My fifth favorite album of 2002 is the last one on the list I didn’t hear the year it came out. I discovered Josh Rouse in 2005 after the release of his best album, Nashville, and as I am wont to do, immediately bought up everything else he’d ever recorded.
Under Cold Blue Stars is Rouse’s third album and his first fully realized work. It’s a loose concept album about a couple in the 50s, based in part on Rouse’s parents.
Justin Bieber is like the villain in a horror movie. Just when you think he’s gone for good he pops back out and attacks again.
I hoped that Bieber’s descent into petty crime and general dickishness would keep him off of the airwaves. A modern-day Vanilla Ice, if you will, who would turn up again in 2025 on a home-improvement show but otherwise stay silent.
The Random iTunes Fairy did me a favor this weekend and served up a track from Chris Stapleton’s debut album, Traveller. I’ve wanted to post something about the record since I picked it up a couple of weeks ago but I’m in the middle of a monthlong flashback series so I didn’t think I’d do it anytime soon.
Stapleton has been kicking around Nashville for years as a songwriter and performer but reached most people’s radars (including mine) following a riveting performance alongside Justin Timberlake at the recent Country Music Awards.
Coldplay’s sophomore album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, remains their most critically acclaimed and their most commercially successful. For a couple of years following the release of this album, it was actually cool to like Coldplay.
Then, due to their ridiculous success, the whole Gwyneth Paltrow and Apple thing, and who knows what else, it became very uncool to like Coldplay.
My seventh best album of 2002 is the 21st studio album by Elvis Costello. The famously prolific Costello has released nine more albums since, though his current three-year absence is uncharacteristic.
Costello has released few perfect albums over his four-decade career (three or four by my count) but every one of his releases is distinctive. Sometimes it’s a genre play (country, classical, adult contemporary), others a thematic one (the childhood nostalgia of Brutal Youth or the short story forming the spine of The Delivery Man).
Here’s the third straight 2002 album that I discovered only after its release. It’s probably telling that the albums I discovered when they came out that year are sitting higher on my list (we’ll get to most of those next week).
I learned about Stew just a year later after the release of 2003’s Something Deeper Than These Changes. My wife heard a segment on the album on NPR and suggested I check it out. I was instantly smitten and sought out the rest of his discography.
Tift Merritt’s 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, is another album I discovered well after its release. I heard the singer-songwriter’s 2004 sophomore album, Tambourine, first.
Bramble Rose is one of two autographed albums in my collection. The other is also by Merritt, 2012’s Traveling Alone. I guess you could say she and I are tight.