PRINT December 2002

Music: Best of 2002

Andrew Hultkrans


1. Radar Brothers, And the Surrounding Mountains Clearly the result of bales of dope and an aural diet of country, Brian Wilson, and Dark Side of the Moon, these songs are lighter-waving codas of casual majesty—their beginnings and middles thrown out with the bong water, apparently.

2. The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Sure, it’s sappy, inspirational sci-fi, but if it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you’re probably a robot anyway.

3. The Notwist, Neon Golden Kraftwerk’s homeland spawns a band that merges psych-folk with electronica to arrive at something one could call organic digitalia. Best blend of banjo and electricity since the Monks.

4. Beck, Sea Change Boy Hansen channels Fred Neil, Gordon Lightfoot, and Serge Gainsbourg on this lush, uncharacteristically earnest breakup album. There’s blood on these tracks.

5. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Life during wartime in a broke-down palace.

6. Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights Forget electroclash, this is the only ’80s knockoff you need. For those who wished Joy Division had been catchier.

7. Love, Da Capo Finally, a proper digital transfer of the most brilliantly unclassifiable LP side one of the ’60s.

8. Television Personalities, And Don’t the Kids Just Love It An apolitical Billy Bragg fronting early Guided by Voices. Indie rock/pop began here.

9. Various artists, The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever Salt ’N’ Pepa pushin’ it with the Stooges, Destiny’s Child smelling Nirvana’s booty, etc. There’s a fine line between clever and stupid, and this illegal DJ collection walks it beautifully.

10. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells I give up: They’re pretty great.

Andrew Hultkrans is editor in chief of Bookforum. His extended meditation on Forever Changes, the cult-classic record by the ’60s band Love, is forthcoming in 2003 from Continuum.