I have been a musical hermit this last week...and it is my kinda getaway, I can tell you that...!
Each year, around Columbus Day, my public radio station WXPN 88.5 has a contest for the top 885 musical picks of a genre.This year the category was the Best Songs of the New Millennium, which is defined as the years 2001 to 2013.
It has been a week of remembering some of the best in both new artists and some sentimental classical favorites from my younger years in the 1970s and 1980s.
Although I invite you to look up the final list online @ www.xpn under 885 Countdown for 2013, I have self - indulgently listed my favorite song for each of these 13 years. And I do hope you listen to some, even all, as you have time. Keep rocking! mar
2001: rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah
During the first official year of the new millennium, I turned 40. Famous movies included "Gladiator" and "Harry Potter & Sorcerer's Stone". We all watched the terrorists attack of our country on 9-11 and we saw the anthrax scare come and go.
Old timers like Bob Dylan gave us some good music, yet I was introduced to so many wonderful new sounds in Weezer...Raul Malo...Daft Punk...Old 97s...Radiohead...Lucinda Williams...Jack Johnson...Ben Folds...The Shins...The White Stripes...The Black Crowes...Dave Matthews...My Morning Jacket...The Strokes...
For so many reasons, I selected Rufus Wainwright's rendition of the classic, "Hallelujah"... as my most memorable song in 2001.
2002: tori Amos - A Sorta Fairytale
A brand new Black Hole and the first creation of embryonic stem cells were among the hallmark events in 2002. Movies not to be missed were " My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and " Chicago".
A blend of the older and newer musicians heralded the scene with new music by Nickelelcreek...Dixie Chicks...Rhett Miller...Trey Anastasia...Coldplay...Moby...Spoon...Nora Jones... and David Byrne...Patty Griffin...Sheryl Crow...Counting Crows...Bruce Springsteen...Red Hot Chili Peppers.
My top pick for this year went to one of my all time favorites, Miss Tori Amos singing " A Sorta Fairytale".
2003: The Jayhawks - Save it for a Rainy Day
The year 2003 was filled with the serious to the sublime, as war was launched against Iraq and Saddam Hussein was captured at the same time as packed movie theaters to "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Finding Nemo".
The mellow sounds of Sting and the memorable sounds of the late Warren Zevon marked 2003, along with the introduction to my musical repertoire of such musical talents as Guster...Kathleen Edwards...Vampire Weekend...Train...Kings of Leon...Stereophonics...Death Cab for Cutie...Fountains of Wayne...Calexico...John Mayer... The Decemberists...Linkin Park...M. Ward... Richard Thompson...Joss Stone...Drive By Truckers...Yo La Tengo.
My pick for the best of 2003 is the upbeat and fresh sounds of The Jayhawks singing " Save it for a Rainy Day."
2004: KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
George W. Bush was reelected defeating John Kerry. The first gay marriages took place in the state of Massachusetts and Martha Stewart, the Diva of Domesticity, was put behind bars. "The Lord of the Rings" was all the rage.
In 2004, a wonderful mix of new sounds with Missy Smith... James Blunt... Regina Spektor... Nellie Mckay... The Black Keys... Green Day... John Butler Trio... Modest Mouse...Five For Fighting...The Killers...Ray Lamontagne ... Los Lonely Boys... were blended with the ever classic Morrissey, U2 and even the delightful joining of Jack White and Loretta Lynn...
This year the young and sassy sounds of KT Tunstall stole my heart, especially the tune: "Suddenly I See."
2005: Ringside - Tired of Being Sorry
In 2005, Tony Blair took his third successive term as Prime Minister and Hurricane Katrina left her unforgettable mark on New Orleans. Peter Jennings, the salt of the earth in our nightly news, died in August. Kids and adults alike were " movin it" to the "Madagascar" theme song.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals...Beck... Ben Folds...Foo Fighters...Lcd Soundsystem...Brandi Carlile...
Amos Lee...Kaiser Chiefs... Bloc Party...all made appearances on the musical scene along with a band of many girls' crushes, Bon Jovi...in 2005.
I picked a "one hit wonder" song by Ringside...called " Tired of Being Sorry" as my mantra song for this year, actually for every year since!
2006: Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own
Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in the year of 2006. We were exposed to the hanging of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in most graphic detail. I sobbed as the world said good-bye to James Brown and Amy Winehouse, two musical extremes. " Crash" was the riveting Best Picture in the Academy Awards.
An eclectic year for music introduced me to Neko Case...Artic Monkeys...Snow Patrol...Rodrigo Y Gabriela... Gomez...Alexi Murdoch... Cold War Kids, as well as hearing new songs from favorites such as
Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris... Tom Petty... Roseanne Cash... Rascal Flatts...Elvis Costello...Tom Waits.
