Friday, January 9, 2009

The 2003 David Music Poll results

THE 2003 David Music Poll RESULTS:

1. The Postal Service, Give Up (15)
2. Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (14)
3. Liz Phair, Liz Phair (12)
4. Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (11)
5. The White Stripes, Elephant (10)
6. Damien Rice, O (7)
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief (7)
8. Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism (6)
Cat Power, You Are Free (6)
Placebo, Sleeping with Ghosts (6)
The New Pornographers, Electric Version (6)
The Strokes, Room on Fire (6)

five votes: Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears; The Shins, Chutes to Narrow; The Drive-by Truckers, Decoration Day

four votes: Nelly Furtado, Folklore; Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell; the Ravonettes, Chain Gang of Love

three votes: Johnny Cash, Unearthed; Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway; The Books, The Lemon of Pink; Muse, Absolution; Soundtrack, Lost in Translation; Rufus Wainwright, Want One; Madonna, American Life

editor’s note: There were forty-five respondents to this year’s music poll, an all-time high. I went into it virtually sure that the White Stripes would dominate. How wrong I was! In the early returns, it looked like Outkast would garner a surprise win. But The Postal Service came from behind and (pardon the pun) delivered. And Liz Phair showed that for all the people who hate the new album, there are at least two who love it.


David Picks a Band Who’s Name Will Sound Very Strange To Those Who Haven’t Heard the Band

Most Essential:

Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism

This was a very close call for me; some days I’m Death Cab for Cutie, some days I’m Postal Service. But when push came to shove (and I didn’t allow myself a tie), Transatlanticism won out. Because it is an album I know I will be listening to for the rest of my life. Because the song “Transatlanticism” sweeps me up every time I hear it with the force of its simplicity. Because “Passenger Seat”, the song after, is the novel I dream of writing. Every detail perfect. The first time I heard it, I actually cried on the PATH train. It caught me so unaware. And was so effortlessly beautiful. And the rest of the album is almost as good as this one-two punch. Nothing Death Cab for Cutie recorded before hit me nearly as strong. Proving that Mr. Gibbard learned a lot from his other band …


The Postal Service, Give Up

…The Postal Service. I’ve listened to this all year and I’m still not at all tired of it. “I’ve been thinking it’s a sign / that the freckles of our eyes are mirror images / and when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned” (from “Such Great Heights”) and “I want in life in every word / to the extent that it’s absurd” (from “Clark Gable”) are two of my favorite lines of the year. The blend of whimsy, heart, and aural cinematography creates an album that its futile to resist.

Liz Phair, Liz Phair

Yes, it’s pop. So fucking what? The lyrics are still sharp (as anyone who’s been stuck humming “H.W.C” in the halls of their workplace can attest) and her thin voice can still hit where it needs to. All told, this album is the one I’ve played the most this year (as my poor summer intern attested when he revealed that he knew all the lyrics at the end of the summer). Sometimes I just want to listen to an album and feel like a 15-yr-old girl.

Dashboard Confessional, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar

. . . And sometimes I want to listen to an album and feel like a 15-yr-old boy. (See also: Blink-182). Deep? Nah. Sincere and catchy? Absolutely. And I like the Smiths riff every now and then. A surprise that hasn’t left my headphones.

Dar Williams, The Beauty of the Rain

Another album I couldn’t stop listening to. At first I thought it might be overproduced, because I was used to the sparer concert versions of the songs. But eventually I got used to the production and grew to love it. Contains some of her strongest songs – “The Beauty of the Rain”, “Mercy of the Fallen”, “Closer to You” … my favorite still changes on every listen.

Placebo, Sleeping with Ghosts

Grabs hold and doesn’t let go, whether it’s feverish or haunting. I never expected to like Placebo so much, but this album really did it for me.

Nada Surf, Let Go

Nada Surf? The “Popular” band? It took a lot of good reviews for me to purchase this, and I’m damn glad I did. “Blonde on Blonde” is easily one of the best radio songs involving a radio ever. And “Killian Red” is downright epic. Beautiful, passionate, thoughtful music to soundtrack long drives and long nights.

Recently Bought and Might Prove to Be Essential:

Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway
Jeff Buckley, Live at Sin-E
The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site

Bought Last Year on Import, So Don’t Know if it Counts as Essential This Year:

Damien Rice, O (who, along with Julia Fordham, gave one of the two best shows of the year.)

Almost Essential:

Erin McKeown, Grand; Rufus Wainwright, Want One; Tegan and Sara, If It Were You; Howie Day, Stop All the World Now

Artist Who I Feel I Neglected in the Past But Now Am a Genuine Fan Of:
Ben Folds

Artists Who May Have Jumped the Shark:
Ryan Adams – not one, not two, but three substandard releases
Radiohead – I feel bad about this, since I’ve barely listened to Hail to the Thief. Then again, there must have been a reason for that. Maybe it’s a late bloomer.
Travis – proving that, unfortunately, one way of delineating yourself from Coldplay is to make a crap album

New Artists to Keep an Eye On:
Josh Ritter, the Fiery Furnaces, Joss Stone

Rachel C, Pod Princess

My life was all about the iPod this year, so I must confess I don’t think I bought many albums that were released in 2003 as I was too busy downloading albums pre-then to my computer!

But here are the few faves I can come up with:

The Waifs, Up All Night

Deacon John, Deacon John’s Jump Blues

OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

(I refuse to be shamed into not admitting this) Kelly Clarkson, Thankful – and yeah, I voted for her from the beginning! Clay too!

And it’s all about my girl, Beyonce, Dangerously In Love.

Two singles I loved were “Take Me Away” by FeFe Dobson and “Powerless” by Nelly Furtado.

That’s all I can think of. I know everyone loved Fountains of Wayne and I like ‘em okay, but faves, no. Still have not heard new Lucinda Williams album.

Patrick Has One Choice for the Year, and it is…

Radiohead, Hail to the Thief

Jeffrey, Who Nightly Says Hello to Dolly

Oh jeebas. I feel as if I've been elected into a cult here. But maybe
it's like a superhero cult. One in which we battle booger-bots.

I thought the White Stripes were the fabulous Crest product used to
whiten teeth and fund bad housewife country music demographic studies?

Most Essential: Johnny Cash, Unearthed/American Recordings [box set]

various artists, Livin' Lovin' & Losin': a Tribute to the Louvin Brothers
Doc Watson/Earl Scruggs/Ricky Skaggs, The Three Pickers
Roseanne Cash, Rules of Travel
June Carter Cash, Wildwood Flower

Most essential Greatest Hits album of 2003: Dolly Parton, Ultimate Dolly Parton

Super swell sophomore album: Dido, Life for Rent

Holy crap why did I spend my money on this I've been duped: Dolly Parton, For God & Country

I know... I'm a one-horse barn here. But at least you can't call me pokey.

