Following the prevalent tradition to sum up the most essential events of the leaving year, we've decided not to fall behind from the rest of the world and composed The Most Significant Records Of The 2004 Year list. No doubt, there were a lot of worthy releases in 2004, but for the obvious reason we can't pay our attention to all of them. It might seem that our final round up of '04 doesn't reflect the situation on the general music arena, hence we don't care about pop music and rap. Essential rock records of 2004 -- that it's all about. So, let's get it started!
Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand
Release date: March 9, 2004
One of the long-awaited releases of '04 was the full-leight debute self-titled album of the new band Franz Ferdinand. Their previous records -- "Darts Of Pleasure" EP and single "Take Me Out" -- made public suspended while waiting for the band's next turn. And guys didn't disappoint with this album. Their music became more candid, interesting and emotional. Along with the best tradition punk rock sounding they introduced some other features such as a melodiousness, disco and keyboard licks. While listening to Franz Ferdinand you can call them "neo-romantics," but still there is something little frantic and incomplete to do this. We hope that these guys won't stop at this enough but fleeting result and release more and more outstanding albums -- read full review.
Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Release date: April 6, 2004
Less than a month later the world wide discography was increased by another good album "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" of Modest Mouse. For the connoisseurs of their creative work this record become a surprise. In comparison with their last release "The Moon And Antarctica" with its epic statements about life, death, and afterlife, this record had more action and brutality with its undisguised themes about mortality and spirituality. The music of "Good News" was improved with more sounds and instruments. In one way, this variety of sounding impart some charm and interest to the music, but in another way, this record is a dustbin of the creative experiments. Also the influenses of other musicians should be noted -- for example Talking Heads' tones on "The View" or Tom Waits-inspired "Devil's Workday." And the opening track "Horn Intro" was directly provided by the band Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In a word, "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" was Modest Mouse's big step forward -- read full review.
Avril Lavigne: Under My Skin
Release date: May 25, 2004
As a matter of fact, any changes in a work of the artist are entail the appearance of the new admirers or tearing away the old and devoted fans. While the new Modest Mouse's album was under the rapt discuss, one of the youngest representative of the rock scene Avril Lavigne released her sophomore "Under My Skin." And it'd excited absolutely multiple-valued reactions right away. One part of critics and Avril's fans declared this album as a new side of her creative work, as something unattainable and utter. The other part said that Lavigne became less interesting, less energetic, untalented and dull at all. She matured since her debute major record "Let Go" with more serious and thoughtful songs. For most musicians Avril always was a little infant with the huge ambitions -- having released "Under My Skin," she broke this stereotype. Probably, this is an accomplishments of Lavigne's collaborators -- Chantal Kreviazuk and Evan Taubenfeld -- to some extent, because they leaded and helped her along the whole recording period. Avril isn't seventeen years old brat anymore with nonsense protests but she's enough professional musician with deeper rock songs -- read full review.
Slipknot: Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
Release date: May 25, 2004
An absolutely different situation arised with Slipknot and their "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses" album. It was unambiguously announced as the band's triumph. The critics all over the world gave "Vol. 3" top marks. The world was excited to learn what's so special about it -- the guys really show the example of creativity, experience and groove. The album is attractive with its frankness and unlikeness to the other pop (in a good sense) acts mainly playing mainstream music -- even in the alt-metal hierarchy Slipknot occupy their own detached niche. Naturally, the coolness of this album is a consequence of perfect team-work of Slipknot. There are 9 praiseworthy musicians in line-up -- and all of them are groovy and skillful with their screaming voices, mad rhythm tunes and brilliant drum beat. Besides, there are 4 guitarists among them who provide crazy and racy riffs and solos. Although "Vol. 3" was beautiful the one thing should be said -- it doesn't feel like Slipknot's final statement -- even if their music is interesting and actual right (or just) now, it will be demanded forever -- read full review.
Velvet Revolver: Contraband
Release date: June 8, 2004
Just two weeks after "Under My Skin" and "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses" was released, the world saw not less awaited debute album of "up-and-coming" band Velvet Revolver -- "Contraband." To tell you the truth, this is probably the most awaited album in the history of rock -- being GN'R for most part (original line-up with exception of Axl Rose), the fans expected to see another classic GN'R's record -- the first in 10 years. Lyricaly and vocaly it's Scott Weiland with his merits and demerits -- and the record was about to turn into another "Chinese Democracy" because of continious problems with Scott.
