Mark Rosen
PoOPlist '04

brian wilson - smile
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I was fully expecting to hate this. But what could have been a very cheesy attempt to retread the past turns out to still sound quite adventurous. I guess Brian really wasn’t made for these (or those) times. Is it sacrilege to suggest that this might actually be better than the original? Probably, but the modern production values and the vision of the bandleader-whose-name-no-one-can-pronounce more than compensate for Brian (a mere shell of a Beach Boy these days) slurring the lyrics. Only heroes here, no villains.

steve earle - revolution
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2. STEVE EARLE – The Revolution Starts . . . Now
. .but ended November 2nd. Here’s hoping the revolution has only hit a bump in the road. Unfortunately, even I don’t believe that. At least “Condi, Condi” remains relevant.

bobby bare jr - starvation league
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A drunk’s-eye view of Nashville, playing in a rock’n’roll band (don’t overlook the vomit on the wall), his favorite hat and his faithful dog. Actually, he sings like a lost puppy.

bob dylan - live 1964
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4. BOB DYLAN – Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall
It’s Halloween 1964 and the singer has his “Bob Dylan mask on.” Actually, this is a Dylan so relaxed, so outgoing, so having himself a pisser that it might be the rare evening Dylan took his mask off. After doing his share of clowning around, Dylan drops jaws with Side 2 of Bringing It All Back Home, leaving the crowd knowing something’s happenin’ but they don’t know what it is.

david byrne - grown backwards
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5. DAVID BYRNE – Grown Backwards
Music that broadens or reinvents musical genres usually does well in POOP. When it does so with equal doses of emotion, humor, quirk and opera, it can’t miss. Rated ‘R’ for violins.

VA - Por Vida
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6. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs of Alejandro Escovedo.
Through Por Vida I discovered not only some great songs but also a great artist with a rich catalogue.

va - doin' the mod
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7. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Doin’ The Mod: That Driving Beat, Volume 5
60’s UK guitar bands try their hand at Northern Soul and create a concoction that’s not quite either. Very cool.

a.c. newman the slow wonder
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8. A.C. NEWMAN – The Slow Wonder
. . or what a New Pornographer would sound like if Neko Case were off, oh I don’t know, making a live album.

loretta lynn - van lear rose
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9. LORETTA LYNN – Van Lear Rose

This is not a hypen-lover’s marriage of two musical styles but more a violent collision of two musical planets.

cafe tacuba - cutro caminos
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10. CAFÉ TACUBA – Cuatro Caminos
No entiendo Espanol but I do entiendo a good hook when I hear one, and when they are as frequent as they are here, I say muchas grassy-ass

richard thompson - the chrono show
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11. RICHARD THOMPSON – The Chrono Show
On this website-only release, RT performs acoustic versions of songs rarely performed in concert in chrono order. Not a bad body of work to choose from either.

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12. OLLABELLE - Ollabelle
Artists from every walk of music except gospel come together a pull off a record that could spawn a whole new musical style—adult gospel. Musicians work in mysterious ways.

norah jones - feels like home
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13. NORAH JONES – Feels Like Home
Call it middle-age musical malaise if you wish but I can’t ignorah.

neko case - tigers
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14. NEKO CASE – The Tigers Have Spoken
Again, Neko makes a Case for having one of the most original voices in all of music on this stellar live collection of originals and covers. Kudos for dusting off Buffy Saint-Marie’s “Soulful Shade of Blue” and The Shangri-La’s “Train From Kansas City”.

rufus wainwright - want two
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Some would say Rufus is an acquired taste. If so, I’ve acquired it. A bit more dense than Want One, but that doesn’t stop me from Wanting Three. The accompanying DVD is more accessible and quite good, too.

sonic youth - sonic nurse
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16. SONIC YOUTH – Sonic Nurse
These senior citizens continue to show that no matter how you tune those six strings, the guitar still reigns supreme.

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17. THE LIBERTINES – The Libertines
A uniquely British record that proves that a bad war creates fertile ground for music in any country that wages it.

v.a. - dancehall stringbusters
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18. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Dancehall Stringbusters: Crunchy Guitar Instros From the 60’s
What Link hath wrought. Grunge before it had a name.

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19. TINARIWEN - Amassakoul
A mass of cool, indeed. John Lee Hooker meets Jerry Garcia in the West Sahara. But where in the desert do they plug in their guitars?

marah - 20000 streets
Buy from amazon 20. MARAH – 20,000 Streets Under The Sky
A nice comeback after their last piece of crapola. Docked a few notches for running out of gas after about 15,000 streets.

ELVIS COSTELLO – Almost Blue & Kojak Variety – over twice as long and five times as good as the originals.

DAVID BYRNE (with Rufus Wainwright)
– “Au Fond du Temple Saint”
NEKO CASE – “If I’m Gonna Sink (I Might As Well Go To The Bottom)” [from Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck]
STEVE EARLE – “Condi, Condi”

COURTNEY LOVE – America’s Sweetheart – “I wanna be the girl with the most coke.”
SALLY TIMMS – In The World Of Him – Everyone is entitled to one career misstep.

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