Sarah, Dixie Chick Fan Extraordinaire

The first is understandable - I do have diagnosed Celebrity Worship Syndrome...

Top of The World Live, The Dixie Chicks

Most Surprising:

Hotel Paper, Michelle Branch

Most Nostalgically Re-mastered:

Let it Be...Naked, The Beatles

Most Surprisingly Different:

Folklore, Nelly Furtado

Most Soothing:

Afterglow, Sarah McLachlan

Most Head Bobbing:

Speakerboxxx and The Love Below, Outkast

Most Pre-Bed Time Airplay:

Life For Rent, Dido

Most Authentic:

Alison Krauss & Union Station Live, Alison Krauss & Union Station


Chris, Who Slays Me

The Album of the Year: Anthrax, "We've Come For You All"

The Other Ten Essentials:
1. Dimmu Borgir, "Death Cult Armageddon"
2. The Sounds, "Living In America"
3. Cradle of Filth, "Damnation And A Day"
4. Lamb of God, "As The Palaces Burn"
6. AFI, "Sing The Sorrow"
7. Strapping Young Lad, "SYL"
8. Arch Enemy, "Anthems of Rebellion"
9. The Haunted, "One Kill Wonder"
10. Chimaira, "The Impossibility of Reason"

Almost Essential:
The Brimstones, "Spend Eternity With..."; Marilyn Manson, "The Golden Age of Grotesque"; Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, "Take A Break"; Zyklon, "Aeon"; Dropkick Murphys, "Blackout"; Naglfar, "Sheol"; Type O Negative, "Life Is Killing Me"; Children of Bodom, "Hate Crew Deathroll"; The Crown, "Possessed 13"

Worst Album:
Metallica, "St. Anger"

Favorite Albums That I've Only Discovered In 2003 And Kicked Myself For Not Discovering Earlier:
The Babylon Whores, "Death Of The West"; H.I.M., "Razorblade Romance"; Tenacious D, "s/t"; Stabbing Westward, "Darkest Days"; The World/Inferno Friendship Society, "The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League"; Iron Maiden, "Powerslave"; Emperor, "In The Nightside Eclipse"

Band That Made Me Hate Everything Musical: Coldplay

Best Band EVER: Slayer

Iain, Our London Correspondant

Most Essential Album of the Year:

Josh Rouse, 1972

Essential Albums of the Year:

Songs:Ohia, The Magnolia Electric Co

Franz Ferdinand, The Album I Made Up Out Of Their EP ("Darts of Pleasure") and Downloads and Stuff

The Fall, The Real New Fall LP

Kraftwerk, Tour de France Soundtracks

British Sea Power, Decline of British Sea Power

Dizzee Rascal, Boy In Da Corner

The Bug, Pressure

Worlds of Possiblity: Domino Records Compilation

Almost Essential:

Blur, Think Tank

RZA, Birth of a Prince

Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Master and Everyone

(Smog), Supper

Four Tet, Rounds

Manitoba, Up In Flames

Good Singles, Album Tracks:

Beyonce, Crazy In Love; Panjabi MC, Mundian To Bach Ke; Bits of Gillian Welch's Album

Old Stuff I Enjoyed This Year:

Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food

Stevie Wonder, Music Of My Mind

Velvet Underground, VU

Can, Tago Mago; Ege Bamyasi

Dexys, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

GZA, Liquid Swords

John Cale

Echo and the Bunnymen reissues

Old Scottish Indie: Fire Engines, Orange Juice, Shop Assistants, Josef K

Thing From a Couple of Years Ago That People Really Should Check Out:

Amalgamated Sons of Rest, Amalgamated Sons of Rest

Things For 2004:

Franz Ferdinand achieve world domination

REM split: they're making me wonder if I was wrong to like their old stuff

Wu-Tang Clan make a proper record

Bob Dylan autobiography published: exceptionally good or exceptionally bad

Strokes backlash: lame second album, first one wearing poorly

Will Oldham does fewer "projects" and just makes another great album

Jack, Who Warned Us

Okay. But don't say I didn't warn you...

10-Fern Knight--7 Years of Severed Limbs
9-Graves--Love! Love! Love!
8-Ladybug Transistor--s/t
7-Postal Service--Give Up
5-Manitoba--Up In Flames
4-Clientele--Violet Hour
3-Essex Green--Long Goodbye
2-Broadcast--Ha Ha Sound
1-B&S--Dear Catastrophe Waitress (no surpises here, right?)

Honorable Mention: Bjorn Olsson "UPA", Gorkys Zygotic Mynci "Sleep/Holiday", Isobel Campbell "Amorino", Outkast "Speakerboxx/Love Below", Yo La Tengo "Summer Sun"
Top 10 reissues, in no particular order:

Joyce, "Nelson Angelo e Joyce"
Linda Perhacs, "Parallelograms"
Pearls Before Swine, "Jewels Were the Stars"
Comets On Fire, "Comets On Fire"
Bruce Palmer, "Cycle Is Complete"
Aerovons, "Resurrection"
Free Design, "Kites Are Fun"
Incredible String Band, "Hangman's Beautiful Daughter"
Felt, "Forever Breathes A Lonely Word"
Felt, "Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty"

Top 5 most intriguing albums introduced to me by working at Teen Central that would totally crack my punk rock credibility if word got out:

Justin Timberlake--Justified
Linkin Park--Meteora
Coldplay--Rush of Blood to the Head
Good Charlotte--Young and the Hopeless

A bunch of random songs that weren't included on any album that I know of, but were really great:
Hey That's My Only Necktie--Ponys
No Fly--Charlene
Love On the March--Belle and Sebastian
Needle of Death, Today Is the Day (EP version), Nuclear War--Yo La Tengo
the whole Greg Weeks EP

Nico, Who Sleeps With Something Other Than a Ghost

In order:

Placebo, Sleeping with Ghosts **MOST ESSENTIAL, obviously**
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
Britney Spears, In the Zone
Madonna, American Life
Marilyn Manson, The Golden Age of Grotesque

ok! off to class i go!

Aviv Has Something to Say

I know that you'll probably disagree, but I'd like to
nominate the White Stripes for "most overrated,
overhyped band."

Yeah, they've got attitude, and cool videos. But the
music ain't anything that hasn't been done before, and
Jack is so full of himself that he's insufferable.

But what do I know. I'm an old man. <:) Nancy, Who Knows What She Likes and Listens To It Repeatedly

i did nothing all year but listen to these five albums on
obsessive-compulsive repeat:

death cab for cutie: transatlanticism
postal service: give up
alvin ailey revelations cd
krishna das: breath of the heart
folksongs for the afterlife: put danger back in your life

Matthew E., Who Put A LOT of Thought Into This

Most Essential (a tie!)

Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway
Every song on this album could be the best song on any Red House Painters album.

The Books, The Lemon of Pink
There is no way to describe this album. It also gets the best album title of the year.


The Unicorns, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
Broken Social Scene, You Forgot it in People
The Black Keys, Thickfreakness
Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
The Rapture, Echoes
The Postal Service, Give Up
The White Stripes, Elephant
The Fiery Furnaces, Gallowsbird's Bark
The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow
The Decemberists, Her Majesty

Almost Essential (honorable mention)

Whirlwind Heat, Do Rabbits Wonder?
Aesop Rock, Bazooka Tooth
The American Analog Set, Promise of Love
The New Pornographers, Electric Version
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
Grandaddy, Sumday

Don’t Give Up, Jarrett!

Most Essential Album of the Year:
The Postal Service, Give Up

Essential Albums of the Year:
Outkast Speakerboxx/The Love Below
Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Intserstae Managers
Pete Yorn, Day I Forgot
Strokes, Room on Fire
Damien Rice, O
Zykos, Comedy Horn

Maybe I'll buy these bands' albums, but maybe I'll be sick of the front single before I get around to it:
The Darkness, Jet

Songs that I play really loud on the radio but do not own the albums to:
anything Justin Timberlake
Beyonce, Crazy in Love
Kellis, Milkshake
50 Cent, In Da Club

Looking ahead, new albums by old favorites that I want to buy in 2004:
Stereophonics, Phantom Planet

Jen G and Her Story, Which We Can Only Sympathize With

I don't think I'm hip enough to respond, but honestly what I've listened to new in the last year are the Bend It Like Beckham soundtrack and that Nirvana greatest hits CD (very useful for getting through post-breakup bitterness).

I'd like to add Jack Johnson's On and On, but unfortunately I only got to listen to it for 2 hours. I bought it in a pit stop in a rental car on a drive from Boston to New Hampshire and liked it a lot, but once I got to New Hampshire it disappeared (I think my friend's friend will find it in his driveway once the snow melts in the spring). I'm writing this off to karma because the rental car had a Susan Tedeschi CD in the player when I got it. The universe giveth and the universe taketh away.

Right now I'm listening to an acoustic CD that I bought at a house concert this fall by Adam + Kris, who are out of Portland:
There's a GenX love song on it called 'Mose Isley Station' with lines like "Yesterday my thoughts were on the dark side and I don't know what's wrong anymore....I'd drop it all and go back to my family, if only these droids would let me..."
Here are the lyrics to a couple of other songs on it:

Annmarie’s Musical Massacre

> Most Essential Album of the Year:
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, ...And This is Our Music

> Essential Albums of the Year:
Dead Meadow - Shivering King and Others
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Take Them On, On Your Own
The High Dials, A New Devotion
Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Lilys, Precollection
The Capitol Years, Pussyfootin'

> Almost Essential:
The White Stripes, Elephant; The Strokes, Room on Fire; The Dandy Warhols, Welcome to the Monkey House; Radiohead, Hail to the Thief

> Will Probably Grow to Be Essential:
British Sea Power, The Decline of British Sea Power
Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, Out of Season

> Should've Been On Last Year's List:
Mary Timony, The Golden Dove

> Because I'm Embarrassed by the Lack of New Artists On My
> Essentials List, I Feel I Should Mention Bands and Singers New to
> Me This Year That I Really Like:
Television Personalities, The Telescopes, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band

...and in a related category, Most Essential Reissues/Comps:
The Telescopes, As Approved by the Committee
Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacegirl and Other Favorites
Spacemen 3, Forged Prescriptions

> Songs of the Year:
The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"; Brian Jonestown Massacre, "When Jokers Attack" and "Tschusse"; Outkast, "Hey Ya!"; Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, "Mysteries"; Dead Meadow, "Good Moanin'"; The Capitol Years, "There's a Bridge"

Brian M, Slave to Axl

Most Essential Album of the Year
The Mars Volta, de-loused in the comatorium

Essential Albums of the Year (and it was a good one for Rock fans)
The White Stripes, Elephant
Kings of Leon, Youth and YOung Manhood
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
The Kills, Keep on Your Mean Side
The Coral, Magic and Medicine
Iron & Wine, The Sea and the Rhythm (EP, but there is full lenght out too which I have to get still)
Natural History, Beat Beat Heartbeat
A.R.E. Weapons, self-titled
Rapture, Echoes (it takes nerve to name your album after one of the best albums ever, but it lives up to the name)
The Occasion, 7 Songs
Blur, Think Tank

Almost Essential (if only because Iron & Wine did the same thing, only better)
Bonnie Prince Billy, Master and Everyone
Sun Kill Moon, Ghost of the Great Highway

Recent Discoveries of Essential Albums from Our Past
Nikki Sudden & Rowlands Howard, Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc
Jethro Tull, Stand Up
Iggy & the Stooges, Year of the Iquana
Captain Beefheart, Safe as Milk

Song of the YEar
White Stripes, Hardest Button to Button

Essential Album of 2004 (just because it's become a tradition with me, something like a Birthday)
Guns N Roses, Chinese Democracy

Matthue, Candy to our Ears

Most Essential: The Roots, Phrenology

Top 5: Liz Phair, eponymous; Black-Eyed Peas, Elephunk; Mates of State, Team Boo; Andre 3000's half of Outkast, The Love Below

Almost Essential: Bouncing Souls, Anchors Aweigh; Eve, Eve-olution

Best Ear Candy: Nelly Furtado, Folklore

Best Random Investment: Pansy Division, That's Entertainment

Billy Delivers

most essential 2003:
Postal Service, "Give Up"

Ani DiFranco, "Evolve"
Placebo, "Sleeping with Ghosts"
Outkast, "The Love Below" (don't care about the other one)
Radiohead, "Hail to the Thief"
Damien Rice, "O"
Liz Phair, "Liz Phair"

almost essential:
Rufus Wainwright, "Want One"
Mona Lisa Smile Soundtrack
Dar Williams, "Beauty of the Rain"

Matthew U, Full of Old Favorites

Looking over my favorites this year, i see that i'm becoming very predictable in my tastes. My list is almost entirely old favorites with new albums. But here they are anyway:

Most Essential Album of the Year:
Emmylou Harris, Stumble into Grace

Other Essential Albums:
Annie Lennox, Bare
Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears
Dar Williams, The Beauty of the Rain
Gillian Welch, Soul Journey
Roseanne Cash, Rules of Travel

New Discovery of the Year (just because everything else is so obvious...):
Venus Hum, Big Beautiful Sky

Blast from the Past finally purchased this year:
Johnny Cash, Love*God*Murder boxed set

