Thursday, December 30, 2004


This list will get updated as the year and concert ticket buying goes on, but here is the list of confirmed 2005 concerts so far...

18th February - KT Tunstall - Liverpool Academy 3

27th February - Electric Six - Carling Academy Liverpool

1st March - Natasha Bedingfield - Liverpool Royal Court

7th March - The Donnas - Manchester Academy

16th March - The THrills - Liverpool Academy

24th April - The Hives - Liverpool Academy

19th May - Girls Aloud - Manchester Apollo

22nd May - KT Tunstall - Manchester MDH

26th May - KT Tunstall - Carling Academy 2, Liverpool

27th May - Girls Aloud - Liverpool Empire

11th June - Ben Folds - The Lowry

17th June - REM (with The Zutons & Feeder) - Lancashire Cricket Club

Monday, December 27, 2004


60 - Hit That (The Offspring) – I think the Offspring get a bit of a rough deal with the critics. They’re nothing ground breaking but they come out with some quality tunes. And this is another one of them. Kind of like a Chav anthem, but they’re ragging on them so that makes it all right. When I hear this song, I think of Wayne Rooney and his Colleen. BEST BIT: The ridiculous Chuckle Brothers style comedy tune that plays almost throughout.

59 - Step Into My Office, Baby (Belle & Sebastian) – Trevor Horn has produced some cracking tunes over the years (as well as being responsible for “Video Killed The Radio Star” and he brings the best out of the previously miserable (to me anyway) Belle And Sebastian. A lovely sing-a-long song. BEST BIT: “She gave me some dictation, but my strength is in administration!”

58 - Five Colours In Her Hair (McFly) –If Busted were actually any good, this is what they would sound like. I’m not saying I really like McFly, but they do some catchy tunes, of which this is the best. BEST BIT: The Monkees style opening bit. Sounds trite at first, but as the year has gone on it’s a stand out moment of genius.

57 – All Day Long I Think About Sex (JC Chasez) – He’s better than Timberlake. Sadly for him, good old JT got there first, so JC is buggered. Still, that takes nothing away from this saucy lyric. And the Speak And Spell sample in the instrumental bit. BEST BIT: The “with you” bit after the repeated “All day long I think about sex…” bits. Nice reassuring touch that would no doubt go down a storm with the lady in question.

56 – Tangled Up In You (Skye Sweetnam) – A perky teen pop song which doesn’t trouble itself with anything too far down the road marked “adult adventures” and it’s all the better for it. This is how it should be. BEST BIT: “I’m the girl who was kicking the coke machine” leaves us in no doubt that this is not going to be yet another teen pop star talking “too old for them” rubbish about marriage and love.

55 – Ma Ai Hii (O-Zone) – Absolute pure comedy gold. Who knows what they are really going on about, and quite frankly who cares. This is a song that never fails to put a smile on my face, and that deserves recognition in itself. BEST BIT: The bit where the blokes says “It’s Me, Picasso.” An absolute moment of comedy genius for some reason.

54 – Bittersweet Bundle Of Misery (Graham Coxon) – If Blur were still doing decent songs, then this would be one of them. Of course Mr Albarn has to save the rain-forests or something, so instead let’s applaud Mr Coxon for a delightful slice of kooky indie pop. BEST BIT: The belly and telly rhyming couplet about 50 seconds in.

53 – Broken (Seether Feat. Amy Lee) – This by rights should be an average and utterly dull dirge, but somehow, Amy Lee’s soaring vocals save this from the pile marked “mediocrity” and instead turn it into a very decent song indeed. BEST BIT: The bit where Amy Lee first comes in. There is hope yet…

52 – Summer (Charlotte Hatherly) – Yes, this is better than Ash. This is the perfect, a-hem, summer anthem and once heard it’s never forgotten. BEST BIT: The Chas & Dave style piano-fuelled instrumental leading into the “breathe it in and breathe it out” bits.

51 – White Houses (Vanessa Carlton) – Her other stuff really did nothing for me, so I really didn’t expect to like this. But putting aside my pre-conceptions turned out to be a wise choice as this is a delightful ditty. This is the song about the life I’ve never had. BEST BIT: “She’s so pretty and so sure, maybe I’m smarter than a girl like her” shows a moment of self-doubt need not be as bad as it first seems.

50 – Flashdance (Deep Dish) – A cracking dance tune, and not at all what I expected from Deep Dish after their previous efforts. This was one of those songs that bit by but worked it’s way into your favour through copious repeat listening. BEST BIT: The recurring guitar riff throughout the song.

49 – The Hunger (The Distillers) – The female Nirvana, or something like that anyway. In a year where Courtney Love went even more mental than she already was, Brody Dalle nipped in and took her crown as the queen of grunge rock. This is a slower song than their normal efforts, but the slow/fast Nirvana style rhythm makes this one to remember. BEST BIT: The scream of “Don’t Go” as the heavy guitars kick in.

