By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
Some people will tell you that music like the reggaeton on Luny Tunes and Baby Ranks's Mas Flow 2 is best heard in a club setting. For example, nightclub owners will tell you that, and other people sold on the idea that one must "leave the house" in order to have rich social life. Actually, Mas Flow 2sounds best at my house, just after supper.
On a crowded wedding dancefloor, "1 Thing" sounds cluttered and messynot so much the sound of a bomb detonating as of 100 firecrackers lighting off simultaneously. I unintentionally cleared space with it more than once.
When the needle drops on Amerie's beat, every cluster of wallflower college girls in the club instantaneously transforms into an impromptu version of the Pussycat Dolls.
Rico "Superbizzee" Washington
The big event of the year for me was my first trip to China. This set off a two-month jag that had me haunting Chinatown looking for traditional music. Probably released in 2002 or '03, the number-one item on my ballot. is the strongest and most varied of the three dozen things I've collected. Imagine what a third of the world's population can accomplish over 5,000 years with a bunch of instruments that sound like nothing you've ever heard of. Not a single person I know shares this interest and I simply don't care.
Anyone who knows anything about live music in New York knows two things about CBGB: 1) it's got the best sound system in the entire city, bar none. 2) its booking of live bands is for shit. But you don't go to CBGB to hear fresh acts that'll wind up pioneers of a new musical genreyou go there to watch your friends' bands bust loose on that splintered stage, drink beer, and dick around for four hours on a Wednesday night. There are loads of clubs in this city, but I can't exactly see rock geezers chilling at Fat Baby or Cake Shop.
Brooklyn, New York
My singles this year have been almost completely informed by ifilm.com. That site really fulfills the early promise of MTV that music and visuals can somehow join forces. The site's Viral Video section doesn't just give you a glimpse of the zeitgeist, it actually tracks the zeitgeist's ever-changing moods in real time. Ifilm introduced me to three of my top five singles, including the Bush-bashing duo of Legendary KO's Kanye-rip and the eloquent snarl of Bright Eyes' "When the President Talks to God," as performed on Jay Leno.
TURN AROUND BRIGHT EYES I GOT A USE FOR YOU
When a bright young singer's a hype,
Does it mean he must suck the pipe
Of his own exhaust?
Or perhaps he's just lost,
Though the heart of this headcase
Is in a comfortably correct place?
When a narcissist gets political
Offers something more than treacle
Must he sound like a fool?
Speak in headlines like a tool?
While raging 'bout Bush's misrule?
(Which I admit is quite cruel.)
I've heard "Soof-jan," "Soof-yan," "Sophie," "Sue me," but curiously, never "Sandwich."
I first heard the National's "Abel" on MTV. I usually avoid MTV like the plague it has spawned, but I needed it this particular evening, as it was something I could turn up to drown out the conversation my roommate was having four feet away. To concise it, the roommate was my ex, he was talking to his ex who he was now back together with. Something he had tried to keep from me for some time, mostly through the ridiculous ploy of taking her daily phone calls in the bathroom. This only made it more obvious and that day I was finally driven to point out, in my most deadpan manner, that I was quite aware of the situation. Thus now the phone call would be held in front of me. And, as I had willfully drowned the matter out for the past few weeks mostly with vodka, I now drowned it out by turning up "Abel." We defend ourselves with the weapons we are most comfortable with and the volume knob has always been one of mine. And as I turned up it up louder and louder, I loved the song more and more. The singer would bellow soothingly through the verses, then suddenly everyone would start screaming and the guitars would be lurching and the drums running away. It sounded like a man trying to talk someone out of jumping off a 20-story building, only to wind up on the ledge himself. The petty argument, the closing make-up, the final "You too": I didn't hear them. I concentrated on the song, let it rise with rage and sink with calm and take me away from all this.
Ex and ex broke up again the next day. Within two weeks he was out of my apartment, within four he was out of the state. The record I still have and the song I still listen to, but not as much as I used to.