in Kind (Red House).


Records in hand, but which haven't yet been graded.

  • The Apples in Stereo: Velocity of Sound (SpinArt).
  • Badly Drawn Boy: Have You Fed the Fish? (Artist Direct).
  • Big Moe: Purple World (Priority).
  • Dee Dee Bridgewater: This Is New (Verve).
  • Bright Eyes: Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (Saddle Creek).
  • Guillermo E. Brown: Soul at the Hands of the Machine (Thirsty Ear).
  • Burnt Sugar: That Depends on What You Know: Fubractive: Since Antiquity Suite (Trugroid).
  • Bill Charlap: Stardust (Blue Note).
  • El-P: Fantastic Damage (Definitive Jux).
  • Extra Yard (Big Dada).
  • Marianne Faithfull: Kissin' Time (Hut/Virgin).
  • J-Live: All of the Above (Coup d'Etat).
  • Guillermo Klein: Los Guachos III (Sunnyside, 2CD).
  • Talib Kweli: Quality (MCA).
  • Mat Maneri: Sustain (Thirsty Ear).
  • Mr. Lif: I Phantom (Definitive Jux).
  • Yannick Rieu: Non Acoustic Project (Effendi).
  • Nate Ruth: Whatever It Meant (Soundless).
  • Stew: The Naked Dutch Painter . . . and Other Songs (Smile)
  • Otis Taylor: Respect the Dead (Northern Blues).
  • Tin Hat Trio: The Rodeo Eroded (Ropeadope).
  • Joe Zawinul: Faces and Places (ESC).


Records in hand, graded B+ or below, in roughly declining order:

  • Joe Lovano: Viva Caruso (Blue Note). B+
  • Clipse: Lord Willin' (Arista). B+
  • Dixie Chicks: Home (Open Wide/Monument). B+
  • Alvin Youngblood Hart: Down in the Alley (Memphis International) B+
  • Silkworm: Italian Platinum (Touch and Go). B+
  • Daniel Bedingfield: Gotta Get Thru This (Universal). B+
  • The Reputation (Initial). B+
  • Justin Timberlake: Justified (Jive). B+
  • Nada Surf: Let Go (Barsuk).
  • Manu Chao: Radio Bemba Sound System (Virgin). B+
  • Warren Zevon: My Ride's Here (Artemis). B+
  • Matthew Shipp: Songs (Thirsty Ear). B+
  • Cody Chesnutt: The Headphone Masterpiece (Ready Set Go, 2CD). B+
  • Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol). B+
  • Spring Heel Jack: Amassed (Thirsty Ear).
  • Sleater-Kinney: One Beat (Kill Rock Stars). B+
  • Sue Foley: Where the Action Is . . . (Shanachie). B+
  • John Forté: I, John (Transparent). B+
  • Alan Jackson: Drive (Arista). B+
  • Linda Thompson: Fashionably Late (Rounder). B+
  • Pet Shop Boys: Release (EMI). B+
  • Missy Elliott: Under Construction (Elektra). B+
  • Dave Douglas: The Infinite (RCA). B+
  • Big Lazy: New Everything (Tasankee). B+
  • Alannis Morissette: Under Rug Swept (Maverick). B+
  • Arto Lindsay: Invoke (Righteous Babe). B+
  • Hank Williams III: Lovesick Broke & Driftin' (Curb). B+
  • Liquid Todd: Solid State (The Right Stuff). B+
  • John Hicks: Music in the Key of Clark (High Note). B+
  • Bruce Springsteen: The Rising (Columbia). B+
  • Laura Cantrell: When the Roses Bloom Again (Diesel Only). B+
  • DJ Screw: Sentimental Value (Wreckless Entertainment). B+
  • Jimmy Scott: But Beautiful (Milestone). B+
  • The Flatlanders: Now Again (New West). B+
  • Kenny Garrett: Happy People (Warner Brothers). B
  • DJ/Rupture: Minesweeper Suite (Tigerbeat). B
  • Andrew Hill: A Beautiful Day (Palmetto). B
  • Tift Merritt: Bramble Rose (Universal). B
  • Common: Electric Circus (MCA). B
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves: Good Heatlh (Lookout). B
  • Anti-Pop Consortium: Arrhythmia (Warp). B
  • The Breeders: Title TK (4AD/Elektra). B
  • Bonnie Raitt: Silver Lining (Capitol). B
  • Kelly Willis: Easy (Rykodisc). B
  • Spacemonkeyz Vs. Gorillaz: Laika Come Home (EMI). B
  • Corey Harris: Downhome Sophisticate (Rounder). B-
  • Beck: Sea Change (Interscope). B-
  • Dirty Vegas (Capitol). B-
  • Shania Twain: Up! (Universal, 2CD). B-
  • World Saxophone Quartet: Steppenwolf (Justin Time). B-


