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Parker's Best Albums Of 2003
- New Pornographers, "Electric Version"
My favorite album of the year. Perfect alt. pop. Every song is catchier and more fun than the last. To rip off The Toyes, play this album before you play this album, then play it again once more.
- Fountains of Wayne, "Welcome Interstate Managers"
I don't care that "Stacy's Mom" was one of the biggest radio hits of the year and was overplayed on MTV, VH1 and a half-dozen movie and TV trailers. The rest of the record is fabulous. Superb rock / pop. Plus, "Bright Future in Sales" is the best song about the working world in a long time - the loser's flip side to Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)."
- Grandaddy, "Sumday"
More atmospheric trance rock from the bearded ones. Hard to dislike anything these guys do. So much for the central valley being a cultural wasteland ... although I think it proves once again that boredom can be an amazing catalyst for creative inspiration.
- Robbie Williams, "Escapology"
You either love Robbie Williams or you hate him. I dig the guy and think he makes wonderful pop music for adults. Plus the fact that he moved to the US a few years ago and is still practically unknown here cracks me up. "Go for the arse" indeed.
- AFI, "Sing The Sorrow"
Gothic, arena-worthy punk rock with Top-40 hooks. We all knew it was coming, but I think the level of their success surprised most of us. This record is totally deserving though. Like Green Day, they've made a mainstream splash by simply doing what they've always done. The masses came to them.
- NOFX, "The War On Errorism"
Finally, Fat Mike and the boys have something to get pissed about. 180 degrees from "I'm All Outta Angst" and returning to their Reagan days, NOFX decided to get political on "The War On Errorism" and as a result, made a very angry album. It's still catchy, it's still fun to listen to, but as songs like "Franco Un-American" and "The Idiots Are Taking Over" show in crystal mowhawked clarity, when the times are right, NOFX can be as outraged and punk-fucking-rock as anyone. Pull out the lyrics sheet and turn it up.
- Snuff, "Disposable Income"
Once again, I had to order the latest Snuff record from Amazon.co.uk, but, once again, it was worth it. My second favorite album of the year. Save for three throwaway tracks - two screaming heavy metal songs and a thoroughly pointless song that simply repeats, "Heads you win / Tails you lose" over and over and over again, the rest is driving, melodic, balls to the wall punk. Get it. Hell, get two.
- Super Furry Animals, "Phantom Power"
Not entirely sure how to describe this record other than I really like it. It's kind of trippy and atmospheric but still very pop. Bit of Beach Boys, bit of Beatles ... but then, that's kind of like saying there's barley and hops in your beer. All I know is that this is just damn good beer.
- The Darkness, "Permission to Land"
One of the weirdest phenomenons in Britain this year, the Darkness are a 70's hard rock tribute band ... no, wait ... they're a Spinal Tap-esque parody band ... no, they're a retro metal band ... wait ... aw, fuck it. I don't know. They sound like a band making fun of 70's hard rock, but a band which also loves 70's hard rock. At first listen the record appears to be a joke, but just like Spinal Tap, a joke that stems more from love than lack of respect. See them live, then decide for yourself - Ali G or the real deal? Then again, does it even matter?
- The Andrew Collection
Okay, this is entry is a cheat, but in March of 2003 I had a baby boy named Andrew. I've been playing a lot of music for him and trying to avoid as much of the music for kids stuff that all your friends and family will send you by the boatload when you have a kid (unless of course you opt out of the kid thing, and then you'll be Raffi-free). I wasn't raised on that stuff and don't see why he should be either. With hundreds of Beach Boys, Mozart, Beatles and Jackson 5 records to play for him, who even has time for that stuff? His latest playlist is as follows...
- The Beach Boys "The Very Best of the Beach Boys"
There is nothing in the world better than singing Sloop John B. with your 9 month old son. Nothing. Plus, "Don't Worry Baby" is the greatest pop single ever recorded. Period.
- Jackson 5 "The Ultimate Collection"
I don't care if Michael Jackson turns out to be the Adolf Hitler of the pedophile world. The Jackson 5 made some of the best pop music ever. Andrew digs the Motown sound and we groove to it almost daily.
- The Monkees first album
The original boy band? With songs by Boyce and Hart, who cares? Andrew's face lights up when we sing, "Here we come ..."
- Trio II
Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. If you heard angels singing, this is what it would sound like. The trio's cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" might just be one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. My little man digs it too and I hope Emmylou is still touring when he's old enough to go to concerts.
- Jimmy Buffett "Meet Me in Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection"
Hey, I'm man enough to admit I like Buffett. He was my very first concert, following a Giants game at Candlestick park in 1985. Lately I've been digging his more songwriter-type stuff like "A Pirate Looks At 40", "He Went To Paris" (which makes me cry, so fuck off) and "The Captain And The Kid," but Andrew mostly likes the sillier songs, like "Fins" and "Volcano," especially when I throw him up into the air. That really cracks him up.
- The Kingston Trio "Greatest Hits"
Right now he mostly likes "Tijuana Jail" (which frightens me a tad because undoubtedly he'll be making surf trips down to Mexico, just like his old man did) and "M.T.A." (I haven't yet played him the Dropkick Murphys' version). It's just a matter of time before he asks me, "Dad, why didn't Charlie's wife just hand him a nickel instead of a sandwich?" Quiet, boy ... and don't ask so many questions.
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