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January 02, 2003 // 10:44 a.m. // Top Ten of 2002

My Top Ten 2002 Albums

Note: (1/3/03) It should be noted that these aren't the greatest, the most acclaimed or even necessarily the best albums of the past year. And it's total opinion anyway. Out of the 95+ I bought, these ten or fifteen are the ten or fifteen I enjoyed the most. For example, I don't expect everyone out there to see what I see in Rilo Kiley or Anna Waronker or even The Get Up Kids, who seemingly won out on the last day after I realized how much I enjoyed them I'm sure it's far from the best out there, as are most of these. But they are the ones I enjoyed the most this year, unlike last year's, which were actually my favorites. It's not easy to just throw your musical tastes out there for all the world to judge, believe me.

Out of all that I bought, these were my favorites. I totally recommend them. And it should also be noted that the top four really did a lot of flip-flopping. End of rant. If you disagree, do so respectfully. I'm just awful at being criticized when it comes to my music.

Honorable Mention:

Alice Peacock - Alice Peacock

Jurassic 5 - Power In Numbers

Lauryn Hill - Unplugged 2.0

The Promise Ring - Wood/Water

Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow

10

Beth Orton - Daybreaker
"Nobody can keep you from the one you know you are"

Release Date: July 30
Genre: Rock (with a bit of folk)
See also: Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, Dido
Standout tracks: Paris Train, Concrete Sky, Daybreaker, This One's Gonna Bruise

Orton's latest album takes at least two or three listens to appreciate. It's mellow and great music to relax to. There is definitely a melancholy feeling to the vocals, lyrics and especially the music, which makes this the perfect album this year to be pessimistic to, or to show you that someone else knows what you're going through.

09

Anna Waronker - Anna By Anna Waronker
"I'm glad I learned to trust my intuition/
And not trust your selfish attitude"


Release Date: June 4
Genre: Rock
See also: that dog., Garbage, Courtney Love
Standout tracks: Beautiful, John & Maria, Fortunes of Misfortune, A Hollow Daze, Eat Me Alive

Former that dog. frontwoman Anna Waronker debuts with a sometimes-angry-but-not-too-angry-girl rock and sometimes-passive-but-not-too-passive album. Much like in her work with her previous band, the beauty here lies in a voice that is not polished and not perfect and in her simplicity She says it best in "Eat Me Alive" with the line, 'simple things should be so simple.'

08

okgo - okgo
"Mediocre people do exceptional things all the time"


Release Date: Sept 17
Genre: Power Pop
See also: Weezer, Fountains Of Wayne
Standout tracks: Get Over It, There's A Fire, What To Do, You're So Damn Hot

Chicago funsters okgo bring a lot of toungue-in-cheek comedy with their debut full length album. While this album definitely wins the award for the most played album, okgo wins bonus points by telling of the pains of love, crushes and heartbreak in a different way than most bands. Check out "Get Over It" and from their EP, "It's Tough To Have A Crush."

07

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
"My heart is drenched in wine/But you'll be on my mind forever"

Release Date: February 26
Genre: Jazz/Pop
See also: Diana Krall, Jack Johnson, Cassandra Wilson
Standout tracks: Don't Know Why, Seven Years, Painter Song, Come Away With Me

Some gave Norah Jones flack for adding a pop sound to jazz music. While her album sounds more top 40 than Diana Krall's, that doesn't take away from the wonderful songs exhibited on her debut. Her voice is unique, often times not strong and very "club" which also adds to her sound and the album. Oh. And if you're judging her based on her success with the single, "Don't Know Why", do me a favor and listen to a few other songs. She's not as pop as you may think.

06

Jaguar Wright - Denials Delusions and Decisions
"I play by the rules and I treat you right/But you get the last laugh in every fight"

Release Date: January 29
Genre: R&B
See also: Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Heather Headley, Mary J. Blige
Standout tracks: The What If's, Stay, Love And Need And Want You

The strength of Jaguar Wright's voice is what makes her debut so successful. Reminiscent of super soul diva's Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin, Wright offers up strong vocals over
upbeat Philadelphia rhythms to create one of 2002's strongest albums vocally.

