We appear to be smack-gob in the middle of another golden age of music, at least for the music I like.
In 2003, the US Department of Homeland Security was established, Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry, SARS happened, Apple released OSX Panther, I got a job at the then fledgling Dare Digital and using mobile phones while driving was outlawed in the UK, though you wouldn't know it.
2003 was also the International Year of Fresh Water, and the first year that really felt like rock music wasn't dead after all for about a decade, thus marking the end of The Dark Times.
These Swedish glam/sleazesters really know their way around a riff. Cracking stuff packed with attitude. Top track: "A Song For The Outcast"
I went to see Larry play at the Camden Jazz Cafe with a couple of guitar playing buddies, and was wowed. Bought the CD that night, I think. But is it blues-tinged jazz or jazz-tinged blues? Top track: "Night Sweats"
I was late to the Elbow party, but since discovering them they've become one of my favourite bands of all time, and this is my favourite album of theirs. Just wonderful. Top track: "Fugitive Motel"
If you don't love Amy Lee's voice, you might be doing it wrong. Top track: "Everybody's Fool"
A reformed Skid Row without Sebastian Bach was always going to be a bit of a tricky proposition, but I think this album really works. The one after is pretty bad, but this one's fab. Just skip the horrible, unnecessary punk reworking of "I Remember You". Top track: "Born A Beggar"
And the winner is…
Absolutely! You couldn't move in 2003 for stripey spandex catsuits, and Justin climbing up on Jools' piano to play a solo during their first appearance on Later is something I'll remember for a while.
The thing is, it's not just a joke - the songs are incredibly well written, especially the lyrics. Yes there is humour involved, but under that there is a damned fine rock band playing great rock songs. And Justin has a knack for writing a song that initially seems to be about one thing but when you actually stop and listen to what he's saying, it's totally something else.
Plus, the album and the band really were absolutely everywhere in the Summer of 2003, and that woke the general populace up to the return of Rock.
Top tracks: "Growing On Me", "Get Your Hands Off My Woman", "Love Is Only A Feeling"
Turkey of the Year
I loved the first Coral album, but this one was balls. Balls, I tell you.