Friday, December 31, 2004

Whatever's Left - Best Albums of 2004

Snow Patrol - Final Straw
According to some people, it's not strictly 2004, but the re-release special edition with extra tracks makes it worth it, and a candidate for a place in my favourite albums of the year. The whole thing blends together almost seamlessly, which is sometimes an annoyance, but it works. As singles, the songs aren't outstanding, but as part of an album, they fit together, completing some sort of musical jigsaw puzzle. There's nothing instantly dislikable, and while 'Run' was the indie breakthrough of the year, it is another song that will remain at the forefront of our minds - 'Whatever's Left'. 9/10

Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Please Describe Yourself
After hearing 'Lounger', I couldn't not buy 'Please Describe Yourself'. It had all the fun of a very poppy pop song, and you know how I like those. I probably haven't given this album the attention it deserves because of the recent explosion of good pop albums following something of a pop drought, but what I did hear impressed me a lot. I hope we'll see a lot more of Dogs Die in... hm, they should work on that name... 7.5/10 from Leo

I bought 'Please Describe Yourself' after seeing DDIHC on Gonzo. Yes, I bought something recommended by Zane Lowe (oh the shame!) but it was worth it. This album is pop music, the way it SHOULD be done. It's got an incredible singalong factor (once you've deciphered the crazy lyrics) and is one of those records that just makes you happy. 'Lounger' is genius, 'Godhopping' is amazing quirky and 'I Love You Cause I Have To' is ska-infused brilliance. 8.5/10 from Hannah

Keane - Hopes and Fears
I teased Hannah quite a bit about this album, and how I couldn't bring myself to listen to it, etc etc. With great reluctance, I finally gave it a proper listen. And, though I didn't like to admit it, it was pretty good. The lead singer (sorry, don't know names) has a fantastic voice, and the songs are alright - quite good - good - really really good. There, I said it. 8/10 from Leo

Hopes and Fears is a debut people either seem to love or hate. I can understand perfectly why people can love it, although it's impossible to explain - it's just everything about the record and the band - it's almost magical. Hypnotic, even. That could explain why Leo has fallen for it as well. And there's a surprise in store - the singles aren't the best things on the record! 9/10 from Hannah

Kasabian - Kasabian
With Kasabian I insisted I didn't play up to the hype. They were the first 'Leicestershire band' to hit it big in a LONG time, and the paper was making a huge fuss. I fell in love with them upon seeing the video for L.S.F. Indie-rock at it's finest, with an album scattered with killer tunes. Shame about the numerous fillers... To anybody who hasn't bought it, but has liked the singles, I highly recommend it. 7/10 from Hannah

Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
The Scissor Sisters are one of the year's biggest success stories. It would be easy to dismiss them as another pop band, but instead they've gained critical acclaim from everybody, right across the board. They've released an excellent set of singles, and even more great tracks are present on the album. It's a good buy, even if you're not usually a hardcore 'pop fan', like Jamie and I, and we both LOVED it. 8/10

Girls Aloud - What Will the Neighbours Say?
I loved Girls Aloud's first album probably more than is healthy. So the excitement with which I awaited 'What Will the Neighbours Say' was not unlikethat of a rabid dog. And I wasn't disappointed. Girls Aloud/Xenomania lyrics like 'Put your tongue in my ear, it's queer but kinda fun' = Leo in a pop-induced frenzy. God knows what Girls Aloud were thinking releasing'Love Machine' and 'Stand by You' though, when they've got 'Wake Me Up' hiding on this disc. Pop fans, buy this album. Girls Aloud have shown once again that they are the ultimate girl band. 9.1/10 from Leo

Courtney Love - America's Sweetheart
I love this album. In fact, I think I'll add 'Pretending to be Courtney Love and singing along to America's Sweetheart' to my Interests list on Livejournal. I can't believe nobody bought this. It has some of the best lyrics ever ('You would never sell out, just like I did to Playboy - that was art, it didn't count!', plus the better ones I can't post here because they're too filthy) and Courtney co-wrote all the songs, making her... well, at least as credible as Britney Spears. 8.5/10 from Leo

The Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour
Children of the world - pay attention to your english teachers. However eccentric they may be, they may just recommend one of the most amazing records of the year to you. Well, that's what happened to me. I finally received my own copy of Faded Seaside Glamour for Christmas, and it's been difficult to resist playing it again, again and again. The Delays create perfect dream-pop with Greg Gilbert's almost feminine, swirling vocals, along with drifting melodies and imaginative guitars and keyboards. This album rises above all the rest, with some amazing singles and only one song that annoys me in any way at all. Long Time Coming is easily my favourite, but with an edgier sound on the way (Lost in a Melody) the future for the Delays is looking as bright as this incredible record. 9.5/10

McFly - Room on the Third Floor
Earlier this year, I published the McFly Aceness Chart. A lot's happened since then though, and some alterations have had to be made. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Revised McFly Aceness Chart.

Anyway, back to the album. Well, let's just say it would score highly on the Albums of 2004 Aceness Chart. 8/10 from Leo

Though what exactly makes them 'ace' I still haven't figured out. Better than Busted, mind you. - H x

Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby
When you're expecting something to be the BEST ALBUM EVER, it's very easy to be disappointed. And I was, a bit. But now I've got over that, I can appreciate this for the great pop album that it is! 8/10 from Leo

I've heard highlights here and there, and can vouch for it being pretty damn good. Jessica over at Dirrrty Pop has done a track-by-track review, if anybody's interested... - H x

Darren Hayes - The Tension and the Spark
I should really listen to these albums again, to refresh my memory so I can give a fairer comment on them all. But I'm not that efficient, so here are my vague memories of 'The Tension and the Spark': it was very good and there was a nice song called, um... erm.... 'Love and Attraction', I think it was. Oh dear, these reviews aren't supposed to be comprehensive are they? I hope my conclusion will do: Darren + electropop + gayness-implying lyrics = good album. 8/10 from Leo

More musical appreciation goes to:
Franz Ferdinand - 'Franz Ferdinand' 8.5/10, Ash - 'Meltdown' 8/10, The Charlatans - 'Up At The Lake' 7/10, The Zutons - 'Who Killed The Zutons' 6.5/10 and Razorlight - 'Up All Night' 6/10