2002: Ten Essential Rock Records and honorable mentions

By on January 30, 2003

2002 was a year the “The” bands revived the lifeless lungs of modern rock radio and MTV airplay.

In 2001 The New York-trendy Strokes attracted the attention of the music industry, rock thirsty fans and even caught the eyes of some notable ladies like Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore and Courtney Love, thrusting them into the limelight.

The Strokes didn’t start the movement, but they held the door open for other acts to follow.

Thanks to The Stroke’s infectious hype, The White Stripes finally gained commercial success in 2001 with their third album to date, “White Blood Cells.”

The Mick Jagger-swaggering Swede band The Hives became our “New Favourite Band,” with their high octane live show.

The Nirvana meets Beatle hybrid of The Vines made excessive alcohol and drug use, as well as instrument demolition entertaining once again.

As the economy plummeted, the rock revolution exploded, opening our ears to music that may have gone unnoticed a year prior.

This list should hopefully help you in the search for good music from the past year. All live albums, reissues, greatest hits and compilations aside, these ten records aided the breakthrough of rock that has captivated us once again.

Bright Eyes – “Lifted, or, the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground” (Saddle Creek)

Nebraskan neo-folkie becomes poster child for all you emo kids, minus the cliched chord progressions.This groundbreaking album is unable to be categorized by style and sound.

The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (Pias America)

High atop almost every critic’s lists, this album was a hit from left field, nearly two years in the making. They were also Beck’s backing band on his psychedelic tour.

*Editor’s Note: Fellow art and pop rock veteran groups with acclaimed releases from the past year as well as forthcoming music: Wilco – “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” Sonic Youth – “Murray Street,” The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Plastic Fang”

The Vines – “Highly Evolved” (Capitol)

Simple-minded grunge melodies coupled with elementary lyrics teetering on the edge of annoyance, “Highly Evolved” packs a dozen tracks into the amount of time it takes to watch a sitcom.

Doves – “The Last Broadcast” (Heavenly)

A somewhat brighter side to the usually glum U.K. Doves. Melodic, catchy and dreamy – the way Brit-pop should be.

*Editor’s Note: Check newer Brit band Coldplay at the Careerbuilder.com Oakdale Theater, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Queens of the Stone Age – “Songs for the Deaf” (Interscope)

Cult favorites making the mainstream with the help of Dave Grohl on drums. Metal that isn’t.

Interpol – “Turn On the Bright Lights” (Matador)

Break out the ‘Members Only’ jackets and the slap bracelets, the 80’s sound is coming back. Interpol is the New Division of the 00’s. Hopefully the flock of seagulls’ haircut will stay in the 80’s where it belongs.

Ryan Adams – “Demolition” (Universal)

Great crooning voice, great song-writing and even better lyrics, following to 2001’s “Gold” major label step-up and the fostering nods by Elton John and Willie Nelson, among others.

Beck – “Sea Change” (Geffen) An entire album dedicated to the heartache of break up with long time girlfriend, Beck depresses and mesmerizes on his most somber album to date, drawing on a 70’s pace keen on Big Star and Nick Drake.

Badly Drawn Boy – “Have You Fed the Fish?” (Artist Direct/XL Recordings)

A mini-opera sound completely unique to the British one-man wonder; BDB also hit it big with the “About a Boy” soundtrack this year.

The Mars Volta – “Tremulant” EP

When At the Drive-In split, half the band formed the radio-friendly Sparta and the other half concocted the experimental Mars Volta. Only three tracks on the EP, it still holds its weight to be ranked among the best of 2002.

Red Hot Chili Peppers –

“By the Way”

Weezer –


Coldplay –

“A Rush of Blood to the Head”

Phantom Planet –

“The Guest”

DJ Shadow –

“The Private Press”

Something Corporate – “Leaving Through the Window”

Pearl Jam –

“Riot Act”

Clinic –

“Walking With Thee”

The Mooney Suzuki –

“Electric Sweat”

Wilco –

“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”


About David Blanchard