48 – Any Minute Now (Soulwax) – After wowing the world with the Too Many DJ’s project, the Dewale Brothers get back to their musical routes with this corking single. The album was a disappointment, but some of that is down to the fact that this is SO good, it was difficult to live up to. BEST BIT: One of the catchiest chorus’ of the year.

47 – Out Of The Blue (Delta Goodrem) – A triumphant return for Delta, and although you can’t half tell it’s a Guy Chambers collaboration, its still a winner. Swirling and atmospheric. BEST BIT: The bit around one minute it when you think you’ve had the chorus, but then it sweeps up into another part of the chorus which is uplifting to say the least.

46 – Dumb (The 411) – It’s as if All Saints have been reincarnated, except with better looking women and with a better song. Sadly they don’t get any better than this, but this is a lovely relentless tune. BEST BIT: The breakdown just before “There’s no way, that I’m gonna play…”; it’s like a sexy pause for breath.

45 – Overdrive (Katy Rose) – If every song Avril did was as good as this, she’d be even a bigger star. It’s sad that people see Katy as an Avril rip-off because overall Katy is much, much better. This is better than 95% of Avril’s songs and isn’t even close to being Katy’s best. Lovely summery tune. BEST BIT: “Yeah, I’m borderline”. Yes, you are love. But I still would.

44 – Sunrise (Norah Jones) – The thinking man’s crumpet, and probably better than Katie Melua. Of course we don’t have Mike Batt on this one. This is alluring and sexy without being over the top. The morning after with Norah would be very pleasant indeed. BEST BIT: The “ooh, ooh, ooh” bits in the kind of chorus. Just sublime.

43 – My Band (D12) – This is just absolutely hilarious and sees Eminem at his best. Twists the notion that to most people D12 IS Eminem, although all this song does is reinforce that notion in actuality. But still, where else would his mates get a successful career from hey? BEST BIT: The “Salsa” piss take of Kelis’ “Milkshake” right at the end.

42 – C’Mon C’Mon (The Von Bondies) – THE rock’n’roll band of the year with a storming single which grew into one of my favourites as we progressed. Still there are songs that are a lot better on the album. But this is still better than anything by the Strokes. BEST BIT: The fact that this very jolly and upbeat song is actually about an abusive relationship.

41 –Somebody (Bonnie McKee) – A hot new thing, and very lovely she is too. This is a lovely ballad which brings a tear to my eye if I am being honest. And apparently, she writes the lyrics herself and all that. BEST BIT: “I know that I won’t cry because there is somebody, somebody, somebody waiting for me” makes me hope that she’s right.

40 - Bam Thwok (The Pixies) – It’s indicative of the year that this song, which was available by download only, qualifies for my list. 2004 was the year of Dean’s technical revolution, and this track was number one in the first semi-official downloads chart. This was the year I “discovered” The Pixies, and this tune has all the weird, wonderful and tuneful fun you would expect from their songs. BEST BIT: The weird, almost CBBC style tune that suddenly appears from nowhere in the middle of the song.

39 - Irish Blood, English Heart (Morrissey) I’ve never quite “got” Morrissey, or The Smiths for that matter, and most of his stuff leaves me decidedly unimpressed. But this, which to me seems a bit rockier than his other stuff, is a cool, cool tune, even if it is stuffed with the usual array of pompous statements that you expect from him. Still, a quality tune is a quality tune. BEST BIT: The first kick in of the heavy chorus… “I’ve been dreaming of a time when, to be English is not to be vainful…”

38 - Fall Behind Me (The Donnas) : The one song on their album that sounds most like the Donnas of old that I fell in love with, this is a delightful “hands of my man” song which sets the pulses racing. BEST BIT: The chorus, where the slut in question gets her verbal comeuppance.

37 - Bad Ass Strippa (Jentina) – You could argue that this song is laughable, and it’s hardly Shakespeare is it? But it has a sense of knowing sexiness that is hard to beat and it is a very catchy number. BEST BIT: “You’re a choke if you’re broke, because your jokes just ain’t funny…” Well no need to try and get a bit with her is there…

36 – All Falls Down (Kanye West) – Ok. So the man in question is a complete idiot and has more arrogance than a field full of German’s, but this is quality tune which sees Kanye list pretty much everything that’s wrong with his woman, but you know he’s still going to nail the bitch afterwards. BEST BIT: Start of the second verse, where his girl’s self-consciousness turns into his own self-consciousness.

35 – The Rules (Ben Kweller) – A rollicking run through some rules, of which I haven’t really got a funking clue what he is on about. Still this is absolute quality and is the stand out track on his “On My Way” album. BEST BIT: The “whoo” which signals the swerve into the instrumental part of the song.

34 – Milkshake (Kelis) – The hit that Britney has been searching for, for four years. Pretty much the same hook all the way through, but this is just one hell of a catchy tune. BEST BIT: The very first, “My milkshake brings my boys to the yard…” You know you’re in for a sultry ride from that point on.