These are records that I have some reason to think might be worth hearing. Usually, other folks' recommendation. ***, **, * indicates some serious interest on my part; # indicates something that I have serious doubts about.

  • Akufen: My Way (Force).
  • Tori Amos: Scarlet's Walk (Epic).
  • Antifolk, Vol. 1 (Rough Trade).
  • Joseph Arthur: Redemption's Son (Enjoy).
  • Ashanti (Murder Inc.)
  • Badenya: Manden Jaliya in New York City (Smithsonian/Folkways).
  • Patricia Barber: Verse (Blue Note).
  • Tim Berne: Science Friction (Screwgun).
  • Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp).
  • Boom Bip: Seed to Sun (Lex).
  • Bill Bruford's Earthworks: Footloose and Fancy Free (Discipline, 2CD).
  • Solomon Burke: Don't Give Up on Me (Anti-/Fat Possum).
  • Burnt Sugar: That Depends on What You Know: The Sirens Return: Keep It Real 'Til It Flatlines (Trugroid).
  • Neko Case: Blacklisted (Bloodshot).
  • Cassius: Au Rčve (Astralwerks).
  • Chemical Brothers: Come With Us (Astralwerks).
  • Clinic: Walk With Thee (Domino).
  • Elvis Costello: When I Was Cruel (Island).
  • Sheryl Crow: C'mon C'mon (Interscope).
  • Dan the Automator: Wanna Buy a Monkey? A Mixtape Session (Sequence).
  • Desaparecidos: Read Music/Speak Spanish (Saddle Creek).
  • Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment (Cartoon Network/Rhino).
  • The D4: 6Twenty (Infectious/Flying Nun).
  • James Luther Dickinson: Free Beer Tomorrow (Artemis).
  • The Doves: The Last Broadcast (Heavenly/Capitol).
  • Alejandro Escovedo: By the Hand of the Father (Texas Music).
  • The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Brothers).
  • Foo Fighters: One by One (RCA).
  • Geldof: Sex, Age & Death (Koch).
  • Gorillaz: G-Sides (Virgin).
  • GZA: Legend of the Liquid Swords (MCA).
  • Hakim: Talakik (Ark 21).
  • George Harrison: Brainwashed (Dark Horse/Capitol).
  • Dave Holland Big Band: What Goes Around (ECM).
  • Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador).
  • Keith Jarrett: Inside Out (ECM, 2CD).
  • Jay-Z: The Blueprint˛: The Gift and the Curse (Def Jam).
  • Wyclef Jean: Masquerade (Columbia).
  • Norah Jones: Come Away With Me (Blue Note).
  • Dap-Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Daptone).
  • Salif Keita: Moffou (Universal).
  • Korn: Untouchables (Immortal/Epic).
  • Wayne Kramer: Adult World (MuscleTone).
  • Ben Kweller: Sha Sha (Big Hassle).
  • Ladytron: Light and Magic (Emperor Norton).
  • Sondre Lerche: Faces Down (Astralwerks).
  • Liars: They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (Blast First/Mute).
  • Los Lobos: Good Morning Aztlán (Mammoth).
  • Luna: Romantica (Jetset).
  • Aimee Mann: Lost in Space (Superego).
  • Meat Beat Manifesto: RUOK (Run Recordings).
  • Brad Mehldau: Largo (Warner Bros.).
  • Metro Area (Environ).
  • Kylie Minogue: Fever (Capitol).
  • Meredith Monk: Mercy (ECM).
  • Ms. Jade: Girl Interrupted (Beatclub/Interscope).
  • Múm: Finally We Are No One (Fat Cat).
  • Musiq: Juslisen (Def Soul).
  • My House in Montmartre (Astralwerks).
  • Nettle: Build a Fort, Set That on Fire (Agriculture).
  • New Order: Back to Mine (DMC).
  • No Doubt: Rock Steady (Interscope).
  • N.O.R.E.: God's Favorite (Def Jam).
  • Beth Orton: Daybreaker (Astralwerks).
  • Pantytec: Pony Slaystation (Perlon).
  • Playgroup: Party Mix, Vol. 1 (Playgroup).
  • Playgroup: DJ Kicks (K7).
  • Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf (Interscope).
  • Joey Ramone (Sanctuary).
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: By the Way (Warner Bros.).
  • RJD2: Dead Ringer (Definitive Jux).
  • Roots Manuva: Dub Come Save Me (Big Dada).
  • Paulina Rubio: Border Girl (Universal).
  • Scarface: The Fix (Def Jam South).
  • Ron Sexsmith: Cobblestone Runway (Nettwerk).
  • Sigur Rós: ( ) (Fat Cat/MCA).
  • Soundtrack of Our Lives: Behind the Music (Republic/Universal).
  • South African Freedom Songs (Making Music).
  • Rod Stewart: It Had to Be You . . . The Great American Songbook (J).
  • Super Furry Animals: Rings Around the World (XL).
  • Super Rap: Original Rap & Hip-Hop From Harlem's P & P Records (Landspeed)
  • Supersuckers: Must've Been Live (Mid Fi).
  • Tegan & Sara: If It Was You (Vapor).
  • Thirdimension: Protect Us From What We Want (Hidden Agenda).
  • Tinariwen: The Radio Tisdas Sessions (World Village).
  • TLC: 3D (Arista).
  • TTC: Ceci N'est Pas un Disque (Big Dada).
  • 24 Hour Party People (FFRR).
  • 2 Many DJ's: As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Pt. 2 (PIAS).
  • The Vines: Highly Evolved (Capitol).
  • Tom Waits: Alice (Anti-).
  • Tom Waits: Blood Money (Anti-).
  • Weezer: Maladroit (Geffen).
  • Wire: Read & Burn 01 (Pinkflag).
  • Andrew W.K.: I Get Wet (Island).
  • Peter Wolf: Sleepless (Artemis).
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Touch and Go).
  • Zuco 103: Tales of High Fever (Six Degrees).


  1. Billie Holiday/Lester Young: A Musical Romance (1937-57, Columbia/Legacy).
  2. Jimmie Rodgers: RCA Country Legends (1927-33, RCA/BMG Heritage).
  3. Finger Poppin' and Stompin' Feet: 20 Classic Allen Toussaint Productions for Minit Records (1960-62, Capitol).
  4. The Rough Guide to the Music of Nigeria & Ghana (World Music Network).
  5. Jimmy Rushing: Cat Meets Chick / The Jazz Odyssey of James Rushing Esq. (1955-56, Collectables).
  6. Trail of Memories: The Randy Travis Anthology (1985-99, Rhino, 2CD).
  7. Bhundu Boys: The Shed Sessions (Sadza).
  8. Howlin Wolf: The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues (1966-67, MCA).
  9. The Best of James Brown Volume 2: The '70s (20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection) (Polydor)
  10. Electric Highlife: Sessions From the Bokoor Studios (Naxos World).
  11. John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: Deluxe Edition (1964-64, Impulse, 2CD).
  12. Sonny Boy Williamson: The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues (1955-64, MCA).
  13. The Rough Guide to Youssou N'Dour & Etoile de Dakar (World Music Network).
  14. Wayne Shorter: The Classic Blue Note Recordings (1960-89, Blue Note, 2CD).
  15. Elvis Presley: 30 #1 Hits (RCA).
  16. Buck 65: Weirdo Magnet (Warner Music Canada).
  17. The Music in My Head 2 (Stern's Africa).
  18. Orchestra Super Mazembe: Giants of East Africa (Earthworks).
  19. The History of Township Music (Wrasse).
  20. The Rough Guide to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1979-82, World Music Network).
  21. Howlin' Wolf: Moanin' at Midnight (1951-52, Fuel 2000).
  22. Ska All Mighty: Top Ska Classics From the Treasure Isle Label (Heartbeat).
  23. Stan Getz: The Very Best of Stan Getz (1952-91, Verve).
  24. Illinois Jacquet: Jumpin' at Apollo (1945-47, Delmark).
  25. Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Cleanhead & Cannonball (1961-62, Milestone).
  26. Pachuco Boogie (Arhoolie).


