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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

 
2004: I Got Blisters On My Fingers

First, an addendum to the singles list.

14. Dizzee Rascal -- Stand Up Tall
He says it's the grimiest; I believe him.

13. Gwen Stefani -- What You Waiting For?
Why can't someone hook me up with her Andre 3000 collabo?

12. Destiny's Child -- Lose My Breath
I was perhaps too ready for this jelly.

On to the albums, or I Voted For Including the Dean Scream Before I Voted Against It:

11. Wilco -- A Ghost Is Born
First, the bad. "Less Than You Think" is the worst thing Wilco's ever released (and, yes, that's counting "It's Just That Simple"). Funny enough, it gets better when the noise comes in. The good: It has the year's best lyric, from centerpiece "Wishful Thinking": "Fill up your mind with all it can know/ Don't forget that the body will let it all go." Not to overreach, but this pretty much sums up the state of all humanity in the 21st century, if not forever. If that doesn't sway you, consider that AGIB has an unusually high rate of songs about animals.

10. Interpol -- Antics
The first Interpol album to sound like Interpol.

9. Elliott Smith -- From a Basement on a Hill
Like Blood on the Tracks for smack addicts, Elliott's not-always-fond farewell to friends, lovers, fans, record execs and, in all likelihood, you and me.

8. PJ Harvey -- Uh Huh Her
Pretty much encapsulates her whole career in one album. One question: Is she Daisy? And another: Why was the title track left off?

7. Loretta Lynn -- Van Lear Rose
The purple state-est album of the year.

6. Devendra Banhart -- Rejoicing in the Hands
Alternately, More Songs About Beards and Teeth.

5. Sufjan Stevens -- Seven Swans
The skinny kid with a funny name from Michigan who loves God and Jesus more than any minister, man without a face or ex-alcoholic President of the United States could understand.

4. Franz Ferdinand -- s/t
Supposedly, the hype almost overshadowed the music. Believe that, and you missed one of the most energetic song-for-song pop albums since four Liverpudlians recorded 14 songs in one day.

3. The Fiery Furnaces -- Blueberry Boat
Like Wilco, the siblings Friedberger decided that more is more in two-kay-four. These guys came closer to pulling it off, even if their live show hacked off the gristle. Some people got way more into this album than, well, anyone not named Friedberger. And even that's a close call.

2. Modest Mouse -- Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Like most people, I dug the hit. And then I dug the song before it. And then I liked the song after it. And then the other songs. Next thing I knew, this was the second best album I'd heard all year.

1. The Arcade Fire -- Funeral
Way back when, I was lukewarm on this record. (I still loathe the elderly, however.) Then, it hit me. This was it. The OK Computer, if not Automatic for the People, of the aughts. The lyrics, so life affirming. The power is out in the heart of man. Take it from your heart; put it in your hand. Sleeping is giving in. Children wake up, hold your mistake up, before they turn the summer into dust. And so on. All performed with intensity, vitality, urgency. And so, even though it's a cliche, it is my favorite record of the year. (And as for the hype, 'twas the best kind, as it started from the ground up.)

For better end-of-year lists, may I suggest the following:
-Largehearted Boy
-Pitchfork
-Metacritic
-Teradome
-Stereogum

OK. That's enough.
dynamarx - 4:58 PM

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