33 – Take Your Mama Out (Scissor Sisters) – It’s been a great year for pop, and the Scissor Sisters have probably been the main proponents. This is like Elton John in the 70’s, when he still had an ear for a fun tune, and that’s no bad thing. BEST BIT: The change to the chorus, started with “Do It…”

32 – Fly (Hilary Duff) – Ok, so she’s no Lohan to look at, but if the truth be told, her singing career is probably in better shape. This is hardly teen pop though, and wouldn’t sound out of place on an Evanescence album but the lyrics are pure motivational gold. BEST BIT: The end of the chorus “’Cause it’s your time…time to fly.” You know there is hope left…

31 – I Miss You (Blink 182) – Two good singles (All The Small Things and What’s My Age Again) did not prepare the world for this soothing song oozing with maturity. Most of the punk generation fall by the wayside when forced to change tack to keep relevant. Against all the odds, Blink 182 seem to have neatly sidestepped that problem with this great song. BEST BIT: The first time the strings kick in…

30 – Extraordinary Machine (Fiona Apple) – Ok so the record company won’t release the album as it isn’t “commercial” enough, but then they kindly “leak” this gem of a song onto the Internet. This wouldn’t sound out of place in some new stage musical or something and whilst at first I thought it was too weird for it’s own good, it turned out to be insanely catchy. BEST BIT: The repeated chorus’ towards the end of the song.

29 – Drop The Pressure (Mylo) – In my opinion it’s been a pretty piss poor year for dance music, where the only songs that have really come into my view have been the ones with tits and ass all over the videos. This is the exception. Apparently this lad grew up in the Isle Of Skye with only Atlantic 252 for musical company. And we all recall how cheesy that station was, yet somehow that musical education was turned into this remarkable and relentless tune. BEST BIT: Come on you have to love a song that can sneak the lyrics “mother fuckers gonna drop the pressure” onto Radio 1.

28 – Common People (William Shatner) – The fact that Shats was working with Ben Folds was always going to put the Has-Been album on my check list, but I never really thought they could come up with something as bone splittingly dumb fun as this. Comedy value alone makes this a winner, but it’s actually a very rocking version of a classic song. BEST BIT: The first “I want to live with common people” line as Shatner stars to ignore the actual tune and speak at his own pace.

27 – I Can’t Make Me (Butterfly Boucher) – First released in 2003, to little reaction, they had another go in 2004, once again to little reaction. Still there is no accounting for taste, and people who don’t know this tune are the ones missing out. BEST BIT: The first time she says “I can’t make me love you” and you know exactly what she means.

26 – Bridging The Gap (Nas) – I’ve never really liked Nas, and probably will never call him one of my favourites, but credit where credit is due, this is a top tune which is well worth a slot in my top 40. Even the “dragged up from the gutter” confessional lyrics don’t grate as much as you would think. BEST BIT: His dad’s little cameo.

25 – Mass Destruction (Faithless) – At first time of asking I immediately took a dislike to this song due to it’s anti-war lyrics. But hey, I always give something a second chance and whilst the lyrics don’t appeal to me as a whole, it’s a cracking tune which logs into your brain and sticks there. Plus it’s cool to drum along to this one on your steering wheel. BEST BIT: “Mama it will be alright, when Daddy comes home tonight”…and you know he’s probably not coming back.

24 – Two Timing Touch And Broken Bones (The Hives) – Destined to forever be in the shadows of “I Hate To Say I Told You So”, people tend to ignore the fact that they do have some other killer songs in their catalogue, this being one of the best. Two minutes long, and not a second wasted. This is power punk-pop at it’s finest. BEST BIT: The prolonged drum bit after the second verse…before we carry on as before.

23 – Dry Your Eyes (The Streets) – All I can say is thank the Christ that Chris Martin wasn’t allowed to be on this…but in all seriousness, this confirmed Mike Skinner’s spot in the pantheon of Great Briton’s. BEST BIT: The first “Dry Your Eyes mate…”. Like an old friend telling you that you have to move on.

22 – Just Lose It (Eminem) – As usual, Mr Mathers kicks off a new album with a comedy single release, and whilst this is no “Real Slim Shady” it has all the celebrity-baiting, homosexual joking hilarity that you would expect. BEST BIT: “Dre?...Ahh Ahh. Beer Goggles…BLIND!”

21 – Leave [Get Out] (Jo-Jo) – The dictionary definition of Jail-Bait. No, it’s best if I don’t even go there. This is a shockingly assured song for a girl of such tender age and whether or not she should be singing about things like this as she does is open to question. What is certain, is that this is a classic. BEST BIT: When the first verse’s “so won’t you come and talk to me, and tell me how we are going to be together always” morphs into the “leave, get out” chorus. Genius that bit is…genius.

