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 Features: The Best of 2002 

Top40: The Best of 2002

The best of the best for 2002:
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40
Give us your comments!

Top40-Charts presents the 40 best albums of 2002, both in our opinion as well as yours(after an extensive vote)!

31. Shakira

(from Colombia)

This album was released November 2001, but has influences so much the music of the 2002, so that's why stands in our list.
Colombian superstar Shakira's first English-language disc, Laundry Service, carries the pointed credit "Entire Album Produced by Shakira." That might be a signal to U.S. fans who helped two of her previous discs go platinum under the media radar - a sign that this planned breakthrough has more to offer than the input of a score of image makers and outside writers. And it does; even the occasional clunky lyric comes directly from her overflowing heart. Laundry Service's meld of danceable pop and rockier ideas and textures follows the similar path of the singer-songwriter's previous work. Indeed, for all its high-end production values, the record is ultimately one of the least glossy crossover vehicles imaginable.
We believe Shakira has definitely made her mark on the US/Europe pop industry this year (2002). Although she has yet to top "Donde" its nice to watch her delve into the mysteries of new genres. We can't wait for her next album - hopefully it'll have a chance against "Donde".

Despite an occasional lean toward Celine Dion territory ("Underneath Your Clothes"), it has a freshness that's sure to win over new listeners even after the first single, the sly "Whenever, Wherever," has reached the saturation point. While still not fully formed as an artist, she's getting close to something of her own - something that may flower after she dumps the vocal Alanis-isms.
For now, it's still a pleasure to watch her grow...

32. Peter Wolf

(from USA)

Inside the hyper-howl that Wolf brought to the J. Geils Band was a natch'l-blues singer and country-soul romancer waiting to bust out.
Sleepless is after-midnight perfection: In "Nothing But the Wheel" and a fine unplugged spin on Otis Rush's "Homework," an old, live Geils staple, Wolf turns on the need like Charlie Rich up to his silver mane in Boston barroom sass and the road-band verite of Bob Dylan's Love and Theft.

Although we are still hungry at times for that hard r&b, rock & roll jive talkin' singer we grew up with from the J. Geils band, we are starting to get used to his more adult contemporary style approach that reminds us a lot of the music that artists like Graham Parker and especially Van Morrison are making today.
Wolf's songwriting has never been better. The beautiful "Five O'Clock Angel", his duet with Mick Jagger on the country blues tune "Nothin' But The Wheel", and the album closer "Sleepless" were standouts for us here. He also does another country blues song trading lines with Steve Earle on "Some Things You Don't Want To Know".

The only sad thing about Peter Wolf's music is that so much of it is out of print. What's the deal with these record companies?
C'mon, rerelease this stuff, and give us some some bonus tracks while your at it. This guy is too good not to be heard.
Meanwhile get this while you can. If your a lover of well done r&b music like we are, you'll eat this stuff up.

33. Ashanti

(from USA)

The year started with triple threat diva, dancer and actress Ashanti Douglas singing on rap hits by Ja Rule ("Always on Time") and Fat Joe ("What's Luv?"). By the end of 2002, this female protege of Murder Inc. impresario Irv Gotti dominated the R&B charts so thoroughly that even trademark belter Mariah Carey appropriated this upstart's muted bedroom croon. Although Gotti's production - a straightforward keyboard-with-beats formula - can make many of the songs sound a little too familiar, the Long Island native's chart-topping debut overflows with dimmed-lighting delights - particularly the sublimely throbbing slow jam "Rescue."
The European edition includes four (4) tracks not on the US Version:
'Fight (Over Skit)', 'Shi Shi (Skit)', 'Dreams' and 'Thank You'.

Ashanti is definitely R&B for the under-30 set, and as such it's bouncy and playful. This debut, as is to be expected of a Murder Inc. release, features a strong hip-hop element, including two duets with Irv Gotti's golden child, Ja Rule, and the sampling of a controversial Notorious B.I.G. composition in "Unfoolish."
Your kids should love it!.

34. Breeders
Title TK

(from USA)

Recorded by Steve Albini using analog technology, Title TK at first sounds like some long-lost basement recording improbably featuring a pair of sound - alike frontwomen. But the quaint attributes of this faux-relic quickly vanish as it becomes apparent there aren't a lot of ideas at work beneath the chilly atmospheric cooing and narcoleptic guitar strumming.
Their tomboy-angel voices and dark, dry guitars haunt these song - really no title at all - suggests the Deals have already run out of steam and inspiration. But the music - sad, dirty but very pop - lurches and sighs like fragile resurrection.

35. Solomon Burke
Don't Give Up on Me

(from USA)

The great Atlantic R n'B producer Jerry Wexler was once asked who he thought was the greatest of all the soul giants he had worked with. He answered "Solomon Burke, with a good band". Well Solomon's got a great band working with him here.
Of all the great male '60s soul singers - a short list that includes Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and James Brown - only Solomon Burke still actively records. More amazing, he's produced his best full-length album with Don't Give Up on Me. It's easy to give some credit to the album's star songwriters, who include Burke fans Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Brian Wilson, and Bob Dylan. But really it's the quality of the songs and Burke himself, one of the most versatile and charismatic singers around, that make this album so special.

The 11 songs range from the lazy, seductive plea of the title track and the gravelly gospel of "Diamond in Your Mind" to the country-soul of "Other Side of the Coin" and the civil-rights-era urgency of "None of Us Are Free." Joe Henry's production is suitably subdued, and the instrumentation - generally guitar, bass, drums, organ, and piano - is sympathetic throughout.
And if you doubt that Burke is the real star in a room crowded with those folks, consider this: the two slightest tracks here were written by Wilson and Costello, while one of the best, the album-closing "Sit This One Out," was written by someone named Pick Purnell.

