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 Features: The Best of 2003 




Top40: The Best of 2003


The best of the best for 2003:
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40

Top40-Charts presents the 40 best albums of 2003 (also you will vote them very soon for having our users opinion).

1. White Stripes
Elephant

(from USA)

From the early 90s and the Nirvana era we had to hear something like this. Something which was dominating the whole 2003 year. The aggregate demand of critics agreed on its quality(!) and tops lists of all experts/magazines etc. Elephant is scattered with cultural references that give away the fact it was recorded far from home.
Just listen to the lyrics on "Seven Nation Army" ("From the Queen of England to the hounds of Hell") or the album outro, in which someone chips in, "Jolly good, cup of tea?" But while there are new twists here, from Meg White discovering her voice to a tongue-in-cheek threesome with Holly Golightly, Elephant is a great departure for Jack and Meg White. They still push their creativity (and the boundaries of their eight-track) to new heights. Check out the startling, Queen-inspired "There's No Home for You Here," while the deep bass line on "Seven Nation Army" makes it a classic indie dance track. But while some songs fly off into new realms, there's plenty of their trademark straight-up bluesy rock, notably the overtly sexual "Ball and Biscuit." And there's Jack's plaintive, resolutely modest and yet theatrical voice.

The album reminded us quite a bit of the older 60's rock in a way, but modernized to some extent. We were also amazed at the great variety of genres that are found on this disc, from the bluesy 'Ball & Biscuit' to the hard rock 'Black Math', the grunge 'Little Acorns' to the Burt Bacharach cover ('I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself'). The White Stripes effectively explore all the far corners of rock & roll, and the end result is magnificent.
And what's to say about Jack White's talent? Jack is an amazing guitarist, lyricist, and songwriter, and 'Elephant' is definite proof of this. And Meg's drumline, always present, superbly carries the tune. Both are extremely talented, and together have crafted a magnificent rock album. As for a comparison? Well, like we said before, this is their best album and we are sure this one is 2003 superior.

The album title refers to the endangered animal's brute power and their less honored instinctual memory for dead relatives. Essentially, The White Stripes admit to the contradictions in their music, but run through their hall of fame like a mad pachyderm. In a climate of kitchen-tinkered, designer cuisine pop, the album offers buckets of batter fried guitar crunch. On tracks such as "Black Math" and "Little Acorns" the grease and grunge of cheap guitar ingredients cover slim-pickings from the songwriting chicken. People who just want some fried chicken may drive-thru and get a quick fix, but remember that underneath the spirits of the heroes are waiting for a true seance.

2. OutKast
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

(from USA)

The competition with White Stripes was very strong for No1 spot. The most original record to top the charts in 2003. Or the hip-hop id to New York's ego: the home of Outkast.
At a time when experimentation is taboo in most overground rap, that's all Outkast seem intent on executing. Firstly, this double CD has no cohesive link, other than the fact that it sounds like a pair of solo albums stitched together to demo exactly how Andre's yin works to augment Big Boi's yang. Andre 3000's Love Below disc rates as the more eclectic of the two, given that he's turned in his emcee credentials to become a full-on funk-soul-jazz vocalist who mostly sings about items of love ("Happy Valentine's Day"), carnal lust ("Spread"), and female adoration ("Prototype"). Minus the big band schmaltz of "Love Hater" and cheesy cover jobs ("My Favorite Things"), Andre's disc is sick (meaning great).

As is to be expected, the Big Boi disc is less arty, more gangsta and worldly, and features the less-progressive guest raps of ATL crunk purveyors Lil' Jon and The Eastside Boyz ("Last Call") and Jay-Z who rhymes the hook on "Flip Flop Rock". Unlike Big Boi, Andre keeps his collabos to a minimum, once crooning alongside Norah Jones on the cool yet sappy "Take Off Your Cool", and once with Kelis. Boi fulfills his Dungeon Family duty with flying colors by flipping some dirty southern up-tempo raps over electro beats on "GhettoMusick". By the time Cee-Lo sermonizes on "Reset", Speakerboxx and Love Below rate mostly as majestic and inspiring, with the remaining 23 per cent being just plain incredible.

