Struggling to find a 2004 album of the year

Okay, we’re past the summer solstice, the music released in 2004 is at least half a year old and I’m still struggling with my personal pick for album of the year. For a while, the lead contender has been Steve Earle’s The Revolution Starts…Now. It’s a work that’s grown on me but I still can’t help but wonder how much of the inclination is based on political merit.

There’s plenty of other stuff that came out that I heard but….

I found U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb weak compared to All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Likewise, I thought American Idiot (a/k/a the vehicle to mainstream punk revival to death) and Modest Mouse’s Good New for People Who Love Bad News were overrated. I see Franz Ferdinand and Los Lonely Boys as likely passing phenoms and found releases by Clapton, Cocker, R.E.M., Christine McVie and Mark Knopfler standard fare at best and certainly not stellar.

Still, I’ve got several months to go before I really fall behind on a 2004 selection. Who knows, maybe political merit will out. Or maybe the ultimate determination will be that 2004 lacked sufficient artistic value.

Somethin’ ’bout livin’ in fear all your life makes you hard that way

“Rich Man’s War,” Steve Earle, The Revolution Starts…Now

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