Matthew L Presents His Catastrophe

here's my top 10 cds of 2003 (as of right now--it could change by the time i get home from work):

10. mahi mahi, he no wa (they're from providence, so don't think it's bad that you don't know who they are)

9. yo la tengo, summer sun

8. kristin hersh, the grotto

6. the raveonettes, chain gang of love

6. britta phillips and dean wareham, l'avventura

5. various artists, wig in a box

4. the postal service, give up

3. the alkaline trio, good mourning

2. ladytron, softcore jukebox

1. belle and sebastian, dear catastrophe waitress

and the runners-up are:

15. hot hot heat, make up the breakdown

14. the new pornographers, electric version

13. sondre lerche, don't be shallow (ep)

12. black rebel motorcycle club, take them on on your own

11. cat power, you are free

and my top 10 songs of the year are:

10. can't hold us down, christina aguilera ft. lil kim

9. hey ya, outkast

8. magic stick, lil kim & 50 cent

7. milkshake, kelis

6. yes u can, jewel

5. little eyes, yo la tengo

4. piazza new york catcher, belle and sebastian

3. cry me a river, justin timberlake

2. crazy in love, beyonce ft jay-z

1. good woman, cat power

Sarah-Maria’s Thoughts Don’t Tank

Most Essential Album of the Year:
Blur, Think Tank

Super-close runner-up:
The White Stripes, Elephant

Essential Albums of the Year:
HIM, Love Metal
The Cardigans, Long Gone Before Daylight
Placebo, Sleeping with Ghosts
The Coral, Magic & Medicine
Clearlake, Cedars
Muse, Absolution
Starsailor, Silence is Easy

Would probably be on the list if I could get my hands on a record player or finally would be able to download it:
Damon Albarn, Democrazy

Almost Essential:
The Strokes, Room on Fire
Kings of Leon, Youth and YOung Manhood
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
The Kills, Keep on Your Mean Side

Will Probably Grow to Be Essential:
The Occasion, 7 Songs

Will be on 2004 list:
The Divine Comedy, Absent Friends

Songs of the Year:
Blur, Ambulance
The White Stripes, Hardest Button to Button

Rachel, Who’s Been Too Busy to Invest in Much Music

Anyway, here are a couple of oldies but goodies that I find essential this year:
Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales
Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (I know it was on last year's list but whatevs..I still love it)
Outkast , Speakerboxxxx (new one but will never make your top 10!)

Andrew Luvs the L’s

Lots of L's in this year's List. Hmmmm...

Most Essential Album

Liz Phair- Liz Phair

Essential Albums

Lucinda Williams- World Without Tears
Shelby Lynne- Identity Crisis
Patty Loveless- On Your Way Home
Elvis Costello- North

Markus, Our Australian Representative

Most Essential Album of the Year:
Pete Murray, Feeler

Essential Albums of the Year:
Veruca Salt, Resolver (I think it came out in 2003); Neil Young, Greendale ; White Stripes, Elephant

Almost Essential:
Dido, Life for Rent

Will Probably Grow to Be Essential:
Queens of the Stoneage, Songs for the Deaf ; Dandy Warhols, Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

Should’ve Been On Last Year’s List:
Johnny Cash, When the Man Comes Around

Songs of the Year:
Pete Murray, Feeler / So Beautiful ; Veruca Salt, Officially Dead

Pete, Who Has Diagnosed a Very Serious New Ailment

My selections are below. This is all going to make a great coffee table book someday. Thanks for the diversion!

Top 10 Essential Albums of the Year – 2003

1 – The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow
2 – The Postal Service, Give Up
3 – M. Ward, The Transconfiguration of Vincent
4 – The New Pornographers, Electric Version
5 – The Books, The Lemon of Pink
6 - Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism
7 - Cat Power, You Are Free
8 - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Hearts of Oak
9 - Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
10 - My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves

Almost Essential:
The Decemberists, Castaways and Cutouts
Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Company
The Wrens, Meadowlands
Sufjan Stevens, Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State
Steven Malkmus, Pig Lib
White Stripes, Elephant
Mates of State, Team Boo

Best Guilty Pleasure Albums:
Damien Rice, O
Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers
Beyonce, Dangerously in Love (sue me!)

Best Singles:
REM, Bad Day
Fountains of Wayne, Stacey’s Mom
Death Cab for Cutie, The Sound of Settling
New Pornographers, Miss Teen Wordpower
The Postal Service, The District Sleeps Alone
Damien Rice, Eskimo

Best Live Performances:
Elliott Smith, North Six
Damien Rice, Warsaw
Clem Snide/Califone, Bowery Ballroom
Apollo Sunshine, Mercury Lounge
Death Cab for Cutie/Mates of State, Bowery Ballroom

Biggest Disappointment:
Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (not bad, just disappointing)
Edie Brickell, Volcano (I still love her though)
Any Wilco spin-off

Most Tired Trend of 2003:
Superfluous Lesbian Kissing (keep your porno clich├ęs out of my trashy pop music please...I much prefer the snakes and tear away clothing)

Best Emerging Trend (tie):
Bands Against Bush (
Violent Trucker Hat Backlash

Most Troubling New Psychological Problem:
iPod Separation Anxiety (aka, the feeling you get before a long subway ride home at 3am without your iPod)

Jason G Explains it All to You

1. Hail to the thief - Radiohead -

2. Ghosts of the Great Highway - Sun Kil Moon

3. Pig Lib – Stephen Malkmus

4. Room On Fire - The Strokes

5. NY: The Next Wave - Various Artists

6. The Work of Director Spike Jonze DVD

7. Think Tank - Blur

8. Phantom Power - Super Furry Animals

9. Fever To Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

10. The Coral - The Coral

5. Coma Girl - Joe Strummer
4. Danger (High Voltage) - Electric Six
3. Move Your Feet - Junior Senior
2. United States of Whatever - Liam Lynch
1. Hey Ya - Outkast

The Top Ten Explained: I want to apologize to The White Stripes for leaving Elephant off the list. The fact is I kept bumping it until it fell off. See I really dig the album, but it's not De Stijl for me and well it's a great record still so they're getting an honorable mention. I really tried to stick with the records that I personally listen to the most this year. This is my list and not a critics list. Bless The White Stripes, but this year they didn't make my top ten. Of course, next week, I'll probably bang my head against a wall for leaving them off. I also want to give a shout out to The New Pornopraphers for Electric Version, The Rapture's Echoes (definitely not top ten but good none-the-less), The Music's The Music (much better live than on disc), Rufus Wainright's Want One, Missy E's This Is Not A Test, The Fever's Pink On Pink, Cat Power's You Are Free, The Postal Service's Give Up, and Iggy Pop's Skull Ring. These are all some kick ass records that I dig but well, they just weren't on my mind while I was making this list. So, yeah, that's my disclaimer and now here's that top ten album list....

