Snappy Holidays,

My parents arrive in town in about 48 hours and I'm more than ready to start my Christmas vacation. Also more than ready to see some movies. Right now, of what's actually playing in Boston, I'm dying to see "Personal Velocity" and "Adaptation". Wouldn’t mind sitting through "Gangs of New York" and am curious to see whether it'll be this generation's "Titanic" or "Heaven's Gate".

Next week, "Talk To Her", "Rabbit Proof Fence" and "Chicago" open here. Still no word on "The Hours", "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" or "The Quiet American". I may have to put off my Film top ten list until "The Hours" opens. But I'm ready to do the music one. I am obsessed with top ten lists by the way. They're totally arbitrary and of the moment (how in the world did REM's "Up" rate as my #2 record of 1998? I think I've listened to it twice since then.) But I love putting them together.

Top Ten 2002 Records that came out in 2002 (+ memorable lines and moments):

1. Stew, "The Naked Dutch Painter... and other Songs"
("Quite fond of Stiv Bators/She drops acid and goes to the opera")

2. Sleater-Kinney, "One Beat"
("why don't you shake a tail for peace and love")

3. Tori Amos, "Scarlet's Walk"
(the beguiling, wordless Tori sighs in half of the songs)

4. Saint Etienne, "Finisterre"
("The boys are back in town/and nothing can stop us now/ooh, this is our wall of sound")

5. Badly Drawn Boy, "About A Boy" soundtrack
(the do-do-do's on "File Me Away")

6. Mekons, "OOOH! (Out of Our Heads)"
("Everyday is a battle/How we still love the war")

7. Ani DiFranco, "So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter"
("We hold these truths to be self-evident/Number one, George W. Bush is not president")

8. Wilco, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"
("Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned")

9. Pet Shop Boys, "Release"
("Then he said, 'Hey man, your name isn't STAN, is it? We should be together!'")

10. Norah Jones, "Come Away With Me"
(that VOICE!)

Best Compilation: Puffy AmiYumi, "An Illustrated History"

Best Discoveries (released before 2002):
1. The Avalanches, "Since I Left You"
2. Belle and Sebastian, "I'm Waking Up To Us" (Single)
3. The Go-Betweens, "Bellavista Terrace: The Best of"
4. Mary Lou Lord, "Got No Shadow"
5. Mekons, "Fear and Whiskey", "Rock and Roll" and "Journey To The End of the Night"
6. The Housemartins, "London 0 Hull 4" and The Beautiful South, "Carry On Up The Charts"
7. Spiritualized, "Won't Get To Heaven (The State I'm In)" from "Let It Come Down"
8. The Negro Problem, "Joys and Concerns"
9. The Pernice Brothers, "The World Won't End"
10. Badly Drawn Boy, "The Hour of Bewilderbeast"

Beth Orton, "Daybreaker" (ZZzzzzzZZzzzz)
Aimee Mann, "Lost In Space" (despite "Humpty Dumpty", doubly ZZZzzzzZZZzzzzz)
Sheryl Crow, "C'mon C'mon" (a handful of good-to-great songs surrounded by a handful of pretty mediocre ones)

Concrete Blonde, "Group Therapy"

GREAT SINGLES AND TRACKS (not on top ten albums):
Sheryl Crow, "Abilene"
Aimee Mann, "Humpty Dumpty"
PJ Harvey/Gordon Gano, "Hitting The Ground"
The Negro Problem, "Out Now"
Emm Gryner, "Symphonic"
Badly Drawn Boy, "I Was Wrong/You Were Right"
Tegan and Sara, "Living Room"
Kylie Minogue, "Can't get You Out of My head"
Vanessa Carlton, "A Thousand Miles" (no, really!)
Jimmy Eat World, "The Middle"

Wish List for new albums in 2003:
XTC, Belle and Sebastian, Fiona Apple, Blur, Kate Bush (yeah, right), an Ani DiFranco studio album that doesn't suck, PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, Sam Phillips (+ a tour), Jill Sobule, Steve Wynn