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Albums Of The Year
Albums of the Year 2003

These were my albums of the year the soundtrack to my life for 2003. They all share that one thing. Quality in their chosen genres.

I listened to and brought tons of music this year, but these 10 albums had that little bit more that thing that makes you want to listen to an album all the way through and get something from each listen. So in no particular order…

Outkast: Speakerboxx/The Love Below
Always seen as a little avant-garde Outkast’s latest album saw them split into two different entities and deliver two very different albums. Big Boi’s ‘Speakerboxx’ was above average hip hop that had it’s moments ‘Ghetto Music’ a frenzied Miami bass like gospel led treat and a collaboration with Jay-Z but it was Andre’s album ‘The Love Below’ which was all together something different and is to be applauded in hip hop circles for breaking the mould.
Supposedly a soundtrack for a film Andre had planned the album was a salutary lesson for hip hop artists to step up their game. From Prince like singsongs to minimalist led breakbeat ballads, a parliament inspired wigout with Kelis and a guitar duet with Norah Jones. The album was a sonic tour de force, hip-hop purists may have been aghast but it didn’t get much better than this.

Muse: Absolution
The Year belonged to Muse to seal themselves as Britain’s best rock act
‘Absolution’ there third album underlined everything great about them Matt’s soaring voice, the heavy riffs and the intensity. This is the sound of a band at the top of their game and leaving everyone else trailing in their wake.

System Of A Down: Steal This Album
A collection of outtakes from the Toxicity sessions it speaks volumes for SOAD
As a band, because any of these songs would be gratefully snapped up by lesser bands 16 songs of pure musical virtuosity.

Five albums in and The Eels are still on a roll. Unique among bands The Eels
have never delivered a rubbish album and with ‘SHOOTENANNY!’ Delivered a fine treat with more of an bluesy alt-country influence this time around but‘Hard Rock Times’ and ‘Dirty Girl’ among others showed that E still had a ear for a good song.

Radiohead: Hail To The Thief
Like the Eels, Radiohead are also a band that have never made a duff album
And always come to the table with new and challenging ideas their last two albums were criticised in some quarters for having ‘’no guitars’’ a curious statement made by mondeo men. Radiohead as shown by storming opener ‘2+2=5’ The ethereal ballad ‘Sail To The Moon’ and the liquefying ‘Myxomatosis’ were on top form and chalked up another fine album.

50 Cent: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
With his charming smirk and stellar production from among others Dr Dre, 50 smashed into our collective conscious with a solid gold album with great track after track. From the first strains of ‘What Up Gangsta’ to the inspired ‘Heat’ with it’s gun click percussion to the Steel pan led strut of ‘P.I.M.P’ this was purely on impact the rap album of the year.

Damien Rice: O
Seemingly touted at album buying adults ‘O’ was a well crafted ode to love in all it’s forms songs such as the drowned sorrow of ‘Cheers Darling’ the startling ‘The Blowers Daughter’ with it’s hushed intensity to the plaintive cry of ‘Volcano’ this was a wondrous debut.

Mckay: Mckay
An album steeped in classic soul mixed with a light touch of jazz and trip-hop. Mckay delivered in spades for a satisfying listen. This was soul music at it’s most loose with great songs to back her up Stephanie Mckay enchanted all who heard her, and goes on to prove that they still do make them like they used to.

Jetplane Landing: Once Like A Spark
Highly charged agit punk Jetplane Landing blew the doors off creating a storming second album. Jl raged against everything seemingly wrong with the world. Full marks for not having a single rubbish track, every one hits you with it’s power from the stuttering riff of ‘Calculate The Risk’ to the emo of ‘Brave Gravity’ this album comes highly, highly recommended.

The Postal Service: Give Up
The postal service Ben Gibbard & Jimmy Tamborello weaved their magic over ten tracks from the joyful ‘Such Great Heights’ to the lonesome ‘Sleeping In’ This was pop as it’s meant to be.