2004 Year End Thoughts
The Year In Privileged Pop-Obsession or Snarky White Males: Kill Us Now
ANUARY: Watched Ghost World and spent the first 20 minutes flipping off the TV. I can no longer watch popular art films. I rarely enjoy them as much as friends do, which means with every 2 hours of squirmy disappointment I'm guaranteed 200 hours of awkward discussions with people who LOVE the movie. From now on I will only watch movies nobody cares about. Like Major Payne (seriously, rent it. It’s good!).
FEBUARY: The Darkness are pretty great. I was initially offended (I don't want pop-metal CLOWNS, I want pop-metal ARTISTS - like Warrant!) but two random female friends suggested I try dancing to them, so I did...and...hey...oh yeah....I get it now.
"Tipsy," "Toxic," "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Salt Shaker" make themselves known to me. Me and radio are like THAT all month. Also they're still playing "Hey Ya" 24-7, which is fine with me. I never get sick of songs I like.
The Superchunk DVD! Man, I miss indie rock culture as I perceived it as a friendless 120 Minutes/SPIN junkie back in the mid-90s. Basically it was a lot like the video for Pavement's "Gold Soundz" except Sleater-Kinney was there too. It's really a shame I know now how unironically I enjoy crass pop. Sometimes I wish I could be a rockist again, but that really only worked when I had no friends (this is a chicken or egg deal, really).
MARCH: Two months earlier I heard "Float On" at a party and announced that if Modest Mouse EVER had a chance to blow up, it would be with this track. In March I see the video and declare that if there's any justice with song will be a smash. It is. I rock!
APRIL: I just cannot get past Kanye's voice. How anybody could say "cum awn, cum awn" like that and not follow it with "stop! stop! I can do better" is beyond me. Still, early 2004 is a radio golden age. "This Love," "My Band," "Cold Hard Bitch," "I Miss You," "Freek-A-Leek," "The Reason”, “Ocean Avenue”, whatever Linkin Park song is no. 1 on the Modern Rock chart, etc.
Ushermania is so sweet. The year before a guy who combined the vocal grace of Jerry Lewis ("LADEEZ!") with the visual flair of Corey Feldman was mistaken for a massive pop star despite taking a year to sell two million albums and having only one top ten hit. Usher ends up with four number ones and five million sold in a few months. Critics take a while to notice, but America picks the black doll rather than the white one. Finally!
MAY: I realize that nobody's going to beat Nellie McKay for Favorite Album Of The Year, because there's nothing I'd rather do than listen to a smart, funny woman talk for two hours.
JUNE: Robert Quine, who stayed away from drugs back when his best friends were named Richard Hell and Lester Bangs, dies of a heroin overdose while mourning the death of his wife of over twenty years. Despite his intelligence, experience and rich life, he couldn't find a reason to stay alive. I spend the night listening to Blank Generation and the two Matthew Sweet albums Quine played on, drowning in the fatalistic lyrics and wondering what must have been going through his mind those last few months. Thankfully, "Back In Black" comes on the radio the next day. If AC/DC could respond to the death of Bon Scott (whose lyrics are my gospel) with that riff and "Forget the hearse, cuz I'll never die," I should be able to handle this.
JULY: "Lean Back" is the first Fat Joe song I enjoy and I start writing for Stylus. Reasons to celebrate.
AUGUST: Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, Trouble Everyday and the Hives are doing their best to make sure this is THE YEAR OF NU-WAVE. Good for them!
SEPTEMBER: I'm getting REALLY excited about John Kerry. If only he'd stop smiling. Angry face is better! Travis Morrison is the soundtrack of my enthusiasm. LeTigre's "New Kicks" is SO not.
OCTOBER: OMG Kerry is using the angry face! Yes! Polls immediately reaffirm this is wise. I spend a week in Philly and decide I need to move there as soon as possible. I spend a week in Wyoming following the death of my grandfather and further realize I need to get out of State College as soon as possible. All of this makes it rather hard for me to pretend I have 400 words to say about any new album except Kimya Dawson's Hidden Vagenda, whose appeal I can't begin to put into words. Too many people are writing about music that doesn't deserve this amount of discussion. Maybe I'll feel better if Kerry wins.
NOVEMBER: Kerry doesn't win. Travis Morrison is the soundtrack of my urge to tell my fellow liberals to stop making classist, superficial, ignorant stereotypes about the half of the country that doesn't agree with us. I'm still consuming too much information to want to say much about anything.
DECEMBER: After a great thanksgiving week with food and friends, I'm able to write again, which means I'm either getting over whatever was bugging me or I'm forgetting why its not worth doing. Blame the Swell Maps reissues, which replace my old cassette copies, re-introduce me to aggro whimsy and never leave my CD player. Blame Interpol and the aforementioned nu-wave acts, who add playful girl-obsession to the aggro whimsy and also never leave my CD player. Blame John Mayer, the future King Of All Media, who is doing his part to keep guys his age from dwelling on how privileged they are and just accept it. I almost wish I wasn't feeling good these days, cuz "Sorry 2004" would make a great essay title. I just can't pretend things are bothering me as much as they probably should.
Reviewed by: Anthony Miccio
Reviewed on: 2004-12-22