The Audio Diva 2000's: Driver's Ed, 'Confessions' and Working Up A 'Hot Fuss' [2004]

Monday, December 7, 2009

In 2004, I had one mission and one mission only: To get my driver's license so I could drive the hell out of San Antonio. Or in more realistic terms, have a driver's license so I could drive to school and park in the school's parking lot with my second-hand travesty of a jalopy. While it would take another four years before I actually got my own set of wheels, it didn't hurt to dream of well as take driver's ed. My lowlife high school didn't offer driver's ed so I had to take driver's ed at a driving school which was in a building that looked like a bail bonds office, complete with burglar bars. I can remember this one lady who taught the class was a right witch (and that was not the word I wanted to use), but she got complaints from parents (mine included) and she was kicked out. Then this lady who put her makeup on with a spatula and wore those awful shirts with embroidery cats on them came in and took over. Luckily, I passed and got my permit and I was free to drive...well, not really as I had to have adult supervision. Audio Dad never trusted me with his now deceased Acura, as on one driving escapade I decided a pot hole in the road wasn't quite as large and could easily be ridden over....I'm lucky my father didn't disown me at that point in time.

While I was getting yelled at for not turning on my turn signal or rolling over the cones during parallel parking practice, some great tunes were being delivered over the radio waves in 2004. Maroon 5 were blasting all over the place with "This Love" (though I preferred the more relaxed, "Sunday Morning") while Britney Spears was "Toxic" on the charts and snogging Madonna on TV. Spicy. Usher dropped his Confessions while we got to see the introductions of Annie, The Killers, Kanye West and Teedra Moses, all releasing albums that were monster in their prospective genres. I was introduced to Van Hunt this year as well, by way of possibly one of the most sexiest songs ever called, "Seconds Of Pleasure". I also got back in the groove of Brandy, with Afrodisiac, which people sort of ignored, but to me, it's her best album and shows Timbaland at his production peak. Kelly Clarkson released Breakaway, an album that became more associated with my 2005, but still the title track was a breezy good personal mantra. Kylie Minogue also showed off her "Body Language" and Jill Scott followed up with her second volume of Words & Sounds...oh, yeah, 2004 was a good year for music for me.

The Big 3 of 2004

Sure Usher dropped his pants alot and made some little wet sex-ay numbers, he got much more in "artist" territory. Gaffaw, but Confessions is what an album is supposed to be. Produce multiple hits ("Yeah!", "Burn", title track, "Caught Up"), tell a musical story of love, loss and redemption, and be a consistent affair where each and every song is listenable. Confessions had it all, and that is probably why Usher is still chasing it, trying to out do its success, even using his current relationship squabbles for a new album come next year. It'll be interesting to see if he will top his 2004 confessional, its gonna be a toughie. Plus, admit it, ever since 2004 you say"yeah!" like Lil' Jon.

The Killers
The electronic gurgle of "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine", busted my ears wide open to this band from Las Vegas, and from there I was sort of hooked. I can remember exactly sitting in the costume room in my high school's auditorium/cafeteria, and someone putting Hot Fuss on and how I sort of stopped listening to the swirling conversation around me and interrupted the chatter by going, "Who in hell is this?" Hot Fuss was a great callback to New Wave of the 80's but glossed over with hard guitars and Brandon Flowers sinister voice. Every time I play either "Somebody Told Me" or "Mr. Brightside", I can still smell that cakey stage makeup.

Kanye West
To be honest. Kanye West is one of those people who makes me want to loathe him due to his erratic and narcissistic attitude, but I always have to back track and go, "damn, he's made some great songs/albums" so I can't hate him for too long. I can remember sitting in the stands at the Alamodome at the Bands of America exhibition on a dreary Saturday, after performing in the wee morning hours, trading CD's with other band pals to let the time pass by quicker. Someone passed College Dropout to me and it got popped in the player and well, that was the end of that. Great song after great song, and its still 'Ye's best effort. So in some ways, I like to thank Kanye for saving me from boredom of that day as well as giving hip-hop a much needed jolt.

The Top 15 Songs of 2004

1. Golden-Jill Scott
If this song doesn't feel like a warm and comforting hug, I don't know what is. Jilly from Philly gave me the feel-good-song of the year and a song that continues to be my personal theme song whenever I enter the room or walk down the street. What? Don't act like you don't have a theme song for when you strut your John Travolta strut....

2. Spaceship-Kanye West
3. Mr. Brightside-The Killers
4. Breakaway-Kelly Clarkson

5. All Night (Don't Stop)-Janet Jackson
Can we say THE most underrated Janet Jackson song ever? It's got a beast of a beat and is just infectious to the hilt. Shame that the infamous Nipplegate Incident occurred this year, tainting this single and the Damita Jo project as a whole. One of Janet's best dance singles by far.

6. Confessions Pt. 2-Usher

7. Ordinary People-John Legend
Possibly one of THE best male BALLADS of the 00's? I capslock "ballad" because everyone wants to add alot of background noise to the slower songs nowadays, but here it's just John's vocals and his piano and that's what makes this song so special. There is no gimmick, no special effects...just honest to goodness balladry. Oh, yes, we got "lifted" indeed.

8. Sunday Morning-Maroon 5
9. Red Blooded Woman-Kylie Minogue

10. Cool-Gwen Stefani
So Gweny-Gwen-Gwen left No Doubt for a moment and releases her first solo offering, Love.Angel.Music.Baby. Annoying and stupid title the album was, it had some little spunky cuts that recalled the "unusual" pop smarts of Cyndi Lauper, but for the 21st century. "Cool" was the cut, it was very 80' it was plucked from a John Hughes movie soundtrack.

11. Down Here In Hell (With You)-Van Hunt
12. Be Your Girl-Teedra Moses
13.Who She 2 U?-Brandy

14. Amazing-George Michael
For some reason, I never wanted to like this song, because I'm a purist of George's music from 1982-1996. Yeah, I'm a little snotty. But be damn, this song is catchy. I like how this song just kind of bops along and sounds rather refreshing with the guitar strums melding with the synth work. George's vocals are still as sweet as they always were, so yeah, I think this song is "amazing" *rimshot*

15. Leave (Get Out)-JoJo


  1. You have no idea how happy these posts make me. Def going to scrounge up the songs on your list that I already have to listen to tonight. :)

  2. I love these posts! They seem like lifetimes ago, but I enjoy going down Memory Lane.

    So agree about Janet's "All Night(Don't Stop)"! It's sooooo underrated and actually one of my favorites from her.

    Van Hunt's 2004 album is perfection to me; Of course it took me years later to discover him.

    'Confessions' and 'Afrodisiac' are two great R&B albums from that year.


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