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The Best Music of 2002

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Waltz for Koop

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

Autumn's Vicar

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lonesome Tears

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

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.


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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