This is a fun topic to come back around to: revisit your favorite records from years past and say what you think of them now. Since a number of sites have done "Best of" lists for the decade, let's review, shall we?
I don't think I came up with a list for this year, but At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command was definitely one of my favorites of that year. The first nine songs really blew my mind, but it wasn't until years later that I grew to love the entire album. After the first nine songs, I just grew fatigued of the near-constant sonic assault. Now I think of that record as important in so many ways, so far as influence on many bands that came afterwards, and how powerful this record still sounds.
Memory is very clear on this one: Ryan Adams' Gold. While I always liked the record, it wasn't until I was stuck in a 50-minute back-up on I-45 through Corsicana on the day before Thanksgiving that I realized this was my favorite record of the year.
Make no mistake, a lot of Ryan's work is great fodder for brokenhearted. I was still upset over a break-up that happened in the previous year, and a few months into 2002, I would feel even more brokenhearted over another proverbial flight to Hawaii that crashed into the ocean. So, Ryan's music was a great soundtrack. So was Demolition, Love is Hell, and Rock N Roll in the ensuing years. I don't listen to Ryan's music nearly as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it.
The one record that I cherished during this time that I don't cherish now is Bright Eyes' Lifted. I went through the whole painful-but-necessary transition from a full-time college student mentality to a full-time worker mentality in 2002, and it's very safe to say that there were some very bleak months early into the year. When you tell yourself you're nothing because of you don't have a full-time job and you have a major falling-out with one of your best friends, it's easy to be drawn into Bright Eyes' music.
That was me at the time, and listening to this record now is like reading some prose or poetry I wrote that hasn't aged well. The record still sounds phenomenal, but Oberst's lyrics and singing are less appealing to me year after year.
Truth be told, I had forgotten until last Friday night that Cursive's The Ugly Organ was one of my favorites of that year. I have listened to all of Cursive's stuff between Domestica and Mama, I'm Swollen so much that I forgot. Hearing songs like "A Gentleman Caller" and "Butcher the Song" again live, the record has not aged a day to me, and it's still massive.
However, the record that I liked the most that year was none other than Hey Mercedes' Loses Control. This is still a good record to me, but I tend to lean towards the band's debut album, Everynight Fireworks, when I want to listen to some Hey Mercedes.
Look in the archives of this blog and you'll find my write-up on Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News. My sentiments on this record remain the same.
Bloc Party's Silent Alarm still doubles as a fantastic debut album and a singles collection by default.
Cursive came through with Happy Hollow, and like how I feel about The Ugly Organ, this is still an ace record.
Wilco's Sky Blue Sky is the moody older brother to this year's (The Album), but it's a perfect soundtrack for a gray day with beams of sunshine spilling through.
I still like Journey post-Steve Perry, and I still like their post-Perry albums as a whole more than the albums with Steve Perry. For the most part, I still enjoy Revelation, but one song that keeps getting skipped is "After All These Years." Hearing that song so many times on the radio killed the charm for me. It's pure slow-dance cheese at a wedding anniversary party -- something I won't be a part of for a long, long time.