When you do a best albums of 2004 list, you have to complement it with a best singles of 2004. I had a hard time narrowing it down, the hardest to leave out was “The Shins – Gone for Good” – the only reason it isn’t my number one is that I’m so obviously indie-country that it wouldn’t have surprised anyone. So I’ll just say that everyone should have a Shins album in their collection and leave it at that. My criteria for this list was that it couldn’t include any of the songs on my best album list because otherwise the two lists would virtually be the same. Onward christian soldiers to Amy’s can you dig it singles list:
1. Gwen Stefani – What you waiting for? (Love, Angel, Music, Baby)
Tick tock, tick tock, this song is so ultimately pop! Has there even been a better song written about making a solo album? Has there ever even been a song about making a solo album? Mashing japanese references, black slang, white boy synths and and a kick ass sexy woman this song defines 2004. Who else can be a popstar with a name like Gwen? Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance can just fuck off and whine in the corner. Take a chance you stupid ho!
2. Outkast – Hey Ya! ( Speakerboxx/The Love below)
You are just sitting there studiously ignoring the 5th iteration of a bland idol music video when a tonne of Andre 3000s appear dancing like they are channelling James Brown and suddenly your eyes can’t move from the screen. The sound is a bit like a computer game and the screen is American Bandstand but it is unlike any rap song you know. No Benz or bling around, just a killer hook, weird little sounds and a cool three pronged clap. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance can just fuck off and shake it like a polaroid picture.
3. Rufus Wainwright – I don’t know what it is (Want One)
He has featured in many soundtracks and I always got him confused with Rufus Sewell the english actor. A piano song in the mould of a storytelling Elton John tune this is a rock opera single. I love it when the guitars and strings come in then builds like "A day in the life", then ducks and weaves back to the chorus. A complete Beatles rip off which is my utter weakness. I got hooked from the first lines when he sings "I don’t know what it is, but you gotta do it. I don’t know where to go, but you gotta be there". Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance can just fuck off and listen to insects.
4. Damien Rice – Cannonball (O)
I heard this in the first episode of the L Word and wasn’t sure if it was a guy or a girl. The lyrics are a bit cliched but the emotion behind it just picks you up, slams you on the ground and makes you crawl in to the foetal position and bawl your eyes out. The first five songs on the album are just as good as each other which made it hard for me to pick one but Cannonball won because of the line "and I don’t want to scare her". Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance can just fuck off and play air guitar.
5. The Go! Team – Bottle Rocket (Thunder Lightening Strike)
80s style rapping set to hop scotching horns – I have never heard anything like this before. It’s like watching every Sesame St episode in 3 mins and 42 seconds ending in a joyous affirmation of knowing that you can count in groups of two. I guess it’s not surprising that it is an english band due to the segregation of american radio. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance can just fuck off and practise their Hi-5 dance moves.
6. The Darkness – I believe in a thing called love (Permission to Land)
70s good time rock with a falsetto singer and a body like Mick Jagger. This song was used to excellent effect in the fight scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary 2. I love it when a singer introduces an instrument just before a solo. Nothing groundbreaking in this song, it’s just a good old fashioned rock out about love. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance should just fuck off and tune a harp.
7. Modest Mouse – Float On (Good News for People Who Love Bad News)
If a non rap singer could make words sound like a machine gun then Isaac Brock is that singer. The verses of this song are spat out in anger, yet the chorus is all about going with the flow. The bass player drives the song which ends in a rollicking singalong in the bar type situation. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance should just fuck off and drive their car in to a cop car.
8. The Polyphonic Spree – Light & Day (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Sounds like a religious school musical where everyone sings self affirming feel good music. A novel idea to have a million singers in the group and look like hare krishnas. The music has an indian feel to it but it is obviously the vocals that make the most impact. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance should just fuck off and forget about everything.
9. Missy Higgins – Scar (The Sound Of White)
Wow, a female who doesn’t warble to display emotion and doesn’t have long flowing blonde hair and big boobs. Missy is an ex-busking backpacking aussie who won a triple j music competition and hit the big time with a number one. The video with the piano that falls apart is cute and refreshing. She does have that pirate singing style that Danielle is so fond of but it doesn’t lessen the songs appeal. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance should just fuck off and try and squeeze through a circle.
10. Kanye West – We Don’t Care (The College Dropout)
A catchy rap song that doesn’t try to save the world, just tells it how it is when you are black, poor and selling drugs. Kanye wears his gospel, soul, funk and rock influences on his sleeve. Anyone who doesn’t recognise it’s brilliance should just fuck off and stack your money till it gets sky high.