PRINT December 2002

Music: Best of 2002

Dennis Cooper


1. Super Furry Animals, Rings Around the World Britpop suddenly produced its Sgt. Pepper. A shiny, intelligent, genre-pillaging, totally addictive stimulant.

2. The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Absolute sincerity plus unrepentant quirkiness equals (in this case) divine beauty.

3. Silverchair, Diorama With help from arranger Van Dyke Parks in full Smile-era mode, these severely underrated Australians finessed the most substantive hard-rock album in decades.

4. El-P, Fantastic Damage Cannibal Ox maestro El-P took a solo turn and made the kind of daredevil, forward-thinking, deftly deformed-sounding CD that hip-hop desperately needed and sorely lacked.

5. The Breeders, Title TK Easing out of their multiyear lost weekend, Kim and Kelley Deal and crew cobbled together a beautiful, goosebump-producing mess.

6. Guided by Voices, Universal Truths and Cycles After two noble attempts to contain his band’s gigantic vision in a more radio-conducive form, Robert Pollard is God again.

7. Weezer, Maladroit I love how Weezer’s genius evades the radar of so many otherwise savvy rock aficionados.

8. Eddie Ruscha, aka Future Pigeon, Dada Munchamonkey Still mostly unknown outside SoCal, Ruscha is a massively inventive, superadventurous composer, musician, DJ, and sound artist whose local gigs keep LA’s music lovers on their toes.

9. Wire, Read & Burn 02 This sequel to Wire’s R&B 01 EP is a harrowing return to form by the smartest gray-haired artists in rock.

10. Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights These Joy Division/Echo and the Bunnymen loyalists subtly revised a dormant but extremely fertile style into something big, stormy, and vital.

Dennis Cooper is a contributing editor of Artforum. His sixth novel, My Loose Thread (Canongate), was published in May, and he recently coedited a volume of the selected writings of Kathy Acker.