My Favorite Albums of 2004

Saturday, January 8th, 2005 @ 8:24 am | Music

It’s time to partake in that new year’s tradition of listing one’s favorite albums of the past year. There’s really nothing on this list that isn’t present on hundreds of other top album lists, I just thought I’d throw in my twelve cents. So without further ado…

1. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News: Modest Mouse finally shed the annoying idiosyncracies of their past work and left us with an album of breathtaking genius. The larger listening public rewarded them appropriately by making this album a near-platinum hit.

2 - 3. Madvillian - Madvilliany / MF Doom - Mmm… Food: Madvillian, the collaboration between MF Doom and Madlib, became every white music critic/geek’s favorite hip-hop album of the year. The MF Doom solo album, for me, became the one hip-hop album this year that I couldn’t stop listening to.

4. Brian Wilson - Smile: The greatest album never released was finally completed this year, and it didn’t disappoint. 38 years wasn’t too long, now was it?

5. Nellie McKay - Get Away from Me: This precociously talented redhead burst onto the scene this year with a double disc debut of witty, genre-defying piano jazz stylings. Nellie was embroiled in scandal when it was revealed that she lied about her age and possibly exaggerated parts of her biography. But the revelation didn’t seem to affect Nellie’s career, as the public responded “Who the hell is Nellie McKay?”

6 - 7. Danger Mouse - The Grey Album / The Kleptones - A Night at the Hip-Hopera: 2004 was the Year of the Mash-up. The Grey Album, a mash-up between Jay-Z’s Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album, inspired a series of poorly executed copycat efforts involving bands such as Weezer, Pavement and Metallica. A Night at the Hip-Hopera was an epic mix that paired the Queen catalog with some of the best-known rhymes in hip-hop.

8. Deerhoof - Milk Man: Deerhoof honed their no-wave inspired pop weirdness into their finest album yet. At times sweet, mysterious, experimental, and raucous.

9. Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat: The Fiery Furnaces debut album posed this married duo as a quirky, poppier White Stripes. Their sophomore effort, Blueberry Boat, proceeded to destroy that conception. A dense, sprawling album that constantly shifts from one musical idea to the next, sometimes several times within the same song.

10. Dizzee Rascal - Boy in Da Corner and Showtime: Dizzee saw two albums released in the States this year, the reissue of his debut album, and it’s followup, Showtime. Dizzee has pioneered a volatile mix of dancehall, hip-hop and garage into a genre that some have dubbed grime.

11. The Streets - A Grand Don’t Come for Free: The UK’s other big hip-hop artist of the past year. This got a lot of play on my radio show.

12. Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender: With a voice that sounds like a cross between Bjork and Iris Dement on helium, Joanna Newsom presented us with one of the quirkiest albums of 2004. Newsom accompanies her idiosyncratic voice with some accomplished harp playing and the occasional harpsichord. Charming, but can be difficult to listen to in one sitting.

A few other albums I enjoyed this year:

Rogue Wave - Out of the Shadow
of montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic
Stereolab - Margerine Eclipse
Big Songs for Little Attention Spans: A 100 song mix of short songs
Aqui - The First Trip Out
Air - Talkie Walkie

The great albums of 2004 I’d like to hear, but havent:

Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing in the Hands
Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
Nick Cave - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

The Overrated: Every year, there’s at least one band whose debut is hailed as the second coming of Jesus. Massive critical acclaim and worship follows, and curious music fans rush out to buy the album. A backlash inevitably ensues. These are my picks for the most overrated bands of 2004.

The Arcade Fire
Franz Ferdinand
The Killers
The Libertines
Overrated repeats: Wilco, Interpol

2 Responses to “My Favorite Albums of 2004”

  1. Joey Hood Says:

    All and all, good picks, my friend. We had some overlap on our picks despite your misguided hatred for Wilco.

  2. Hey Young Says:

    Yeah, I did borrow the idea for this post from your blog. But it’s not like you own it or anything :P