10. The Coral - The Coral
For a band that seems to be based around the principals of using crystal meth and acid to unhealthy proportions, they sure make some killer music. It's the sound of Strawberry Fields Forever being played three times to fast by a bunch of Lee Maver's obsessed fans. These mersey beaters have stiched to together a sail that digs into so many aspects of british pop music that it's hard for you not to get caught in the wind and be driven to a sea of pleasure.
Highlights: Dreaming of You, Skeleton Key, Spanish Main

9. Fever To Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
First off, this album is a bit of disappointment. It had to be. It would be next to impossible to try and capture the frantic energy of any of those early Brownies, Mighty Robot, or Tiswas shows on tape. The fact is Karen's hypersexuality, Nick's hair, and Brian's drumming (which really make's every song as killer as they are) are just to big to put onto an album. Yet, the album rocks. It rocks like any 12 year-old sugar addict singing into a hairbrush and dancing in front of her mirror to an older siblings Motley Crue record rocks. The album's absolute peek is when it strays to 'Maps' the future wedding song to a million hipsters.
Highlights: Maps, Date With the Night, Tick

8. Phantom Power - Super Furry Animals
The Super Furry Animals have worn many hats in there time, and while I will always be partial to their earlier, dancier sound, they were their new wookie outfits rather well. Phantom Power seems to have been created by the warmth of the sun that starts shining from the first song to the last. I'd say that at points the album does wonder off to some hippie territory, but spend a day outdoors with this record in the spring and everything will feel quite nice.
Highlights: Hello Sunshine, Golden Retriever, Valet Parking

7. Think Tank - Blur
I really miss Graham, but I got to give credit to Damon, Alex, and Dave, they really put together a great record with Think Tank. It's funny to think that at one point Blur was at war with Oasis for best band in the UK. While the dumb left casualties, and both bands now have different line-ups, I think its safe to say that Blur have easily outshined the Gallaghers. This album has made it clear that Damon is a terrific songwriter who can brace numerous types of landscapes. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Damon is the Bob Ross of pop music. His music is always safe and beautiful, but just when you think the canvas is done he'll add a happy little tree or a swoosh of water which makes it that much better.
Highlights: Battery In My Leg, Ambulance, We've Got A File On You

6. The Work of Director Spike Jonze DVD
First off, let's just acknowledge that all the videos on this were made before 2003, but I really don't give a fuck. This compilation is brilliant and its one of the best mix albums put out this year. Every video is so entertaining and cool looking. Every song is great. All the bonus material is hysterical. Jesus, Spike is just cool-as-fuck. He's an amazing director and this anthology of his work makes for a killer mix cd. It's crazy to realize that he's directed video's for everyone from Dinasour Jr to the Breeders to Notorious B.I.G. to Bjork. To watch Spike direct his former wife Sofia Coppola as a ballet dancer is classic in The Chemical Brother's 'Elektrobank' video. The whole director series are worth buying but this one stands ahead of the rest by far.
Highlights: Fat Lip's 'What's Up Fat Lip?', Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Skys The Limit',MC 900ft Jesus's 'If I Only Had A Brain', Chemical Brother's 'Elektrobank'

5. NY: The Next Wave - Various Artists
Whether you think that the music scene in New York is getting better or worse, I feel its fair to say thatKanine Records has put together a could-be classic compilation of New York's best bands that may one day stand as a reminder of the cities current, vibrant music scene. Although a bunch of these bands have gone out and gotten major labels, lord knows that it's only a matter of time until a majority of the other bands get picked up as well. What I really dig about this set is that it just shows how much damn fine bands there is right now in New York besides the bands you can now read about in every national magazine.
Highlights: Mommy & Daddy's 'Take It', The Fever's 'Labor of Love', Elefant's 'Bookie', Sea Ray's 'Revelry'

4. Room On Fire - The Strokes
God damnit, I hate that this is so high on my list, but the fact is I still listen to it all the time. What Ever Happened? is a great leadoff song, Under Control is a single of the year, and The End Has No End could be a killer theme song for Corey Feldman's comeback movie. Every song is a single, and every song can fit on mix tape. The only thing that keeps this from being an undeniable classic is the exclusion of the new track featuring Regina Spektor 'Postmodern Girl', which is the first song that really breaks out of The Strokes Sound (tm) and is a signal that these boys will be around for a long, long time.
Highlights: The End Has No End, Whatever Happened?, Under Control

3. Pig Lib – Stephen Malkmus
The day after my first car accident, I had tickets to see Pavement and Guided By Voices at the Roseland. I was in no mood to go but my friends forced me to go. I was still in a pissed off mood throughout GBV's set, but when Pavement went on, my entire body felt different. I fel overjoyed and at ease and it was one of those shows where you wish the band would never leave the stage. So yes, I dig Pavement and if this Stephen's return to a more Pavement-esque sound, I'm all cool with that. Its nice to hear Stephen sing so poeticly about eating a girl out. It's the equivilant of having the word blowjob turn up in the Sunday New York Times crossword.
Highlights: Venessa From Queens, 1% of One, (Do Not Feed The) Oysters

2. Ghosts of the Great Highway - Sun Kil Moon
Two years ago, a girl I was interested in told me she was going to see Mark Kozelek's other band, Red House Painters, at the Bowery Ballroom and asked me to join her. I had to work late and told her I'd try and make it. I ended up getting to the venue only find out it was sold out. The doorman took pity on me and let me in just as the show was starting. I couldn't find the girl and stopped looking after a little while. The songs were so beautiful and Mark was just brilliant and as he continued on with his two hour plus show I got increasingly sad that I wasn't watching it with the girl. After an hour and half of the show, I cut my way through the middle of the crowd in another attempt to find her, when I finally found her as she was wandering the crowd for me. The second we finally were next to each other I asked her to be my girlfriend. If a good relationship is something that continues to build and grow into something even more beautiful, Sun Kil Moon is Mark's perfect new beginning from his previous band. It's a gorgeous record that deserves to be a classic.
Highlights: Carry Me Ohio, Duk Koo Kim, Gentle Moon

1. Hail To The Thief – Radiohead
If pop music was a science, Radiohead would have been a one-hit wonder. The fact that we ever heard from them after 'Creep' defies all the logic behind pop music. After their debut they came out with three back-to-back brilliant albums (The Bends, OK Computer, and my personal favorite Kid A), they followed up with Amnesiac and then defied logic again by releasing a great live record. Which brings us to Hail To The Thief, another masterpiece that gets better and better everytime I listen to it. It amazes me how everything they do feels like an event; from the day Johnny Greenwood leaked it online, to the day it went onsale, to the Beacon Theatre show, to the stunning two night stand at Madison Square Garden where they played virtually every song off the album, they've proved to me that its another jewel in their crown as the kings of modern music. The lyrics spin the perfect mix of politics, fear, cubicle living, and fatherhood into fourteen brilliant songs. The album hasn't left my album rotation since it came out and it probably won't until their next record comes out.
Highlights: Wolf At The Door, 2+2=5, Sail To The Moon