Of course, there is one department in which neither disc succeeds: despite how forward-looking these albums can be, both members have failed to envision a future WITHOUT SKITS AND INTROS (and outros), which make up no less than ten of the 39 tracks here. It's one reason why Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, like no albums before, beg to be ripped, sieved and re-sequenced.
Cutting out the dialog, along with The Love Below's silicon-smooth, Rainbow Children-esque jazz and lulling middle-section, and Big Boi's guest-laden, been-there street tracks, leaves one genius full-length that fits on a single disc!

3. Sleepy Jackson
Lovers

(from Australia)

The Sleepy Jackson are impossible to pin down. Just when you think beautifully-crafted pop songs are the sum of their musical aspirations, along comes a psychedelic burn-out or a country-ish ballad to counter songwriter Luke Steele's pop sensibility. That diversity has been the secret of The Sleepy Jackson's success so far. As one rave review put it - "Luke Steele's lack of direction is his direction, gospel to his rare artistic perception."

Since emerging from Perth, Western Australia, The Sleepy Jackson have steadily built a fan-base in Australia, Europe & North America on the strength of Steele's broad songwriting palette & his dynamic stage persona (think Jimi Hendrix meets John Lennon).
This year the Sleepy Jackson presented their first album, 'Lovers', & this much anticipated full-length debut merely confirms Steele as an artist of extraordinary depth & songwriting talent. The album includes two of Steele's. Their first two EPs saw Perth's Sleepy Jackson mysteriously tagged as alt.country; their fantastic debut album whisks country rock on a magical mystery tour. Using beautifully crafted pop as a starting point, the band visit everything from Velvet Underground to death rockers the Only Ones and, most curiously, post-new wave outfits such as the Psychedelic Furs.

The unlikely combinations work because frontman Luke Steele is a master painter with a palette of killer hooks and "na na na" melodies. His singular vision means the result never sounds derivative, whether he is fusing George Harrison with the Flaming Lips (Good Dancers) or, fabulously, Antipodean psychedelicists the Church and Avalon-era Roxy Music (as in Rain Falls for Wind). The straighter country of Old Dirt Farmer underlines what a long, strange trip this has been, and sends you hurtling to experience it again.
With a guy as talented as Luke Steel at the helm, the Sleepy Jackson show they have some great potential, but as always, they should follow the "less is more" school of thought. Yes, they're an exceptionally talented, versatile band. They've proven that with this record. Now it's time to show some focus; if they do that, they'll turn from a very good band to a great one.

4. Basement Jaxx
Kish Kash

(from UK)

For Basement Jaxx - the British duo (Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton) - fuses disco, soul, punk and underground dance music into a party-hearty fuzz-toned collage, with guest vocalists contributing wordy raps and soul-diva serenades. - the conceptual basis for their pumping nightmare follow-up to the camp if delicious 'Rooty' release of 2001. The candy-coloured magic-house of that album, ultimately giving way to horra-house.
Darker, more urban but every bit as mischievous and furtive than either 'Remedy' or 'Rooty', 'Kish Kash' was always going to be a bit of a mixed-bag, tune-wise. Caught midway between the incendiary blasts of punk, the slapping bombast of northern-soul and the frolicking peculiarities of funk, 'Kish Kash' simply plugs this amorphous creature into the mains and gives it life!

Jumping out of the crypt like some monster-mashing cyborg, tracks like 'Right Here's The Spot' featuring Meshell Adegeocello, and 'Lucky Star' featuring the award-winning Dizzee Rascal, strike like white-hot funky lightning; crunching bass, swirling and decadent key sequences, and some crazy, orgasmic vocals (also includes art 'pieces' of Balkan trumpets and folk saxophones). It's tense, it's immediate and it positively drips in naughty fluids. The delirium continues with 'Supersonic' with the dirty, sleazy rasps of Totlyn Jackson whipping up the murky waters of the Mississippi delta blues, as if Moby had strayed onto the set of 'Interview With A Vampire' and started kicking out the jams. 'Plug It In' on the otherhand sees the Jaxx pursuing the same falsettos highs and funky innuendo of Prince and Beck's 'Midnite Vultures' - it's a little contrived - but it still packs one hell of a party.

