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Friday, January 16, 2004
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Best in music:
Songs and albums that made it in our changers (or MP3 players) more than any others.

By Cassie Fauss
Staff Writer


Among the rubbish of pop music in 2003, a handful of true talent kept the music industry afloat. These artists succeeded in creating praiseworthy music and refused to give in to the ever-powerful forces of pop. The following albums are, in my humble opinion, the best the year had to offer:

Best Album
1. Outkast “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”
2. The White Stripes “Elephant”
3. 50 Cent “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”
4. The Strokes “Room on Fire”
5. Radiohead “Hail to the Thief”

When renowned rap artists Big Boi and Andre 3000 cast out the latest Outkast album, a combination of each artist’s solo recordings, they reeled in a vast array of fans. “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” became a staple in record collections everywhere — proving that even apart, the members of Outkast are able to unite a massive fan base.

Even though the relationship between Meg and Jack White is no longer a mystery, they continued to surprise us in the studio. On “Elephant,” The White Stripes’ second mainstream album, the band provided music fans with a much needed revival of a time when music was actually good, despite Meg’s continuing inability to play the drums.

Eminem may not have produced any chart topping hits of his own this year, but he continued to prove his musical sense with the success of his protégé, 50 Cent. straight off the streets where he had been shot six times in the face, 50 cent tore it up in the studio, providing a perfect soundtrack for college students across the nation.

The much anticipated sophomore album from the garage band The Strokes demonstrated that these guys have what it takes to make great music, setting them apart from the mass of “the” bands that followed their lead in 2002. The Strokes built a reputation for not caring what anyone else thinks with their experimental first album, “Is This It.” On their album, “Room on Fire,” the boys continued to break the rules, but, like they say, if it works, don’t fix it!

One of the songs on Radiohead’s newest album, “Hail to the Thief,” seems to describe the group quite accurately: “2+2=5.” While there is no way this calculation could ever make sense, Radiohead makes it work. Their latest album is just as unpredictable and astonishing as the group has proven to be in the past.

In 2003, hip-hop dominated the charts. Among the indistinguishable pop music which flooded the airwaves, sounding unique was a surefire way to win fans in the rock arena. If I were to make a soundtrack to sum up the year in music, here are the songs that would be the first to make the cut:

Best Song
1. “Hey Ya!” Outkast
2. “No One Knows” Queens of the Stone Age
3. “In Da Club” 50 Cent
4. “Seven Nation Army” The White Stripes
5. “The Scientist” Coldplay

In a sea of less-than-par music, it’s a relief when a musician hits one out of the park. Here are a few more noteworthy musicians, songs and other things that made 2003 interesting.

Best New Band
The Darkness

Best Remake
Johnny Cash “Hurt”

Best Guilty Pleasure
Liam Lynch “United States of Whatever”

Best Video
The Darkness “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”

Best Radio Show
Funkytown 817, 88.7 FM, Mon. 9 p.m. - midnight

Best Move to Solo Stardom
Beyonce

Best Song with a Message
Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love?”

Best New Dance Move
Shaking it like a Polaroid picture

In the grand scheme of things, 2003 was a mere blink of an eye in the music industry — insignificant, but necessary. Although most of the music on the airwaves could be confused to be static, there were a few artists and songs that deserved a second look ... or I guess a listen. Currently, the fate of the music industry is in the hands of the power of pop. Hopefully, these talents lead the way for better music to come.
Outkast
 
The Strokes
Ron Milke / www.thestrokes.com
 
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