A great album not fixed in the past or fully of this decade, Don't Give Up is a crowning achievement of an R&B pioneer who has returned to reclaim his self-bestowed title from the '60s: "The King of Rock and Soul".

36. Ryan Adams

(from USA)

Former Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams claims to have written and recorded enough songs over the past several years to fill a four-CD collection - and that's in addition to his acclaimed 2001 breakthrough Gold. Wisely, Adams decided to skip the box set - hey, he's only 27 - and issue a sort of "best of" compilation comprising 13 unreleased demos.
Recorded at four different studio sessions in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Stockholm, with a cast of musicians that includes his road band the Pinkhearts, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Ethan Johns, Chris Stills, Bucky Baxter, and Greg Leisz, Demolition proves that Adams is still a work in progress: brilliant one moment, sloppy the next. When he's good, he's very good: the rousing country-rocker "Hallelujah," the brooding acoustic ballads "Dear Chicago" and "Tomorrow," and the jangly power-pop number "Gimme a Sign" are as fine as anything on Gold. But Adams sometimes lapses into mimicry, as he does on "Nuclear" and "Starting to Hurt," both of which could be outtakes from a U2 album. "Tennessee Sucks," a chronicle of a boredom-filled summer day in Nashville, sounds half-baked, while the closing track, "Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)," which finds Adams (on synthesizer, guitars, bass, and drum machine) droning on like Leonard Cohen, falls in the "failed experiment" category.

Despite its bright spots, Demolition ultimately comes off as a mixed bag. If this is a "work in progress", who needs finished product?

37. Linda Thompson
Fashionably Late

(from UK)

The real queen of Britain returns after a seventeen-year silence and the near-loss of her voice with this record of magnificent anguish, wrapped in the airs and graces of Olde English folk-rock.
Thompson sings with bittersweet authority of grand passions and soured devotion against a soft nest of acoustic guitars, fiddles and vintage instrumefnts (cittern, crumhorn). Van Dyke Parks, Rufus Wainwright and Thompson's ex-husband, Richard, make cameo appearances, but the triumph is Linda's alone.

Even for those who've never heard Linda Thompson sing the wonderful Dimming of the day, her new release Fashionably late is a must-have. Fans who remember Thompson's legendary records with ex-husband Richard (who appears briefly in their first reunion in 20 years) will swear that the closing parlor tune "Dear Old Man of Mine" is a regretful meditation on that relationship. But who's to say? Thompson, who cowrote most of the tunes with her son Teddy, has so much fine company (Van Dyke Parks, Rufus Wainwright, and Martin and Eliza Carthy) that an air of celebration can't help but bubble through the gloom.
It's great to have her back, this is one hell of a comeback!

38. Weezer

(from USA)

After taking five leisurely years to follow up on 1996's Pinkerton, Weezer are apparently on a roll. Arriving just over 12 months after The Green Album, Maladroit finds the Los Angeles power-pop band in the midst of a particularly fertile creative period.
"Dope Nose," which is easily stronger than anything on the last album, flexes a sinister shout-along chorus and vintage Van Halen riffs, while the potent garage-punk blast of "Fall Together" wipes out any lingering discomfort over the thoroughly Sugar Ray-sounding "Island in the Sun." In a sense The Green Album was just a taster for this, the blissfully thunderous main dish. Sure, there are some deadpan emo moments ("Death and Destruction") littering the course, but mostly Maladroit is Weezer doing what they do best - inverting and embracing dumb rock stereotypes and somehow making them sound smart.

You will be thuroughly rewarded with Maladroit. If you liked the self titled album, and you're searching for a louder rock-inspired sound with terribly catchy songs, you've found your album.
Definitely one of our favorites of the year.

39. Andrew W.K.
I Get Wet

(from USA)

If back hair could sing, it would sound like Andrew W.K. Lumbering out of the Detroit-metal tar pits like some kind of Homo Motorheadulis, this man did his bit and then some to make rock & roll loud and obnoxious all over again, bellowing anthems such as "Party Hard," "Take It Off," "Party Till You Puke" and "Fun Night" at the top of his lungs.
Think of the gargantuan riffs of "Detroit Rock City" smeared with Flock of Seagulls-style synth while some manic propagandist hollers himself hoarse over top. I Get Wet has one setting-loud - but not since the Stooges has unmitigated hedonism, and just plain headbanging, seemed like a plan. Mighty members of the three-finger devil salute fraternity, your soundtrack has arrived!

If you dig the happy music and live to party, then pick this album up or miss out on the biggest celebration known to mankind.

40. Missy Elliott
Under Construction

(from USA)

Adding Eighties rap samples to Timbaland's futuristic productions, Missy Elliott keeps the beat bacchanal bumping on her fourth volume of inventive, meaty hip-hop. Elliott's ribald raps are shrewder, her sentiments more sincere since losing friend Aaliyah. But the clincher is "Work It," a crunked collision of electro seduction, backward lyrics and Blondie's "Heart of Glass."

However, this album has consistently strong lyrics and beats. Missy & Timbaland could not get any better. They show how you don't need any samples to be hot and how originality gains you more respect.
Missy is still Supa Dupa Fly and will never be stopped!!!

The best of the best for 2002 without music frontiers:

| 1-10 | | 11-20 | | 21-30 | | 31-40 |

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