Kevin, Prisoner on the Chain Gang of Love

Okay. I had a difficult time with this because most of the bands I've had an eye on made good records, but not as good as their previous one -- see: The Dirtbombs, The Drive-By Truckers, and The Go. Anyhoo, here goes:

1. The Drive-By Truckers, Decoration Day -- they still got it, but let's hope they continue giving us more "Sink Hole" than "Outfit."
2. The Dirtbombs, Dangerous Magical Noise -- Mick Collins is the coolest guy on the planet. Not even a close second.
3. Cat Power, You Are Free -- nothing risky, but everything good.
4. The Black Keys, Thickfreakness
5. The Raveonettes, Chain Gang of Love
7. The Go, Go
8. Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears
9. The White Stripes, Elephant
10. The Voltaire Brothers, I Sing the Booty Electric -- have I mentioned that Mick Collins is the coolest guy on the planet? (plus, on this one, a cameo by Reverend Minister Doctor Overseer Jamaal Shabazz X.)

1. Neil Young, On the Beach -- holy christ, this is good.
2. Blacktop, I've Got a Baaaad Feelin' About This -- yet ANOTHER Mick Collins project
3. The Coup, Steal This Double Album (originally released only a few years ago as "Steal This Album")
4. Andrew Hill, Passing Ships -- the never-ending brilliance of hard bop continues
5. Waylon Jennings, Lonesome On'ry and Mean

Sam Roberts, We Were Born in a Flame

Sugarfix, Sugarfix Live at the Chukker (yo! they brought the venue more dough than Cat Power. Of course, Sugarfix is content to be paid in booze.)

Ko and the Knockouts, Ko and the Knockouts -- the guiltiest of pleasures

Randy, "We're All F***ed Up More or Less"

The Dirtbombs, "I'm Through With White Girls"

Joan, Absolved by All But the Die-Hard Dashboard Fans

01. Muse - Absolution
02. Vendetta Red - Between the Never and the Now
03. The Strokes - Room on Fire
04. AFI - Sing the Sorrow
05. Placebo - Sleeping With Ghosts
06. Kinesis - Handshakes for Bullets
07. The White Stripes - Elephant
08. Alkaline Trio - Good Mourning
09. Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People
10. The Distillers - Coral Fang
11. The Cooper Temple Clause - Bring in the Fire and Let the Flames
Get Loose
12. Stellastarr* - Stellastarr*
13. The Stratford 4 - Love and Distortion
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
15. Kill Hannah - Kill Hannah
16. Thursday - War All the Time
17. The Star Spangles - Bazooka!
18. The Raveonettes - Chain Gang of Love
19. Electric Six - Fire
20. The Darkness - Permission to Land

Oh, and dishonourable mention? The albums that pissed me off? Here
you go:
01. Dashboard Confessional - A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. --
I really liked the earlier stuff. I dig the acoustic vibe on
those... Somebody needs to get this guy away from his full band. I
hate this lots.

02. Brand New - Deja Entendu -- Hey, jerks, don't release a single
that's amazing... and an album that sounds nothing like it. I hate

03. Ima Robot - Ima Robot -- I want my money back. This has been
done, better, by about seven thousand other bands.

04. Travis - whatever that album is called. There's only one good
song on it, and it's "Love Will Come Through," which was available
for download months and months before the album. That was worth the
$1.50. The album, however, is boring and trite, and really, Travis
shouldn't try to have a complex meaning or politics. Yawn

Francesco, Smart with Whips and Fannypacks

Most Essential:
The Polyphonic Spree, The Beginning Stages of...

Fantastically Essential:
Fannypack, So Stylistic

Biggest Discovery from Previous Years (great category):
Liz Phair, Whipsmart

Brant Puts It All In Perspective

I acquired twenty-six newly released albums in 2003. Here they are in the order of how essential they are to me, and to put it all in perspective, I’ve guessed where these albums might rank on a list of my top 2,500 most essential albums of all-time:

The New Pornographers, Electric Version (239)
Cat Power, You Are Free (257)
Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (342)
Drive-by Truckers, Decoration Day (353)
The White Stripes, Elephant (405)
The Strokes, Room on Fire (471)
The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow (501)
Paul Westerberg, Come Feel Me Tremble (502)
Outkast, The Love Below/Speakerboxxx (543/547)
Yo La Tengo, Summer Sun (557)
Mojave 3, Spoon & Rafter (604)
Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea (724)
Ryan Adams, Love Is Hell, Pts. 1 & 2 (724-tie)
The Raveonettes, Chain Gang of Love (815)
Clem Snide, Soft Spot (946)
Isobell Campbell, Amorino (998)
Grandpaboy, Dead Man Shake (1,011)
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Master and Everyone (1,023)
Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears (1,251)
Ryan Adams, lloR n kcoR (1,254)
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Pig Lib (1,532)
Blur, Think Tank (1,600)
Liz Phair, Liz Phair (1,697)
Quasi, Hot Shit (1,814)
Johnny Marr & the Healers, Boomslang (2,048)
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief (2,357, or maybe 2,351)

Previously released albums I finally picked up in 2003:
The Kinks, Are the Village Green Preservation Society (241)
Blondie, Parallel Lines (303)
Spoon, Kill the Moonlight & Girls Can Tell (316 & 365)
T. Rex, The Slider (420)
The Paybacks, Knock Loud (456)
The Exploding Hearts, Guitar Romantic (501)
…and too many others, but I’ll stop at #503, which is obviously U2’s Actung Baby, which I purchased in Auburn, Alabama in November of 1991.

Also of note, 2003 was the year I finally quit depending on my tapes, LPs, and compilations for my Beatles and Led Zeppelin needs. I acquired the complete recordings (on CD) of both bands. Many of the albums in these two collections would rank very high on my all-time list. The Beatles’ Revolver would, for example, be #1. –Brant

Jim Decorates Our List

2003 Drive-by Truckers, Decoration Day
2003 Clem Snide, Soft Spot
2003 Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site
2003 Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (I can’t figure out
why everyone hates this album.)
2003 Outkast, Speakerboxxx/Love Below (overrated, but good.)
2003 Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears

Biggest disappointment: Liz Phair (she and Ryan Adams should be hosting
Access Hollywood)
Most unfortunate band break-up: Urban Hog Wranglers.
Best music writing (though originally published in 2001): Paul Tough’s
“City Still Breathing: Listening to the Weakerthans.” (see )
2003 Told-You-So: Radiohead sucks. I’ve been saying it since the
Clinton Administration.

