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“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter.”
— High Fidelity

Etcetera

Best Songs of 2004

For all of 2014 (and some of 2013), I have been working on lists representing 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 years ago, along with a list for this year. As it was the last time I tried this, I have discovered new artists and new songs in the interim years and, in some cases, during this process of trying to fill out a 100-song list.

Most of the songs on this particular list arrived in my life between the years of 2004 and 2007, with an increasingly small number added in the years since. A couple of these tracks even found their way into my library during my chronological listening year in 2012.

For the most part though, what you see below is an honest attempt to assess a year in time, merging the idealistic nature of a list made 10 years after the fact with the idea of what I actually loved and was into at the time. Given that it was only 10 years ago, the only thing that truly makes this different from the one I would have made then is its size.

For these year-end lists, I like to undertake the seemingly impossibly task of creating an hours-long mix. The order you see below represents that effort, which you can listen to via Spotify and my preferred outlet, Rdio. Sadly all 100 tracks aren't available, but you get the general idea. Track notes to come eventually or maybe never.

  1. Good New for People Who Love Bad News

    Float On

    Modest Mouse

    Good New for People Who Love Bad News

    Epic

    Notes

  2. Franz Ferdinand

    Take Me Out

    Franz Ferdinand

    Franz Ferdinand

    Domino

    Notes

  3. A Crow Left of the Murder

    Talk Shows on Mute

    Incubus

    A Crow Left of the Murder

    Epic

    Notes

  4. Summer in Abaddon

    Fortress

    Pinback

    Summer in Abaddon

    Touch and Go

    Notes

  5. All Day

    Goods (All in Your Head)

    Mates of State

    All Day

    Polyvinyl

    Notes

  6. She Like Electric

    Rad

    Smoosh

    She Like Electric

    Pattern 25

    Notes

  7. Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

    Hollaback Girl

    Gwen Stefani

    Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

    Interscope

    Notes

  8. R&G

    Drop It Like It's Hot

    Snoop Dogg

    R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece

    Star Trak

    Notes

  9. Sunshinin

    Sunshinin'

    Cancer Rising

    Sunshinin'

    self-released

    Notes

  10. Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine

    All Day Love Affair

    Cee-Lo Green

    Cee-Lo Green… Is the Soul Machine

    Arista

    Notes

  11. The 18th Day

    1980

    Estelle

    The 18th Day

    V2

    Notes

  12. Beautifully Human

    The Fact Is (I Need You)

    Jill Scott

    Beautifully Human - Words and Sounds Vol. 2

    Hidden Beach

    Notes

  13. Get Lifted

    Ordinary People

    John Legend

    Get Lifted

    Columbia

    Notes

  14. The Tipping Point

    Why (What's Goin On?)

    The Roots

    The Tipping Point

    Geffen

    Notes

  15. Sun Q

    Sun Q

    IQU

    Sun Q

    Sonic Boom

    Notes

  16. Talkie Walkie

    Universal Traveler

    Air

    Talkie Walkie

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  17. Wicker Park

    Against All Odds

    The Postal Service

    Wicker Park

    Lakeshore Records

    Notes

  18. It All Starts Here

    Finally Woken

    Jem

    It All Starts Here

    ATO

    Notes

  19. The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

    My Way Home

    Citizen Cope

    The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

    RCA

    Notes

  20. White People

    Breakdown

    Handsome Boy Modeling School featuring Jack Johnson

    White People

    Elektra

    Notes

  21. Love and Distance

    Everyone Knows Everyone

    The Helio Sequence

    Love and Distance

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  22. Thunder, Lightning, Strike

    Ladyflash

    The Go! Team

    Thunder, Lightning, Strike

    Memphis Industries

    Notes

  23. Bright Like Neon Love

    Going Nowhere

    Cut Copy

    Bright Like Neon Love

    Modular

    Notes

  24. The Concretes

    You Can't Hurry Love

    The Concretes

    The Concretes

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  25. Split the Difference

    Me, You and Everybody

    Gomez

    Split the Difference

    Virgin

    Notes

  26. Final Straw

    Spitting Games

    Snow Patrol

    Final Straw

    Polydor

    Notes

  27. Antics

    Slow Hands

    Interpol

    Antics

    Matador

    Notes

  28. Hot Fuss

    Mr. Brightside

    The Killers

    Hot Fuss

    Island

    Notes

  29. Funeral

    Rebellion (Lies)

