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Best Album of 2003

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

Best Album of 2003

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mucha mosaic
Okay, so I've had a couple weeks to skim through my candidates for this one and I think I've picked the album I liked best of the various that I bought over 2003.
There was some good competition, frankly: I don't think a single year has brought me so many albums I've actually enjoyed since the mid-80s. A new John Cale album (titled Hobo Sapiens), for instance. About 2/3rds of Bowie's latest effort. And this is also the year I discovered Queens of the Stone Age, who are a great deal of fun. Placebo put out Sleeping With Ghosts. I love this album greatly, though I doubly recommend the 'special edition' that came out a few months back, which bears a second disc composed of Placebo covering various artists (most are tracks which were all over the place on KaZaa, but which were IMPOSSIBLE to find clean cuts of; others were B-sides to their singles (and WHEN does Placebo do a Singles-and-B-sides disc, goddamnit: I want Miss Moneypenny!)). The soundtrack to Last Samurai and the soundtrack to Return of the King also both deserve honorable mentions.

Even so, British Sea Power's The Decline of British Sea Power stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, for me. It seems really... sui generis. The vocals vary from this weird thrashy thing to this polished whisper- and even more charmingly to me, they often involve very subtle puns or slantrhymes.
Oh the heavy water how it enfolds
The salt, the spray, the gorgeous undertow
Always, always, always the sea
Brilliantine mortality

I mean... dayumn.
The guitar is stellar- in a very Joy-Division/Echo-and-the-Bunnymen sort of vein.

Good stuff, folks. colubra-Bob sez- check it out.

So what music did you pick up this year that especially floored you?
  • *squeal* I love that icon.
  • King Crimson's the Power to Believe was astounding.

    dougo hipped me to the Poster Children and their album RTFM knocked my socks off.

    For a couple of months there I couldn't stop listening to Angel Pool by the Autumns.
  • On the techno side...

    IMHO, the best album of 2003 was Silicon Sound's Pure Analog.

    Followed closely by Melicia's Running Out Of Time.

    But that's me...
  • Well, this may sound a little out of time, but I did pick up Duran Duran's old Rio, a re-released version. I've always liked DD, but I've never really read any of their lyrics til buying this disc... I like them even more now, groovy poetics.

    Then there was a disc from Iszoloscope - "Au Seuil Du Néant" which I was pretty impressed by. Other than that, not much music-buying this past year unfortunately.
    • Well, they fit the protocol: I wanted to know what you bought last year that made your eyes pop out. :) And the recent remaster of Rio was flipping brilliant indeed.
      • Now if you'd asked me a month or so from now, I'd probably be able to give you a more update answer: I just sent an order to a mail-order site in Germany (same as the link in my previous comment) for two CDs that should be pretty damn good -- one that I've been meaning to buy for a long time, and another from an act that has never disappointed me yet... I'm excited. :)
    • Rio

      I love "The Chauffeur" - one of my fave DD songs ever.
      • Re: Rio

        Yeah... that song, almost more than any other, brings an instant goth-club reverie on.

        I play that song and I almost have a physical desire for a fog machine.
  • Best album of 2003 -- whopping shock, but Sleeping With Ghosts. It's a close runner with Killing Joke's stunning second coming, Killing Joke (2003), but Sleeping With Ghosts simply had no weak songs. Even songs I didn't like initially have grown on me, either through hearing them with greater depth or hearing them performed live.

    Without hesitation, I'd say this is Placebo's best album, and it's the album that defined the year for me.

    And Clay Aiken can suck my genitalia.

    • A definite oversight from my honorable mentions list, no question. It's a great album; I'll fix that now. ;)
  • Killing Joke's Killing Joke(2003) - perhaps my expectations were so terribly low...but no, I keep listening to it. And Dave Grohl's drumming is terribly ironic as well as being incredibly tight.
  • Close tie between Varttina's Ilmatar and Hedningarna's Tra. Similar in that they both feature female vocalists and traditional Finnish folk arrangements, except Varttina (Finnish for "spindle") has three to five vocalists and an understated acoustic approach, and Hedningarna ("heathens") have two vocalists and use more sampling, layering and electronic rhythms. Comparable to Miranda Sex Garden and Dead Can Dance, respectively; both are complex, polyphonic, and alternate between light/joyous and dark/broody.
    • Wow - the first person I've ever actually heard mention either of these groups. I am definitely a fan of both, though in general I tend to prefer the more western sounds of Garmarna and the like.

      Which might actually be my choice for favorite discovery of 2003 - Garmarna's Hildegard Von Bingen.

      Nevertheless - great stuff. Good choices.
    • I actually just purchased that album, as well. I like it a lot, but I already liked Hildegard from performing her music in college, so I'm reserving full judgment of the Garms for when I hear their original compositions. ;)
    • Oh, and....

      If you don't already, look at www.noside.com, where all our abovementioned bands are promoted. And check out Sorten Muld. :)
      • Re: Oh, and....

        lol - that explains it!

        I already am familiar with Northside. I have bought several CDs and complilations throught them. And I am a huge fan of Sorten Muld - I believe they're even listed in my LJ interests.
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