Sunday, January 02, 2005

2004's Best Albums

2004 saw the release of some damn fine albums, I've only gotten to a small fraction of what's been released, but there were some good times. Generally speaking, especially with smaller artists, it takes a while after an album has been released for me to actually get to it. But, here's five albums that were released in 2004 that were amazing.

1. The Polyphonic Spree "Together We're Heavy" - The Beginning Stages was an amazing album, but this follow up goes way beyond that, adding so many musical layers to the already great sound of the spree. The album has a great opening, and flows really well. It's tough to isolate standout tracks because every single one has merit. 'Hold Me Now' and 'Two Thousand Places' are probably the best individual tracks, but in the context of the album 'We Sound Amazed' and 'When the Fool Becomes a King' just own.

2. U2 "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" - Their best album since Zooropa, it's an album without a single bad song, and 'City of Blinding Lights' and 'Miracle Drug' are some of the best songs they've ever recorded. U2 has a way of producing musical moments that are just unparalleled, the use of the guitar and the vocal combined in such a way that they perfectly compliment each other, and soar together.

3. Handsome Boy Modeling School "White People" - Mulholland Drive is to David Lynch as this album is to Dan the Automator, it combines elements of everything he's done in the past into one of his strongest works. It's got a ton of guest stars, a bunch of genres and it all works. It's astonishing that one album features Mike Patton, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Julee Cruise and Cat Power. The best tracks are 'Class System,' 'I've Been Thinking' and 'Breakdown.' Never before has an album so nimbly hopped across genres.

4. Phoenix "Alphabetical" - Difficult to place in a genre, they've got both dance and rock elements, but end up sounding like a rock version of Daft Punk. The album is great, and they're my favorite new artist discovery of 2004. 'If Not With You' and 'Everything is Everything' are the best.

5. Air "Talkie Walkie" - Air's first album was brilliant and this one is also. It's very similar to the first album, but that's not neccessarily a bad thing. I love the feeling of the music, it always conjures up pink clouds in a perfectly serene sky. 'Cherry Blossom Girl' and 'Venus' are two standout tracks.

Good bunch of albums, those. Check 'em out.

Related Posts
Across the Narrows Festival (10/3/2005)
U2 Live @ MSG (10/15/2005)
Top Ten Albums of 2005 (12/31/2005)

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