20 – What You Waiting For? (Gwen Stefani) – Could quite easily be an obscure 1980’s single from an electronic band you’ve never heard of, but this is one of the year’s catchiest tunes. Even if the lyrics are reminiscent of PJ writing an essay about writing an essay. BEST BIT: Tick, tock, tick, tock…

19 – Flamboyant (Pet Shop Boys) – After the change of tack for their “Release” album, the PSB returned back to what they do best, thumping electronica, with this cracking tune. Laughingly takes the piss out of the media whore likes of the Beckham’s to boot, which is good in my book. BEST BIT: The swirling “You’re so Flamboyant” repeated to fade.

18 – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Green Day) – A vastly underrated band in my view, as they have done some cracking songs over the years, of which this is another one. Shorn of the “we hate Bush” posturing of “American Idiot” this is a mournful, but tuneful song which is instantly hummable. Lovely this is. BEST BIT: The breakdown at the end into the guitar thrashing finale.

17 – Love Machine (Girls Aloud) – The trite “battle of the sexes” lyrics aside, this is a refreshing slice of manufactured pop, which handily avoids the usual route of “oh they’re a girl band, lets have them doing some shite r’n’b knockoff” (not mentioning the 411 or Clea there at all). This sounds like some band from the 1960’s surely must have already done a version of this. BEST BIT: The ooh’s at the end, as in “I’m just a love machine – OOH.”

16 – Pain (Jimmy Eats World) – This ticks off all the boxes you would have ready for a Jimmy Eats World song, but when they can knock out stuff as good as this, why would we want them to change. The usual girl troubles are mixed with a thumping guitar track which makes this an instant classic. BEST BIT: “I never thought I’d walk away from you but I did, but every time I walk away it’s a false sense of accomplishment.” You know he’s not getting over it any time soon…

15 – See It In A Boy’s Eyes (Jamelia) – I hated “Thank You” and “Superstar” was the kind of trite feminist thing that women at office parties go mad for, so it was a surprise for me when Jamelia brought this little ditty out. A very touching song, with a lovely maudlin quality. BEST BIT: To be honest it has me hooked right from the first few seconds with the piano riff.

14 – Michael (Franz Ferdinand) – This is without doubt the finest song about unrequited homosexual advances on a dance floor ever written. In fact it’s so good that it takes a few listens for you to even realise what the actual lyrics are going on about. BEST BIT: The kick into the “Michael you’re the boy with all the leather hips” and you don’t even think you’re singing words you really should be steering clear of…

13 – 99 Problems (Jay-Z) - Incendiary, offensive and full of machismo. Everything that a great R’n’b song should be, and then some! BEST BIT: The very first line, with it’s “if you’re having girl problems I feel sorry for you son, I’ve got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one”. Right from the off you know exactly what you’re getting into.

12 – Come Home Billy Bird (The Divine Comedy) – The problem for me with the Divine Comedy is that I like some of their singles, but they can never hold my attention for a full album. Still, songs like this will hold my attention any day of the week. As you listen to it you are just willing old Billy to get home. BEST BIT: Come on, even the least sentimental amongst us must feel a little warmer inside when Billy Bird makes it home in time for his son’s “big football game”.

11 – You’re Fit But You Know It (The Streets) – Skinner might not like the “Blur” comparisons that this track received, but it sure does have a touch of the “Parklife” about it, which is no bad thing at all. This is just a rollicking four minute trip through a minefield of women. BEST BIT: “I think you’re about an eight or nine…” Right from the start I get the feeling that he’s on my exact wavelength.

10 – Trick Me (Kelis) – If Britney or Christina had done this, it would have gone straight to number one and stayed there for weeks. You only need one listen to this to get hooked into the catchy beat. BEST BIT: “Freedom to you has always been whoever landed on your dick.” She’s not joking about is she…?

9 – Nobody’s Home (Avril Lavigne) – In my opinion, Avril went for the “safe” singles from her latest album, but even so this is a quality tune which in some strange ways is a bit reminiscent of Nirvana. Slow verse, faster rockier chorus. That may well be the most bizarre comparison I’ve made in quite some time. BEST BIT: For some reason the bit in the chorus where she sings “Broken inside.”

8 – These Words (Natasha Bedingfield) – Ah the lovely Natasha followed up the absolutely abysmal “Single” with this absolute cracker. Another song with echoes of PJ’s old “essay about an essay” essay but I could forgive her anything after listening to this. BEST BIT: “I love you, I love you, I love you. I loooove yoooou” Thanks Nat.

7 – Comfortably Numb (Scissor Sisters) – When I first saw them do this on Popworld my immediate thought was “what the fuck is that” and I felt sure I would never hear of them again. But the video kept getting copious plays on the myriad of music channels and it just lodged in my brain. Wonderfully camp stuff, all the better for completely annoying pompous Pink Floyd fans. BEST BIT: “Ok, it’s just a little pin prick…”

6 – Toxic (Britney Spears) – The best song to dance to in 2004 by a country mile. This was the moment that the world fell in love with Britney once again. Proof that a pop singer is only ever one Cathy Dennis penned track away from being back at the top of the charts. BEST BIT: Oh you know it, the Bollywood strings that play in the background are responsible for the most “dancing like twats” moments of the year. Absolute top quality.