Alistair’s Nashville Pickin’

Okay, here comes the 2003 Nashville bluegrass quota. I swear, I do listen to other music (although I did think the Postal Service delivered the mail, until your email). It's just that, if I'm going to be honest about the "essential" qualifier, these days it's probably going to involve an acoustic guitar and at least one mandolin, fiddle, or banjo. All in the name of diversity, my friend. I do like that new Jason Mraz video. You know, the one with the dancing riot squad and the mutable plot line.

Most Essential Album of the Year:

Tim O'Brien, Traveler

Essential Albums of the Year:

1.Wayfaring Strangers, This Train (a crazy mix of bluegrass, gospel, jazz, klezmer, dixieland, and some of the best female vocals around that -- even crazier -- works so well it left me laughing out loud in amazed glee)
2. Gillian Welch, Soul Journey (not as earth-shaking as Time (The Revelator), but Gillian and David can do little wrong in my book, and "One Little Song" is a brilliant ode to the creative existential crisis)
3. Bryan Sutton, Bluegrass Guitar (Bryan Sutton is one of those machine gun bluegrass guitar guys who can play more notes per second than should be humanly possible, but on this record, he stops showing off and takes the time to play some gorgeous instrumentals, full of depth and surprise. Even better, he chose a ridiculously talented guy who used to work at the sewage treatment plant in Mountain View, Arkansas -- and who had not, and has not, made it big -- to play fiddle on the record, and he blew it away. I like that.)
4. Chris Thile and Mike Marshall, Into the Cauldron (Two musical geniouses hang out and make a record. What else need be said?)
Hilary Hahn, Bach Concertos (Honorary fiddle player -- and I stand by my previous statement that Bach and bluegrass are just a flat seventh away from each other)

Most Essential Live Shows of 2003:

1. Tim O'Brien Band, Bela Fleck, John Prine, Beth Neilsen Chapman, Concert for Peace, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tennessee
2. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Soul Journey album release concert, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tennessee
3. Hot Rize reunion concert, Merlefest, Wilkesboro, North Carolina (and every other act at Merlefest, for that matter)
4. Old Crow Medicine Show: any show at the Station Inn, Nashville, Tennessee
5. Five old guys I don't know standing around in a horse barn tearing it up at the Full Moon Pickin' Party, Percy Warner State Park, Nashville, Tennessee

Thank you, and good night.

Josh Is Free

Weak year. Short list. As follows...

Most Essential Album of the Year:
Cat Power, You Are Free

Essential Albums of the Year:
The White Stripes, Elephant
OutKast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step
Johnny Cash, Unearthed
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief

Should've Been On Last Year's List:
Vienna Teng, Waking Hour

Songs of the Year:
OutKast, "Hey Ya"
Kelis, "Milkshake"
Coldplay, "Clocks"
The "Smells Like Teen Spirit"/"Bootylicious" mash-up MP3
Beyonce, "Crazy in Love"
Lumidee, "Never Leave You (Uh Ooh Uh Ooh)"

Matthew Kasts the First Cohen

Best record:
"The Love Below/Speakerboxxx" - Outkast

"Electric Version" - New Pornographers
"Elephant" - The White Stripes

Others worth mentioning:
"Give Up" - The Postal Service
"Team Boo" - Mates of State
"Avenue Q" - Original Cast Recording

Best song:
"Hey-Ya!" - Outkast

The Everlasting Scott

Most Essential Album of 2003

Bent, The Everlasting Blink - better than their first

Other Essential 2003 Albums

Lost In Translation Soundtrack - perfect fit with the film, or without
Moby, 18 B-Sides CD/DVD - Ok, a 3rd essential Moby album in 5 years? Ridiculous. But this is a strong 13 track record, with 30 extra songs on the DVD, also a 70+ minute DJ mix by Moby AND a full-length live concert AND all the videos from 18 AND extra comedy bits that I haven't even seen yet ALL for the price of a regular CD which makes it ESSENTIAL on value alone. Everyone should support artists who think this creatively and package stuff for the fans benefit.

Other Essential Albums Discovered in 2003

Cirrus, Counterfeit (2002) - 3rd full-length release is a groove laden masterpiece
Royksopp, Melody A.M. (2002) - Scandinavian due with lucious electronics and brilliant pop singles, extra kudos for bonus videos on second disc which are genius

Underword, AHundredDaysOff (2002) - 4th full-length (first sans Darren Emerson) was my most pleasant surprise of the year

Kudos to Dandy Warhols and Massive Attack who had excellent releases in 2003, but not the best work by either.

Steve’s Tasty Folklore

Very quick and incomplete.

No particular order. I just really enjoy listening to all of these complete albums...
Kelis / Tasty
Nelly Furtado / Folklore
Supergrass / Life On Other Planets
Blur / Think Tank
Belle & Sebastian / Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Basement Jaxx / Kish Kash
Junior Senior / d-d-don't son't stop the beat
The Thrills / So Much for the City
and two girl pop groups - both surprisingly good
Sugababes / Three
Girls Aloud / Sound of the Underground

XTC / Skylarking
Lene Lovich / Flex
Talking Heads / Fear of Music

Best songs
Kelis / Flashback and Milkshake
Pet Shop Boys / Miracles and Flambouyant
Belle & Sebastian / Piazza, New York Catcher
Blur / Sweet Song
Junior Senior / Move Your Feet

Elizabeth Needs to Get Off Her Tush and Break More Careers

Look at me, waiting until the last minute! Well, I felt the pressure, knowing that my picks would make or break many careers, but, alas, I decided to stop being such a wimp and make a decision already!! Here it is (drumrolll, please!)

Most Essential Album:
Belle and Sebastrian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Other Essential Albums:
Joss Stone, Soul Sessions
White Stripes, Elephant
Maroon 5, Songs about Jane
The Strokes, Room on Fire
Nelly Furtado, Folklore
Jason Mraz, Waiting for My Rocket to Come
Life for Rent, Dido

I feel like I should add the category - albums that I think would be essential if I got off my lazy tush and bought them already (but that would be just way too many albums to list!).

