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2003-01-09 | 12:16 a.m.

at his job, corduroy licorice got all the breaks: coffee, smoke and lunch.


i read a headline today said, "britain fears more poison." given that we're living in a such a topsy-turvy world right now, i'd think there'd be a little more than '80s hair band comebacks on that nation's mind.


speaking of music, it's time to present my top ten albums of the year for 2002. actually, this top ten list goes to eleven. egg roll, please:

sea change

deep voice. deep pain. deeply enjoyable stroll down love's misery lane. the melodies wash over you in watercolor loveliness. i've savored mr. hanson's soothing sad songs every day for months.

the flaming lips
yoshimi battles the pink robots

like a fireworks show where the explosion shimmers into thousands of shards of light in the night sky, this album reverberates with the cleverest kind of whimsy and hope.

joseph arthur
redemption's son

a new discovery that is almost matching beck's appearance rate in my cd player of late. a singer-songwriter album in the loosest sense. brilliantly schizophrenic in the tightest sense. the almost whispered "honey and the moon" ties beck's "lost cause" for best single of the year in my little black book. love is not too strong a word.

tom waits

this album veers from stunningly stark beauty to whirling carnival songs. i prefer the former, which means every other song leaves me swooning. the title cut is the jewel on the crown, featuring my favorite lyrics of the year: "arithmetic, arithmetock, turn the hands back on the clock, how does the ocean rock the boat? how did the razor find my throat?"/"and i must be insane, to go skating on your name, and by tracing it twice, i fell through the ice, of alice."*

the naked dutch painter and other songs

more traditional singer-songwriter sounds with incredibly smart and smart-ass lyrics. "the naked dutch painter" is an instant classic. it's enough to bring back my fondness for story songs.

yankee hotel foxtrot

more smart pop (my weakness), but this time it's been put in a cuisinart of romantic cynicism and julienned to offbeat perfection.

rosie thomas
when we were small

the singer-songwriter in female form hangs her sweet hopes and sad memories on the line to dry. "wedding day" is a gorgeously spare road trip song for fierce femmes everwhere.

norah jones
come away with me

living proof that commercial hits aren't necessarily shit. i resisted her smoky, jazz singer sound at first, but finally gave in. this is what lulling is all about.

ok go
ok go

the bright floral album cover says it all. this album is fun, fun, fun until your daddy takes the CD away. ear candy with a brain.

patty griffin
1000 kisses

the CD insert on this one is one sweet-ass piece of art direction. it sets the tone for a nostalgic album featuring a lovely voice and warm-hearted folksiness.

gary jules
trading snakeoil for wolftickets

even though this album was released in 2001, his cover of "mad world" has been getting some play lately on la's kcrw radio. his clever lyrics have taken me by surprise: "there's no poetry between us, said the paper to the pen." and an angry mate saying as she leaves the room, "i can't stand you--and that's the only thing we have in common." been there, dude.

words are cool, man. and words set to music are even cooler. you're not gonna get me to budge on that.

honorable mention:

cq soundtrack - funky, french and fabulous.

y tu mama tambien - a surprising mix of sounds as tasty as fresh salsa (the snack, not the dance).

8 women soundtrack - it's amazing how each actress's theme song is as unique as a flower. the score is wonderfully french country, darlings.

*thank you to for compiling tom's lyrics.

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take a peek at these - (c) 2000-2003 nictate:

health tip

health tip

moving house

quibbling with quitherfeather

catcher in the wry