    Arcade Fire

    Funeral

    Merge

    Notes

  30. Retriever

    From Now On

    Ron Sexsmith

    Retriever

    V2

    Notes

  31. The Wired CD

    Looking Up in Heaven

    Paul Westerberg

    The Wired CD

    Vagrant

    Notes

  32. Our Shadows Will Remain

    Can't Exist

    Joseph Arthur

    Our Shadows Will Remain

    Vector

    Notes

  33. Bows + Arrows

    The Rat

    The Walkmen

    Bows + Arrows

    Record Collection

    Notes

  34. Who Killed The Zutons?

    Pressure Point

    The Zutons

    Who Killed… The Zutons?

    Epic

    Notes

  35. Real Gone

    Hoist That Rag

    Tom Waits

    Real Gone

    Anti-

    Notes

  36. Extraordinary Machine

    Better Version of Me

    Fiona Apple

    Extraordinary Machine

    leak/bootleg

    Notes

  37. The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse

    Princess on the Porch

    Josh Rouse

    The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse

    Rykodisc

    Notes

  38. Mignonette

    At the Beach

    The Avett Brothers

    Mignonette

    Ramseur

    Notes

  39. There Will Be a Light

    Well, Well, Well

    Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama

    There Will Be a Light

    Virgin

    Notes

  40. Rubber Factory

    The Lengths

    The Black Keys

    Rubber Factory

    Fat Possum

    Notes

  41. Love Everybody

    Munky River

    The Presidents of the United States of America

    Love Everybody

    PUSA Music

    Notes

  42. Travistan

    Song for the Orca

    Travis Morrison

    Travistan

    Barsuk

    Notes

  43. The Trial of the Century

    One More Time

    French Kicks

    The Trial of the Century

    Star Time

    Notes

  44. Glass Floor

    James

    Maritime

    Glass Floor

    DeSoto

    Notes

  45. Wicker Park

    When I Goosestep

    The Shins

    Wicker Park

    Lakeshore Records

    Notes

  46. Out of the Shadow

    Endless Shovel

    Rogue Wave

    Out of the Shadow

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  47. A Ghost Is Born

    I'm a Wheel

    Wilco

    A Ghost Is Born

    Nonesuch

    Notes

  48. Wig in a Box

    Tear Me Down

    Spoon

    Wig in a Box: Songs from & Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    Off Records

    Notes

  49. The Slow Wonder

    On the Table

    A.C. Newman

    The Slow Wonder

    Matador

    Notes

  50. More Adventurous

    Portions for Foxes

    Rilo Kiley

    More Adventurous

    Brute/Beaute

    Notes

  51. So Jealous

    Walking With a Ghost

    Tegan and Sara

    So Jealous

    Vapor

    Notes

  52. After All

    Jigsaw

    Amelia

    After All

    self-released

    Notes

  53. Violence in the Snowy Fields

    To Destruction

    Dolorean

    Violence in the Snowy Fields

    Yep Roc

    Notes

  54. Oh, My Girl

    The Dreaming Dead

    Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter

    Oh, My Girl

    Barsuk

    Notes

  55. Van Lear Rose

    Portland Oregon

    Loretta Lynn featuring Jack White

    Van Lear Rose

    Interscope

    Notes

  56. Duet for Guitars #2

    Look Me Over

    M. Ward

    Duet for Guitars #2

    Merge

    Notes

  57. Weed

    Narcotic Prayer

    Chris Whitley

    Weed

    Messenger

    Notes

  58. Electric Love Letter

    Electric Love Letter

    Langhorne Slim

    Electric Love Letter

    Narnack

    Notes

  59. From a Basement on a Hill

    Twilight

    Elliott Smith

    From a Basement on a Hill

    Kill Rock Stars

    Notes

  60. Careless Love

    Don't Wait Too Long

    Madeleine Peyroux

    Careless Love

    Rounder

    Notes

  61. Feels Like Home

    Above Ground

    Norah Jones

    Feels Like Home

    Blue Note

    Notes

  62. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime

    Beck

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Hollywood

    Notes

  63. Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets

    Mad World

    Gary Jules

    Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets

    Universal

    Self-released in 2001.

