A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

More Introspection on 2004

Well, I really don't feel like posting a big time review of my favorites/least favorites of 2004, so how about a rundown, quick style?

Favorite Albums of 2004

The Arcade Fire, Funeral
You know, do a Google search. I can't surpass Pitchfork or Tiny Mixtapes on why this was the one of the best albums in recent memory. But it lives up to the hype. Many thanks to Catherine for turning me on to this masterpiece.

Kanye West, College Dropout
Hip hop favorite of many. I can't disagree. I remember requesting "Through the Wire" at a bar at the end of last year. No way I could have predicted how excellent the album is. Everything about it was excellent, with the possible exception of the kind-of-silly dropout motif. There are easily 6, maybe 7 hit singles on this album.

Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine
A return to the funk. My favorite album of the summer--grooving, smooth soul/funk/hip-hop. Now that the weather is colder I find myself listening to this album less, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to pop it straight back into my CD player the minute it gets warm again.

The Faint, Wet from Birth
Pitchfork hated this--probably because it was cheesy. It is--and I love it for that very reason. Certainly not as good as the truly excellent Danse Macabre but an outstanding bit of dance-punk.

Favorite Singles of 2004

Jay-Z, 99 Problems
Also probably the best video of 2004. Such a great jam. Proof that the death of Rap Rock was not a death, but a deadly move in the wrong direction. This is what Rap Rock was supposed to be, the "Walk This Way" of 2004.

Britney Spears, Toxic
How can you not love this song? Seriously.

Modest Mouse, Float On
On a mediocre-to-bad album, this song was actually a look forward to what Modest Mouse could have been and a look back to what they were. The sing along chorus had frat boys all a twitter.

Jadakiss, Why?, Fabolous, Breathe
Two outstanding songs from two of hip hop's less talented MCs, at least in my opinion. Why? sounded like an impassioned plea to explain the unexplainable, no matter how inane, while Breathe's piano hook and general backing track are, simply put, infectious.

Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out
Everything that can be said about this song has already been said.

Biggest Album Disappointments of 2004

U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Just so mediocre! P-tooey.

Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Two, maybe three good songs on album that sounds like half conceived possibilities.

Eminem, Encore
Mr. Shady jumps the shark. And he does it with such enthusiasm! Its like he's actually excited about going off the deep end into self-indulgent mediocrity.

Favorite Discoveries of 2004

TV on the Radio
Easily the best concert of the year for me, and it was the opening act that sealed the deal. Young Liars, had I actually been paying attention, would have been one of my albums of 2003 (yes, it is an EP. And your point is...?)

Totally missed the boat on this one too. I feel dumb about this one. It's like saying "Favorite Discovery of 2004: Cinnamon."

Favorite Thing to Happen to Me, 2004

It has been a long time since I've written anything, really. This stoked the fire. And I met some great people. Definitely took a bit of a risk asking to write for them, but it was well worth it.

Best Meal of 2004 (home cooked category)

Tough one here. I'm going to limit it to meals I actually cooked at my home, and that took some sort of preparation. With those limits, the winner is scallops in a white wine sauce over vermicelli, which I made over the summer when scallops in white sauce inevitably taste the best. The white sauce had tomato and shallot accents. I had it with a pinot grigio--most likely Ecco Domani. Yum!

Special recognition should go to the Union Meat Company and their flatiron steaks. I started buying the steaks about six months ago. They are easy to cook, wonderfully tender, and carry flavor like no real $6.99 a pound steak should. I've used soy sauce, cola, maple syrup, Madras curry powder, and myriad other bases as my marinades, and the steak never comes out bad.

Favorite Movie of 2004

Come on, I don't go to the movies enough to say anything about this. So the winner is Fletch.

Favorite Book of 2004

This is another really tough category. I read backlist books as much as frontlist, which means I finally got to Middlesex and Atonement in 2004 (both excellent). Unfortunately, I never got to read Rule of Four. And there are way too many other good books out there for me to comment authoritatively. So this category gets a "no winner," but not for a good reason. Just out of laziness.

Favorite General Trend of 2004

2004 was the year that DC stopped being new to me. Not that I ever stopped being fascinated by it--it just started to feel like home. That alone has made my experience here ten times as fun.

And a special shout out goes to Audrey, who bought me my
Favorite Present of 2004

A gray zip up hoodie that says "Calcutta" on it. Bam, represent.

This was long and took forever (with many an interruption). Anyone want me to post other '04 faves? The list has infinite potential.