While I loved Amy's entire album this year, aptly named "Back to Black", I selected " Tears Dry on Their Own" as my sentimental favorite for the year 2006.
2007: Levon Helm - the Mountain
Microsoft released Windows Vista...where it all began in 2007. Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair as Prime Minister of Great Britain. " Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", the final book of the series was released.
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings... Seawolf...Arcade Fire... Band of Horses...The Avett Brothers...colored the radio waves with their songs, along with the classically becoming duo of Alison Krause & Robert Plant...
I was blown away in 2007 by the contributions of the late Levon Helm, especially in "The Mountain".
2008: the Pretenders - Love's a Mystery
Stock markets world wide experienced Black Monday in January of 2008 as the biggest ever one- day points fall occurred. Castro retired after almost 50 years as President of Cuba. Barack Obama became the first elected African American President of the United States.
Esperanza Spalding... Fleet Foxes... Jason Mraz...Chuck Prophet...Adele... Bon Iver... Dr Dog...
Rachael Yamagata... Ting Tings were some of the new musicians I discovered.
My inner college girl jumped at the chance to pick Chrissy Hines and the Pretenders...better than ever in "Love's a Mystery".
2009: Monsters of Folk - Dear God
The world was sad in June as we lost Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, on the same day as my nephew's June 25th birthday. The swine flu is pronounced a global pandemic, while Iran launched the first domestically made satellite into orbit.
Animal Collective... The Heavy... Train... One Eskimo... Pearl Jam... Phish... David Gray... Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes... Florence and the Machines...Shemekia Copeland gave us some impressive new tunes.
Without a doubt, this evocative and haunting song by Monsters of Folk, "Dear God" was my #1 choice in 2009.
2010: John Legend & the Roots - Hard Times
2010 bid adieu to " As the World Turns" after a 54 year run, as well as the last Tonight Show episode by Conan O'Brien. Bombings are happening everywhere from India to Pakistan to Mosow to New York.
Cee Lo... Trombone Shorty... Sade... Passion Pit... Gorillaz... Lissie... The Tallest Man on Earth...Janelle Monae... were the new names on my musical soundtrack, along with the amazing Robert Plant and The Band of Joy... Mavis Staples... Peter Gabriel in the year of 2010.
Truly the hardest year of my life, with the death of my Mom in May, I remember learning to listen to music again to the sounds of " Hard Times" by the brilliant John Legend and the Roots.
2011: Diego Garcia - Roses and Wine
In 2011, I turned 50 years of age as I so closely identified with Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in an assassination attempt. Osama bin Laden was killed by United States Special Forces in Pakistan. Winter reared its frigid head as two million in the northeast United States lost power for over 36 hours.
The unforgettable Paul Simon gave us some tunes in addition to other newer talents such as St Vincent Tedeschi Trucks Band... Foster the People... My Morning Jacket... Beastie Boys... Feist... The War on Drugs... Raphael Saadiq... Iron and Wine... Hoots and Hellmouth... Joe Bonnamassa...Of Monsters and Men... Bobby Long...
Yet it was the exotic and sultry new sounds of Diego Garcia that touched my soul this year. Although the entire album named 'Laura' is a keeper, I chose 'Roses and Wine' as my favorite for 2011.
2012: Citizen Cope - One Lovely Day
The year of 2012 saw the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, Hurricane Sandy and the landing of Mars rover, Curiosity.
Michael Kiwanuka... Alabama Shakes... Fun... Maroon 5... Lord Huron... Jack White... Delta Spirit...Polica... The Lumineers... Beach House... Wallflowers... Ingrid Michaelson... Lianne La Havas...Good Old War... Emile Sande... Lana Del Ray... Delta Rae..., along with the unique stylings of Dr John... Bonnie Raitt... Neil Young and Crazy Horse... and The Rolling Stones made 2012 a fabulous year for new music.
It was no contest as I chose the one of a kind, ballad singer Citizen Cope doing " One Lovely Day" for my favorite song for 2012.
2013: Dawes - Most People
Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February, as Francis becomes the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere. Two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon killing three and injuring many. A Prince is born and his name is George of Cambridge. Margaret Thatcher and Roger Ebert both die in April of this year.
Daft Punk... Jim James... The Civil Wars... Buddy Guy... Mayer Hawthorne... Foxygen... emerged in 2013 with distinctive sounds along with the Bowie album that left us speechless with delight.
The band that I regard as the next classic has gotta be Dawes, with a sound reminiscent of Jackson Brown. The song " Most People" from this year is an anthem to me.
" Music was my refuge I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to the loneliness." ( Maya Angelou)
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