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Who's Who


Bob Boilen hosts All Songs Considered and is the director of All Things Considered.

Robin Hilton is the producer for All Songs Considered.

Mikel Jollett is the Managing Editor of Filter Music Magazine and a reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered.

Will Hermes is a contributing editor to Spin magazine and a music critic for NPR's All Things Considered.

Meredith Ochs is a music writer based in New York and critic for NPR's All Things Considered.

Tom Moon is a music writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a music critic for NPR's All Things Considered.

John Richards is the morning music host for NPR member station KEXP in Seattle.

Nic Harcourt is host for Morning Becomes Eclectic on NPR member station KCRW in Santa Monica. He's also their music director.

David Dye is host of World Cafe from NPR member station WXPN in Philadelphia.

Jim Fusilli is a music writer for The Wall Street Journal and a music critic for NPR's All Things Considered.

Banning Eyre Senior editor for Afropop.org and a music critic for NPR's All Things Considered.

Fred Child is the host of NPR's Performance Today.

Tom Manoff is a classical music critic for NPR's All Things Considered known for his theories on pancultural music.


Holiday Music 2003






From December 22, 2003:

The Best Songs of 2003

Listen to All Songs Considered Listen to the entire show:
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It certainly is the age of the song. The days of the MP3 aren't so different from the days of the 45rpm. You pay a buck; the quality is good, but not as good as its more expensive counterpart. Back in the days of the 45, you'd stack your faves on a round 45 adapter, best side up, and one by one they would play, the tone arm lifting off the record long enough for the next 45 to magically fall onto the platter and play. You'd hope it wouldn't skip. The days of the 45 or even mix tapes seem antiquated in the age of the iPod and homemade CD's. We've "streamed" our picks for 2003's best songs, so click to listen and hope it doesn't skip!

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songs featured in this episode




"The only reason to believe all the hype on this band. It's not post-punk or nuevo-garage or whatever overwrought jargon the band has been labeled with - it's a soulful, bittersweet break-up song."

-- NPR reviewer Mikel Jollett

"Very close to being my album of the year and this song is one of the main reasons. One of the most intense, emotional rock releases in recent memory."

-- KEXP morning DJ John Richards




Yeah Yeah Yeahs

CD: Fever to Tell
Label: Interscope
Released: April 29, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Maps"



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"It's the song of the summer, only in the fall: ephemeral and catchy, invoking everything good about the Cars, Blondie, and getting lost between bars on a Friday night in New York."

-- NPR reviewer Mikel Jollett


The Strokes

CD: Room on Fire
Label: RCA
Released: October 28, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "12:51"



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"An absolutely hauntingly beautiful traveling song to play again and again on headphones during rainstorms."

-- NPR reviewer Mikel Jollett (on the song "Golden")

"A glorious rock anthem and it's almost like the band won't let themselves finish it." -- World Cafe host David Dye (on the song "Mahgeetah")


My Morning Jacket

CD: It Still Moves
Label: RCA
Released: September 09, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Golden"

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Mahgeetah"



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"This is the sound of a man on fire. Smart, funny and honestly out of his mind; but he comes back long enough to sing about it. One of the best singer/songwriters I've ever heard."

-- All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen

"In a good year for songs about death - half of Dave Matthews' Some Devil meditates on it - this dramatic little ode is among the most unusual, wry and haunting at the same time."

-- NPR reviewer Tom Moon


David Dondero

CD: The Transient
Label: Future Farmer
Released: October 21, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Ashes on the Highway"



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"If you've been in the house too long, staring at the screen, roll down the car windows and sing this song, and sing it loudly. This is why pop music makes great radio."

-- All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen


Grandaddy

CD: Sumday
Label: V2
Released: June 10, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Now It's On"



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"Reed made another brilliant record this year, and few noticed. It wasn't an easy listen. It's not easy to sum up the magic and wonder of life in a 4-minute song. But he did. One day, if you are over 50, you will need this song."

--All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen


Lou Reed

CD: The Raven
Label: Reprise/Sire
Released: January 28, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Who Am I"



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"Lanois' preternatural gifts as a producer have never been more evident than on this piece. How does he do it?? What does he Lanois know that other producers and musicians don't? The remarkable world of sound Lanois creates in this beautiful work of art literally gives me goose bumps."

-- All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton


Daniel Lanois

CD: Shine
Label: Epitaph
Released: April 22, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "I Love You"



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"From my runner-up for best album of the year: a deeply personal and intimate collection of delicate songs of love, sorrow and remembrance. This song brought tears to my eyes, and that's enough for me. We'll be hearing a lot more from Sufjan Stevens in the coming years."

-- All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton


Sufjan Stevens

CD: Greetings from Michigan, The Great Lakes State
Label: Sounds Familyre
Released: July 01, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Romulus"



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"This cross-state collaboration (through the mail and Internet) between Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello showed what music could be in the 21st century. It's a brilliant marriage of electronica and indie rock. This is the stand-out track."

