Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best of 2003, Five Years Later

As a report card of sorts, here's the 2003 albums I liked at the end of the year and the ones I like now from 2003.

Best of 2003 (as published in Dec 2003):

1. The Decemberists - Her Majesty the Decemberists
2. Go-Betweens - Bright Yellow Bright Orange
3. Knife in the Water - Cut the Cord
4. Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine, or Ours
5. Calexico - Feast of Wire
6. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak
7. Summer Hymns - Clemency
8. Okkervil River - Down the River of Golden Dreams
9. The American Song-Poem Anthology
10. New Pornographers - Electric Version

Honorable mentions:
Yo La Tengo - Today Is the Day EP
Consonant - Love and Affliction
Iron & Wine - The Sea & the Rhythm EP
Elf Power - Nothing's Going To Happen

Aaaaand, five years later, here's my favorite releases from 2003:

1. New Pornographers - Electric Version
2. Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark
3. The Wrens - The Meadowlands
4. The Decemberists - Her Majesty
5. Andrew Bird - Weather Systems
6. Pelican - Australasia
7. Go-Betweens - Bright Yellow Bright Orange
8. Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan
9. Nina Nastasia - Run to Ruin
10. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak

honorable mentions
Television - Live At The Old Waldorf
Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain
King Geedorah - Take Me To Your Leader
Loose Fur - Loose Fur
Animal Collective - Here Comes The Indian
TV on the Radio - Young Liars EP
Lyrics Born - Later That Day
Four Tet - Rounds
Young People - War Prayers

This is either a sign of how much my tastes have changed or how long it takes certain music to work its way into and out of my ears. I mean, 6/10 of my original list dropped out. Many of those were too insubstantial to stick with me for long, the Okkervil River and Summer Hymns albums in particular. The Knife in the Water and Pernice Brothers albums features a few top-notch songs surrounded by some mediocre tracks. I still like the Calexico album, but I think I overrated it now.

On the other hand, the New Pornographers album is still among my favorites. I came to love The Fiery Furnaces (although with 2008's Remember album, I finally understand why so many people hate them, because it's godawful). The Wrens are always strong. If I'd heard that album in 2003, I may have put it at #1. As is, anything in the top 10 is a contender for #1, depending on how I feel. I do notice that my top ten is heavy on indie-folk-rock and most of the hip-hop and avant-rock stuff I like goes on the honorable mention list. Maybe that's a sign of weakness, I dunno. The Television album is a stunner. If it were a proper 2003 release, it would definitely be #1. However, I'd had a bootleg of it for years when Rhino released this beautifully clean version in 2003. Should be a special category for that sort of thing.

Overall, I give myself a C- for 2003. 4/10 isn't that great, especially when 3 of those move down on the list. But, hell, I'm trying. 2003 was the year we launched The High Hat, and it was the year I made myself a promise to develop my writing. 2008 was the year my first book was published. That's not too shabby, I guess.


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