Closing down another year, Nighttimes.com wants to give you a gentle reminder that despite the bubble gum and Creed-crap, all is not lost in the music scene. So, overlooking the Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake excesses, along with the sad devolution of Madonna from trend-maker to teeny-bopper coat-tail rider; you’ll notice that, actually, some good new music surfaced.
In a return to the real spirit of Lollapalooza, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some of the best albums out were from Lolla 2003 bands: Jane’s Addiction Strays, Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf (which never seems to leave my CD player for too long), Audioslave, The Distillers’ Coral Fang, and A Perfect Circle’s Thirteenth Step.
And then there were others not to be missed: The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Take Them, On Your Own, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Fever to Tell, White Stripes’ Elephant, and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below. Radiohead continued to break new ground with Hail to the Thief, but as good and fascinating as it is, I still miss the songs of The Bends and OK Computer eras.
There were some disappointments, too. My personal biggest one being that Elliott Smith’s From the Basement on the Hill was never released, but you can bet with all this suicide-or-murder scandal, we’ll see it sometime in 2004. I’m probably the only one in the world who wishes that the Deftones kept going in their White Pony direction instead of returning to their roots, but “Minerva” is okay and I give the album an overall ‘alright.’ Liz Phair’s return was welcome and although die-hard fans are bumming that she’s riding the pop train, one has to admit that she does it well. She’s my idol, if only for the fact that we’re the same age, she still looks good, and in my book, she’s still a great performer, an honest lyricist, and still cool.
If the music of 2003 is a glimpse of what’s to come, I think it’s safe to say that some cream will always rise to the top and, while it sometimes gets hard to find it (post-Napster, now we’ve got the demise of MP3.com and Kazaa-lite) keep reading your independent websites and publications. It’s out there. Have a great 2004.