5 – She Wants To Move (N.E.R.D) – Pharrell does it again with the funky slice of R’n’b pop. I love songs like this where a bloke pulls some other bloke’s bird from right under his nose. Something I have little chance of ever doing, but hey, we can dream. BEST BIT: “Her ass is a spaceship I want to ride.”…Well come on, did you expect me to choose any other bit of the song.
4 – Chewing Gum (Annie) – Out of all the songs on this list that didn’t chart as well as they deserved, this is the biggest tragedy of all. This should have been number one for at least a month. It’s times like these I think that there really is something wrong with the British record-buying public. This is just perfect dance pop. Who can listen to this and not fall in love with Annie? BEST BIT: “Is there anything else…?” Oh, Annie I’m sure I can think of something…

3 – Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand) – What can I say about this song that hasn’t already been said this year? I honestly don’t think anyone could hate this song. Hell even my Dad sneakily likes it. I love the way a bit of a love affair is compared to a sniper and his rifle. Contrary to some people, I think the lyrics in this one rock too! BEST BIT: The bit where the opening indie rock style song transforms into a rock-dance hybrid stomper.

2 – Laura (Scissor Sisters) – In a year of great Scissor Sisters singles, this is the best of the bunch. As camp as a row of tents it may be, but who can seriously resist singing along with this one when it’s on the radio? A killer track from the opening piano riff to the trumpet infused ending. Classic. BEST BIT: “This will be the last time I ever do your hair.” Christ knows what it’s on about but it always makes me laugh.

1 – The Show (Girls Aloud) – Well in the end this was the only choice for my top single of the year. This is the one single of 2004 which I absolutely loved from the first time I heard it to the latest time I hear it and every time in between. Sometimes you grow sick of some songs, but this one has remained a favourite ever since that first time. This may well be the finest pop song of the 21st Century so far. I seriously like it that much. It’s just brilliant really. Yes, I might be waffling on, but this is the song they will eventually be remembered for…a worthy winner of The Icon’s best single of the year. BEST BIT: “Get In The Queue.” Again, Christ knows why, but I just love that line. Even if it is Cheryl who is singing it…


10 – Jerry Lee Lewis (Blackpool Opera House) – In many respects this was a disappointment. He was obviously not well enough to be doing this kind of thing, the support act was some Scottish pratt who thought he was the second coming of Elvis Presley, and JLL did less than 30 minutes in total, BUT, what can I say? The guy is an all-time legend and deserves to be forever remembered as such. And to be able to say I saw him live singing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” is just book of the dick. An ambition fulfilled. BEST SONG: Great Balls Of Fire.

9 - Avril Lavigne (Manchester MEN) – Perhaps the cavernous MEN was a tad to big for the Canadian pocket rocket, but this was a good night of entertainment. She was better than I thought she would be, and as such I was pleasantly surprised. Good for her. BEST SONG: Slipped Away

8 - Charlotte Hatherly (Manchester Academy 3) – I didn’t know half the songs (I’d had the album less than a week by the time I went to this) but this was still a good night out. She’s a babe no doubt too. My only downer on this is the fact that Alan wouldn’t stay behind when it was done to meet her. I could have had a picture with her and everything. BEST SONG: Summer

7 – Dido (Manchester Apollo) – I’d heard a terrible rumour in the week prior to this concert that Dido was one of those who did all kinds of different versions of her songs when she did a live show. That turned out to be true, but marvellously the re-working of the tunes went down a treat. In fact they were so good it was disappointing to revisit some of the tunes on the albums to find out that the live versions were better! BEST SONG: Take My Hand

6 – The Thrills (Manchester Apollo) – To be sat there before the start saying “why did we come to this” is perhaps not a good sign, but thankfully this thrilling show reminded us why…The Thrills kick ass live. This was top notch crew and well worth it. Count me in for the next tour. BEST SONG: Big Sur

5 – Fun Lovin’ Criminals (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall) – Huey proved that he is still the coolest man alive here. Having to spend the entire night on a stool thanks to a broken leg, Huey still rocked the mofo joint to it’s rafters. Superb stuff. BEST SONG: Beautiful

4 – Franz Ferdinand (Manchester Apollo) – This probably would have placed higher if I hadn’t got the slight resentment at having to stand up throughout the set and the fact that they only did about 25 minutes at first. I know they did another 20 in the “encore” (I would have called it the second half), but it left a slight sour taste in my mouth. It was superb though. BEST SONG: This Fire

3 – Sugababes (Manchester Apollo) – In reality, past the odd great (and one superb) single, I wouldn’t have counted myself as a big Sugababes fan before this. But this was, quite simply, one hell of a show. This just had everything you would want from a pop show. Believe me when I say that Girls Aloud have a lot to live up to after this show. BEST SONG: Virgin Sexy

2 – The Hives (Manchester Apollo) – The nuttiest front man this side of Malcolm McGuinness, this was a thoroughly entertaining night of rockin’ music. There was just a sheer dynamism and electricity throughout this, that carried even the weaker of their tunes. The singer’s banter was priceless throughout. BEST SONG: Hate To Say I Told You So.