Breaking up the carnival of the insane, however are a couple of smoothies; the ambient and reggae tinged 'If I Ever Recover', the lilting and Latin inspired 'Tonight' featuring Phoebe, and closing track 'Feels Like Home' - a song that literally melts into the early hours of the morning. Could well be the best thing on the album... but it's not! The reason we say this is because that would be neglecting the three main pillars that hold this crypt party aloft: the booming soul address of 'Good Luck' featuring the mighty swelling lungs of the Bellrays' Lisa Kekaula, the punky, electro Banshee shrill of 'Cish Cash' featuring Siouxsie Sioux (this album's 'Where's Your Head At?') and the 'Rooty' inspired ear candy that is 'Hot 'N Cold' blowing away like old Smokey himself.
It's an intense listen; this is joyous music as innovative as it is bootylicious. With all its genre-defying tricks, Kish clearly owes a debt to the millenarian bootleg craze, but these songs are more than novelty mash-ups, they're songs, and this is an album you'll play years from now.

5. 50 Cent
Get Rich or Die Tryin'

(from USA)

50 Cent is the biggest buzz emcee since Eminem (who just happens to be his label CEO), and Get Rich also features Dr. Dre on production, so it's a can't-miss record, right? Well, mostly. Get Rich is not filled with midtempo, radio-friendly numbers like "Wanksta," his thinly veiled Ja Rule dis first heard on the 8 Mile soundtrack. Instead, 50 Cent brought the heat, not heater. He sheds his inner thug on "21 Questions," featuring G-funk crooner Nate Dogg showing some semblance of respect to the hotties, and then reverts right back to his thug persona on "In da Club," where he boasts "I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love." There's no "How to Rob, Pt. 2" here, although "Many Men" comes close, as he addresses some of the haters who may not fully get why he's now rap's big cheese. Surprisingly, the two Eminem-produced joints - "Patiently Waiting" (which thematically is very much like Em's "Lose Yourself"), and "Don't Push Me" - almost rival the beats supplied by Dre. Then again, it seems his most well-known cuts ("High All the Time" for example) are actually some of the weakest of the lot. Sure, Get Rich could never have lived up to the hype, it's nowhere near Biggie's Ready to Die or Nas's Illmatic, but there's no fast-forward material here, a near miracle in these times.

In the meantime, the production work remains Get Rich's strong suit, boasting contributions from Sha Money XL, Megahertz, Rockwilder, Kon Artis, and both Eminem's and Dr. Dre's crews. Dre's team drops four tracks, each supreme examples of the raw ingenuity and virtuosity that, beyond the killer rhymes, made 2001 such a visceral, addictive party record. He also proves that, though rarely as experimental as Timbaland or as self-consciously high-tech as the Neptunes, he can still drop a hit to rival either of them, and with half as many layers. The bounce on "In Da Club" is straight-up irresistible, Dre at both his minimalist best and most deceptively infectious.

Still, 50 Cent just isn't quite there yet. Had he offered more tracks that showcased his talents quite as tangibly as "How to Rob (An Industry Nigga)" alongside the massive radio hits bumping from every inner-city Escalade, Get Rich or Die Tryin' very well might have been the landmark achievement it's being touted as. But as his character presently lacks the dynamism and depth required for that elusive gangsta magnetism that's a prerequisite for notoriety, 50 Cent goes down as simply a decent MC with a wrenching back story, whose potential landed him a gig with the world's dopest beatmakers and the hype machine that shot the Great White Way into the pop culture stratosphere.

6. Massive Attack
100th Window

(from UK)

With dark shades of dub and songs that stretch with patient grace, 100th Window finds trip-hop legends Massive Attack seeping through your speakers with the same eerie intensity they mined on 1998's revelatory Mezzanine. The burden of high expectations has been a constant for this band since they released the classic Blue Lines in 1991. Under pressure to produce yet another record that changes the playing field of dance music, the collective has turned in a brooding, orchestral work that profit greatly from collaboration. The breathy, distinctive voice of Sinead O'Connor elevates a song like "What Your Soul Sings" into a deeply affecting, candlelit nocturne, while Horace Andy's stylized vocal washes through the string-laden "Name Taken." O'Connor also shines on "A Prayer for England," a remake of "Safe from Harm" off Lines, as her barely contained emotions artfully collide with Window's stark, distorted production.
Finding a perfectly hallowed ground between Pink Floyd, Mad Professor and classic soul, Massive Attack have always had the extra burden of being true trailblazers. In their wake has come everything from the Mo'Wax record label to the "Bristol Invasion" of the mid-'90s (Portishead, Tricky). Their last album, the dark and subversive Mezzanine, however, was a black celebration, as the band - Daddy G, Mushroom and 3-D - fractured beyond repair making it. The band retains the power to keep you transfixed and blissfully off-balance.

