One thing I wanna make clear: I'm consciously avoiding reading other people's "Best of 2002" lists until I've finalized my own. I'm all for reading reviews and recommendations, but I don't want to be influenced by any lists, and I'd like my own Top 10/20/30 to be as personal and self-selected as possible. That said, I'm not going to share my working list with you either -- I've got my reasons.
Really, despite ALL the records that are released every year, by majors, by indies, by regular folks with CD burners, it seems like the rock press always chooses the same 30 or 40 albums to praise at year's end. Is this because the rockcrit community (writers and readers) is so insular? Is it that they're only interested in what's being reviewed in Pitchfork and Neumu and (to a lesser extent) PopMatters, and because they don't listen to anything else, they can't review anything else, so the same goddamn bands end up on their sites/blogs too? Or is it fear of the unknown? I'm curious.