-- All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton


Postal Service

CD: Give Up
Label: Sub Pop
Released: February 18, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"



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"'Happy Valentine's Day' from Outkast's amazingly all-over-the- place Speakerboxxx/The Love Below has rapper cum-singer Andre 3000 playing a thugged-out Cupid, an idea I really like. 'Now when arrows don't penetrate/Cupid grabs a pistol and shoots straight for your heart.' It's part spoken word, part rap, and part indelible chorus - strange construction, great song."

-- NPR reviewer Will Hermes


Outkast

CD: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Label: Le Face
Released: September 23, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Happy Valentine's Day"



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"Singer Ben Gibbard was responsible for two of my fave LPs this year: Give UP by the Postal Service and Transatlaticism by his main group, Death Cab for Cutie. The latter has 'Title and Registration,' the only song I know that finds the depths of heartbreak in a glove compartment."

-- NPR reviewer Will Hermes


Death Cab for Cutie

CD: Transatlanticism
Label: Barsuk
Released: October 07, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Title and Registration"



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"I think 'Lost in Translation' is one of the year's loveliest films, and music played a huge role in the spell it cast. The entire soundtrack is good, but I especially like 'Kaze Wo Atsumete' by Japan's Happy End. It sounds like something off James Taylor's Sweet Baby James, and while I have no idea what the guy is singing about, it still makes me happy every time I hear it."

-- NPR reviewer Will Hermes


Japan's Happy Ending

CD: Lost in Translation (Soundtrack)
Label: Emperor Norton
Released: September 09, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Kaze Wo Atsumete"



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"You can keep the Strokes and even the White Stripes. It's all about Kings of Leon. They take garage rock down south, to the land of the Allman Brothers and Leon Russell. This is a perfect rock song: lean and mean with a killer beat and primal, gut piercing riffs. When I was a kid, I loved punk and garage rock and I used to laugh at people who listened to any song over 3 minutes. Now I love Southern rock more than anything, especially the Allmans. So this song marries my past to my present."

-- NPR reviewer Meredith Ochs


The Kings of Leon

CD: Youth and Young Manhood
Label: RCA
Released: August 19, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Molly's Chambers"



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"This is the title track from a tribute album to traditional and public domain songs - great concept, bringing these dusty old songs into the '00s with electric guitar, pedal steel, etc. and young-ish singers. I like Kris Delmhorst's voice a lot. It has a rich, bluesy quality without being too bluesy, and it really carries a melody."

-- NPR reviewer Meredith Ochs


Kris Delmhorst

CD: Ain't No Grave
Label: Dren Records
Released: August 05, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Ain't No Grave"



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"Edwards is a young Canadian who made a big splash this year. This song opens her debut album, and it paints quite a picture. It's sung from the perspective of a girl who comes home to find her boyfriend - who has apparently committed a crime - holed up with a gun in their apartment, surrounded by police and TV camera crews. As a copy shoots and kills him, she reveals that she's pregnant with his child. When I met Edwards, I asked her what inspired the song. She said she was living in a rural area and just gotten cable, and she'd been watching a lot of CNN. I never watch CNN, but I guess they broadcast a lot of this stuff. The song also has a killer hook and a melody that stays in your head for days."

-- NPR reviewer Meredith Ochs


Kathleen Edwards

CD: Failer
Label: Rounder
Released: January 14, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Six O'Clock News"



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The dual solo offering of Outkast was a constant presence in the car, right alongside the debut of this extraordinary duo, John Bigham and Christopher Thomas. Starting at the crowded intersection of R&B and hip hop, they gather in elements of the blues and psychedelic rock and Stevie Wonder-ish vocal improvisation, yet never sound pretentious."

-- NPR reviewer Tom Moon


The Soul of John Black

CD: The Soul of John Black
Label: No Mayo
Released: June 03, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Scandalous (No. 9)"



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"Accompanying the happy, chattering taped voice of his Istanbul tour guide with darting piano trio counterpoint, Jason Moran here creates a new kind of jazz interaction. Simply amazing."

-- NPR reviewer Tom Moon


Jason Moran

CD: The Bandwagon
Label: Blue Note
Released: August 19, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Ringing My Phone"



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"It's been seven years since the last Wrens album and it'll be seven more before this song gets out of my head."

-- KEXP morning DJ John Richards


The Wrens

CD: The Meadowlands
Label: Absolutely Kosher
Released: September 09, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Everyone Chooses Sides"



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-- "The first time I heard the album that this song comes from, I assumed that Joss was most likely a thirtyish black woman from Philadelphia. She's actually a blonde haired sixteen year old white girl from the south of England with a that can only be described as a gift."

-- Morning Becomes Eclectic host Nic Harcourt

"I honestly heard this for the first time not knowing her age or her ethnicity and told the World Cafe staff to book her and that I would strew rose petals up the steps to our studios in front of her. Each 'wait a minute' sucks you in to this perfect arrangement."

