Friday, December 30, 2005

Best of Music

Best Reminder to the World of Just how Awesome one of my Favorite Artists of All Time Is - "Walk the Line" the biopic of the life of Johnny Cash. Cash was country, rock, punk, heart, attitude, true grit and real Americana. His songs are haunting, timeless, funny, sad and most of all REAL. The movie piqued the interest of the neophytes and casual listener to listen more.

Best Reminder of What Incredibly Bad Taste an Incredibly Large Number of People Have - Mariah Carry's latest album was one of the strongest sellers of the year.

Best Book About The Life of a Musician - Bob Dylan Chronicles.

Best Musical Dream Come True - Meeting Bono at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in March and watching them play their first show of 2005 in front of only 1200 people and then getting inducted by one of my other Rock heroes, Bruce.

Best Single of the Year - "Wake Up" - The Arcade Fire. This Montreal group created a sound, an energy and a pathos that wasn't equaled on any other single from any other genre this year.

Best Song From A Broadway Musical - "Always Look on The Bright Side of Life" brought to life in Monty Python's SPAMALOT this classic from their movie "The Life of Brian" leads the crescendo of good feeling and laughter in the year's best musical.

Best Reunion - The Pogues, starting in the U.K. for a mini-tour in 2004 (where I saw them at Brixton Academy, London) to their upcoming mini-tour of the U.S.

Best Rock Album - Tie Green Day's "American Idiot" - U2 "How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb." Green Day's record was epic, it was operatic, it was relevant, it was fun and it proved to be one of the few worthy successors to the original punk scene of the 70s and 80s.

U2 further established their mastery of lyrics, arrangement, guitar power, sublime rhythm and sense of the world. A spiritual, global, very human and accessible record.

Best Movie Soundtrack - Garden State. Not quite up to High Fidelity or Grosse Pointe Blank stature, but pretty damn good.

Best Musical Myth - Downloads are killing the music. Overall sales of physical records are down 7% over last year. Legal online downloads are up, but not enough to offset the lost business on new music. The problem isn't downloads, its that the archaic systems of the music industry have refused to budge and were slow to respond to MYSPACE.COM, Napster, Itunes and the myriad other ways people are experiencing music these days.

Combine that with the labels concentrating all of their resources and money behind a very few bankable "stars" who have no longevity and what you get are short term gains and long term losses.

No longer willing to nurture groups and grow them, they sign a band, if they don't hit big on record one they are gone. Imagine if U2's label decided to dump them after modest sales of their first album "Boy."