  64. Indiana

    Human Nature

    David Mead

    Indiana

    Nettwerk

    Notes

  65. The Late Great Daniel Johnston

    Living Life

    Eels

    The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered

    Gammon

    Notes

  66. Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes

    Dreams

    TV on the Radio

    Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes

    Touch and Go

    Notes

  67. Cast of Thousands

    Snooks (Progress Report)

    Elbow

    Cast of Thousands

    V2

    Notes

  68. Supergrass Is 10

    Kiss of Life

    Supergrass

    Supergrass Is 10

    Capitol

    Notes

  69. Scissor Sisters

    Take Your Mama

    Scissor Sisters

    Scissor Sisters

    Polydor

    Notes

  70. U.S.E.

    Emerald City

    United State of Electronica

    U.S.E.

    self-released

    Notes

  71. To the 5 Boroughs

    Ch-Check It Out

    Beastie Boys

    To the 5 Boroughs

    Capitol

    Notes

  72. The College Dropout

    Jesus Walks

    Kanye West

    The College Dropout

    Roc-a-Fella

    Notes

  73. The Grey Album

    Public Service Announcement

    Jay-Z + Danger Mouse

    The Grey Album

    bootleg

    Notes

  74. Detroit Deli

    Selfish

    Slum Village

    Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit)

    Capitol

    Notes

  75. A Grand Don't Come for Free

    Dry Your Eyes

    The Streets

    A Grand Don't Come for Free

    Locked On

    Notes

  76. Under My Skin

    Don't Tell Me

    Avril Lavigne

    Under My Skin

    Arista

    Notes

  77. Breakaway

    Since U Been Gone

    Kelly Clarkson

    Breakaway

    RCA

    Notes

  78. Has Been

    Common People

    William Shatner featuring Ben Folds & Joe Jackson

    Has Been

    Shout! Factory

    Notes

  79. Shake the Sheets

    Me and Mia

    Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

    Shake the Sheets

    Lookout!

    Notes

  80. Pawn Shoppe Heart

    C'mon C'mon

    The Von Bondies

    Pawn Shoppe Heart

    Sire

    Notes

  81. Gold Medal

    Fall Behind Me

    The Donnas

    Gold Medal

    Atlantic

    Notes

  82. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    Miracle Drug

    U2

    How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    Interscope

    Notes

  83. Around the Sun

    Around the Sun

    R.E.M.

    Around the Sun

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  84. Cherry Tree

    About Today

    The National

    Cherry Tree

    Beggars Banquet

    Notes

  85. Mutual Admiration Society

    Windmills

    Mutual Admiration Society

    Mutual Admiration Society

    Sugar Hill

    Notes

  86. Impossible Dream

    When It Doesn't Come Easy

    Patty Griffin

    Impossible Dream

    ATO

    Notes

  87. Sunrise Over Sea

    What You Want

    John Butler Trio

    Sunrise Over Sea

    Atlantic

    Notes

  88. Trouble

    Hold You in My Arms

    Ray LaMontagne

    Trouble

    RCA

    Notes

  89. The Battle

    The Battle

    Caitlin Cary featuring Ryan Adams

    The Battle

    Yep Roc

    Notes

  90. Virginia Creeper

    Calamity Jane

    Grant Lee Phillips

    Virginia Creeper

    Zoe

    Notes

  91. Sinning Hands

    Sinning Hands

    Iron & Wine

    Sinning Hands

    Sub Pop

    iTunes exclusive. Eventually compiled on Around the Well

  92. Nino Rojo

    At the Hop

    Devendra Banhart

    Niño Rojo

    Young God

    Notes

  93. Seven Swans

    The Dress Looks Nice on You

    Sufjan Stevens

    Seven Swans

    Sounds Familyre

    Notes

  94. Stay in the Shade

    Hand on Your Heart

    José González

    Stay in the Shade

    Imperial

    Released in the US in 2006.

  95. Riot on an Empty Street

    Homesick

    Kings of Convenience

    Riot on an Empty Street

    EMI

    Notes

  96. Let's Bottle Bohemia

    Not for All the Love in the World

    The Thrills

    Let's Bottle Bohemia

    Virgin

    Notes

  97. Two Way Monologue

    Two Way Monologue

    Sondre Lerche

    Two Way Monologue

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  98. On My Way

    On My Way

    Ben Kweller

    On My Way

    ATO

    Notes

  99. The Bens

    Bruised

    The Bens

    The Bens

    Attacked by Plastic

    Notes

  100. Ben Lee/Pony Up Split EP

    Float On

    Ben Lee

    Ben Lee/Pony Up Split EP

    self-released

    Notes