I realize that some of the older hippie cognoscenti out there may take issue with my placement of "Smile" in the year end list. I totally agree with all who recognize the cultural import of its deliverance from abandoned masterpiece hell, and it's been directly responsible for the shedding of many a Texas tear in the intervening hours since I purchased it it, but it's like old...OK? And in case you haven't noticed, this isn't the Summer of Love. Despite the deceptive presentation of the previously posted Best of List, those albums, including the runners up, can be taken in pretty much any order you wish. Lists, numbers, any standardized measurement of worth is pretty much bullshit in my world. The simple truth is 2004 was Da Bomb. I'm sure wherever you looked you found something worth hearing. Whether you ran your flag up the pop pole or slid it out the jazz boom, shit rocked, divas cooed, booties shook, hip hop owned (well rented). Avril Lavigne was back sans tie and gothified, Eminem fumed (again), Nora Jones rolled out a heavy sophomore LP. Bob Dylan hooked up with The Gap. Britney Spears did half the male population of Nevada. Janet Jackson decided she still mattered and bribed has been of the moment (former BIG DADDY of the moment) Justin Timberlake to make it possible for 13 million comatosed Americans to see her flaccid cow utter flop out in an instant. Who cares if the world's going to hell in an Oldsmobile, that shit was rockin'!
Perhaps most importantly, Christian Scott Stapp contributed the incredibly profound "Relearn Love" to the remarkable various blessed artists comp, "The Passion of the Christ: Original Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ: Type The Passion of the Christ One More Time, heathen," not to be confused with the more authentically apocalyptic "The Passion of the Christ: Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ," which featured Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan among others, so us slightly older jaded fucks could scoff at the Christina Aguilera/POD obsessed kewpie dolls and jock lawyers-in-training who shelled out their hard earned bucks for "that other" compilation. We know better than to throw a 14 spot down on some rusty old Nick Cave "goth faggot" and Elvis??? Not even funny. We can get half the age, 4 times the culture (Lauren Hill contributes, thank you) and All of God's Glory as refracted through the vocal nodules of Scott Stapp; so why would we want "Songs" when we can have "Original Songs"? Creed may be no more, it's true, but like A Certain Savior, the foppish Stapp hath ascended from his hell of banal post grunge mimicry to assume his place as The Second Coming of Steve Perry. Oh yeah, I also managed to see some good live shows in 2004. A meager breakdown follows.
5 Sweet Gigs in 04:
1. Brian Wilson (and his big ass band), Nokia Theater in Grand Prarie, Texas mid Nov. A re-emerging of the self, Brian Wilson clapping and grinning. He skips and he does lame dance move (think drunk Russians). The crowd rushed the stage. Actually spent 45 dollars on an ugly t-shirt.
2. Espers, Ridglea Theater upstairs in Ft. Worth, Texas, early Nov. What if they had a concert and nobody came? Play anyway! I live in the black hole of acid folk culture. I don't really know how to explain it, but I think kids in this here seat of the hiccupping twostep nowhere land could really give a fuck about hippie dippy Engrish folk. I think to them Country Joe is about as real a guy as Uncle Sam. For this reason the Incredible String Band didn't play at all. Espers played for myself and 3 other people...and about 30 very sexy emo hotties and their escorts. I'd like to think a seed was planted in their eager encephala this night...but I have my doubts.
3. Six Organs of Admittance, some bar in Denton, Texas, late May. I sat like 8 feet from the man. He played a Gary Higgins song (which is on the new album, Gary is MY DISCOVERY of 04, the guy I didn't ever know of before and probably will never be able to live without ever again. Thank you, Ben!) and a few of his own, so I could just watch and listen real close like as he made his wooden baby sing. It was one of those special-super-fantastic-up-close-and-personal-Six-Organs-gigs. There aren't many ya know! Don't even think he used an amp. I bought us a beer. We talked about Current 93, and I drove home in the misting rain (yeah, that's it).
4. Matt Valentine and Erika Elder, 1906 gallery(?), Aug 2 or so. Spirit music for the blessed few who are listening.
5. Sun City Girls/Rubble/Weird Weeds(who I missed! :-(), Dec 12. Real Punk Rock. Oh yeah, I'm in awe of "Improvika" (Locust) by Sir Richard Bishop. It really should've been on my best of list, darnit(!) since it' just may be the strongest solo avant guitar album released in 04? Affirmative.