05

Musiq - Juslisen
"Everything is cool when love is all brand new"

Release Date: May 7
Genre: Neo Soul/R&B
See also: Maxwell, Glenn Lewis, Remy Shand, D'Angelo
Standout tracks: Newness, Caughtup, Halfcrazy, Don't Change, Something

Musiq's (minus the familiar 'Soulchild' moniker) second album Juslisen fuses soulful R&B vocals with less than traditional R&B beats. While his vocals have only gotten better, fans of his last album may be a bit surprised by the slightly ahead of its time direction the album takes. Check out his quite clever cover of The Beatles, "Something."

04

Raphael Saadiq - Instant Vintage
"I will wait for you my dear/even if it takes a thousand years"

Release Date: June 11
Genre: Neo Soul/R&B
Standout tracks: Doing What I Can, Still Ray, Different Times, Tick Tock, Blind Man
See also: Musiq, Tony Toni Tone, Lucy Pearl

Fans of Tony, Toni, Tone will recognize his voice right away. Saadiq's debut album hooks listeners instantly. If you don't like his vocals, you'll like his music. If you don't like his music, you'll like his lyrics. The only downside to this 76 plus minute album is that a few of the songs near the end of the album could have been left out without hurting (and perhaps helping) the overall sound.

03

Rilo Kiley - The Execution Of All Things
"I don't mind braving the coldest winter of our time/And I don't mind racing through our goodbyes"

Release Date: October 1
Genre: Indie Rock
See also: Anna Waronker, that dog., Bright Eyes, Death Cab For Cutie
Standout tracks: The Good That Won't Come Out, Paint's Peeling, The Execution Of All Things,
A Better Son/Daughter

Following up on the critically acclaimed Take Offs And Landings, Rilo Kiley (which revolves around former actors turned musicians Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett) does it all musically, vocally and especially lyrically. The album runs touches on all the popular themes and a few that are uncommon. For example, I personally love the way depression or perhaps mental illness is portrayed in first person on my favorite song, "The Good That Won't Come Out." Like Anna Waronker, the charm of both Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett's voices come in their imperfections, such as in the song "Papillon" from their first EP. The song "A Better Son/Daughter" is one of the many songs on the album that tell a story, and is reminiscent of Alanis Morissette's "Perfect" it its theme. What's even more surprising is their debut album Take Offs And Landings is even *better* than this amazing album.

02

Glenn Lewis - World Outside My Window
"Trust you'll find your way to love/Hope is what your heart is made of"

Release Date: March 19
Genre: Neo Soul/R&B
See also: Musiq, Avant, Remy Shand
Standout tracks: Beautiful Eyes, Don't You Forget It, Something To See, This Love, One More Day

At times, Canadian artist Glenn Lewis sounds more like Stevie Wonder than Stevie Wonder does.Despite the uncanny coincidence, Lewis provides an slower, and more refreshing alternative to the R&B acts currently on top 40 radio. Lewis' album is a great find, and is one to love, wallow, drive break up and sleep to.

01

The Get Up Kids - On A Wire
"You're a few years overdue/I spent them waiting here for you"

Release Date: May 14
Genre: Emo/Rock
See also: Dashboard Confessional, The Promise Ring, The New Amsterdams, New Found Glory
Standout tracks: Overdue, Let The Reigns Go Loose, All That I Know, Hannah Hold On, Campfire Kansas

For the third time, the Kansas based band The Get Up Kids switch their style, and do so with immense success. A band that isn't big on their music being labeled 'emo', The Get Up Kids switched things up from Something To Write Home About and return with their most varied album. In fact, fans of their last album may need a few listens to grow accustomed to the change. What makes this album so excellent is it's unique in its collective eclecticness.

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