A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I decided to write about some of the music I’d really enjoyed in 2004. I do realize it is now May 2005, which means that as far as a lot of the indie music press is concerned, The New “The” Band are now where it’s at, and The Old “The” Band are, like, so five minutes ago, and my shitty writing about 2004 music is totally off the radar.
But I care not! Behold as I fly in the face of convention – not, mind you, out of feisty sticking-it-to-The-Man rebellion, but sheer inability to follow it. My various song and album lists have been staring me in the face for months, but I’ve been continually prevented from actually writing about them by serious duties such as smacking the Pingu and other similarly weighty online tasks.
So here it is, my Six Songs I Really Liked In 2004 But Which Weren’t On Albums In My Albums List (Forthcoming, Seriously!) For Said Year And Which I Haven’t Already¹ Written About list!
Me Plus One (Annie):
Everyone keeps going on and on about Chewing Gum, Heartbeat and The Greatest Hit, which are all wonderful, but I seem to be the only one who’s craziest over this one. This is the best song S Club 7 never made, slinky bass, spunky beats, Annie sing/speaking her way through verses like “Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs F F I, Mrs C, Mrs U L T. If ever there’s a girl who could rock your world, then that girl sure is me! (Right!)” and then we’re into the chorus, O joyous chorus, “feeling good, I’m top of the pops”, and for the video in my head we’re all tiny bubble-shaped dancers in a glass of Lucozade.
Get On Dis Motorcycle (Petey Pablo feat. Bubba Sparxxx):
If you still say you’re jaded of Timbaland productions after listening to this one, I will kill you until you are dead. Never on God’s sweet earth has there been a more glorious union of manipulated kiddie-singing samples, frenetic bhangra pluckings, and classic crunk growl.
Greetings In Braille (The Elected):
This song is a perfect little slice of alt-country lo-fi electronica with wistful nostalgic lyrics that sound great in the context of the song but look bad when quoted as email signatures. In other words, this song is emo as fuck, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s real purty.
Paint The Moon (The Czars):
For the first two minutes or so this sounds like standard-issue Czars material – very pretty, but in a way that blends into the larger prettiness of the album rather than standing out as a song in its own right. Then we hit the bridge, the bass and guitars suddenly assert themselves, the harmonies get really lovely with “Let it go, let it go, let it fall down from the sky and leave this world behind”, and after this you don’t resent the subsequent return to verse-chorus-verse because when a song’s taken you that high you have to come down some time.
Parliament Square (Stina Nordenstam):
I love midnight walks in parts of London that are crowded during the day, but deserted at night. This is a song for those walks, where less is not just more but everything, where even the silences contain multitudes and the timelessness of the great city envelops you. Against wintry piano, restrained guitars, and a saxophone like a lonely busker hoping against hope that his day isn’t over, Stina sings a photograph: “It may be silent, but I hear bombs fall. I hear sirens down in Whitehall. I see fires around you, Paul, but you stand so still and you look so small.”
I don’t know when this was made, but I only heard it for the first time when Andrew Weatherall put it at the end of his Fabric mix, thereby making it the only dance mix that has ever made me want to cry. The beautiful synths in the Joy Division classic become the heart and soul of this remix, which I now wish I could have had as the secret soundtrack for the end of all my great clubbing nights in London. For me, it perfectly captures it all, the lights coming on in the club as you realize you finally have to leave, the tiredness beginning to set in as you wind down from your sensory overload, but also the quiet joy that keeps you walking to the tube station – and if it’s winter, and still dark after 6 a.m., those synths light your way like sparklers in slow-motion.