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Best of 2003: Music (1-15)
December 28, 2003

15. The Coral - Magic and Medicine

Magic and Medicine was supposed to be my album of the year, but it didn't make it. I am still in love with it, but something just wasn't right. This, of course, doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the record. It is a much more mature effort and should make it to the States in the next couple months. The best and worst thing about this album is that it's now tougher to call them Pirate Rock.

14. Postal Service - Give Up

For some reason, Death Cab-related releases are destined for number fifteen or so. The albums are consistently awesome, but seem to wash over me. This one stands out in my mind as the colaboration with Dntel worked out wonderfully. It's a nice break from the normal run of Death Cab releases. Way to go, way...to...go.

13. Calla - Televise

Televise was my first introduction to Calla and I am in love. It's really nothing like I've ever heard before. Nothing much more to say about that.

12. Guster - Keep It Together

It wa s atough choice for me to put this so high. Guster is one of my all-time favorite bands, so it was tough to say whether this was truly one of the best albums of the year or just one of my personal faves. In the end, I realized that this is a solid outing and there are some truly fantastic songs here. It may not fit in with the rest of the records here, but that doesn't mean it isn't great.

11. Super Furry Animals - Phantom Power

Oh, my cuddly, wuddly, little animals. Rings Around the World made me a life long fan and Phantom Power has cemented the fact. The songs were stuck in my head almost instantaneously and when I listen to the record it feels like I've had it for years. Most definitely a keeper.

10. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow

Oh, Inverted World was easily one of the best albums of last year, but the Shins new record made me a bit skeptical. There is no good reason. Maybe I feared the sophmore slump or the new colorful album cover scared me, I'm not sure. Despite these concerns, the album ended up in my car, which meant it was played over and over. After a few spins, I fell in love all over again. And so, here it is at number ten.

09. Four Tet - Rounds

I have such amazing respect for these DJ-ish records. The amount of time and mental capacity it takes to put together an album with hundreds of samples and originaly beats is astounding. What's more amazing is that the album is fabulous. A beautiful, diverse record worthy of placement in your CaseLogic.

08. Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

What are these guys eating/drinking/smoking? Whatever it is, I hope they don't stop. I encourage them to ruin their bodies so that the rest of the world can benefit from their insanity. It is worth noting that this album would have still been on this list if ever song except "Hey Ya" had been removed. For real.

07. The Notwist - Neon Golden

How did these guys get in my top ten? All I know is that I borrowed this from my boss when I was interning at Spin, only to listen to it non-stop for a few weeks straight. Neon Golden is another example of "electronic music" creeping into my collection.

06. The Darkness - Permission to Land

Holy Balls. Seriously, these guys can rock. I proclaim this the "best record to rock out to while showering." In other words, when the album comes on it is virtually impossible to avoid singing along. Wow, there is nothing else to say except that British music rules.

05. The Decemberists - Her Majesty the Decemberists

One of two bands (the Darkness being the other) that stayed in my "record player" for much longer than I had expected. People keep comparing the Decemberists to Neutral Milk Hotel and I hear the resemblance but these boys are still writing fantastic, originaly songs. Also, Neutral Milk Hotel hasn't but out a record for 6 years, so get over it. If you liked this, then definitely buy their first record, Castaways and Cutouts, as it is more sweet goodness.

04. Grandaddy - Sumday

Grandaddy crept up the list this year. When I initially assigned numbers they were around 13, but I listened to the record again and remebered why I had played it more than most albums this year (according to iTunes) -- the songs are fucking catchy. While listening on the subway, my feet are always tapping and there is usually a smile on my face. I'm already getting greedy for another album.

03. Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers

FOW are one of my favorite bands, so this was a no-brainer. For the long-time fans, like myself, Welcome Interstate Managers is the cap on an amazing trifecta of albums. For many, the judges of the Grammys included, the album is an introduction to one of the, if not the absolute, best pop songwriters around. I welcome you all with open arms. What I find most impressive is that they were able to make a concept record that is packed with great songs and virtually no filler.

02. Blur - Think Tank

When this album fell into the number two spot I realized that I valued a well-crafter album more than I had thought. Like TCTC, the creator of the number one album, Blur's record has a group of songs that can stand alone but would not be the same apart. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, the first album by Blur that really struck me was 13, so I didn't have the opportunity to grow alongside the band. As a result, Think Tank comes off as a work of brilliance that will almost certainly stand the test of time.

01. The Cooper Temple Clause - Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose

I spent a summer in London working for a music PR firm that represented TCTC. I got to hear their first demos and EP, which showed a lot of promise but I couldn't get into them. I then bought their first album, which I liked a lot, but wasn't quite there yet. One way or another, I learned of this release and paid Amazon UK an extremely fair sum of money to ship it to me. Upon my first listen, I knew that whatever happened between the release of their first record and this one was good. Kick Up the Fire... is a true album, which is often an appealing feature for me. The songs ebb and flow with one another and the sound, although derivative of other bands, is tighter than any other band I've listen to this year. An amazing first release that should hit the U.S. sometime around March (alongside a tour).

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This entry is titled "Best of 2003: Music (1-15)" and was posted on December 28, 2003 at 2:18 pm. It was posted in the category "Music\TV\Film\Media."

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