Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 12th 2019
Great tracks from a mediocre year
2004, 15 years ago (as I write this). I was a teacher and had a decent class that year, and this was also the first year I instituted my policy of allowing the students to have a say in the music I played. As such, I was met with some very interesting music, beyond what I normally listened to, and some of it actually still resonates.
Having said that, in general, 2004 was not a great year for music. Some of the rock music was pretty good, some of the albums were great, but much of the pop of the time was mediocre at best and does not hold up well a decade and a half later. It also marked the last year I went to see live bands on a semi-regular basis, as my first child arrived in the world in 2005 my social life was curtailed rather considerably. I'm not complaining – having my children has been singularly awesome It did mean I didn't get to see a few concerts that I wanted to see, but who cares about that when you have two great kids?
However, there were more than enough good songs released in 2004 for me to come up with this column, and also an albums column (coming soon!... I hope). So, the rules I have set myself: Only songs released in the year. If a song was released as a single in 2004, but its parent album came out in 2003, then that song doesn't count here. However, if a song was released as a single in 2004, but the album didn't come out until 2005, then it's fair game. No live tracks released as singles, no re-releases, but literally anything else goes here.
As I have mentioned before, I don't tend to mention comedy songs in these lists, but 3 came out this year that I feel are worthy of mention. Two come from the soundtrack of the awesome movie Team America – World Police. The first is the classic 'America, F*ck Yeah!'. This is so NSFW!!! I cannot emphasise it enough. In fact, I have been convinced not to post the embedded video here, so instead, I'll just post a link to it. Watch at your own risk. The second is called 'The End Of An Act', with the classic lyric line: "Pearl Harbour sucks just a little bit more than I miss you" (alluding to a terrible film).
And the third is by Australian group TriPod, who released their album Middleborough Road in 2004. The song had appeared on TV previously, but this was its release – 'Hot Girl In The Comic Shop'… and it rings way too true, even dating back to the 1980s and my own teenagehood.
With that out the way, let's get into the honourable mentions list! Not as long as some, and the actual list is the normal 10 tracks, so, yeah… Here goes. 'Accidentally in Love' by Counting Crows (yes, from a Shrek film, I know!); 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' by Green Day; 'Bye Bye Love' by Spazzys; 'Ch-Check It Out' by Beastie Boys; 'F*ckin' Awesome' by Spiderbait; 'Higher Than Hope' by Nightwish; 'Highly Strung' by Bond; 'Hollaback Girl' by Gwen Stefani (no, seriously); 'Hungarian' by Bond; 'I Can't Quit You Baby' by Gary Moore (come on, you knew there'd be a blues track somewhere here); 'Jesus Of Suburbia' by Green Day (yes, another Green Day song… and not the last); 'Jump' by Simple Plan; 'LSF (Lost Souls Forever)' by Kasabian; 'My Happy Ending' by Avril Lavigne (yes… stop judging); 'Since U Been Gone' by Kelly Clarkson (I'll give you this one – it is potentially embarrassing); 'Take It' by Killing Heidi; 'Take Me Out' by Franz Ferdinand; 'Vertigo' by U2; 'What The F*ck?' by Machine Gun Fellatio; 'What You Waiting For?' by Gwen Stefani (sorry); 'Young Man, Old Man' by The Dissociatives.
And without further ado, the top 10 songs of 2004.
' Call On Me' by Eric Prydz
Okay, let's start off with an odd bit of pop. Taking the chorus from Steve Winwood's 'Valerie', adding a pumping beat, giving it a soft-porn video clip and – voilŕ! – a song! Maybe it's because I like the original song, or maybe it's because it just has a joyous sound about it, (and not because of the video, which I didn't see for another five years) this was a nice bit of pop music that I found strangely infectious. I have a feeling if I still ran fitness classes in 2004, this song would have been on high rotation.
' Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own' by U2
Yes, this song has been mentioned before, and it still stands as a genuinely good song. The tune for a deceased father could also have so many other meanings. One of the finer lyrical compositions from U2, from an album that was actually quite good as well. The musicianship here is tight, and the band is feeling this song with Bono. I don't mind a lot of U2 stuff; I really like this track
' American Idiot' by Green Day
Green Day were a latter-day punk band. They had a few decent tracks, but then they released their 2004 album and suddenly, the punk posturing came with an incredible message and nowhere is that more evident than in the title track, railing against all the things modern America had become. This protest song is one of the better from the twenty-first century so far. Great track. And still not the last time Green Day will appear.
'Someday, Someday' by Thirsty Merc
Thirsty Merc is one of those Australian bands that makes me wonder why more Australian music is not known outside of this country. I like a lot of their music, but this song is probably my favourite of theirs. Why this wasn't a bigger hit worldwide, I'll never know.
'Wake Me Up When September Ends' by Green Day
And yet another Green Day song! My favourite from the album, and yet it is the one song that doesn't really fit the story of the album. It is, instead, apparently about the death of Billie Joe Armstrong's father, and the reason I know that is this album was a favourite of one of my students (Hi, Siân!) and she told me all about it. But, still, none of that takes away from what is a beautiful and sad song. Such a wonderful track.
' Black Betty' by Spiderbait
Spiderbait are one of my favourite Australian bands ever. And this song, one of the best cover versions I have heard, sits near the pinnacle of their work. (For those playing at home, 'Shazam! is my favourite Spiderbait song.) This version just pounds and is driven by an awesome bit of guitar and some fantastically powerful drumming. Just brilliant.
' Explosive' by Bond
Bond are a group that I don't hear enough about. I own three of their albums, an all-female quartet that combines classical music with modern pop, and does so magnificently well. This piece is my very favourite of theirs. I used it when I made a few in-house promotional videos for a sporting club. It has a punchy, upbeat sort of a feel, but is still distinctly classical in tone and structure. Just fantastic. And yet, it's not even my favourite classical-styled song of the year!
'Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me' by T.I.S.M.
Another Australian band that don't seem to have been able to break out of the confines of this country. They have had some songs that have sunk into the collective consciousness ("I'm on the drugs that killed River Phoenix…" are lyrics that still ring loud to many of us). And this song is incredible. How many other songs talk about a spider's pedipalps, or complain about not getting enough 'action'? This is just an insane song, and I love it.
' Wizards in Winter' by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Another song that has appeared before (and so I decided to put a fan-cam live version on the video this time) and this is another absolutely awesome classical-rock hybrid mix. I love this and still use it as part of my work-out music mix. The guitars and violins mix together so seamlessly, and it is the sort of song that will work no matter when it is played. So cool.
'Scar' by Missy Higgins
And my favourite song of the year, by another under-rated outside of Australia. 'Scar' was everywhere in 2004; this song was just superb. It is a glorious piece lyrically, about Missy trying to fit into the moulds of relationships as dictated by her partners, not being allowed to be herself. It is so amazingly written – another of those songs that makes me realise I am wasting my time even trying to do this. Not only the best song of 2004, but one of the best Australian songs ever.
The best songs of 2004. These are well worth your time, and you should listen to them again and again. While the year might not have been the best for music on the whole, the songs that are good and very, very good. Hope you enjoyed it.