Top 23 Albums of 2002 Part 2

Brad Lindert

#11 – Promise Ring: Wood/Water This is The Promise Ring’s swan song. The guitar lines are great, and the lyrics are classical Davy; this is the Promise Ring at their best. Essential Track: “Stop Playing Guitar.”

#10 – Matthew Ryan: Hopeless to Hopeful

With the self-released Hopeless to Hopeful we find Ryan singing with his gravel voice like he always does, just with more white noise in the background. This is a collection of pure and beautifully done acoustic songs. Essential Track: “From the Floor.”

#9 – The Gloria Record: ***Start Here***

Start Here is an amazing album, but it is nowhere as good as their first two EPs. This album, however, does show what emo boys grow up to be: sonic/power pop men. Essential Track: “Cinema Air.”

#8 – Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

I didn’t think the Lips could do Soft Bulletin a second time. Though Yoshimi does not beat Bulletin, it does stack up to it. Where Bulletin had great distorted drums, Yoshimi has funky bass groves, and that is the only difference. Essential Track: “Do You Realize?”

#7 – Counting Crows: Hard Candy

I’ve been a fan of Adam and friends since the beginning. I love every album, every song. This album took me awhile to love, but when I started to love it I couldn’t stop listening to it. The Counting Crows prove that mid-90s bands can still make great music without having to tour county fairs. Essential Track: “Holiday in Spain.”

#6 – Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Their last album was good; this is great. The musical atmosphere flies while the guitars and piano hold together the amazing texture of sound. This album proves that a mainstream artist can still make worthwhile music. Essential Track: “Warning Sign.”

#5 – Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Everyone talks about this album, basically because of the back story (which I won’t repeat). This is an amazing mix of Beach Boys, country, Jim O’Rourke, and the kitchen sink. All songs are great, but I still long for the simpler times of Being There. Essential Track: “Radio Cure.”

#4 – Halley: Forget The Leaves, Autumn Will Change Us

Halley is what music is all about: a bunch of guys recording songs, not for a label but for themselves. This self-released album has Beulah-type horns, Sigur R¢s-like swells, and hard rock moments like Mogwai. No album has impressed me on first listen like this since Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over the Sea. Essential Track: “Kites are Slow Downers.”

#3 – Iron and Wine: The Creek Drank the Cradle

See next week’s review. Essential Track: “Upward Over the Mountain.”

#2 – Bright Eyes: Lifted, or, The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Love him or hate him, Conor knows how to write amazing lyrics and create amazing musical journeys. He improves his old folk formula by adding more instruments. This album is, simply put, an extremely complicated folk album. Essential Track: “Nothing Gets Crossed Out.”

(Bright Eyes was originally my number one album. But then I realized that Bright Eyes is an album made by a human being. This year’s number one album, on the other hand, was created by the gods).

#1 – Sigur R¢s: ()

In his review of Sigur R¢s’ Ag‘tis Byrjun, Phil Lindert (yes, my brother) said, “500 years from now, it will be nearly impossible to tell the difference from humans and robots. The only way to tell a robot from a human is that when a robot listens to Ag‘tis Byrjun and cries, it will short circuit. Humans will only feel inferior.”

This album, simply called (), may lack the explosions found on their previous releases, but here the music is more melodic and Jonsi’s vocals sound like a choir of angels.

They take an amazing theme and instead of making it louder they just add more subtle elements until you can’t take it anymore, and then the song is over. If you do not own this album, you are not a complete person. Essential Tracks: Every single song; every single second of this record is essential.

Questions or comments on this list? Or do you have an album you thought should have been on the list? Email