A lot happened this year. We found new loves in music, bands we thought we could trust disappointed us and we lost some of our favorites. I found no standout album of the year. No album was heads and shoulders above the rest. Next week you will be able to read my top albums of the year, but for now we will just do a quick year in review for those that didn’t read my previous articles and who have not been paying attention to the music world.Let us start on a down note: Clem Snide. Clem Snide is one of my favorite bands, The Ghost of Fashion, is one of the best albums ever and they had to go and follow it up with The Soft Spot which is lukewarm and a sad effort from an amazing band.
Let’s keep going with some more downers: too many amazing and important musicians passed away in 2003. Exploding Hearts lost three members in a van crash on July 20th (an event that reminds me of a similar even that occurred on September 8, 1995, to the stellar band: For Squirrels). September 7th brought the passing of the influential singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, before passing Zevon recorded his beautiful final album, The Wind. A few days later, Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71. And then on October 21, Elliott Smith passed away (as I write this cause of death is still unknown).
Well, that was hard just to write that. Okay, let’s think happy thoughts now… how about a best songs of 2003? Okay here we go:
1. “Hey Ya” by Outkast. Need I say more? Can someone tell me a catchier song? I didn’t think so.
2. “Dirty Girl” by Eels. So beautiful and poppy, every guy wants a girl like the one E sings about.
3. “Eskimo” by Damien Rice. Again I sing this song’s praises. It is the masterpiece of the album. It is a song that transcends folk into opera.
4. “Season of the Shark” by Yo La Tengo. One of indie’s greatest bands creates their catchiest and most beautiful song ever.
5. “Keep Me in Your Heart” by Warren Zevon. Second saddest song of the year. Everyone wants to be remembered when they die.
6. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. Saddest thing ever recorded. Did you see the video? I almost cried. A hopeless song about looking back on your life and seeing only pain and heartache.
Wow, even my singles of the year end up being sad. Damn, I guess this year really was a sad one. Well, I guess that is all I will say for now. Here’s hoping that 2004 is a happier and better year in music.