By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
6. Indie 103.1 FM/Steve Jones/Henry Rollins. Speaking of weird/good, in 2004 Clear Channel took on a bold new experiment in L.A. (well, bold and new for them, anyway): funding good radio. They claim to just sell the ads for Indie 103 (which is owned by a Hispanic broadcaster), but they’ve obviously got an interest in seeing Indie succeed at the cost of their competitors’ stations. Who wins? Local bands and music lovers, and anyone who enjoys hearing a Sex Pistol describe his bouts with smack between songs by Sweet and Mott the Hoople. God knows how long it’ll last, but Indie 103 has made me prouder than ever to be an Angeleno, from its cozy local-band nights at little bars to its championing of rocker-turned-freeform-hero Henry Rollins. (Finally, Jim Ladd can stop bragging about how he’s the only freeform hero left!) Rollins is the best DJ I’ve heard since John Peel (R.I.P.) — as with the Dodgers last season, I worry he won’t get the recognition he deserves until it’s too late. Someday we’ll find: These are the best of times!
Top 10 Songs To Keep the Riffraff Away
Have you ever gotten out of your car at a Los Angeles gas station and heard smarmy Muzak being piped through a sound system, or walked by a building being refurbished and heard the horrifying strains of George Gershwin? Maybe "A Horse With No Name" by America or "I’m Not in Love" by 10cc? Well, those catchy toe-tappers aren’t there so you can do a little two-step while you fuel up. Those songs are there to stave off punks, hippies, beggars, pimps, hookers and bums. Your average street person is as tough as nails, but they can’t stand up to a single strain of James Taylor crooning "You’ve Got a Friend" — it works like audio pepper spray. The following are some ditties sure to keep the creeps off your driveway and squatters off your construction site:
10. "Love Will Keep Us Together" — The Captain and Tennille. The good Captain and his toothy wife crafted this song of hope without realizing the repugnant aftertaste it would leave after 30 years.
8. "So Far Away" — Carol King. Its subliminal message compels derelicts to take a powder. That one about the earth moving under her feetis another good sonic bouncer.
7. "My Cherie Amour," "Sir Duke," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" — oh shit, just make it the whole Stevie Wonder song list.
5. "I Can See Clearly Now" — Jimmy Cliff. One-hit wonders are sure-fire deterrents and may be used liberally. Redbone doesn’t count because they sort of had two hits.
4. "Ride Captain Ride" — Blues Image. See above.
3. "Sunny" — Bobby Hebb. Lyrics like Thank you for the smile upon my face are extremely repulsive when trying to sleep in a Dumpster.
1. A tie, between Johnny Mathis (during the holidays) and those wimp crooners Chicago (for the rest of the year). "Baby, what a big surprise." Bonus: These guys are also lethal to many insects and small furry rodents!
By Piotr Orlov
Regardless of whether they felt hounded by international terrorists, re-election-stumping errorists or media-created bogeymen, the American people had a long, hard year. Thankfully, our songwriters caught the feeling blowing in the wind. Hence, some of 2004’s most popular ditties were also de facto folk anthems, documenting the nation’s socially schizoid id on the pop charts and bearing history’s skid marks for later generations to decode. Alongside ye olde bugaboos — anger, rebellion and helplessness — artists named names, defamed social subcultures and drew color lines. Here are five signs of the time that hit the 2004 hit parade:
Eminem’s "Mosh" had everything a modern piece of folk-art propaganda could hope for: great content (hip-hop’s best-selling MC in fine vitriol, pulling few anti-Bush/-war-in-Iraq punches), fabulous format (leaked pre-election to liberal Internet sites as an animated video in which Em rallies the people to take on the government), and a calculated marketing plan (another simultaneously released single didn’t have a whiff of politics). The result was like a coherent Howard Dean speech made narrative, with high marks for historical accuracy and proper pronunciation of al Qaeda.
By contrast, Green Day’s "American Idiot" had no historical accuracy, just emotional truth. Though it’s the kind of punk rant that could’ve been written at any moment since 1976, its denouncements of a "redneck agenda" and of "one nation controlled by the media" were setups to Jon Stewart punch lines. "Idiot" got even more populist on the Web, where mash-up producers layered its fierce guitars beneath all manner of chaos (Ultra 396’s "Woo-hah Makes Idiot American Fuck War" combines them with Busta Rhymes and Public Enemy vocals), freeing its fury from punk -segregation.