1 – Scissor Sisters (Manchester Apollo) – Quite frankly the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on. Great view and two of the most entertaining on-stage performers I have ever seen. I could have done without the transvestite right at the end, but other than that, this was superb. The essence of a great night out all rolled into one 90 minute show. BEST SONG: Take Me Out


20 – Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield) – She has the same annoying tendency as her brother to try and prove she can do all styles of music, but although there are a few misses on this album, the hits far outweigh them. If Natasha can cultivate a style of her own in the future, she should go far. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; These Words, I’m A Bomb, We’re All Mad.

19 – Love Thy Cup (Sons And Daughters) –I bought this seven track CD for two reasons. One, it was cheap, and two, it had a song called Johnny Cash on it. Oh, and three, it got good reviews. And boy am I glad I did get it. If The Man In Black had been Scottish, and half woman, he would have sounded like this. Truly outstanding stuff indeed. This is exhilarating music. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Johnny Cash, Broken Bones, La Lune.

18 – Noise From The Basement (Skye Sweetnam) – Ok, its dumb teen rock pop, but its damn fine dumb teen rock pop. And what’s more it refreshingly sticks to teen problems. None of the histrionic moaning that some stars have here, no, problems include not wanting to read Shakespeare in class, and not being asked to the prom by that hot guy. Actually I probably made that last one up, but it won’t be far off the mark. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Billy S, Heart Of Stone, Tangled Up In Me

17 - Grey Will Fade (Charlotte Hatherly) – We can safely say one thing; this is a damn sight better than anything Ash have ever done. The perfect soundtrack to the summer, this is light, fluffy and wonderfully melodic. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Kim Wilde, Summer, Bastardo

16 – Futures (Jimmy Eats World) – About the only bad thing you can say about this album is that it doesn’t quite live upto the guys’ last album, Bleed American. But then again, what rock album has in the three years since that classic? This is more of the same although it has more filler. When it’s good, it’s bloody good, but some songs do fail to hit the mark in quite the same way as their predecessors. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Pain, Work, Nothing Wrong

15 – Under My Skin (Avril Lavigne) – The pressure must have been on after the huge selling debut, and the temptation may have been to provide more of the same, but thankfully new producers were roped in and the result was a satisfying modern rock record. Great songs are dotted throughout and this is a step up from the last one lyrically too. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Forgotten, Slipped Away, Together

14 – Let’s Bottle Bohemia (The Thrills) – A strange one, in the sense that on first listen it’s nothing more than average, but once given a chance the tracks just imbed themselves in your brain and stay there. Lacks the out and out standout tracks of their debut, but also lacks the duff filler that that album had. Let’s hope there is more of the same from these guys in the future. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Whatever Happened To Corey Haim?, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, The Irish Keep Gatecrashing

13 – Pawn Shoppe Heart (The Von Blondies) – Forget the Strokes, forget the Hives, forget Razorlight, this here is the greatest “Rock’n’roll” album of 2004. This is one of those “every track could be a single” albums and it makes a refreshing change from the usual pace to see the interplay here between male and female singers. You can keep the highly hyped rock bands, I’ll get my fix right here. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Broken Man, No Regrets, The Fever

12 - What Will The Neighbours Say? (Girls Aloud) – This is without doubt the greatest manufactured pop record since the Spice Girls, and arguably not since Phil Spector and The Ronnettes has a girl group/producer relationship produced such a fine piece of work. It’s all Xenonmania at work here, and the girls do lack individual character in their singing, but this is joyous pop and should at least see them right for a third album. If they’d knocked 3 or 4 tracks off the running time, this probably would have placed higher - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Wake Me Up, I Say A Prayer For You, The Show

11 – Gold Medal (The Donnas) – At first I was disappointed with this as it sees The Donna’s making a concerted effort to “mature” their sound. But once you get past the fact that it doesn’t really sound like their previous output, what you are left with is a strikingly good album that hits the right notes in all the right places. They still only have one lyrical style (all the songs are basically about sex) but this is a classy step up from the girls. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Revolver, Gold Medal, Is That All You Got?

10 – Mistaken Identity (Delta Goodrem) – The woman has had a hell of a lot to deal with over the past 18 months, but this album is something to be proud of for sure. Contemporary, without ever being derivative, this is goosebumps, hair’s rising on the back of the neck, music. It was easy to dismiss her as a soap star turned singer on her first album, but not any more. This proves she’s the real deal. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Out Of The Blue, Mistaken Identity, Miscommunication.