100th Window is another yet another unbelievable album release by Massive Attack. This album is a mix of mellow, dark beats exemplified by the vocals of Horace Andy and Sinead O'Connor. Maybe there most political album yet (look at the back of the album cover at the websites), 100th window sounds as the world feels today. In the tradition of Mezzanine, 100th Window has a similar sound minus the harder guitar riffs. Deep bass lines and hypnotic beats leave you in a daze. Some have been said that this album is in line with all their albums from Blue Lines to Mezzanine. They are the cutting edge of "electronica or trip-hop" and always have been. If you liked any of Massive Attacks albums then you need to get this one, you will not be disappointed.
Listen to it all the way through, too...that is the only way to get the total feeling of the album. 100th Window is going to yet again set the standard for album releases from other groups in Massive Attacks genre.

In the end, this album FAILED to be a part of favorite magazine's lists this year. Why? because Massive's political opinion was against the Iraq war. In Top40 Charts we don't care about these things: isn't music 'coverage', to keep in the dark one of the best 'lighting' albums for 2003, because this British trio had the privilege to speak loud, to go against the press / government and talking about Britain's future like millions Britons did.
Almost, they have managed to keep electronica refreshing and interesting with the flow of the vocals, the beats mixed with drum jazziness, the lightly touched reversed percussion mixed with the synth. Pads, and the guitar licks that almost hide themselves in the shadows of the arrangements. Massive Attack have proven themselves to be able to steal the test of time and rewrite it in their own fashion!!

7. Damien Rice
O

(from Ireland)

Irish troubadour Damien Rice doesn't so much reinvent the folk genre on this lush, impossibly mature debut album as push its boundaries in several compelling musical directions at once - all the more remarkable considering the album was largely self-produced and home-recorded. His songs revolve around familiar, bittersweet concerns of life, love and their attendant frustrations, but delivered with conspiratorial intimacy on melodic wings that (like on the graceful "Cannonball") Rice seems almost embarrassed to share. If there's anything like a template here, it's "The Blower's Daughter," the song that first attracted the interest/stewardship of film composer David Arnold (whose guest production provides "Amie" with expansive cinematic elegance) and became a massive Irish hit. His plaintive vocal, embroidered by the mournful solo cello of Vyvienne Long, is suddenly brightened by an instrumental flourish and Lisa Hannigan's vocals - before just as quickly wafting on the breeze. With touches that range from "Day in the Life" - styled string collages to the dizzy, exhilarating neo-operatic excesses of the 16-minute "Eskimo," Rice's musical palate here is as
adventurous as his songs are grounded in emotional intimacy. Damien Rice's intriguing brand of stylishly, un-styled dirty folk music has made him one of the standout artists of 2003. O was first released in Ireland, where it quickly broke the top ten, and achieved triple-platinum status

Damian and Lisa Hannigan (the female singer) have beautiful voices, and the cello is breathtaking. Emotion is conveyed so well through the music. This album was and still is being played over and over. Like many well deserving bands, Damien Rice probably will never get the mainstream attention he deserves, at least in the Europe (because in US is a radio 'star'). It seems the majority of European listeners aren't adventurous enough to handle this cross section of music. Just the same, we prefer having this sort of romanticism and intensity all to ourselves and our group of friends anyway. If you have (or need) a girlfriend or wife, perhaps this will be a perfect album to court her with...

8. Ben Harper
Diamonds On The Inside

(from USA)

Ben Harper makes elegant leaps from reggae to rock to folk to funk and back in his fifth studio album. The rootsy singer-songwriter with the silken tenor isn't merely genuflecting at the altar of his musical heroes, as here he shows more quirky imagination and inventive musicianship than on any of his earlier efforts. That said, "Diamonds on the Inside" is painted with the same brush that Bob Dylan used on "I Shall Be Released," but Harper adds his own Biblical aphorisms to make the song his own. Most of the songs display Harper's growth as a poet, as he ponders the dualities of life and love in tunes like the disturbing "Touch from Your Lust" and the disquietingly lyrical "Amen Omen." Harper is compelled to sing what is in his heart and to do what he can to make the world a better place. Witness the Bob Marley-like "With My Own Two Hands." The only misstep on the whole disc is the overly humid orchestration of "When She Believes."

