The Rambler :: blog

Friday, December 10, 2004

Top Tens 

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Ah, December. List time.

I'm terrible at making end-of-year lists. For one thing, I don't tend to follow trends very well. If I can afford music that day, it gets spent catching up one of those millions of musical paths I've always promised myself rather than opening up new ones. I think I bought maybe half a dozen new CDs this year. Fortunately, among them were The Streets and Kanye West, so without too much shame I can post my top two records of the year:

1. Kanye West: The College Dropout
2. The Streets: A Grand Don't Come For Free

I'm confident that as top twos go, that's pretty representative.

The other problem I have when compiling best-of-year lists is that I can't remember what I've seen or heard that year. I think my film of the year was The Station Agent, but I'm probably missing one somewhere (and not Eternal Sunshine - I remember that, but enjoyed TSA more). Yancey Strickler is running a good take on the year-end thang - a top twenty of things that shaped 2004, with a post on each. Well worth checking out. I don't have the inspiration for that sort of thing, but here are three thematic top tens:

Aural hits

Le Tigre: live at All Tomorrow's Parties

A bit of an unlikely one this. I've seen more live music this year than I've bought new records, so almost inevitably a live show was going to reach the top. ATP was hugely enjoyable throughout, and there was a bunch of strong acts who might have made top ten. Sonic Youth were excellent, in an unsurprising, absolutely on top of their game, secure sort of way. Dizzee was brilliant, and technically the best act by a mile; Fiery Furnaces and OOIOO shone amidst a lot of early afternoon drudge; and LCD Soundsystem were let down by horrible PA problems. But Le Tigre's show is what I remember most fondly. From the opening rush of their 'I'm so excited' cover they were easily the most fun on the menu, and while most acts inspired wall-to-wall beard stroking, Le Tigre spread a rash of grins that took a long time to wash off. In the end it was the fun that won it.

John Cage, Uncaged: Barbican
Kanye West: The College Dropout
Dizzee Rascal: live at All Tomorrow's Parties
The Streets: A Grand Don't Come for Free
Michael van der Aa: One
Joanna Newsom
Bollywood Freaks: 'Don't Stop till you get to Bollywood'
Rinse FM

Net clicks

MP3 blogs

If 2003 was the year of the music blog, 2004 was undoubtedly the year of the mp3 blog. The year in music and the net has been dominated by copyright and downloading issues like no other since the arrival of Napster: mp3 blogs rose to the top of, and above the debate all year. Whereas music blogs made a minor splash on the pages of the Wire and occasionally even the Guardian, mp3 blogs hit genuine mainstream media radars - heck, even the Sunday Times's pedestrian online section managed to notice Scissorkick and A Million Love Songs the other week. Services like the MP3 Blogs aggregator and forkslovestofu's stunning Musicblog roundup on Monkeyfilter have helped to spread the word, and now mp3 blogging is big. The most remarkable thing is that with a few exceptions it all seems to have remained out of sight of (or tacitly sanctioned by) the record companies - a good word on Fluxblog, say, is worth thousands in promotion - and in some instances companies have enlisted bloggers to lauch new tracks. Long may they all continue.

Downhill Battle
Dj Dangermouse: The Grey Album
Scholar Google
Postclassic Radio
Cheap trainers on Ebay

Other kicks

Married life

-- I’m not going to bore you with the details on this one ;-)

EU accession for East-Central Europe
Andrew Flintoff
XML for Blogger
Non-league football
The birth of a new Ukraine
DAB radio, and having Test Match Special back in my life.

Here's to 2005!

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