The best of 2002 mix tape
Three years into the 2000s and it is safe to say that I was unnecessarily hesitant about tackling the early part of this decade. Yes, there’s definitely a lot of less than stellar stuff to pick through, but there’s plenty out there to like for those willing to look past the Creed. There were some legit classic albums released during the year (hello Sea Change and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) and a handful of other great ones as well.
Apologies then to The Streets, Moby, Justin Timberlake, Tom Waits, Spoon and the others who didn’t make the cut from the long list.
I am trying to break your heart – Wilco
If Wilco writes the song title in sentence case, then it is good enough for me. Home to one of my favorite lines in music history, “I am American aquarium drinker,” whatever that means.
When The Man Comes To Town – Johnny Cash
The cover of NiN’s Hurt won all the awards, and rightly so, but this song is quintessentially Cash, and quite frankly grinds the rest of the songs on American IV into a fine powder with its awesomeness.
I’ll Do Anything – Grandpaboy
Grandpaboy is probably better known to you as Paul Westerberg, and this is a fantastic slice of guitar rock worthy of that band he fronted. (Fronts? It’s hard to tell from day-to-day.)
Do You Realize?? – Flaming Lips
Remember when The Flaming Lips put out awesome, David Bowie-esque records crawling with equal parts musicality and weirdness instead of just being weird and getting high with Miley Cyrus? Good memories.
July, July! – The Decemberists
I love it when The Decemberists break out the ! in their song titles. Good things usually follow, as they do here.
Wake Up – The Walkmen
An early salvo of goodness from these guys, and a sign of even better stuff to come.
Cheyenne – Guided By Voices
I’ve probably shortchanged Robert Pollard’s GBV a bit so far in some of these lists, but quite frankly it’s difficult to keep up with somebody who releases an album seemingly every other week.
The Rising – Bruce Springsteen
I’ve written before and more eloquently than I can here about how important this song is to me, so I won’t try to replicate or add to it here.
The Golden Age – Beck
Who would have pegged the guy who made his name with getting crazy with the cheese whiz and with two turntables and a microphone would end up being a top shelf singer/songwriter when he wanted to be.
Hollywood Ending – Sleater-Kinney
In addition to my one man campaign to get Susanna Hoffs elected to the rock and roll HOF, add Sleater-Kinney to the list. There’s nothing close to a dud in their back catalogue and they’re wicked cool to boot.
The Seed (2.0) – The Roots
The groove that drives this song is just irresistible. I’ll leave it to you to decipher the metaphor that not so subtly drives the lyrics.
With Arms Outstretched – Rilo Kiley
This song is just joy personified, though I’m not sure that’s really the intent.
Time For Heroes – The Libertines
The Libertines had enough sneer and menace in the background to elevate their take on the minimalist, garage rock revival above that of a lot of their American peers.
Lover I Don’t Have To Love – Bright Eyes
A great song, made all the more so when you consider that Conor Obrest was probably 6 or 7 when the idea for it first came to him.
I Wish I Had The Moon Tonight – Neko Case
When she’s dealing in songs as gorgeous as this, I’ll go anywhere Neko Case wants to take me.
Not a bad year at all. Here’s the Spotify playlist for your subscribing/listening pleasure.
Which one of your favorites did I miss?