RAVE'S FAVES (on the air )
Distillers, Belle & Sebastian ("Office"), Jet (various), Foo Fighters ("Nicki"), Offspring, Iggy Pop, Crystal Method, Rancid ("Moon"), White Stripes ("Myself")
The Belle & Sebastian song is melodic and original sounding, but it's way too light for mainstream rock acceptance. I predict that Jet will have at least two more airplay hits in 2004. As I said last time, they have lots of depth in this album, and radio is beginning to pick up on that. Not only is Iggy's "Lust For Life" riff featured in the Jet hit, but the original glam/punk dude is back himself. What makes Iggy's commercial tune work especially well is the backing of Sum 41. Burt Bacharach & Hal David loyalists may not like the White Stripes' cover of their tune, but I think it's great for a laugh. Honorable mentions go to The Darkness, The Shins, Hoobestank, Death Cab For Cutie, and Polyphonic Spree.
RAVE'S TOP FIVE AIRPLAY FAVES OF 2003
1) White Stripes "Seven Nation Army"
2) Hot Hot Heat "Bandages/Talk To Me, Dance With Me"
3) Jet "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
4) Rooney "Blueside"
5) Distillers "Drain the Blood"
Can there be any doubt about the Stripes being #1 on my list as well as many other rock lists? The song was around virtually all year, the bass line was unforgettable, the tune was a hit, and the CD went platinum. Most importantly, I really liked it. HHH brought a fresh, quirky blend of various retro influences to the airwaves. The two songs were so close in my opinion that it makes sense to simply put the band in the #2 spot. The Jet hit was obvious from the first listen, and it's also a case where the song's primary hook came from a guitar. Rooney lacked any commercial success to speak of, but this tune was purely a pop/Beach Boys-flavored gem. Meanwhile, the AAA (Adult Alternative) format has picked up on their "I'm Shakin." The Distillers provided us with a near perfect rock song with high energy, a great chorus, a Nirvana influence, and compelling musical parts. The Raveonettes just missed with both "Attack of the Ghost Riders" and "Chain Gang of Love."
Air are finally releasing a new album early in the year. For me, one of the most anticipated new releases will be from Fischerspooner. Their last album has remained a favorite of mine, and I like virtually the whole thing. They're much more than a typical electroclash act. They have lots of 70's progressive rock influences and my understanding is that their next album will be even more in that direction. The one new song in their show was a major highlight.
It's great to have people talking about Bob Seger again with the release of his new "Greatest Hits 2" CD. Uncle Joe Benson scored a top-flight, far-reaching interview with Bob on Off The Record. I sure hope Seger decides to tour he was always one of the best. As Joe says, if Bob's going to get the band in shape to play at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, he might as well get them ready for a full-scale tour. Speaking of tours, Iron Maiden will be back in the U.S. for dates in New York and L.A. as their world jaunt continues. Perhaps you caught the Duran Duran segment on VH-1's True Spin. I had a quick sound bite and the show discussed the fact the "Rio" was a love song to America. After the "Rio" album had been out for a long time and looked like it wouldn't catch on in the U.S., I took Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes out to dinner one night and told them that only a miracle would save the album. The miracle finally did come from MTV's playing of their videos, but Nick's response to my dire assessment was "We'll make it in America if it's the last thing we do!" As they say, the rest is history. I recently ran into Simon at a party and he said the band were still pulling in different directions as to what their new CD will sound like. I continue to vote for positive, hooky melodies backed by modern, electronic tracks.
If you'd like to contact me, please remember to mention "Raves" in the subject so that your note isn't mistaken for spam. I'd like to thank Uncle Joe for hosting these Raves again this year on his unclejoe.com site. I'd also like to thank you for your attention and input throughout the year. I wish you great holidays as well as a happy, healthy, and successful 2004. Take care and...