Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 14th 2019
Great albums from a mediocre year
So, following on from the songs of 2004, I decided to have a look at the albums. In that songs column I mentioned that there was not a lot of great music in 2004, but what the album did bring was a heap of great albums. Almost all the good songs came from equally awesome albums, and then there were other albums released that just stood out. Like I said in that last column, the music in general might not have been brilliant, but what was good was very good.
This is simply a list of the best nine albums of 2004, as I saw them. As usual, no compilation albums, and no greatest hits albums, but they are about the only caveats. There is a live album in this list because, well, it's my list, and I love the album and the artist and… well, you'll see. Ooh, mystery!
The music here runs a strange little gamut, so I hope that you will find something to appeal to your tastes. And I still find it hard to believe this was fifteen years ago. The kids born when these albums were released are now fast approaching the end of their high school careers. And that makes me feel very old indeed…
Here they are, the nine albums I enjoyed most from 2004!
Alexander by Vangelis
The soundtrack to the film of the same name was not well-received when it was released, but I really enjoy its feel, with the heroic motifs and yet also some of the more eastern Mediterranean influenced slower tracks. I went into this thinking it might be something like the Blade Runner soundtrack, and was ready for a rehash, but it's not and I was not disappointed. That full orchestral feel gives it a sense of the epic, and the main theme 'Titans' is a tune that I find really quite stirring.
The Opera Band by Amici Forever
As my songs column attests to, 2004 was quite the year for classical crossovers, and this debut album by Amici Forever is a great example of that. The mixing of classical music with modern pop, including classical renditions of modern songs, works surprisingly well. This is not an album where I select individual songs but one where I just put it one and let it flow through from beginning to end. A beautiful piece of work.,
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb by U2
After a weird period of music experimentation in the 90s (some of which was quite good), in 2000 U2 went back to rock music, and then, with this album four years later, they really found their rock groove, and hit it well. SO hard to believe they were in their third decade of making music, as this album sounded fresh and quite wonderful. Ballads to rockers, the gamut was here, with intelligent lyrics, wonderful playing and a band that sounds as tight as they might ever have sounded. It sounds like they enjoyed putting this one together.
The Lost Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This album has been mentioned before and that praise still holds true – this is a singularly awesome album. Not just a great Christmas album, but a great album. That classical-rock mixture works so well, and very few have done it better or more consistently than TSO. There are live versions of the whole album available, and that shows this is not just studio work, but a real band that can perform with the best of them.
The Sound Of White by Missy Higgins
The album that gave me my favourite song of the year is not just a one-trick pony. There are a number of incredibly strong tracks here, and all of them have something in common – intelligent lyrics. Higgins comes out of her debut album sounding like she had already lived a full life, and it comes through in these magnificent tracks. This is one of those albums that seems to have fallen through the cracks when talking about Australian classics, but I think it is time that is rectified.
Tonight Alright by Spiderbait
Yes, I keep saying how much of a fan I am of Spiderbait, deal with it. As is normal for a Spiderbait album, there is not just one style of music presented here, but they go from pop to rock (although it is more rock than anything else,) and the whole is an amazing album. I even bought the singles released from it, despite already owning the album. One of my favourite bands to see live.
Bat Out Of Hell: Live by Meat Loaf and The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Yes, this is obviously the live album. Of course, I have looked at the original album here before, but what makes this live rendition of the whole album different is the introduction of the orchestra on stage with Meat Loaf. Recorded in Australia, it is a phenomenal work. His voice might have lost a little from the time of the original, but that does not matter because he is still singing with as emotion as ever. The tracks are pretty straight forward renditions, to be honest, but live and with that full orchestra – glorious.
Classified by Bond
Yep, the third classical-fusion album on this list! If anything, it shows that that sort of music was at a peak in 2004, and I, for one, am not com plaining about that at all. As the songs of the year shows, three tracks from this album made the longer list, and the whole is an incredibly well-played and well-constructed whole. The tracks do not all stay at the same pace or rhythm; there is variety, and nothing overstays its welcome. Beautiful, simply beautiful.
American Idiot by Green Day
Four tracks appeared in the extended list of songs of 2004. It is that sort of album. The concept album (later to become a stage musical) is about a disillusioned kid growing up and dealing with what America had become at the start of the twenty-first century. While some of the songs do not seem to fit (and one – 'When September Ends' – is about the singer's father), all up, it is an incredible album, which the modern-day, punk-styled movement simply could not match. Its peak was also its end. But what a way to go out. This is the album of the year by far.
And there you have it, my favourite nine albums of 2004. Some really good music, and something, I think, for nearly everyone. I hope there is something here you all can enjoy!