Tunes Du Jour Presents 2004

While 2004 may not be remembered as a revolutionary year in music history, it certainly left its mark with a diverse range of sounds that reflected the changing trends of the early 2000s. From catchy pop anthems to rock revival and emerging indie scenes, the year offered a solid foundation for the musical directions that would unfold in the years to come.

In the realm of pop and R&B, established stars and newcomers alike dominated the charts. Britney Spears continued her reign with the provocative “Toxic,” while Usher’s infectious club anthem “Yeah!” featuring Ludacris and Lil’ Jon became a dance-floor staple. Gwen Stefani made a successful foray into solo artistry with “What You Waiting For?”, blending pop with a hint of electronic edge. These tracks, along with hits from Destiny’s Child and Ciara, exemplified the slick production and catchy hooks that defined mainstream music of the era.

Hip-hop saw significant releases from both veterans and newcomers, showcasing the genre’s versatility. Snoop Dogg teamed up with Pharrell Williams for the minimalist masterpiece “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” while Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” stood out for its bold lyrics and gospel influences, hinting at his future influence on the genre. In the UK, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal pushed the boundaries of British hip-hop with “Dry Your Eyes” and “Fix Up, Look Sharp” respectively, bringing grime to a wider audience.

Rock music in 2004 was marked by a resurgence of garage rock and post-punk influences. Green Day found renewed relevance with their politically charged “American Idiot,” perfectly capturing the frustrations of the early 2000s. Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” and The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me” brought angular guitar riffs and danceable rhythms to the forefront, becoming surprise radio hits. The Libertines’ “Can’t Stand Me Now” and The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” added to the garage rock revival energy. Meanwhile, indie rock had its moment with Arcade Fire’s debut album “Funeral,” offering sprawling, emotional soundscapes with tracks like “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).”

Beyond the mainstream, 2004 offered glimpses of what was to come in the music world. Tracks like “Slow Hands” by Interpol and “The Rat” by The Walkmen showcased the growing popularity of darker, moodier sounds that would define the latter part of the decade. Modest Mouse gained mainstream attention with “Float On,” while Yeah Yeah Yeahs pushed the boundaries of alternative rock.

In retrospect, 2004 wasn’t a year that rewrote the rulebook of music, but it was a period that gave us a diverse range of memorable tracks. From pop to hip-hop, rock to indie, the year’s music scene was a reflection of a time when genres were both distinct and increasingly willing to blur their boundaries. It provided a soundtrack rich in diversity and creativity, setting the stage for the musical evolution that would follow in subsequent years.

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Tunes Du Jour Celebrates International Jazz Day

Jazz is a genre that defies easy definition, yet its influence is undeniable across decades of music history. At its core, jazz represents freedom – freedom of artistic expression, freedom to improvise and venture into uncharted musical territory. From the early days of jazz pioneers like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, this artistic freedom has been the driving force behind the ever-evolving sounds of jazz.

The genius of jazz lies in its ability to seamlessly blend composition and spontaneity. Take Miles Davis’ seminal album Kind of Blue, where masterful musicians like John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley were given a simple modal framework to build upon through their improvisations. The result was a transcendent exploration of space, melody, and emotion that still captivates listeners today. Similarly, Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” broke new ground with its innovative use of quintuple meter, exemplifying jazz’s boundary-pushing spirit.

Yet jazz is more than just innovative time signatures and harmonic progressions. It’s a language of human experience, a means of conveying the full spectrum of emotions through sound. Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of “Strange Fruit” transformed a song into a searing indictment of racism and injustice. Nina Simone’s stirring vocals on “My Baby Just Cares for Me” radiate warmth and playfulness. And Chet Baker’s rendition of “My Funny Valentine” captures the exquisite vulnerability of heartbreak with effortless cool.

As the genre evolved through the latter half of the 20th century, jazz continued to defy conventions and push creative boundaries. The modal jazz of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” was a spiritual exploration unlike anything that came before it. Ornette Coleman’s pioneering free jazz broke down traditional concepts of melody and harmony. And the fusion era saw artists like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, and Grover Washington Jr. incorporate elements of funk, rock, and R&B into their jazz foundations.

From its humble beginnings in New Orleans to its modern global influence, jazz has remained a quintessential expression of artistic freedom. Its ability to constantly reinvent itself while maintaining a deep reverence for its roots is what makes it one of the most vital and culturally significant art forms of our time. Jazz is more than just a genre – it’s a living, breathing embodiment of the human spirit’s endless capacity for creativity and innovation.

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Records of the Year

The Grammy Awards are being presented tonight. Woo. It’s billed as “music’s biggest night,” just as May 7 through May 16 is billed as “the biggest week in American birding,” if only because ten days is a lot for one week. Birders. Am I right, people? Performers at this year’s Grammys include Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak doing their new song, because what better way to celebrate the music of 2020 than with a single that was released last week? Performers I’m looking forward to include Miranda Lambert, Cardi B, HAIM, Megan Thee Stallion, Brittany Howard, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish, whose “Everything I Wanted” is up for Record of the Year. That’s my favorite of the nominees, though I think the award will go to Beyoncé for “Black Parade,” and I have no problem with that. However, if the award goes to that record I never heard of until I started typing this sentence, sneakers will be thrown at my television (though that record may be good for all I know). For Album of the Year my vote goes to Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, as it was handily the best album of 2020. It probably won’t win, seeing as it wasn’t nominated. What was nominated over Apple’s album? That Coldplay album you forgot about and the Jacob Collier album you never heard of until you started reading this sentence (though that album may be good for all you know). Of the albums nominated, I’d pick HAIM’s. It’s very good. Not Fetch The Bolt Cutters good, but very good nonetheless. If HAIM win I hope they hand their award to Fiona Apple live on the telecast, which would be super impressive, seeing as they won’t be in the same room. I’m sure tonight’s show will include a tribute to dead people done by living people who are no match for said dead people. I’d rather want a montage of clips of the dead people performing when they were living people. <Fill in the blank> screaming is not representative of what made Aretha Franklin amazing. No disrespect to <fill in the blank>, but there’s more to being the Queen of Soul than having a mic and ovaries.

It’s easy to shit on the Grammys, as they are so shittable, but to be fair, not every Record of the Year is as terrible as 1988’s recipient, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Here are thirty of the better winners:

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