Flashback!! It’s our new feature which will allow us to review albums, singles and other stuff from the past. The first thing we’ll be looking at is 2004! Why 2004? Well; this week sees Hot Fuss by The Killers become 10 years old. Yep. We feel old too. To celebrate, Stu reviewed Hot Fuss and his other favourite albums from 2004!
Kanye West / College Dropout
As somewhat of a tepid Hip-hop fan, it was interesting to see how this album caught my attention upon its release, all those years ago. I remember my first ever experience of Kanye West was seeing him introduced on a show on MTV, back when they actually did music related things, and it was during the rehabilitation from the accident he suffered before the release of ‘College dropout’ and which is mentioned throughout the record. Obviously to a 16-year-old music fan, it was really quite endearing and led me to want to know more. In the following months, ‘Jesus walks’ and ‘Through the wire’ were released and this became enough to make the purchase and delve into an unknown genre, and artist, but with results that made it an impactful debut, especially on a personal level. The flow of the album is incredible, with incredible continuity, created largely by segues and skits that brought each track together with the next, whilst being able to jump from comedic, to hard-hitting, to religious and everywhere else in between. Biggest memories come in the forms of laughing at the lyrics to ‘The new workout plan’ and having to listen to the skit beforehand every time, and mainly how much I fell in love with the song ‘Never let me down’, and how it actually inspired me to seek a more spiritual and almost religious side to myself, culminating in multiple trips to church, which still happens from time to time despite a rather large agnostic religious stand point, and always coming away from listening to it, with hope and a little bit more faith. Fair enough, Kanye can be a bit zany and a bit of a knob sometimes, but his debut hit the nail on the head, and has me remembering it all these years later.
HIM / And Love Said No: Greatest Hits 1997 – 2004
It might seem peculiar to reference a greatest hits as one of your personal favourite releases from ten years ago, but when I look back on 2004, which subsequently was my last year at secondary school, I remember this. As a fan of HIM for years before, and a loyal one to this day, I remember the excitement of a greatest hits being released, especially if for nothing else, considering the fact I was a year 11 student, and Target rounds don’t pay that much, so to collect the entire back catalogue at the time was a little bit of a pipe dream. Once I’d purchased it, it went straight into my shock proof CD Walkman, and didn’t leave for a very long time. I listened to it everywhere, including school, in lessons. You’d think this fact would land you in a whole bunch of trouble, but it actually won me an award, when my tutor Mr.Creasey asked me what I was listening to and i responded with “a Finnish metal band called HIM”. Probably not what you’d have expected from a 16-year-old boy, and so that information was kept in mind, and at the leaving assembly I proudly accepted the award for ‘Best taste in music’. Which really pissed off Al Shaw… But there really doesn’t have to be an explanation as to why the album kept me so interested, it’s a greatest hits by one of my favourite bands of all time, of course it was going to be a musical highlight for the year. It showcased their best work from their previous four albums, as well as adding a couple of new tracks such as a cover of Neil Diamond’s ‘Solitary man’ and an original called ‘And love said no’ which has been a favourite of mine ever since. There’s no more to be said.
Razorlight – Up All Night
Another album with a similar sentiment to ‘Hot fuss’, has got to be the debut from Razorlight. Another incredible summer album, that saw a couple of the biggest tracks that were most formative in making 2004 what it was. Or was it? ‘Up all night’ is one of those albums that you’ll go ahead and buy on the strength of one song, maybe two, which in this case was of course ‘Golden touch’ and ‘Vice’. I remembering buying it, listening to those two over and over and over, and then BOOM, it went on the CD rack and didn’t return to the deck for a long, long time. I remember perfectly, the summer of 2006, and hanging around with friends that were in the latter period of sixth form, and getting ready to depart for university, so of course the summer was a valuable one, and we’d certainly be making the absolute most of it. I remember nights out in town, and especially Lincoln’s now legendary, if only for its nostalgic value, Scream/Quayside bar where we’d dance all night to the indie modern classics that were being released, but ‘Golden touch’ and ‘Stumble and fall’ were always highlights. My favourite part of the album is the latter part of it, and I often put the album on just to listen to ‘In the city’ followed by ‘To the sea’, and ending with the absolutely gorgeous ‘Fall, fall, fall’. An incredible album, synonymous with an incredible time for music. Bands like Razorlight and the Killers may seem passé to many now, but if you look back properly, I bet you enjoyed them too. Just don’t tell Johnny Borrell because he’ll never shut the fuck up about it.
The Killers / Hot Fuss
Possibly not my most impactful album release of 2004, but certainly the biggest, certainly memorable, and most definitely one that makes DJing an indie night a living nightmare to this day. I remember clearly, coming across ‘Somebody told me’ on MTV 2 (remember that) and being obsessed immediately. With it’s catchy beat, provocative lyrics and that powerful synth part at the end of the first chorus, I knew I had to spread the word about this underground indie outfit from Las Vegas. I showed all my school friends the song, and many agreed with me on just how good it was, although not with the same level of intensity that I’d shown them. But good reviews all the same. It was only when follow-up track, Mr.Brightside… *sigh* was released that everybody cottoned on to just how big this band was, and had the potential to become. Purchasing the album became a must for any 16-year-old, especially during the summer months, and anybody that returned to sixth form later that year and didn’t have the album, was vilified and alienated. Minor exaggeration perhaps, but I didn’t go to sixth form, so it’s an outsider perspective. But upon attaining the album, every song was a winner in its own right. From intro ‘Jenny was a friend of mine’ with that killer riff, to ‘Glamorous indie rock n roll’ which almost became the campaign theme tune for the revival of great indie music, and especially to the timeless and grand ‘All these things that I’ve done’ that still stands the test of time and is actually still a fantastic track to this day. I remember long summer days at Lincoln castle, skating with my friends and my generic 128 megabyte MP3 player and getting completely lost in this album, and especially when ‘Somebody told me’ came on, I’d be amped up and ready to go, and for the next three minutes plus, I’d be invincible. This track is always one that as far as DJ sets has seriously stood the test of time, I’m always happy to hear it come on in any club, and I never feel a sense of shame when playing it either. Unfortunately unlike ‘Mr. (fucking) Brightside, which I lost all enthusiasm for a long time ago due to being so ridiculously overplayed, and overused in everything that has ever been done ever, anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, it was, and still is a great song, but fuck me it turns my stomach when the whole club starts going bat shit every time it comes on, even though it’s been done in every bar, every week for the past ten years. I only have one response for anybody that requests it at Transmission… NO! NO! NO! But other than that, I look back on ‘Hot fuss’ as an album that set the tone, and flew the flag high for the 2004 – 2007ish boom of great indie bands, and takes me back to long summers skating, following full-time education. Care free times, easier times and really really fun times.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)