Best Music Writing 2004

Special web Exclusive Anthology

Writing we're proud we had this year, highlighted for one little moment. We'll go right back to total shame next week.

JONATHAN RICHMAN: "Everything I truly valued in rock & roll was right there: magic, adventure, rhythm, mystery, intimacy, emotion—without the amped-up armor or smug poses most rock was dressed in then. And he had life figured out. His song 'Affection' said everything one really needs to know in life, which he pretty well reiterates in the title of his upcoming Vapor label album, Not So Much to be Loved as to Love." (Jim Washburn)

LIZ PHAIR: "We don't ditch our friends just because they've stumbled. We don't even ditch them if they turn uncool—or have 'committed an embarrassing form of career suicide.' We'll forgive you your fling with the cheerleaders; just never make us hear their names again." (Rebecca Schoenkopf)

THROW RAG: "'You know what the coolest thing is?' asks Wheeler, leaning forward, excitement building. 'We're all going to die! So we're all going to know what happens when we die! Outside of having a kid, it's going to be great. I'm stoked on it. I think there's going to be a clarity and a presence. I don't think there will be sadness—just an understanding. Like, "Whoa, these were my motivations, these were my things, it wasn't about any of that." It'll be so simple.' He flops back in his chair, spent, and smiles. 'It'll be so awesome!'" (Alison M. Rosen)

DIOS: "'Listen,' she said. 'I need to get their CD. This has only happened to me maybe once in my life: I just walked into a place, and I didn't know who was going to play; I just wanted to see the show. And then I heard the opening band, and it's one of the best bands I've ever heard, you know?' I knew she meant it because I've said the same thing and because there's a goofy, googly-eyed adoration that just beams out of you if someone hits the right two piano keys together, and you can't camouflage it. True love is cheap on tour only because it's there every night if you want it, and that was the kind of thing that always made me happy. 'I know,' I said honestly, making change for her. 'But no one believes me because I do merch.' And then I tried to sell her a T-shirt." (Chris Ziegler)

BUCHANAN: "This is the moment when the expectations of your fan base—building with tectonic inevitability—are finally satisfied. When you finally have an answer for the strangers who come up to you at shows and incredulously ask why you're not signed yet. When you think that maybe, finally, you've 'made it' and can breathe for a while." (Rich Kane)

VIOLENT FEMMES: "There's this sort of cute junior in my art class, Randy, who wears glasses and that '9 out of 10 kids prefer Crayons to guns' Pearl Jam T-shirt, like, every day. He asked me if I wanted a ride home from school after art club, and we were gonna go to the park so he could smoke, but then when he stopped the car, he put on the Violent Femmes, and I was like, 'Oh, I love this record.' And he was like, 'Oh, I bet you really like this one,' and he put on 'Add It Up.' And I was like, 'Duh, everyone likes that one,' but I barely got the words out before he totally started making out with me! And here I was freaking out about smoking a cigarette for the first time—I didn't even see it coming!" (Kara Zuaro)

CONTROL MACHETE: "'Everyone in Mexico eventually respected us little by little: by our beats, by our rhymes, by the chingo of times we'd play,' Hernández suddenly gushes. 'And then we play with 50 Cent. It's all destiny, güey. We're starting our own reconquista of hip-hop.'" (Gustavo Arellano)

JERRY LEE LEWIS: "I drank three bottles of orange Mad Dog and watched five episodes of Green Acres. I wanted to throw around some horseshoes. During a commercial, I tried calling Phoebe. 'Call me back, cupcake,' I told the answering machine. That next morning, I didn't know where my pants went and I had a hickey. I figured I blacked out and called the first name in my book. April or something." (James Bunoan)

LIMBECK: "Life is the road and the road is life, as long as the credit card holds out and your boss at the shitty day job back home keeps taking you back. And right now, the road is leading the four guys who make up OC's Limbeck straight to the Jelly Belly factory up near Fairfield, just outside Sacramento." (RK)

THE PLATTERS: "We're all derivative: the buildings we build, the way we talk, the songs we sing are all taken from or influenced by someone or something else. In music, this is simply accepted science. Sometimes, it's homage. But where it gets a little weird is with the so-called original bands that aren't. Like the Platters Live, which play the Mission at San Juan Capistrano on Saturday night. Simply put, it has no Platters." (Theo Douglas)

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