At the center of FT’s 2002 round-ups is a rundown of the 101 tracks I heard this year that I want you to hear too — frivolously arranged in a Chart Countdown! Only problem was — I couldn’t settle on 101. Here are the tracks which made the final list and which I wanted to write about anyway (and in January or February expect more I-suck-how-could-I-miss-THIS revisionism). A taster for next week’s articles, and some extra stuff for your hard drive. (If you can’t find any of them let me know and I’ll try to make them available to people whose modem speeds are faster and bills lower than mine.)

118. AKUFEN — ‘Deck The House’: The dueling-banjos thing wore out on me after a while but on first listen I really couldn’t tell what was going on, and that’s a rare enough sensation to earn a mention. Scuffed-shoe beats and the worlds fuckedest-up radio dial.

117. MR.HECTIC — ‘Discovery’: Lodged in our house CD player for weeks causing howls of rage and eventually a grudging respect. Very odd attempt to create a UK hip-hop ‘Stan’, mixing thug vulnerabilia with none-more-twee sampling. A couple of drunken times it seemed something miraculous had been created.

116. MUM — ‘Green Grass Of Tunnel’: Thumb-sucking vocals and music-box electronica combine to lovely, spongey effect. It all gets a little too wide-eyed, or else it’d place much higher.

115. MIDWEST PRODUCT — ‘Still Love In The Midwest’: First of a grillion tracks from the fabulous The spirit of Kon Kan stalks the earth again, as Peter Hook is cloned and does ‘his’ bass thing over dessicated breaks and collage vox. Highly diverting.

114. COOL BREEZE — ‘Watch The Hook’: Look, there it is! ‘Brother man!’ – stuck in my head for months. The turbospeed Dirty South MC-ing made less of an impression but urgency and guts carry you through.

113. DOVES — ‘There Goes The Fear’: Guilty pleasure or what! This clicked a day before I finalized the list — ‘Blimey, it does sound exactly like the House Of Love!’. Except when it sounds like the Lovin’ Spoonful. Or Ride. The beat isn’t exactly groovy, but it’s certainly soothing.

112. TWEET — ‘Drunk’: Blowsy, reeling, uncomfortably literal ballad of boozy pain — R&B vocal trickery inverted to mean loss of control and self, not their assertion. As necessary as a hangover and as hard to revisit.

111. ALPINESTARS — ‘Burning Up’
110. SWAYZAK — ‘I Dance Alone’:
Alpinestars were the sorest of thumbs on Futurism, trading self-celebration (however put-on) for self-consciousness. If you dance alone, after all, you tend to go home alone, and this might be what you put on. In the club, though, it’s armour on: Swayzak’s plate-mail electrosoundz repel friendly contact, compulsive-destructive hedonism is all that matters. ‘I want to smash / Spend all my cash.’

109. THE CORAL — ‘Dreaming Of You’: I decided the secret of why this ‘works’ and other Britrock doesn’t is in the fat-free singing — Mr Coral hardly ever draws out vowel sounds in the way that’s been de rigeur for UK singers since Liam. The result is an OK song bursting to get out of a thirty-seconds-too-small package, and much the better for it.

108. BRAINTAX — ‘Godnose’: Beatwise follows up on Manuva’s scuzz-dub blueprint and marries it to garbled street aggression, though the chorus — ‘We don’t give a fuck’ — makes their point entirely clear. Nasty.

107. BEYONCE KNOWLES — ‘Work It Out’: This would have been so wonderful as a Kelis single but Beyonce blunts the track’s manic edge where Kelis might have whetted it. The result was a relative flop that took ages to grow on me — but eventually the Neptunes’ funk motion-captures won me over.

106. JAY-Z — ‘A Dream’: The only track to have really got me so far on Blueprint 2 is the supremely portentious opener, and even this I’m a bit embarrassed to like. In a track built on might-have-beens, censoring ‘blow up like the World Trade’ from BIG’s ‘Juicy’ verse is a mis-fire, but even so nobody pomps it up like Hova.

105. THE HERBALISER feat WILDFLOWER — ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’: I love Wildflower. Her flow comes off a bit forced now and then but she brings a wonderful, warm presence to any track she guests on — the kindly infants’ teacher to Ms Dynamite’s scary headmistress! The Herbaliser takes most of the honours here though with some tantalizing ska touches you wish had been made more of.

104. RDB — ‘Jat Marda’: Pitman’s ‘Pitman Says’ eclipsed by this Pharaoh-Monch-gone-Bhangra epic, good news for me since I found Monch way too blustery but love the Gothtastic backing, preserved here. Apparently a big underground hit, and deservedly so.

103. LL COOL J — ‘Luv U Better’: LL still the master of hip-hop smoochery, mixing head-nodding with head-hanging and turning out a near-masterpiece of melodramatic contrition. (Think Harold Melvin And The Bluenotes’ ‘I Miss You’ — yes, that good! Well, almost.) The Neptunes’ production is one of their best this year, all heartbeats and snowstorms. Would be higher if my fiancée liked it — as it is I listen in the shadow of her silent and diminishing disapproval.

102. BIG TYMERS — ‘Still Fly’: I really really need to hear this on a good car system not on my crappy laptop speakers. The best sing-a-long hip-hop chorus this year, maybe — tough but dreamy. Oh, summer.