9 – Finally Woken (Jem) – This woman will break through HUGE in 2005, mark my words. A more upbeat Dido, with an extra pinch of sex appeal, this is another of 2004’s albums that reminded the world that pop does not have to be targeted at pre-teen children. Warm, uplifting and danceable, believe you me, this time next year you will love this woman. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; They, Wish I, Falling For You.

8 – Flutterby (Butterfly Boucher) – Another criminally ignored record by the general public, but this is an album of undisputed class. From start to finish this is excellent stuff. She plays the majority of instruments on the record herself, but this is no exercise in ego, this is just a wonderful collection of pop-rock tunes that deserves a much wider audience than it got. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; I Can’t Make Me, A Beautiful Book, Life Is Short.

7 – Eye To The Telescope (KT Tunstall) – Damn this woman for releasing an album the week I’d completed my original Top 20 albums list. But having listened to this it had to get a spot in the best albums of the year, no doubt about it (and it meant that Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby got shunted out of the number 20 spot). Unlike certain other female singer-songwriters on this list it’s debatable whether KT has that certain je ne sais qoui that makes for major mainstream success, but this is an outstanding album which, if there is any justice in the world will be a HUGE success. This is just beautiful stuff -RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Another Place To Fall, Suddenly I See, Minature Disasters.

6 – Because I Can (Katy Rose) – Avril may get the sales and the plaudits, but Katy Rose kicks her off the park in every way possible with this collection of songs. Occasional drifts into 6th Form poetry style lyrics can be forgiven when such an obvious passion is put into each and every track. Whilst other teen stars sing about other people’s problems and situations, all the way through this you get the feeling that Katy Rose is singing about her own. And the CD is all the better for that. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Vacation, I Like, Lemon

5 – Get Away From Me (Nellie McKay) – The artists Doris Day, Eminem, Noel Coward and Norah Jones don’t often get referenced together but elements of all can be found in this double album, which nevertheless easily retains an identity of it’s own throughout. 18 tracks and hardly a duff one between the two discs. This is like nothing I’ve ever heard before, and probably no other artist will ever come close. This may well become a sleeper hit of 2005. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; I Wanna Get Married, Sari, It’s A Pose.

4 – Anniemal (Annie) – It’s been a great year for pop, and many of its proponents have had huge sales and critical acclaim. This album on the other hand was almost universally ignored and it’s a damn pity as it a great example of perfectly formed pop. It says a lot that whilst Chewing Gum was one of my favourite singles of the year, it’s not even close to being the best song on this collection. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Me Plus One, Come Together, Greatest Hit

3 – A Grand Don’t Come For Free (The Streets) – It says a lot for the quality of 2004 as far as albums are concerned that any of the top three could have easily been comfortable choices for the number one spot. Even the brilliant singles don’t really do this album justice, as this is a collection that has to be listened to as a whole to really get the full feeling. Loosely the story of a man who loses, and convoluted finds, the “grand” in the title, this is modern day storytelling, set to urban beats. I don’t think anyone thought Mike Skinner had such an album in him, and I just wonder how he can ever live up to this again. RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Dry Your Eyes, What Is He Thinking?, Not Addicted.

2 – Scissor Sisters (Scissor Sisters) – The second of three that could have been number one, I only bought this originally because I needed another CD to take advantage of a special 2 for £18 offer or something, but boy am I glad I did. The opening four tracks are probably the best opening to an album this year and although there are one or two songs to follow that don’t quite reach these heights, most of them comfortably do. This is a pop record that isn’t afraid to be presented as such. If there is one word for this album, it should be fun. A great party record, with a real substance to it too.- RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Laura, Better Luck Next Time, Comfortably Numb

1 – Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand) – It was tough, and boy was it tough, but in the end this superb album has to just sneak album of the year accolades for me. Whilst there may be slightly too many times where you think you have heard a style somewhere before, the sheer wealth of reference points to be made make this an exhilarating experience from start to finish. Nothing quite matches the brilliance of Take Me Out, but at least seven of the other tracks come as close as damn it and this makes it that rarity of an album…one that makes the skip button obsolete and unemployed. Truly worth of the album of the year. - RECOMMENDED TRACKS; Take Me Out, 40’, This Fire.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


I bought this album having NEVER heard a single song that KT Tunstall had ever done. Yes, i am slightly mad like that, but good reviews and interesting interviews hooked me in, and I'm glad I bought this. This is an instant classic, and should ensure that this time next year her name will be on everyobdy's lips. Think Sheryl Crow, mixed with Norah Jones and a little dash of Dido, and you get a sense of this wonderful album. But far from being a derivative sound, KT has a fresh originality that sets her apart from the chasing pack. It's difficult to pick a standout track, as there are no real filler tracks in sight. At a push I'd plump for Suddenly I See, Another Place To Fall and False Alarm as the best of the bunch.Occasionally the lyrics are slightly cliched, but such is the vigour of the delivery the overall package soars above small complaints as this.Get this album now so you'll be able to impress your friends when this time next year KT is a HUGE star and you'll be able to say you were there from the beginning.

