Following several less than stellar musical years, 2002 shaped up to be the best year for new music since 1997. Hip-hop was vastly reinvigorated by ambitious and grand albums like Common's Electric Circus, Blackalicious' Blazing Arrow, and Talib Kweli's Quality. UK garage fulfilled its promise and went global with The Streets' Original Pirate Material and the rocketing stardom of North London's Ms. Dynamite. Rock 'n' roll was in very good health and surged ahead with Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot scoring major critical acclaim, Coldplay's massive A Rush of Blood to the Head, and the emergence of The Hives and The Vines. Alt-country reached new heights and touched the US national consciousness with Steve Earle's Jerusalem and Ryan Adams' continued artistic prolificness. Only dance and electronic music seemed to shine less brightly with few classic records this year. A great, banner year.
OK, on to the picks for 2002 . . .