Thanks God, it was finally released on June 8th... though I don't know, probably they shouldn't release it. Don't get me wrong, it's the same powerfull candid hard rock with the same catchness and energy, but it disappoints at the same time! GN'R musicaly and STP vocaly and nothing new?! Besides, as for me -- the huge fan of Slash -- I was upset with the amount and quality of solos. Definitely, I was hoping to see a better work of Slash here. All in all, this album would never get into the list if it wasn't the product of "Slash & Co" brand -- read full review.
Alter Bridge: One Day Remains
Release date: August 10, 2004
You can observe the same situation with Alter Bridge and their debute "One Day Remains." Creed's line-up without Scott Stapp and a new vocalist Myles Kennedy repeated the destiny of Velvet Revolver. The guys tried to introduce more heavyness and some new ideas to their music, though they stand at the same position for the most part. Vocals and lyrics became more aggressive -- it's a merit of joined Myles Kennedy. And -- what I hear! -- there are lots of Tremonti's solos! Careless, timid, lifeless but fast -- definitely, Creed's music was better in terms of solos, simply because it has no solos, haha. Nevertheless, it's great that Tremonti still faithful to his own way and we hope that Alter Bridge will make a move from Creed sounding to find their own style -- read full review.
Used: In Love And Death
Release date: September 12, 2004
Although year 2004 was fruitful for all sorts of punk/emo releases, it lacked a leader or some kind of outstanding record... untill the day "In Love And Death" was released. My Chemical Romance, Thrice, AFI mixe up the raw energy of emotioanal punk with screaming vocals and solid guitar work, though The Used had an ace in the hole prepared to give out at the right moment. Being imbued to the backbone with pure energy, "In Love And Death" is devilishly solid and racy album. There are no similar tracks on the record, unless you will listen to the first and last track only. Having released "In Love And Death", The Used demonstrated their right to occupy the winner's place at the punk rock scene. Unlike the most of the recent releases "In Love And Death" stands out from the whole mess with its strong and actual content. Perfectly done! -- read full review.
Green Day: American Idiot
Release date: September 21, 2004
Just after a week after The Used's "In Love And Death" release, old-timers of the punk division Green Day released their brilliant seventh album "American Idiot." It's not a secret that the conception of this record is imbued with political and war themes, made in fun and happy key though. To some extent it's a rock (punk) opera where Green Day tried to step aside from their regular creativity, to make sound more mature and epic. But it's still a few powerchords with catchy melody -- the fadeless Green Day's success formula works! Arrangements feature uncommon for classic punk rock instruments -- such as pipes and piano, while the common side of the music was extended with a lot of solos and sweet melodies. All the songs from "Idiot" form a story the main character of which is Jesus Of Suburbia, also his blighter St. Jimmy, and his rescuer Whatshername. That's why "American Idiot" considering the "opera"... and their best effort to date since breakthrough debut "Dookie" -- read full review.
Nirvana: With The Lights Out
Release date: November 23, 2004
Hmm... and who might think that the already dead act will present completely new material? But it's happened -- we have CD/DVD box-set with Nirvana's demos, stray songs, alternate takes, rarities and radio-presented tracks. Ofcourse mostly it was done for the fans of Nirvana to dip into that atmosphere once again, but it should be interesting to increase your own conception of their works with some other views. We should thank Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and the whole team which gave us another chance to meet alive Kurt Cobain and delight in Nirvana's music -- read full review.
Linkin Park And Jay-Z: Collision Course
Release date: November 30, 2004
Perhaps the most essential releases was in the end of this year. For example "Collision Course" by Linkin Park and Jay-Z. The first question which can emerge in your heads -- how can it be possible for absolutely different musicians with absolutely different styles -- alt-metal and hip-hop -- play together? It's just a mash-ups -- a harmless amusement of computer-savvy "composers." No doubt, this album can't be compared with the previous works of Linkin Park or Jay-Z, but its energetic, racy and uncommon sounding can get the better of something else. Through the listening to this album even "rap-hater" or thoroughbred metal fan would decide to reconsider his views. It's really active, catchy and powerful music that no one could sit or stand straight and still. The harsh and heavy LP's tunes harmonize with the rhythmic and calm Jay-Z's vocal just perfectly. And in addition to all of this "Collision Course" proved awesomely fun -- read full review.
That was the Ten Most Essential Releases of 2004. With no doubt, there are a lot more albums that are good enough to be listed here - Chili Peppers, Godsmack, U2, Sum 41... We hope that the next year will be not less interesting in terms of good records and we'll get more and more excellent and interesting stuff. We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you next year!