Monday, January 05, 2004

To go with my Pazz & Jop ballot, here are my comments:

I'm a 33-year-old cracker-ass cracker faggot mofo with a potentially unhealthy love of '80s R&B. I'm not sure exactly how that happened, since I was raised on a farm in northeastern Indiana, though I now live (if not make much of a living) in Norfolk, VA. A vague form of social work pays the bills, but my first employment love is radio, non-CC division. [Well, my first employment love would actually be rockcrit, if someone'd like to pay me for the kinda stuff I do on my blogs, Oh, Manchester, So Much To Answer For and Rock Me Tonight.]

2003 on shuffle:

I flew for the first time in 27 years this year. Every time the stewardess said "your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device," I giggled, hearing Prince's "International Lover" instead.

Camp is on my album ballot not because it's a superb album, but because, apart from my top 2, no full-length gave me so much unspeakable joy in the '03. I saw the film 4 times in 11 days, and was nearly lipsynching the whole thing by viewing number three. It made me tear up, too, and normally I only do that when watching Hoosiers (I am one, so sue me or something - to Indiana men, it's our Brian's Song). Had it been a "single," "How Shall I See You Through My Tears" would have been in my top 5.

I still think Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is overrated, and still think "Hey Ya!" rides on the coattails of its video (and the fact that it's a hiphopper making indie rock, which is why it'll probably win the singles poll, undeservedly trumping Beyoncé - I mean, "Hey Ya!" is the kind of single many P&Jers have been fantasizing about the existence of for years now). That having been said, the high points here, especially on Andre 3000's second-coming-of-Prince disc, are ridiculous moments of shoot-past-the-moon greatness. The best is the painfully romantic "Prototype." The second-best is the first 0:20 of "Pink & Blue," which chops up "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number" and I wish had gone further.

Sure, Cash's "Hurt" had more reasonance after his death. U2 got a bump post-9/11, too - since when is that a crime? The truth is that "Hurt"'s astonishing factor was due to Johnny's ill health, to the fact that here was a 70-something giant staring death in the face and saying "bring it on, bitch." He was unafraid, wholly unafraid. We could all learn many things from Johnny (and June).

If I hadn't been pseudo-strict with the whole "single" designation, the Jaxx's "Good Luck" and Postal Service's "Clark Gable" would've been on my ballot, too. "Good Luck" is punk spirit in a house(y) package, finally making good on Van Helden's maxim some years back that Basement Jaxx had "fucked house music up the ass." "Clark Gable" has the year's best lyric: "I want so badly to believe/That there is truth, that love is real/And I want life in every word/To the extent that it's absurd."

I'm probably not the first to say it, but I think it's obvious that Justified is Justin's Off the Wall. Accordingly, I can't wait to hear what his Thriller sounds like. If you can't hear it, you're not listening.

Electric Six's "Dance Commander" is the air guitar single of the year. Runner-up: The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love."

If 50 Cent is "into sex" and not into "makin' love," why does he want a hug?

Oh, Brittania: not only is Dizzee Rascal one of the most original rappers to come down the pike for years (but isn't he more a toaster than a rapper? And is that because he's a Brit?), Richard X is the bootlegger-gone-legit-but-still-keepin'-it-real (though he wouldn't be half as good without his B-list help [cf. Sugababes, Tiga, and going-A-list Kelis]), and Panjabi MC is the standard-bearer of a new sound, or at least its most public face (but hopefully he won't go the way of, say, the Prodigy). While most things are better with added Jay-Z, "Mundian to Bach Ke" is not; it doesn't need him. Whatcha wanna bet the biggest reason "Beware of the Boys" wasn't a mondo US smash is because it sounded too "foreign" to an increasingly isolationist nation?

Led Zep's How the West Was Won should be subtitled "This Is How It's Done, Kids." Maybejustmaybe the best live rock record ever.

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