-- World Cafe host David Dye


Joss Stone

CD: Soul Sessions
Label: S-Curve Records
Released: September 16, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Super Duper Love"



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"Jem is somebody whose demos I first heard almost a year ago. She's a star in the making from Wales in the UK with a sound that mixes dreamy vocals with well written songs incorporating beats and samples."

Morning Becomes Eclectic host Nic Harcourt




Jem

CD: It All Starts Here
Label: Ato Records
Released: October 14, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "They"



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"This song features the folk voice of Sean Hayes over an ambient electronic soundscape."

Morning Becomes Eclectic host Nic Harcourt




DJ Mark Farina

CD: Air Farina
Label: O.M. Records
Released: October 07, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Dream Machine"



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"Tops in singer/songwriter-dom. When you talk with Josh and find out that the night he mentions in this song had more to do with having the car keys for the first time than the girl, it completely takes me back."

-- World Cafe host David Dye




Josh Ritter

CD: Hello Starling
Label: Signature Sounds
Released: September 09, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Kathleen"



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"Rubbery notes on guitar by Harrison suggest it's go into be a radical reinterpretation of the Woody Guthrie song, but soon Uri Caine's piano places the rendition in a jazz context, as does David Binney's sax. But the performance ultimately transcends genre: it's just a new way of looking at a familiar tune, a beloved American classic. For me, it became a metaphor for how we have to remember to look at the US with fresh, probing eyes and understand that America is a work in progress, subject to a variety of affectionate interpretations."

-- NPR reviewer Jim Fusilli



Joel Harrison

CD: Free Country
Label: High Note
Released: June 17, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "This Land is Your Land"



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"A get-up-and-go song told from the point of view of an eight year old eager to start the weekend. It instantly reminds me of how much fun it is to think like a kid. it's one of the high points of a very, very good album by Mark Oliver Everet and the band."

-- NPR reviewer Jim Fusilli



The Eels

CD: Shootenanny
Label: Dreamworks
Released: June 03, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Saturday Morning"



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"I love the interplay between Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on this acoustic blues. It's the closing track on a terrific album from a band I'd thought was on life support. Maybe their best studio album in 30 years, thanks to Haynes and Trucks."

-- NPR Reviewer Jim Fusilli



The Allman Brothers

CD: Hittin the Note
Label: Sanctuary Records
Released: March 18, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Old Friends"



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"This track captures the sublime mastery and ease of Djelimady Tounkara's guitar playing in the context of the Rail Band's majestic musical chemistry like nothing else. What I really love is its moody, introspective feeling; African pop doesn't get any more majestic."

-- NPR reviewer Banning Eyre



Super Rail Band De Bamako

CD: Kongo Sigui
Label: Indigo
Released: October 14, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Kongo Sigui"



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"The dance pop music of the Congo is full of formulas, but it didn't become the most popular dance music in Africa by accident. On this song, everything hits home - the singing, the arranging, the instrumental and vocal hooks, the production, and sterling acoustic guitar work to boot. No matter how disillusioned I become with all the posing and recycling in this music, I can put this on and remember all at once why I still love Congolese music so much."

-- NPR reviewer Banning Eyre



Kekele

CD: Congo Life
Label: Stern's Africa
Released: October 14, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Issake Shango"



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"This remake of a classic from old Afghanistan radio number spotlights the country's ties with North Indian culture, although the notes say the song is Persian. Whatever its origin, there's something in the lyrical melody, the unusual mode, the complex rhythm - a slow waltz, but with a rolling, swinging undercurrent - the searing violin and soaring voice of the revitalized radio diva, Mahwash, that is pure magic. I put this on and melt every time."

-- NPR reviewer Banning Eyre



Mahwash & Ensemble Kaboul

CD: Radio Kaboul
Label: Accords-Croises
Released: November 11, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Hama Omre"



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-- NPR's Performance Today host Fred Child's pick.



Christopher O'Riley

CD: True Love Waits
Label: Sony
Released: June 10, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Knives Out"



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"This is my pancultural hit of the year - deep structures of layered dance rhythms, perfect complex counterpoint, spiritual message within 'hot' street-dance genre. Big-time modulation at the high point. Traditional Ground Bass structure (not unlike the Baroque period). This is the blending of several cultural strains beyond style and time."

-- NPR reviewer Tom Manoff



Stacie Orrico

CD: Stacie Orrico
Label: Virgin
Released: March 25, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "More to Life"



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"If you think a classically trained singer can't break your heart like your favorite pop songster, take a listen to Counter Tenor David Daniels singing 'Blackberry Winter' with guitarist Craig Ogden. Daniels has become a super-star for good reason. It's more than the sound of his voice. It's the emotion inside the artist. Listen and weep."

-- NPR reviewer Tom Manoff



David Daniels

CD: A Quiet Thing
Label: Virgin
Released: August 05, 2003

Listen to All Songs ConsideredListen to "Blackberry Winter"



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