DEAN'S VIEW - 4 1/4 out of 5.


Jem is a name which has been bandied about for much of 2004 as the "next big thing" and whilst this debut doesn't quite manage to live up to all the hype, it's a stunning effort which comes quite close.
The Dido comparisons will live on and on, and there is much that is similar on this album. However it is what is different from Dido that really makes this album stand out, be it the use of samples (such as on the immense opening track "They") or the use of heavy rock-style guitar's on some tracks. There is a sense of life and joyousness that is missing from the majority of Dido's work.
Stand out tracks include Wish I, Save Me and Just A Ride, and although a couple of tracks fail to convince, the majority are well worth a listen. Until Jem gets around to releasing a second album, the Dido comparisons will no doubt continue to abound. But it would be unfair to limit Jem to that description alone. Yes, fans of Dido will find much to admire on this collection, but there is a lot more to Jem than this alone. Jem is her own woman, and hopefully, future albums will confirm this.
Dean's View - 4 out of 5


(The review I posted)

Oh no, you think, not another young North American female teen trying to bring "rock" music to the younger audience. But you really should persevere with this infectious debut album from this latest young upstart.
What immediately strikes you with this album is that there is no pretense on here of being older than her years, the problems Skye sings of are high school drama's (witness the opening line of the single "Tangled Up In Me" - "you wanna know more about me? I'm the girl who was kicking the coke machine.") not the Avril like posturings about boyfriends who want sex and all that malarkey.
There is a bit of filler on this album, but when it's good it's great. Tangled Up In Me is a cracking single, and other stand out tracks include Billy S (the tale of a girl who doesn't want to read Shakespeare in her Literature lessons) and a wonderfully genre hopping cover of Blondie's Heart Of Glass.
If you like the likes of Avril Lavigne, Katy Rose and Ashlee Simpson but wish that occasionally those three artists would lighten up a bit and have some fun, then this is the album for you. You'll be humming along to these songs all day.

DEAN'S VIEW - 3 out of 5

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


(This is the review I posted on

So what if the five lovely girls do little else but turn up to sing what a group of record producers tell them to, if you love pop music then this is probably the most complete collection of pop this year.Working with the guys responsible for most of the Suagababes output that is any good (Xenonmania), proves to be an inspired route, as does the decision to not go the "R'n'B" lite route that most packaged pop acts tend to travel. The songs are not afraid to take influences from all over the place, and the result is a fresh, exciting and completely enjoyable album.

You will have heard the brilliant singles Love Machine (nodding it's head to 60's pop) and The Show (the kind of song that Electroclash would have produced if that movement had been any good) and whilst nothing quite matches up to those classic singles, a good number of tunes come close. Wake Me Up is a pumping dance track with a distinctly rock edge, Deadlines and Diets manages to avoid the usual pop route and actually gives us a ballad that we don't need to skip on our CD player, and Here We Go is the kind of catchy sing-a-long that will go down a storm in the Christmas disco's.

Its not a perfect album, and is at least three songs too long, but when it's good, it's great and it really is the best girl band pop album since Spiceworld in 1997. Put simply. If you love pop'll love this!

DEAN'S VIEW - 3 1/2 out of 5

Friday, May 28, 2004


(This is a review I posted on

Young female rock singers who write their own stuff seems to be the current phase as far as the music industry is concerned, with the constant search for the next Avril Lavigne. Katy Rose could be pidgeonholed into that catergory, but this very good album is closer in spirit to Liz Phair than it is to Miss Lavigne. She has the catchy tunes required to make an impact on the radio (witness the lead single Overdrive) and she certainly has the looks to ensure rotation of the ever important videos but there is more to Katy Rose than this.

One minute she's the angry and fiesty young rebel, but the next she's admitting a vulnerable side. And rather than getting the impression that these mood swings are put on for the sake of a good album, the feeling is that these are real emotions. Lyrically the album does occasionally slip into 6th Form style poetry, but then this record is so accomplished that you have to remind yourself of the fact that Katy was only sixteen years old when she wrote (yes, she does write most of her stuff) and recorded this. Standout tracks are Overdrive, which is the perfect "radio friendly" summer tune which should chart high when it gets a release, Vacation which is a rock out classic and Lemon, which is by far the most introspective track on the album and seems to be the most personal for Katy.

Many professional reviews have commented on her lack of singing skills, and up to a point it's true. Katy isn't the best singer, but then some of the greatest artists in the world have been those that have kept within their limitations (The Beatles were not great singers) and the fragility of her voice adds another dimension to an already great album.Overall this is a great album, and the fact that its her first and she's done it at such a tender age surely bodes well for the future. If she's this good now, how good will she become over the years?

DEAN'S VIEW - 4 out of 5