1. the roots Phrenology (MCA)
Fuck the Strokes, fuck the Hives, fuck Interpol. The hiphop superheroes from Philly made the only record in 2002 that really saved rock 'n' roll.
1. neko case Blacklisted (Mint)
Boozy confessions, bruised knuckles and broken hearts from the back of a broken-down trailer at midnight in the middle of nowhere. Neko puts Patsy Cline to shame with terrifyingly gorgeous tunes that'll either drive you to suicide or save your soul.
1. young & Sexy Stand Up For Your Mother (Mint)
Fabulously fey dream pop with mind-blowing variety, ridiculously hooky melodies, songwriting smarts and even a nod to The Facts Of Life theme song! Vancouver artsies make up for their dorky moniker with a stellar debut.
4. broken social scene You Forgot It In People (Paperbag)
A reminder that soft, pretty things can pack a mean wallop.
5. spoon Kill the Moonlight (Merge)
Half balls-out rawk songs, half spare, streamlined musical spiderwebs, Spoon's follow-up to last year's lauded Girls Can Tell trims off all the fat. They're a lean, mean indie machine. Raw 'n' ready and so good it's spooky.
6. the flaming lips Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner)
A trippy Japanimation hallucination in a Beach Boys galaxy far, far away. Wayne Coyne and company spin shimmering electronica-meets-twang dreamscapes into a dead-on concept album.
7. missy elliott Under Construction (Elektra)
The best party album of the year, hands down. An old-skool shout-out, a Hey Ladies sample and a lesson in eating pussy in one fell swoop? It don't get much better than that.
8. wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
Jeff Tweedy's belligerent martyr complex aside, Wilco's foray into bizarre multi-dimensional art-rock is lovely. Jim O'Rourke hones meandering noise into oddly affecting love-hate ballads, while lyrical snippets like "I am trying to break your heart" knee you in the groin.
9. sarah slean Night Bugs (Warner) Lush and baroque like an ornate red velvet tapestry, Slean's voice soars over symphonic piano and keening strings to catapult you into another time and place. What Moulin Rouge should've been.
10. interpol Turn On The Bright Lights (Matador)
Dark, gloomy and depressing as hell - and wholly deserving of all the hype. The shimmering guitars and nu-Morrissey vocals gave New Wavers a reason to mousse their hair again.
music 2002 top 10
So what's all this nonsense about 2002 being a bad year for music? Just because the major labels were constantly getting scooped by indies on the most exciting new music doesn't mean there was a shortage of amazing releases. From Broken Social Scene's big breakout and Sharon Jones's deep funk to Neko Case's soul-stirrer, it was a smashing year. Here's our best.