Well, everybody else is doing it, so why can't we? Here we present Londonist's favourite music of 2004, along with pointers to other sites' lists. It might be worth bearing in mind if you're brave enough to visit the shops during the January Sales melee.
Those of us who like to foist our tastes on our public should read this cautionary tale though: 'News for rock critics: no one is listening to you'
Londonist - Rob
1. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free. Everyone's said it, but this is an incredible feat by Mike Skinner. Funny, moving, honest and just brilliantly written. Finally a record that proves that an album which tells a story can work.
2. RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke. His debut album was a stunner so it was hard to see where he was going to go with the follow-up. But he managed to get away from all the DJ Shadow comparisons and even sang on a few of the tracks.
3. Secret Machines - Now Here is Nowhere. Their mini-album of last year was touched by genius and Now Here is Nowhere delivered the complete package. One of 2004's only 'proper grown-up' albums.
4. !!! - Louden Up Now. Should be in any list of 2004 for their live performances alone. A great party band without pretension that showed people the whole punk-funk thing wasn't just a passing fad. Shit Scheisse Merde!
5. Ammoncontact - One in an Infinity of Ways. A real grower. Bonkers, fun and complicated but ultimately just enjoyable. One to enjoy on headphones on public transport.
1. The Walkmen - The Rat.
2. The Streets - Dry Your Eyes.
3. Bright Eyes- Lua.
4. Fall In Trust - F*ck Off Machete.
5. Gary's In The Park - Gary Wilson.
Londonist - Euan
1. Graham Coxon - Happiness in Magazines
2. The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
3. The Zutons - Who Killed The Zutons?
Londonist - Ken
1. The Bees - Free The Bees. This is the perfect party record for anyone who can't be bothered compiling a mix CD or changing CDs around. You've got bouncy-jump-up-and-downy tunes (Wash In The Rain), soulful slowie snoggers (I Love You), retro waltz and 6/8 time songs for the old buzzards (The Start, Go Karts), and even a birdie song to dance stupidly to (Chicken Payback)! If the debut album Sunshine Hit Me was the soundtrack to a lazy summer afternoon snooze, Free The Bees is the beach party afterwards. Brilliant.
2. Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines. Coxon's first four albums were variously folky, noisy, punky and country. What they all had in common was being, on the whole, inaccessible to all but his most loyal fans. After being booted out of Blur, Coxon set out to prove that the Evil Albarn didn't hold the monopoly on melodic song-smithery and produced a gem of a rock-pop album that out-Blurred Blur. It's no coincidence that Stephen Street produced the album.
3. Feist - Let It Die. Cheesy listening artists like Katie Melua and Joe Cole-lookalike Jamie Cullum grabbed the chart success but Feist had the best album, full of quirky little numbers that wouldn't - in fact, aren't - out of place on Radio 2 yet without falling into the trap of blandness.
4. Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour. As the excellent Sean Keaveney of XFM described them, "They look like girls, and they sound like girls," but the debut album from Delays was a slow burner that at first listen was a bit wussy but with repetition just sounded classic.
5. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand. All too easy for indie snobs who prefer their bands to be obscure to slag off FF now, but success shouldn't blind us to the fact that this lot came out of nowhere with an album that was sharp and sassy. There's enough intelligence in the music to suggest that they won't fall into the trap of producing identikit albums on the basis of their huge success (ref. Oasis).
Artists who already get mentioned in the top albums have been disqualified from this list, otherwise two or three slots might have been filled by singles off those albums. The choice of Can't Stand me Now is influenced partly by the poignancy of the song illustrating the detoriorating relationship between the main Libertines protagonists.
1. The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
2. The Magic Numbers - Hymn For Her
3. Kelis - Milkshake
4. Charlotte Hatherley - Kim Wilde
5. Scissor Sisters - Laura
And here's what others think:
No overall list but a list of XFM DJs' nominations for top albums. Our favourite XFM DJ is John Kennedy, and his top album was Razorlight's Up All Night. You can vote for the XFM albums here. There's also a nicely eclectic list of singles for you to vote on here.
1. Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
2. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
3. The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - The Royal Society
4. Danger Mouse - The Grey Album
5. The Streets- A Grand Don't Come For Free
1. Charlotte Hatherley - Kim Wilde
2. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
3. Britney Spears - Toxic
4. Graham Coxon - Freakin' Out
5. The Libertines- Can't Stand Me Now
1. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
2. The Libertines – The Libertines
3. The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For A Free
4. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
5. The Futureheads – The Futureheads
1. The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now
2. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
3. The Streets – Dry Your Eyes
4. J-Zee – 99 Problems
5. The Killers – Mr Brightside
1. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free
2. Dizzee Rascal - Showtime
3. Youssou N'Dour - Egypt
4. Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak
5. Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
1. The Streets – A Grand Don't Come For Free
2. Keane – Hopes And Fears
3. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
4. U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
5. Razorlight – Up All Night
'The Obvious Ones'
1. U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
2. Keane - Hopes & Fears
3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
4. The Libertines - The Libertines
5. REM - Around The Sun
'The surprise choices (or not-so mainstream efforts)'
1. Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People
2. Bent - Aerials
3. Thirteen Senses - Invitation
4. Automato - Automato
5. James Blunt - Back To Bedlam
voted for by staff members at the two London Rough Trade music stores
1. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
2. The Futureheads - The Futureheads
3. The Earlies - These Were The Earlies
4. Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse
5. Micah P Hinson - ...And The Gospel Of Progress
1. Brian Wilson - Smile
2. Sufjan Stevens - Michigan
3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
4. Mark Lanegan Band - Bubblegum
5. The Blue Nile - High