I can’t say this has been a bad year for music, but a number of major names have had disappointing releases. Because of personal preferences, the list is heavily biased in favor of electronica outfits. In no particular order, the tracks are:
1. Crystal Method ft Lisa [Bellrays] – “Realizer” [The standout track from an outstanding album, Legion of Boom. “Keep-ing Hope Alive”, circa 2004, are the boys from L.A.]
2. Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out” (Naum Gabo mix, Johnnie Wilkes) [Catchy, unpretentious ROCK]
3. The Prodigy with Juliette Lewis [yes, the weird actress]- “Spitfire” [The only decent track on their long-awaited release, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Arabia, here comes electro].
4. The Chemical Brothers ft Q-Tip – “Galvanize” [The Last Emperors of Electronica, still pushing the boundaries of creativity after all these years. Seems like everybody’s doing the Arab thing this year.]
6. Freestylers – “Get a Life” [Breakbeat Era (the band) revisited. ]
7. Junior Jack – “Stupidisco” [‘House Anthem’ seems to be his middle name these days]
8. Lemon Jelly – “Stay With You” [Some of the most melodious scratching I have ever heard on a record, suspiciously similar to a sample on KMFDM’s “Megalomaniac”]
9. Latinsizer [a member of the Nortec Collective, yes!] – “Ritmo 55″ [Can the Tijuana DJs commit no wrong?]
11. Rachid Taha – “Tekitoi” [Rachid Taha is back to his punk roots, but this is punk with a distinct Arab flavor. Must say, his older stuff is better.]
12. Rammstein – “Amerika” [Okay, not as good as their past stuff, but its still awesome compared to crap dished out by over-rated nu metalheads and punk rockers, Linkin’ Park and Blink 182]
13. Lazyboy – “Underwear Goes Inside The Pants” [Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen, 2004 edit? Baz Luhrmann, HELLO!]
14. Kelis – “Trick Me” [I love the way she experiments with new sounds. Full marks to production team, The Neptunes.]
15. Beastie Boys – Ch”-Check It Out” [As good as “Intergalactic”, or even “Fight For Your Right To Party”]
17. Air – “Cherry Blossom Girl” [Takes you back to the days of “Sexy Boy” and “Kelly Watch The Stars”]
18. Bjork – “Triumph of a Heart” [Good track, but she was better back in the day. Plaid and Howie B, come and revive the Bjork of old]
20. PJ Harvey – “Shame” [For the first time EVER, I could actually listen to a track by her and not puke in disgust. Where’s Fiona Apple?]
21. Modest Mouse – “Ocean Breathes Salty” [One of the most catchy riffs of the year]
23. Armand Van Helden – “My, My, My” [Mr. Ultrafunkula returns with a bang, and trust you me, its BIG]
24. U2 – “Vertigo” (Jacknife Lee 12″ Mix) [A remix in the style of our man, DJ Tomcraft]
25. John Butler Trio – Zebra [Blues for the Prozac generation by an Aussie-American]
Honorable mentions: R.E.M. [long live Michael Stipe] and Prince [TAFKAP]. I still love your work. Fatboy Slim, on the other hand, has managed to make a career of creating mediocre and below-average happy softcore records his labels market as “bigbeat”. Bigbeat my balls. I think its time for Mr. Norman Cook to go back to playing bass in the Housemartins. I must state here – U2 is beginning to sicken me with their formula tunes. That is precisely why I had to list a remix, instead of the original single. I miss Zooropa and the critically panned, electronica-focused Pop.
British band The Music deserve a paragraph to themselves. Their album,
Welcome To The North is so amazing that listing a single track in the top 25 would have been an insult to these youngsters who are spearheading a revival of classic rock. If you can, listen to their self-titled debut album, which is equally brilliant.