So, here is my annual list, the geekfest that so many of you have come to know and love. I labored over this a little longer than usual this year and, as usual, I found it impossible to narrow down my music list down to ten records (getting it down to thirty was tough enough). Also, before people start sending me hostile emails to remind me of everything Iâ€™ve left out, let me just say that these were the things that brought me the most pleasure in the past year. There may have technically been better records, movies and books than the ones on this list, but these are the ones I played the most, enjoyed the most, and thought about the most.
1) The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
2) Cat Power - You Are Free
3) The Clientele - The Violet Hour
4) Ride - Waves
5) Blur - Think Tank
6) Bonnie Prince Billy - Master and Everyone
7) My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
8) Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
9) Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun
10) Palaxy Tracks - Cedarland
11) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
12) Broadcast - Ha Ha Sound
13) The Distillers - Coral Fang
14) M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts
15) Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
16) The Kingsbury Manx - Aztec Discipline
17) Ladytron - Light & Magic
18) Britta Phillips/Dean Wareham - La Aventura
19) Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
20) Guided By Voices - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates
21) White Stripes - Elephant
22) The Notwist - Neon Golden
23) I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - E.P.
24) The New Pornographers - Electric Version
25) The Rapture - Echoes
26) Stephen Malkmus - Pig Lib
27) Beulah - Yoko
28) Polyphonic Spree - The Beginning stages of...
29) Mogwai - Music for Happy People
30) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take them on, On your own
1)Capturing the Friedmans
2)Lost in Translation
4)The Station Agent
5)Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
10)The Fog of War
1)Pieces of Payne - Albert Goldbarth
2)So80's: Photographic Diary of a Decade - Patrick McMullan
3)The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
4)Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
5)Before, During, and After - Hal Sirowitz
6)True Notebooks - Mark Salzman
7)The Voice at 3am: Selected Late and New Poems - Charles Simic
8)Nine Horses: Poems - Billy Collins
9)P - Andrew Lewis Conn
10)X: Poems - James Galvin
BEST MOMENTS OF 2003
1)Editing "Bend, Don't Shatter", a poetry anthology for teenagers about sex and sexuality. The project was a lot of work, but I was able to work with my dear friend, Rita Costello, on a project that proved more meaningful and interesting than I ever could have anticipated. The book arrives this April, so stay tuned. . .
2)Becoming a Sperber. Making the leap from my solitary studio out in sunset park and coming back to the hipster hotbed of Williamsburg is just about the best thing I've ever done since living in NYC. I'm a much happier and more productive person when I live with twins. Plus, Amy and Heather cook for me and have renewed my love of small dogs.
3)My sibling's graduation. I can worry about Lauren and Zachary much less now that they are no longer trapped in the horror halls of Hydro High School. They are rocking out in college now and I'm very proud of them.
4)Freelance overload! My career as a freelance magazine writer finally started to take off in '03. So, now I'm able to write lots of regular music and film features for various places in addition to my editorial day job at the newly-revamped Budget Travel (I'm not embarrassed to show it to you now) and my continued nerdish poetry pursuits.
5)Michael Stipe's Christmas Party. Perhaps the only thing cooler than meeting Michael and working with him was going to his Christmas party, where Amy Ferid and I danced while shaking a moss-covered reindeer over our heads, egged on by the cheers of the celebrity-heavy dance floor. This was undoubtedly the most fun thing I did all year long.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.