Annie’s Extraordinary, If You Really Get to Know Her

Most Essential
Liz Phair , Liz Phair

Fountains of Wayne, Interstate Managers
Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears
Sinead O'Connor, She Who Dwells...
Dolly Parton and others, Just Because I'm a Woman

Other Highlights
Leona Naess, Leona Naess
Erasure, Other People's Songs
Nelly Furtado, Folklore
Joss Stone, Soul Sessions

Broadway Cast Album Highlights
Avenue Q

The District Sleeps With Dan Tonight

Most Essential: The Postal Service, Give Up

Other Essential Albums:
Nelly Furtado, Folklore
Liz Phair, Liz Phair
Rufus Wainwright, Want One
Fischerspooner, #1
Damien Rice, O
Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Madonna, American Life
Sarah McLachlan, Afterglow

Songs I skip forward to:
Howie Day, Collide
Nelly Furtado, Try
Madonna, Nothing Fails

Best Song, Worst Lyrics:
Damien Rice, Eskimo

Best Song without Lyrics:
Fischerspooner, Ersatz

Album I had every intention of loving, but just didn't
cut it:
Radiohead, Hail to the Chief

Sean Presents His List

Essential Album:
Richard X, Presents His X Factor Vol. 1

Other Essential Albums:
Mark Ronson, Here Comes The Fuzz
FannyPack, So Stylistic
Alicia Keys, The Diary Of Alicia Keys
Kelis, Tasty
Basement Jaxx, Kish Kash
Venus Hum, Big Beautiful Sky
The Postal Service, Give Up
Liz Phair, Liz Phair
Mandy Moore, Coverage

Essential Import:
Kylie Minogue, Body Language (U.S. release in February)

Will Probably Grow to Be Essential:
Sarah McLachlan, Afterglow
Annie Lennox, Bare
Rufus Wainwright, Want One

Best Excuse for a Compilation:
Tori Amos, Tales of a Librarian

Best Extreme Makeover:
Varios Artists, Verve Remixed 2

Most Underrated Album:
Madonna, American Life

Biggest Disappointment:
Peaches, Fatherf*cker

Song of the Year:
Beyonce, "Crazy In Love"

Kelis, "Milkshake"
Kelly Rowland, "Can't Nobody"
JC Chasez, "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)"
Monica, "So Gone"
Lumidee, "Never Leave You - Uh Ooh, Uh Oooh!"
Outkast, "Hey Ya"

Cover Version of the Year (Tie):
Tiga, "Hot In Herre"
No Doubt, "It's My Life"
Remix of the Year:
Duncan Sheik, "On A High" [Gabriel & Dresden's Love From Humboldt Vocal]

Mash-Up of the Year:
Dannii Minogue vs. Madonna, "Don't Wanna Lose This Groove" [Bootleg Mix]

Tanuja Gives Us a Barely Free Minute

eek don't think i can as am getting ready to leave:
cat power--you are free comes to mind as fabulous fabulous
yeah yeah yeahs i really liked yes yes yes
sheryl crow c'mon c'mon too
the last moloko album
okay and this is by far my favorite though it's not 'new'--the anthology
double album of all the b52s songs, naked on the moon? or something on the moon? i never remember these titles since theyre all in my ipod.
ooh, and am liking the darkness a lot!
last blondie is cool too.

Beth Is Just Like Honey

Oops, I really am a shirker! Here are my picks...

Soundtrack, Lost in Translation
Liz Phair, Liz Phair

And I think those were the only new albums I bought this year. ;-)

I Need Terra So Much Closer

Most Essential Album of 2003:
Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism (was there any doubt?)

2nd Most Essential Album of 2003:
The Postal Service, Give Up

Other Albums that I got in 2003 That are Very Essential:
Lost in Translation Soundtrack
John Mayer, Heavier Things
John Mayer, Room for Squares
Rufus Wainwright, Want One
Johnny Cash, Solitary Man
Coldplay, Parachutes (Yes I am behind the times but this just goes to show how very essential the album is, right? That it's still essential even after the newer album has made the Most Essential list??)


PS: The White Stripes will never be essential to me.

A Surprise Discovery in 2003 That is, Essentially, Worth Noting:
The soundtrack for The Postman. It has this adorable sweet music but, more importantly, a bunch of cool people like Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Close and, yes, Wesley Snipes reading Pablo Neruda poems.

And there's no point in me being embarrassed about there being no new artists on my list because that would mean, essentially, being completely embarrassed about my entire existence and that's just not helpful to anyone.

And I'm not naming any essential songs. That's private and besides for me it really fluxuates a lot.

Fiona Plays Phair

here are some of the things that helped me get through the year--in no particular order (and, personally, I think it's an eclectic selection not a schizophrenic one . . . just for the record):

1. Liz Phair, Liz Phair--she may have gone "pop" as some people claim

2. Jason Mraz, Waiting for My Rocket to Come-it may be fluff, but it’s feel good fun.

3. John Mayer, Heavier Things

4. Lyle Lovett, Smile-I’ve had a Lyle Lovett obsession for a while. These are covers of old movie songs-standards sung with style.

5. Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around - The man will always be a national treasure.

6. Evanescence, Fallen-okay, friends tell me that The White Stripes album is more challenging and that this is really pop . . . guess I’m just not in to being overly challenged right now.

7. The Boy From Oz--the Soundtrack (Hugh Jackman . . . he can sing and he's hot . . . yeah, I'm pathetic. Seriously, the music is ridiculously catchy and how often do you get to hear Liza and Judy impressions? Makes me laugh a lot.)

8. Master and Commander-Soundtrack-not just my Russell fixation!-some gorgeous classical music and some wonderful traditionals. Great music to listen to when you’re relaxing.

9. The Lord of the Rings-trilogy soundtracks by Howard Shore-music that really captures the mood of the films without being intrusive or overwhelming.

10. Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming, and many more). I’m going to see the opera in March and wanted to reacquaint myself with it. Powerful, powerful singing. And just to throw something really different into the mix.

Jason, Free at Last from the Shackles of the Music Biz

damien rice - o
rufus - want
postal service - give up
madonna - american life
new pornographers - electric version
NOT the newest Travis

I promise, this year I'll have more for you now that I'm out of the music
business and can enjoy music.

Kristin, Latest But Not Least

Most Essential of 2003:

Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea
It’s like new nostalgia. I was instantly hooked.
Gotan Project, La Revancha del Tango
Subtle and sultry. Perfect for home and office alike.

Also essential (I must thank Brant Rumble, who made it all possible):
The New Pornographers, Electric Version
Mojave 3, Spoon & Rafter
Yo La Tengo, Summer Sun
Blur, Think Tank
The White Stripes, Elephant
Paul Westerberg, Come Feel Me Tremble
Clem Snide, Soft Spot
The Strokes, Room on Fire
The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow
Cat Power, You Are Free
Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Drive-by Truckers, Decoration Day
Outkast, The Love Below/Speakerboxxx
The Raveonettes, Chain Gang of Love

New old fascinations (also thanks to B. Rumble):
The Kinks, Are the Village Green Preservation Society
Spoon, Kill the Moonlight
T. Rex, The Slider

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