12/27/2004

2004: The Year in Review

Yes, boys and girls, here it is: yet another year-end recap. Not that you need anymore of this nonsense but we’re gonna give it to you any way, this being the season of giving and all that good stuff. On with the show...


ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism [Barsuk]

Bellingham, WA new favorite sons–-watch out Posies--and indie darlings, DCFC released a remarkable record that not only boosted their profile, it caught the attention of the mainstream and got them signed to Atlantic Records in the process.

Honorable Mentions:
Iron & Wine Our Endless Numbered Days [Sub Pop]
Morrissey You Are The Quarry [Attack]
Secret Machines Now Here Is Nowhere [Reprise]
Wilco A Ghost Is Born [Nonesuch]
TV On The Radio Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes [Touch And Go]


FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Wilco A Ghost is Born [Nonesuch]

How do you follow a towering achievement like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Well, if you’re Jeff Tweedy and co. you push yourself a bit furtherartistically, channel the muse and let the chips fall where they may. Who does that anymore?

Runner up:
Matthew Sweet Kimi Ga Suki [Superdeformed]


BEST REISSUE:
Talking Heads The Name of This Band is… [Sire/Rhino]

A kick ass live document that clearly demonstrates that eggheads can shake their booty too, The Name Of This Band Is… was the only Talking Heads album to remain sans release in CD format until this year.

Runner Up:
Brian Wilson Smile [Nonesuch]


GUILTY PLEASURE OF THE YEAR:
John Mayer has a TV show

Yes, the above is the actual name of the show. As it turns out, Mr. Dave Matthews Jr. has gotten himself a low-rent talk/variety show on VH1 that is one of the funniest things we’ve seen all year. Seriously.


BEST COMEBACK:
Morrissey

After almost a decade in limbo, Moz returned with one of his best solo albums yet. Welcome back, sir.

Runner up:
The Pixies

Also:
The Cure
Helmet
Tears For Fears


BIGGEST TOUR:
According to Billboard, Madonna’s Re-Invention Tour was the year's biggest grossing tour taking in $125 million through September. Prince, who played to more people than any other artist (almost 1.5 million), came in second place, with $90.2 million.
Country star Shania Twain was third, playing to almost 950,000 fans and grossing $62.5 million.


BIGGEST SHOW:
The biggest concert of the year was a three-night stand by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Brown at London's Hyde Park, which drew more than 258,000 fans and grossed more than $17 million.


BEST NEW TV SHOW:
Huff

Once again proof positive that the best TV dramas are on cable, Showtime’s Huff stars multiple-Emmy winner Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Quiz Show, The Birdcage) as psychiatrist Dr. Craig Huffstodt who re-evaluates his life and profession after a 15 year-old patient commits suicide in his office. A stellar cast including Blythe Danner as Huff’s manipulative mother and Oliver Platt–-nominated for a Golden Globe for this role--as his drugs and sex crazed attorney and best friend.


BEST BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:
iTunes for Windows

At last, those poor PC people finally had a taste of what a real digital jukebox–-not to mention access to Apple’s iTunes Music Store--is like. Come in from the cold, it’s warm over here.


WORST ALBUM:
Gwen Stefani Love Angel Music Baby [Interscope]

This album definitely proves it once and for all: Stefani may be the focal point of the band but she sure as hell ain’t the talented one. Bleech!

Runner up:
Courtney Love America’s Sweetheart [Virgin]


MOST UNWELCOME COMEBACK:
Velvet Revolver

Not that they really suck, or anything, but if the core of Guns ’N’ Roses was going to reform with Stone Temple Pilots’ lead singer shouldn’t we have gotten more than what these guys ultimately had to offer? Just a thought. (Axl’s still having the last laugh, by the way.)

Runner up:
Interpol


MOST UNDESERVED HYPE:
The Libertines

Once again, just like last year, this honor is bestowed upon yet another great punk rock hope. Whatever. We don’t care if this has The Clash’s Mick Jones’ seal of approval, we’re not biting.


ANTI-ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
Ashlee Simpson

"Daddy, I want a record deal, too!"
Kudos to SNL for recently re-airing her lip-synching debacle without editing a damn bit of it.


WORST COVER VERSION:
Hands down, Britney Spears wins this one. Not content with the butchering of The Rolling Stones’ "Satisfaction", she set her sights on New Jack Swing and skewers Mr. Whitney Houston–-aka Bobby Brown—and his ‘80s hit "My Prerogative". Somebody stop this girl before anyone else gets hurt.


MOST UNNECESSARY REHASHING:
‘Greatest--fill in the blank--of All Time’ lists

It’s one thing is to give a yearly or even seasonal recap but the constant barrage of lists of greatest albums, songs, guitar solos, etc. by most if not all major music publications has reached a fever pitch that loudly reverberates with a deafening roar of redundancy at best (Q
magazine) and the mediocrity of revisionism and cluelessness (Rolling Stone, Blender) at worst.

Runner up:
Reality shows, reality shows. Reality shows.


GOODBYE
Jan Berry, of Jan and Dean; the great Marlon Brando; Doobie Brother Cornelius Bumpus; the one and only Rodney Dangerfield; Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell; The Dead Milkmen bassist Dave Blood; the inimitable Ray Charles; seminal reggae producer ‘Sir’ Coxone Dodd; film composer Jerry Goldsmith; original MTV VJ J.J. Jackson; jazz saxophonist Illinois Jacquet; funk rocker Rick James; legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones; New York Dolls bassist Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane; jazz guitarist Barney Kessel; Peter Frampton guitarist/keyboardist Bob Mayo; Siouxsie and the Banshees/P.I.L. guitarist John McGeoch; renowned and influential New York radio personality Scott Muni; rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard; legendary British radio DJ John Peel; guitarist Robert Quine (Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Lou Reed, Matthew Sweet); guitarist Johnny Ramone; writer Hubert Selby Jr. (Last Exit To Brooklyn, Requiem For A Dream); Ben Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo vocalist; Hollies vocalist Carl Wayne.