You have never been in love: Best of 2004

2004 feels as distant as Trollope’s London. A farewell to many ideas: after Usher and before Adele, the album as cultural commodity/sales force; a pallid iteration of the Democratic Party; heterosexuality as monolith of chic; the alternative crowd sampling the likes of Big & Rich and Loretta Lynn. As for the third item in my list, check out my singles. The lickiest number is Franz Ferdinand’s best song, a valentine to straight friends looking hot through the ecumenical prism of beer goggles. But The Libertines’ number shakes the subtext out of the Jagger-Richards text and the Killers began a half decade of chasing an audience with a weaker fondness for eyeliner and loose hips than their front man. Even Martina McBride’s sisterly anthem gains from the company.

Warm, surprising, sententious, and fraught, The College Dropout still persuades fans that Kanye West deserves scrutiny. These days I’m more partial to Usher’s Confessions, the second half in particular, with the likes of “That’s What It’s Made For,” “Simple Things,” and “Do It to Me” the kind of assured R&B that would disappear from the Billboard Hot 100 soon enough.

1. Ciara – Goodies
2. Franz Ferdinand – Michael
3. Kanye West – Through the Wire
4. The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now
5. Jay-Z – 99 Problems
6. Dizzee Rascal – Stand Up Tall
7. Morrissey – The First of the Gang to Die
8. Martina McBride – This One’s For the Girls
9. Kelis – Milkshake
10. Ghosface ft. Jadakiss – Run
11. Brad Paisley ft. Alison Krauss – Whiskey Lullaby
12. Usher – Confessions Part II
13. Killers – Somebody Told Me
14. Destiny’s Child – Lose My Breath
15. Gretchen Wilson – Redneck Woman
16. Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell – Drop It Like It’s Hot
17. Ashlee Simpson – Pieces of Me
18. Janet Jackson – Just a Little While
19. Toby Keith – Whiskey Girl
20.LL Cool J – Headsprung
21. Big & Rich – Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)
22. Prince – Cinnamon Girl
23. Mobb Deep – Got It Twisted
24. Modest Mouse – Float On
25. M.I.A. – Galang

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