Guests artists include Greg Kurstin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flaming Lips, Beck) and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Neo-blues-soul-metal-punk-reggae-gospel-rock-funk is far too cumbersome to be a proper qualifier, and Diamonds on the Inside's breathless Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock whirlwind is tiring, at best. Harper's now-trademark lack of focus - which is especially disappointing because dude's got skills with that slide! - is destined to forever supercede his considerable songwriting talent. The sparse, southern gospel romp "When It's Good" stars a completely different breed of Harper, blues-driven and virtually unaccompanied (save a box of rocks, some background singers, and his acoustic slide).

Meanwhile, the title track is a thick, sentimental Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar throwdown, featuring a singalong chorus and sweet, lilting pedal steel, electric piano, bass, and guitars; the aptly titled "Bring the Funk" is pure gimmick, all synthesizers and poorly channeled Parliament. "So High So Low" is heavy, Zeppelin-inspired metal thrashing, kick-started by some kind of otherworldly primal scream. And on and on: slices of this and chunks of that. Slow down, Harps, I'm getting freakin' confused! What kind of goulash you serving here, anyway?

Despite Diamonds on the Inside's pointed identity crisis, there are still some standout songs. Ladysmith Black Mambazo pop up on the vocals-only "Picture of Jesus", which, despite its heavy-handed religious meditations, is a textured, vigorous, and engaging contemporary hymn. Harper has never been a particularly keen lyricist, but the introductory line of "When She Believes" ("The good Lord is such a good Lord/ With such a good Mother, too") is especially ridiculous, and the "Behind all of your tears/ There's a smile/ Behind all of the rain/ There's a sunshine for miles and miles" of "Everything" seems equally uninspired.

Other artists have played the don't-pigeonhole-me card with slightly more success - Beck unapologetically flits between genres and styles, but has enough sense (or enough handlers) to centralize his records in a way that makes them thematically comprehensible. Even when artists self-consciously draw from a long, complicated lineage of diverse sounds and tactics, there still needs to be an organizing principle; ideally, individual tracks should contribute something substantial to the greater whole, like a chapter in a novel or a stanza in a poem, each cohesive, directed, and pushing towards a narrative payoff. All fourteen tracks here are autonomous, but also as a record, Diamonds on the Inside feels pretty full! The album is great lyrically and it is much better that has so many spins/broadcasts on the biggest top 40 radio stations worldwide!

9. Darkness
Permission to Land

(from UK)

This band is reformulating what rock should be, they are carving their way into a niche of their own. The rock sound is rebuilted with unique way, so even within summer 2003, the British prime minister Toni Blair forced to admitt that "Darkness is my favorite band!" They have elements of AC/DC, Queen, glam rock, and pop/rock, but when you roll it all into one doobie you get a thoroughly unique, but pleasing sound of pure adrenaline pumping rock 'n' roll. Also, we don't know any other band which gives us the real deal, the raw and true talent. But, not only does he sing amazingly well, they perform!! They don't just engage the crowd with the music; they make them bang their heads out to the wild and high octane performances on stage. Let's face it, these guys are maybe the only true Rock 'God' of this generation.

Give a listen to Permission to Land: The first 15 seconds of "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" show all other faux-rockers how to do it right: drummer Ed Graham and bassist Frankie Poulain begin with an intro that's like an engine idling, the guitars of brothers Dan and Justin Hawkins steadily increasing in volume, and when Justin comes in with an incredible, two-second, rock 'n' roll scream, the song kicks into full gear, a blast of unadulterated riff rock that sounds straight out of van Hallen's 1984.
"Black Shuck" marries a blatant AC/DC riff with some deliciously bombastic lyrics, seemingly inspired by the likes of Ronnie James Dio and Iron Maiden, as Hawkins sings about a legendary hell hound from their Suffolk hometown of Lowestoft ("That dog don't give a fuck!"). It may sound as laughable as Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge", but when you hear Hawkins growl, "A nimbus of blue light surrounds a crimson paw / As he takes another fatal swipe / At the Blytheburgh Church door!" it's impossible to resist, especially when he punctuates the song with a silly, "Woof!"

