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Laurence Station's Top 10 Albums of 2002

1. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
Jeff Tweedy & Co. serve up the year's moodiest, most optimistic and unapologetically challenging work. Not to mention the obvious choice for album of the year.
 
2. DJ Shadow: The Private Press (Mo' Wax/Island)
Incredibly inventive sound collages infused by a raw human element, from personal correspondence to irate motorists.
3. Spoon: Kill the Moonlight (Merge)
Moving beyond the heartbreak of last year's Girls Can Tell to such topics as the alienation of stopgap workers, Spoon continues to operate by its own uniquely skewed rules. Thank goodness for that; from start to finish, this is the year's most infectiously listenable album.
 
4. Beck: Sea Change (DGC/Interscope)
Beck's confessional, soul-laid-bare songwriting and Nigel Godrich's pristine production complement rather than contradict one another on this hangdog, heart-on-your-sleeve masterpiece.
5. Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man: Out of Season (Go! Beat)
Understated and haunting, Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbons and former Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb deliver a stellar one-off that hopefully will lead to more collaborations between the pair.
 
6. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.)
Metaphysical pop meditations on man's place in the universe and whether a young girl can defeat a giant pink robot in gladiatorial combat. Par for the course from the brilliantly inventive Lips.
7. N.E.R.D.: In Search Of... (Virgin)
Volatile blend of hip-hop, rock and soul meshes effortlessly thanks to the production wizardry of the Neptunes and the formidable skills of backing band Spymob. In Search Of... detonates the tired sound of rap-metal, in favor of a smoother but still viscerally effective approach.
 
8. Sigur Rós: ( ) (MCA/Fat Cat)
The most impressive element of the Icelandic quartet's latest release is the way it reinterprets the same vocal against a variety of increasingly dramatic sonic backdrops.
9. Múm: Finally We Are No One (Fat Cat)
Positive electronic pop that casts the listener as a spirit passing through the circulatory system of an organically industrialized wonderland. Definitely worth the trip.
 
10. The Streets: Original Pirate Material (Locked On)
Mike Skinner moves two-step garage from the underground to street level in this fascinating "day in the life of a geezer" document of bored, apathetic UK youth culture.
 
Notable near misses:
 
 
Top 10 Songs of 2002
 
  1. "Lose Yourself" Eminem (8 Mile Soundtrack)
  2. "We Are All Made Of Stars" Moby (18)
  3. "Do you Realize?" The Flaming Lips (Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots)
  4. "Relative Ways" ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (Source Tags & Codes)
  5. "Truth Or Dare" N.E.R.D. (In Search Of...)
  6. "Gold in Them Hills" Ron Sexsmith (Cobblestone Runway)
  7. "Work It" Missy Elliott (Under Construction)
  8. "This One's Gonna Bruise" Beth Orton (Daybreaker)
  9. "Dead Nigga Blvd. (Pt. 1)" Meshell Ndegeocello (Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape)
  10. "Dynamite Walls" Hayden (Skyscraper National Park)
 
Best Reissue/Previously Unreleased Material:
 
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 - Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue (Columbia)
Dylan's legendarily chaotic mid-1970s tour, documented here for the first time in wide release, provides one of his best live recordings ever.

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