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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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LORILENZ Biscuit PR
Part of the reason I like all of these bands is I feel smarter when I listen to them. I've added a short lyric from each.
Greetings From Michigan - Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan
Makes Michigan way more interesting. I think he's one of the great song crafters of our time. Lyric: "It's the same outside, driving to the river side, I pretend to cry, even if I cried alone."
From A Basement On The Hill - Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith - From A Basement On The Hill
Gorgeous and tragic. I think sometimes the most talented people are just unable to be a part of the world. Lyric: "Burning every bridge that I cross to find some beautiful place to get lost"
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - U2
U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
Still relevant after all these years. Lyric: "I would believe if I was able, But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table"
Pretend You're Alive - Lovedrug
Lovedrug - Pretend You're Alive
Another really smart band, amazingly good live. Lyric: "Love is spiders on the edge, and we're hanging by a thread, connected to the other end of this twisted frequency I've spun."
Conquest Slaughter - Frank Lenz
Frank Lenz - Conquest Slaughter
Observations of religion, legalism, mortality, fate... "America has always had a problem with the sight of blood."

BENFORREST Contributor, cMusicWeb.com
College Dropout - Kanye West
Kanye West - College Dropout
I know, I know. It has a parental advisor sticker on it, and that's the main reason I don't own it anymore. But from the week it came out until the day I threw it away, this disc was in my stereo constantly. The raps are less than exceptional, but the production is insane, almost from start to finish. The compelling anthem "Through the Wire" was what drew me to the album, but it was another feel-good clip, "Family Business," that got me hooked. In the end, the language was too crass for me to keep it in my collection, and I wouldn't recommend it to any of you, but it was still one of my most-played albums of the year.
Welcome Back - Mase
Mase - Welcome Back
My search for clean rap eventually led me here. I was never a huge Mase fan, and I'm still not, but I'll admit I listen to this album quite a bit. Its biggest weakness is inconsistency, but there are a few club-ready hits ("Breathe, Stretch, Shake," etc.) to make it worth picking up—or downloading (legally, folks). The rapper's materialism is still present, as is his bravado, but the album is entirely free of profanities and full of good morals. It also grows on you after a while, which is the main reason I put it on this list.
The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek
Relient K - The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek
An old one, I know, but there were stretches during the year when I couldn't get enough of it. The follow-up was a bit disappointing, and mmhmm, has more recently taken its place in my lineup, but this is an album I keep coming back to. Each time I do I'm surprised at the complexity of the music, both instrumentally and lyrically. It's easy to dismiss the band as nut jobs who don't take anything seriously, but that's clearly not the case. They seem to take making music—really, really good music—quite seriously.
Where Do We Go From Here - Pillar
Pillar - Where Do We Go From Here
Geffen Records doesn't offer contracts to just anybody, so I picked this one up to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know. Even though I've grown a little tired of this album, I'm still drawn to it on occasion. I listen to it as I walk to the park to play basketball, on the bus on the way to class and sometimes to its quieter moments when I'm trying to get to sleep. "Frontline" is easily one of my favorite songs of the year and I think I'm now a Pillar fan for life.
Who We Are Instead - Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay - Who We Are Instead
One of my favorite Christian bands of all time and probably their best album to date. Obviously drawing on the likes of Johnny Cash and legends of the folk world, Jars has crafted 12 songs that are among the best in their catalogue. Like many JoC albums, it took a while for me to get accustomed to, and tested my child-of-the-'90s patience that wants a brilliant hook or chorus right away, but in the end I grew to love it. I can't promise that you will as well, but if nothing else it's proof (to me, at least) that this old horse ain't dead yet.

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