Meanwhile, "Growing on You" and "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" are a couple of shockingly excellent, upbeat, pop metal songs, sure-fire hits that the likes of Van Halen would kill to pull off one more time. Hawkins, who has rock god written all over him, with his emaciated David Coverdale looks, possesses the type of charisma that is palpable even on record. He obviously loves every aspect of being a hard rock frontman, at one point, he even goes so far as to scream, "gui-tar!" before a Brian May-like solo by his brother Dan. When was the last time anyone dared to do something like that in a song?

Of course, what would an album like this be without a couple of power ballads, and Permission to Land has a couple of real gems in "Love Is Only a Feeling" (which even comes with a pretty, Whitesnake and Zeppelins acoustic coda). "Holding My Own", mining the best work by the likes of Boston, Peter Frampton, and the Scorpions, as Hawkins adds his own refreshingly sweet sentiment ("That the light of my life / Would tear a hole right through each cloud that scudded by / Just to beam on you and I"). However, the real heart of the album lies in the Cure-meets-Frampton "Friday Night", as Hawkins dares to reveal that rock stars were geeks once too, singing, "We indulged in all the extra-curricular activities / We weren't particularly cool," as he goes on to list them all: "I got Bridge Club on Wednesday / Archery on Thursday / Dancing on a Friday night."
Hawkins then delivers the payoff line for the entire album, displaying a self-effacing quality that no '80s rocker ever dared to show, instantly endearing himself to the listener: "God, the way she moves me / to write bad poetry."

Dan Hawkins is a master of guitar. Has anyone of Pop and R&B listeners of today ever heard of a guitar solo? We don't know if that term even exists nowadays. What about an instrumental set? No? Never heard of those?
You haven't any radio in your home? You don't even watch music television stations/programs? Then you are living in your own world and that's why you have to listen this band.
Darkness is a masterpiece of rock! Excellent fun.

10. Bad Plus
These Are the Vistas

(from USA)

Here's a major label debut that doesn't disappoint. For starters, Midwestern jazz-piano trio the Bad Plus - in the same vein as Dave Douglas or Brad Mehldau - clearly know a thing or two about how to mix pop music with forward-thinking jazz. The group covers Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and Aphex Twin's "Flim" with wit, virtuosity, and respect to the originals - these interpretations never sound in the least bit cliched or overwrought. But even the new material on These Are the Vistas is loaded with infectious hooks.
The members of the group are: Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano) and David King (drums). Ethan Iverson uses the entire range of his piano with speed and dexterity; David King's drum fills are deftly placed, at times harkening more to electronica music's lightening fast percussion flourishes than anything on the jazz scene; and bassist Reid Anderson somehow keeps up with the madness and maintains a steady beat. Amidst all the fun is a dynamic record that holds your attention.

This new American piano trio could apparently make the music of Abba, Bach, Kurt Cobain and Blondie work in an acoustic jazz band; it reportedly knocked out New York's prestigious Village Vanguard club and was pounced on by Sony/Columbia.
While the group is more modern than most of the music, they are very talented and original. "The Bad Plus" is another example of why we love jazz! They have taken bits and pieces from jazz, from rock and from blues and molded those pieces into music that is exciting and inviting.

Although the CD was recorded in Wiltshire, England. Anderson and King were born in Minnesota and Iverson is a Wisconsin native. All of the compositions save two are by members of the band. Completely fresh contemporary jazz, as accessible as it is fearless! Beyond the originals (1972 Bronze Medalist is the best of the bunch, by far), the covers of Heart of Glass (originally by Blondie) and Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana - but you already knew that) are a breath of fresh air. It's about time jazz got away from the fascism of the "Great American Songbook" style and started incorporating songs that might actually resonate with modern listeners. By deconstructing these two covers, they have found completely new things to say on both of them. The same roughly goes for Ethan Iverson's composition style; it's minimalist, but it's nevertheless quite striking. This is a stirring listen from beginning to end.
A final note: if you're looking for "safe" jazz music, keep looking. This is one of the more engaging listens mainstream jazz has offered in quite some time. Easily recommended as one of our best for 2003!

The best of the best for 2003 without music frontiers:

| 1-10 | | 11-20 | | 21-30 | | 31-40 |





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