Since these 'best of' lists are never subjective and always true to the idea that the music matters, after much thought I have crafted a list of what moved me this year. Not to mention that we all need to spend the holiday gift money we will get for the holdiays (especially the after holidays shopping spree). In the spirit of smug superiority, I thusly and humbly nominate some of the following as possible inclusion in your 'must buy' music lists:
1. Chris Stamey - Travels In The South (one of the very best of the year! Founding member of the DBs, producer extraordinaire, and great song writer. Terrific pop -- that is when the term pop music meant something real and not some half belly clothed singer)
2. Green Day - American Idiot (pseudo punk grows up and well, damn if those punksters got something)
3. Keane - Hopes and Fears (How can anyone overlook this band! Amazing lead singer, fully fleshed out songs that transport the listener to some place in their imagination. And no guitar!)
4. Tom Waits - Real Gone (One of the most gifted song writers in contemporary music -- ignore that Rod Stewart cover of Downtown Train and check the original. No one does pathos like Waits. He could read the paper and I would be creeped out but glued to the ipod)
5. U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (This is how a rock band does it.)
6. Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now (This is real protest music folks, here's to Earle who has lived the hard life, done time, and made some great music. And you have to love his politics. Read his Doghouse Roses, if you have not already.)
7. This is Americana Compilation (21 songs of various alt country/Americana that covers the spectrum of the genre, there is some good music here.)
8. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born (While I still miss Summerteeth era Wilco, this one has more layers than an onion or Sgt. Pepper's record and yet still evokes strong emotions.)
9. Elliott Smith - From A Basement On A Hill (This is the late singer's last effort, achingly sad and beautiful on several levels.)
10. Grant Lee Phillips - Virginia Creeper (Gifted performer whose DIY illustrates why we no longer need major labels.)
11. Paul Westerberg - Folker (The ex-Replacements songwriter and frontman continues to evolve as a stripped down song writer under his own name and a rollicking rock performer as Grandpa Boy.)
12. Prince - Musicology (The Prince returns, all hail the prince... awesome. This belongs in everyone's collection)
Drive By Truckers - Dirty South
Peter Himmelman - Unstoppable Forces
Guided By Voices - Half Smiles Of The Decomposed
Silos - When The Telephone Rings
Jar Farrar - Stone, Steel & Bright Lights
Los Lobos - The Ride
Where is the next recording from Rebecca Gates (ex-spinanes)??? Those Spinanes records made me pick up my guitar and try to play. Is GNR mach two ever going to release Chinese Democracy? Do any of us care at this point? Of course, after that awful cover of Sweet Child of Mine, nothing is going to bring this band back, right?
Overblown that music lovers could have lived without:
Velvet Revolver (Did this record change anyone's life for the better?)
A Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and all those other nasal bands... can we collectively get them some therapy and something for their sinus infections?
I want to encourage and welcome others to share what they thought were the best (aw... hell or the worst) of 2004. What do you consider a must buy??? Comment below. I'm waiting.