Sunday, December 28, 2003

And Now, Since Everyone Else Does It . . .

I'm presenting my "Year's Best" lists for the year. And my year's worst, but lacking order and discipline, I won't put them in any particular order. So anyway, on with the first of my lists . . .

Favorite Albums of 2003

  • Josh Rouse - "1972" - An album reflecting Rouse's birth year (and mine, for that matter - birthday in two weeks - feel free to send well-wishes!) -- in the musical styles and message it sends. My personal favorites here are the title track and "Comeback".
  • Guster - "Keep it Together" - My favorite pop album of the year. Some of these songs just plant themselves in your head and won't leave. It gets crowded with the voices . . .
  • The Wrens - "The Meadowlands" - An album about growing older and living through life's twits and turns. I've listened to this album at least once a week since the end of August and I'm still not tired of it. This is not a happy album, but it's a hopeful one - we make mistakes, we screw up, but these things make us stronger in the end.
  • Radiohead - "Hail to the Theif" - Five years ago, Radiohead released one of my personal favorite albums ever - "OK Computer". Then they unleashed "Kid A " and "Amnesiac" upon us, and I've been trying to wash the taste from my mouth ever since. But this album is different. They've revisited "OK Computer" territory and found plenty there. Try "Sit Down. Stand Up" or "The Gloaming".
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Original Soundtrack" - Wayy back in 1991 and 1994, Quentin Tarantino proved that great music can lift a great movie to dizzying heights. People still love the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack, and after taking a long break, he returns with "Kill Bill", a bloody love letter to Hong Kong cinema. This soundtrack has it all - rock, pop, soul and funk - plus a kick ass version of the "Green Hornet" theme.
  • Alexi Murdoch - "Four Songs EP" - OK, this is an EP. It only has four songs - hence the title, but these are some great acoustic songs on here, and this guy is forgoing any label assistance. Think a non-suicidal Nick Drake. Dig around for this one; you won't be sorry.
  • The Postal Service - "Give Up" - This is a slightly new one for me; vaguely electronica pop music, but it's fun to give it a listen every now and again.
  • Grandaddy - "Sumday" - Here we have some echoes of Radiohead past, but it's a good place to go. Here's an album about living in today's society.
  • Broken Social Scene - "You Forgot it in People" - My favorite album from this year. There's no reason this album should be any good; this band has ten members and five guest musicians appear on the album. But here's the thing: you will never hear an album like this. They mix musical styles. They have acoustic anthems to growing up; springy insturmentals and great hooks. Nothing would make me happier than hearing "Stars and Sons" or "Almost Crimes" on the radio. I realize this will never happen, but I can wish, can't I?

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