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Kevin Forest Moreau's Top 10 Albums of 2002

1. Rush: Vapor Trails (Anthem/Atlantic)
Yes, an odd choice, but what can you do? This original review to the contrary, one of the Canadian power trio's most accomplished efforts. A welcome return to form after devastating misfortune.
2. Idlewild: The Remote Part (Parlophone)
Scottish upstart retains its loud-fast roots while maturing into a gracefully poetic outfit. Classic punk-fueled rock with echoes of the Smiths, R.E.M., U2 and Big Country.
3. Drive-By Truckers: Southern Rock Opera (Lost Highway)
Lost Highway's re-release of this 2001 gem should bring this flawed but stirring and thoughtful song cycle to a deservedly wider audience.
4. Steve Earle: Jerusalem (E Squared/Warner Brothers)
Earle at his rabble-rousing, crowd-rocking best: Condemning American imperialism with one hand, executing mournful ballads and sprightly rockers with the other.
5. Audioslave: Audioslave (Epic/Interscope)
I know it's only by-the-book hard rock riffology, phoned in by Chris Cornell and whipped into a versatile frenzy by the Zach-free Rage Against the Machine. But I like it.
6. N.E.R.D.: In Search Of... (Virgin)
The second half lags a bit, but the hitmaking Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, plus cohort Shay) prove they've been holding out on the Britneys, Nellys and Jay-Zs of the world. Why don't more records sound like this?
7. The Reindeer Section: Son of Evil Reindeer (Bright Star/PIAS)
With this Scottish side-project supergroup, Gary Lightbody stakes his claim to the mantle of this generation's Nick Drake. Pretty, shimmering melancholy at its near-best.
8. Bruce Springsteen: The Rising (Columbia)
It doesn't take names the way Steve Earle's Jerusalem does. But this occasionally self-important post-9/11 treatise does kick some ass, in a "Yeah! Max Weinberg's back!," comfort-food sort of way.
9. Matthew Ryan: Dissent From the Living Room (Plastic Violin)
Okay, so it's a homemade CDR of demos and leftovers available only on Ryan's website. But the criminally under-valued singer-songwriter offers some affecting moments worth hunting for.
10. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
Oversold? Certainly. But there are some intriguing experiments on this bold break from the dark pop of Summerteeth and the rootsy foundations of earlier albums. It'll be interesting to see where Wilco goes from here.
Notable near misses:
Top 10 Songs of 2002
  1. "Good Morning, Aztlan" Los Lobos (Good Morning, Aztlan)
  2. "Into the Sourdays" Matthew Ryan (Dissent From the Living Room)
  3. "Modern Way Of Letting Go" Idlewild (The Remote Part)
  4. "Deep Red Bells" Neko Case (Blacklisted)
  5. "Let There Be Rock" Drive-By Truckers (Southern Rock Opera)
  6. "Show Me How to Live" Audioslave (Audioslave)
  7. "Truth or Dare" N.E.R.D. (In Search Of...)
  8. "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
  9. "Worlds Apart" Bruce Springsteen (The Rising)
  10. "Electrical Storm" U2 (U2: The Best of 1990-2000)

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