Tuesday, January 13, 2004

best albums of 2003
not necessarily in order -- it changes from day to day

1. White Stripes Elephant (V2) - As much as i didn't want to include this album in my Top 10 -- especially after seeing how it was near or at the top of a jillion other "Best of 2003" lists by various publications -- the fact remains that "Elephant" is a great album from start to finish.�I still haven't tired of listening to it more than�eight months after it was released.�And the White Stripes did it on their terms, a rarity in modern popular music.

2. New Pornographers Electric Version (Matador) - So damn catchy, it's scary. The New Pornographers managed to conjure up just the right amount of undeniable pop hooks with smart lyrics and complex arrangements. You can tell the band was having a lot of fun making this record.

3. Radiohead Hail To The Thief (Capitol) - Not only was this my favorite politically-oriented album of the year (sorry, Quasi!), it was yet another in a long string of great albums produced by this Oxford, England quintet. The standard is very high for Radiohead and they have yet to falter - a testament to this band's talent. And despite the hype that this was radiohead's return to rock, the fact is the group merely toned down some of the more obvious electronic elements.

4. The Sea And Cake One Bedroom (Thrill Jockey) - More than a year after its release, I'm still in love with the Chicago-based band's seemingly effortless 10-song pop glide through ethereal indie pop. And yet another band that manages to combine electronic music elements to their advantage.

5. Shins Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop) - Near-perfect pop record from this New Mexico-based group. James Mercer is truly a gifted songwriter.

6. Manitoba Up in Flames (Domino/Leaf) - Gorgeous, high-density�album from Canada's Manitoba that recalls the "wall of sound" shoegazer vibe of a decade ago with a breezy, uplifting tone.

7. The Rapture Echoes (Universal) - This album was a hard sell to me at first, but it steadily grew on me the more i listened, especially after seeing them perform life. Screechy and scratchy, "Echoes" successfully combined an early '80s new wave punk�ethoes with crunchy, retro/new 4/4 dance beats and helped pave the way for rock's continued invasion of the dancefloor.

8. Psychonauts Songs For Creatures (EFA) - Haunting, evocative record that's not quite electronic, not quite rock/pop, but highly addictive, emotion-fueled music.

9. Goldfrapp Black Cherry (Mute) - Fans of her earlier work cried foul that Goldfrapp had gotten too caught up in the trendy electroclash sound, but the lush, pristine-like production assembled behind her eloquent vocals make this a headphone maven's wet dream.

10. Broadcast Haha Sound (Warp) - Garage rock for the electronic set, Broadcast's rich, fluid style and carefully paced album make this a surprising gem.

No comments: