Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Year in my Head

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Top 10 lists. I can't stop reading them even as my head spins and my stomach churns with the imbecility of it all. Truth is, I have enough trouble keeping straight my own faves without sifting through the random likes and dislikes of total strangers.

But because I can't stop myself from contributing to this mess, here are some things I encountered that made the possibilities of an otherwise dreary year shine a bit brighter. Many weren't released this year, but they were new to me.

ALBUMS: Arcade Fire "Funeral"; Atmosphere "The Lucy Ford EPs"; Flatlanders "More A Legend Than A Band"; Four Tet "Rounds"; George Lewis "Hommage to Charles Parker"; Libertines "Libertines"; Mountain Goats "We Shall All Be Healed"; Postal Service "Give Up"; Pylon "Hits"; Ann Peebles "The Best of the Hi Years: Volume One"; Archie Shepp "Blase"; Craig Taborn "Junk Magic"; Talking Heads "Fear of Music"; Television Personalities "And Don't the Kids Just Love It"; Toots and the Maytals "In the Dark/Funky Kingston"; Randy Weston "Blues to Africa"; Brian Wilson "Smile."

BOOKS: "Wittgenstein's Nephew" by Thomas Bernhard; "Herzog on Herzog" edited by Paul Cronin; "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens; "Chronicles, Volume One" by Bob Dylan; "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller; "The Beauty Supply District" and "Julius Knifl, Real Estate Photographer" by Ben Katchor; "On Boxing" by Joyce Carol Oates; "THB" by Paul Pope; "Palestine" and "Safe Area Gorazde" by Joe Sacco; "Street of Crocodiles" by Bruno Schulz.

MOVIES: The Bad Sleep Well; The Battle of Algiers; Before Sunset; Dogville; Eraserhead; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Eyes Without A Face; F for Fake; Faces; The Goalie's Anxiety At the Penalty Kick; The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner; La Dolce Vita; Lola; Los Angeles Plays Itself; Rose Hobart; Senso; Shame; Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?

And topping them all was my pilgrimage to this mecca.


Blogger Prof. Drew LeDrew said...

Sure, make the good professor look bad, what with your movie-viewing, travel-reminisces, and working memory. Thanks for the brain dump, though. And what, no best live shows of '04 list?

Care to reproduce your Voice poll lists, or is that on exclusive to them?

5:47 PM  
Blogger Chilly Jay Chill said...

I was going to do best live shows, but then that seemed kinda obnoxious -- you know, "you shoulda been there, ha ha." And I didn't attend all that much, mostly seeing old fave and reliable acts like S-K, The Ex, Mekons, Cecil Taylor, etc. Was the Cecil Big Band performance in 2004? Cuz that stands out as a mind-altering concert experience.

I also just pruned my list of TV and short stories b/c they seemed sorta pretentious, although both The Office and Aqua Teen Hunger Force took up a lot of cranial space in 2004.

My problem with most Top 10s is that they don't reflect what really impacted you in a given 12 months. Unless you only listen to new music and watch new movies, and unless you had the time & $$$ to check out every new release, your list can't help but be incomplete. There are plenty of 2004 releases that I won't hear until much later that might've made my list. (Kanye West, Animal Collective, and DFA Comp. #2 seem likely contenders just now). And some of the things on my Voice list might fall away over time.

Which is why for this list I tried to only include those things that really flipped my wig, not the ones that generated only mild pleasures and respect. And not just items released during 2004.

10:28 AM  

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