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Most Spun 2004: It's revolution, baby.
[ cMusicWeb.com's end of the year feature | compiled by ben forrest ]


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This was the year of Bush. Of the Boston Red Sox. Of Kanye and "Jesus Walks." It was the year of The Passion. The year that entertainers became political activists and had absolutely no effect on anything whatsoever.

If someone were to make a movie about 2004 it wouldn't be a very exciting one, but the essential elements would be there—heroes and villains, drama and laughs. It would also need its music. And we've got your soundtrack right here.

Instead of ending the year with a "best of"-type list you'll read in countless other publications, we thought we'd shake things up a little bit. We asked artists, label execs, esteemed journalists and…ourselves to come up with the five albums they listened to most over the past 12 months. The choices you'll read here aren't necessarily new albums. They could be ancient. They aren't necessarily "Christian." They're simply the albums we spun most, blasted through an iPod and for some reason couldn't get enough of. Enjoy.

Make sure to come back next week for more picks from our staff and other arists and industry insiders!

MATTTHIESSEN Lead Singer, Relient K
The Bridge - Letter Kills
Letter Kills - The Bridge
This record had to win me over. Shamefully, I wasn't a big fan of Letter Kills from what I had heard before Bridge came out. So when my buddy Brian bought the record, I was hesitant to give it a shot. The more I listened to it, the more I loved it. There is an unmistakable energy to this album that basically reaches out with two hands and pulls the corners of my mouth into an involuntary smile. I can't help but love it.
Hold On - Name Taken
Name Taken - Hold On
I had a funny introduction to this band. My buddy Ryan from Don't Look Down called me and told me to listen to the Name Taken track "Cover Up" and note the interesting similarities that the opening riff had to one of our songs ("Getting Into You"). It was funny (not a big deal though), but then the more I listened to the track the more I liked it. I went out and bought the record immediately. It has really grown on me.
E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals - The Matches
The Matches - E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals
Another album that I didn't give a fair shake at first. I've always been a fan of in tune vocals, guitars, etc. This record doesn't really reside within that realm. But the more I digested the lyrics and raw energy of this record, the more I loved it. It's definitely not anything I'd expect everyone to enjoy, but it's kind of my own personal secret weapon for killing a bad mood.
Hopes And Fears - Keane
Keane - Hopes And Fears
I kind of feel lame for loving this record so much. All my buds in Nashville have always been huge Brit-pop fans. I mean, I like Travis and Coldplay as much as the next guy, but I try not to obsess over it like my friends do. This record totally changed the way I look at all of it. Every song is just great. Nothing is earth shattering, but it's all almost too brilliant. So catchy. So well produced. I just LOVE this album.
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Soundtrack - Various
Various - The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Soundtrack
I loved the movie. It's all about those bittersweet memories that, as a 24 year old, I'm really starting to develop. The themes that Jon Brion wrote for this movie really get to me. I NEVER cry in movies. This one was no different. But it goes to show how passionate I am about music when a soundtrack can actually get me a little misty. P.S. I'm not a girl.

DANFICKER Webmaster, cMusicWeb.com
Hiprocksoul - 4th Avenue Jones'
4th Avenue Jones' - Hiprocksoul
2004 was the year of the Jones'. A unique breed in the hip-hop scene, this crew is actually a full band. Besides Ahmad, Tena, and others who provide the flows, they have a guitarist and even a violinist. We had been waiting for something new from them since 2000 because of label problems. But late 2003 found this independent release that brought a new sound with crunchy rock guitar front and center in the mix. But don't worry, Hiprocksoul is still hip-hop at its core and includes guest appearances from will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, Akil of Jurrasic 5, GRITS, Pigeon John, and more.
Blueprints For The Black Market - Anberlin
Anberlin - Blueprints For The Black Market
Sadly, Anberlin has slipped under the cMusicWeb.com review radar for over a year now. This new band has managed to make an infectious rock/pop debut on Tooth & Nail that has gone just as far in mainstream music as Christian music. The hopeful anthem "Change The World," the love songs "Autobahn" and The Cure's "Love Song" and many others make a great album without a need for skipping a track.
Truth, Soul, Rock and Roll - The Elms
The Elms - Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll
OK, so it's time to get into the not-so-new music. From the first licks of this disc I heard in 2002, I knew this album was an instant classic. It hasn't left my top played list since before its release. And after seeing them rock it in concert, it has become even more of an experience. I love cranking "Speaking in Tongues" and "Come To Me" (and sometimes I even dance along). Although my roommate did not enjoy too much of the album, he loved "Through The Night" for some reason.
Crimson and Blue - Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy - Crimson And Blue
I started listening to Phil Keaggy in 2000 when I got his self-titled album on the cheap. Since then I've been picking up his recordings from time to time, and each one is a gem in its own unique way. My favorite, though, is definitely this album. Although the disc is ten years old, it still rocks. Phil's rock voice blends well with his guitar. The music stretches from lilting rockers to soulful ballads. Many songs include great improv jams that never fail to impress my guitar-loving ears.
The Beautiful Letdown - Switchfoot
Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown
Yeah, call me a bandwagon member. Just remember that I was listening to Switchfoot in 1999, back before most of you had ever heard of the band. Although their New Way To Be Human and Learning To Breathe continue to be favorites of mine, their strongest release to date is the mega-hit The Beautiful Letdown. From the opening guitar of "Meant to Live" to the last notes of "24," this album has been mesmerizing me for over two years.

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