The Best Music of 2002

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Putting this list together and hearing this music again was great fun. This year on All Songs Considered we featured more than 120 artists and listened to thousands of others. In the end, these are the ones that stuck with us. They're the songs that you listened to the most or that drew the most e-mail. Hearing them all together is a wonderful way to look back at the year.

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The Best Music of 2002

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

  • Artist: Wilco
  • Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • Song: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Wilco's previous label refused to put out this album, saying it was too weird. Fortunately for fans, Nonesuch picked it up and released it April, 2002.

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Song
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Album
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Artist
Wilco
Label
Nonesuch

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Blue Horse

The Littlest Birds

  • Artist: The Be Good Tanyas
  • Album: Blue Horse
  • Song: The Littlest Birds

The Be Good Tanyas put a fresh and surprising spin on classic Appalachian folk tunes. This song is one of their own.

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Song
The Littlest Birds
Album
Blue Horse
Artist
The Be Good Tanyas
Label
Nettwerk

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Come Away With Me

Don't Know Why

  • Artist: Norah Jones
  • Album: Come Away With Me
  • Song: Don't Know Why

Though she's reluctant to talk about it, Norah Jones is the daughter of legendary sitarist, Ravi Shankar. Her sound, however, is all her own.

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Song
Don't Know Why
Album
Come Away With Me
Artist
Norah Jones

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Rabbit Songs

When I Was Drinking

  • Artist: Hem
  • Album: Rabbit Songs
  • Song: When I Was Drinking

New York song writer Dan Messe put an ad in the paper for a singer and found "the most beautiful voice" he'd ever heard. Sally Ellyson sings here on Rabbit Songs, a gorgeous debut from the group, Hem.

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Song
When I Was Drinking
Album
Rabbit Songs
Artist
Hem

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( )

Untitled, Track 4

  • Artist: Sigur Rós
  • Album: ( )
  • Song: Untitled, Track 4

No album name. No song titles. Complete gibberish for lyrics. But the music is so beautiful it'll take you to a place where none of that matters.

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Song
Untitled, Track 4
Album
( )
Artist
Sigur Ros
Label
MCA

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Pirates Choice

Ultrus Horas

  • Artist: Orchestre Baobab
  • Album: Pirate's Choice: The Legendary 1982 Session
  • Song: Ultrus Horas

Orchestra Baobab first released this album on cassette in the early '80s. It was widely pirated by devout fans and is now available for the first time on CD.

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Song
Ultrus Horas
Album
Pirates Choice
Artist
Orchestra Baobab
Label
Elektra/Asylum

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Waltz for Koop

Waltz for Koop

  • Artist: Koop
  • Album: Waltz for Koop
  • Song: Waltz for Koop

Like smooth cocktail jazz, NPR music reviewer Michell Mercer calls Koop the "musical equivalent of anti-depressant light visors."

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Song
Waltz for Koop
Album
Waltz for Koop
Artist
Koop

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Is a Woman

Autumn's Vicar

  • Artist: Lambchop
  • Album: Is a Woman
  • Song: Autumn's Vicar

Lambchop are part of the Nashville music scene with a sound that veers from twangy country to ambient, alt/art rock.

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Song
Autumn's Vicar
Album
Is a Woman
Artist
Lambchop

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When I Was Cruel

When I Was Cruel

  • Artist: Elvis Costello
  • Album: When I Was Cruel
  • Song: When I Was Cruel

After collaborating with other artists on a number of different projects, Elvis Costello returned in April, 2002 with this remarkable new solo release.

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Song
When I Was Cruel
Album
When I Was Cruel
Artist
Elvis Costello
Label
Island

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Le Pas Du Chat Noir

Leila au pays du carrousel (variation)

  • Artist: Anouar Brahem
  • Album: Le Pas du Chat Noir
  • Song: Leila au pays du carrousel (variation)

Anouar Brahem is a master oud player. It's a pear-shaped Arab lute which he strives to use as a lead instrument, though it's usually reserved for accompaniment.

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Song
Leila au pays du carrousel (variation)
Album
Le Pas Du Chat Noir
Artist
Anouar Brahem
Label
ECM

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If It Was You

Monday, Monday, Monday

  • Artist: Tegan and Sara
  • Album: If It Was You
  • Song: Monday, Monday, Monday

These 22 year old twin sisters from Canada are getting a lot of attention for this album. It's their second collection of great original pop.

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Song
Monday, Monday, Monday
Album
If It Was You
Artist
Tegan and Sara

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Heathen

Slow Burn

  • Artist: David Bowie
  • Album: Heathen
  • Song: Slow Burn

David Bowie rejoins the producer of his Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity albums for this new recording -- a mix of cover tunes and original work.

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Song
Slow Burn
Album
Heathen
Artist
David Bowie
Label
Sony

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Belmondo

Theme For a Film

  • Artist: Japancakes
  • Album: Belmondo
  • Song: Theme For a Film

Japancakes like to take a theme and repeat it until you're lulled into a blisful, imaginary world where everything is warm and beautiful.

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Song
Theme For a Film
Album
Belmondo
Artist
Japan Cakes
Label
Darla

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Sea Change

Lonesome Tears

  • Artist: Beck
  • Album: Sea Change
  • Song: Lonesome Tears

On his eighth and latest release, Beck trades his sardonic wit for serious heartbreak.

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Song
Lonesome Tears
Album
Sea Change
Artist
Beck
Label
Geffen

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Left to His Own Devices

Very Friendly Lighthouses

  • Artist: Vic Chesnutt
  • Album: Left to His Own Devices
  • Song: Very Friendly Lighthouses

One of the most loved and admired artists on the art/alt rock scene, Vic Chesnutt wrote, recorded, and mixed this CD by himself with a desktop computer.

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Song
Very Friendly Lighthouses
Album
Left to His Own Devices
Artist
Vic Chesnutt
Label
spinART

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Cachaíto

Redencíon

  • Artist: Cachaito Lopez
  • Album: Cachaito
  • Song: Redencíon

Orlando Cachaíto López is from a dynasty of Cuban bassists best known for his work with the Buena Vista Social Club.

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Song
Redencíon
Album
Cachaíto
Artist
Orlando Cachaíto López
Label
Elektra/Asylum

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