  • Cash Money Records: Platinum Hits (Cash Money/Universal).
  • Jan Garbarek: Rarum, Vol. 2: Selected Recordings (1974-95, ECM, 2CD).
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain: 21 Singles (Rhino).
  • The Rough Guide to Ali Hassan Kuban (World Music Network).
  • Man of Constant Sorrow and Other Timeless Mountain Ballads (Yazoo).
  • Thelonious Monk: At Newport 1963 & 1965 (Columbia/Legacy, 2CD).
  • Let's Do Rocksteady: The Story of Rocksteady 1966-68 (Trojan, 2CD).
  • London Is the Place for Me: Trinidadian Calypso in London (1950-56, Honest Jon's).
  • Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980 (Trojan, 2CD).
  • ?uestlove Presents Babies Makin' Babies (Urban Theory).
  • Rough & Tough: The Story of Ska 1960-1966 (Sanctuary/Trojan, 2CD).
  • Patti Smith: Land (1975-2002) (Arista, 2CD).
  • Tanz! With Dave Tarras and the Musiker Brothers (1955, Epic/Legacy).
  • Tighten Up: Trojan Reggae Classics 1968-74 (Sanctuary/Trojan, 2CD).
  • Tricky: A Ruff Guide (1994-99, Island).
  • Trojan Box Set: Bob Marley and Friends (Sanctuary/Trojan, 3CD).
  • Trojan Box Set: Calypso (Sanctuary/Trojan, 3CD).
  • Trojan Box Set: Upsetter (Sanctuary/Trojan, 3CD).
  • Trojan Box Set: X-Rated (Sanctuary/Trojan, 3CD).
  • X-Ray Spex: The Anthology (Sanctuary/Castle).


  • Bill Monroe: RCA Country Legends (1940-41, RCA/BMG Heritage). B+
  • Cuisine Non-Stop: Introduction to the French Nouvelle Generation (Luaka Bop). B+
  • Jack McVea: McVoutie's Central Avenue Blues (1945, Delmark). B+
  • We All Are One: The Best of Jimmy Cliff (1969-93, Columbia/Legacy). B+


  • Aaliyah: I Care 4 U (Blackground).
  • Afro-Rock, Vol. 1 (Evolver).
  • American Polka (Trikont).
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago: Rarum, Vol. 6: Selected Recordings (ECM).
  • Los Aterciopelados: Evolución: 17 Grandes Exitos (BMG).
  • The Big Beat of Dave Bartholomew: 20 of His Milestone Productions (1949-60, Capitol).
  • The Heart and Soul of Bert Berns (Universal).
  • The Blasters: Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings (Rhino 2CD).
  • Camper Van Beethoven: Cigarettes and Carrot Juice (SpinArt).
  • The Carter Family: The Decca Sessions, Vol. 2 (1936-38, Catfish).
  • Charlie Christian: Genius of the Electric Guitar (Columbia/Legacy, 4CD).
  • Classic Mountain Songs (Smithsonian/Folkways).
  • The Essential Leonard Cohen (Columbia/Legacy, 2CD).
  • The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest Hits (Capitol).
  • Bob Dylan: Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Review (Columbia/Legacy, 2CD).
  • Flashing Echo: Trojan in Dub 1970-1980 (Sanctuary/Trojan, 2CD).
  • The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash (Strut).
  • Grandmaster Flash: Essential Mix: Classic Edition (FFRR).
  • Keith Jarrett: Rarum, Vol. 1: Selected Recordings (ECM).
  • Let the Good Times Roll: 20 of New Orleans' Finest R&B Classics (1949-66, Capitol).
  • London Is the Place for Me: Trinidadian Calypso in London (1950-56, Honest Jon's).
  • Manic Street Preachers: Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits (Epic).
  • Oh-OK: The Complete Recordings (Collector's Choice).
  • Orbital: Work 1989-2002 (Import).
  • Amy Rigby: 18 Again: An Anthology (Koch).
  • Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop: The Greatest Songs From Early Rock 'n' Roll (Rhino, 3CD).
  • The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From the Tombs (Glitterhouse).
  • Scarface: Greatest Hits (Virgin).
  • Sun Records: 25 More Blues Classics (Varese).
  • Koko Taylor: Deluxe Edition (Alligator).