I keep looking at Sasha's constantly updating and mutating 2004 best-of lists, and each time I am daunted, impressed, and revved up all at once. I've been talking with a couple friends about this year so far--it's a damn good year for albums, already. I'm finding lots of good ones; maybe not great ones, always, but that usually takes time anyway--the fourth quarter if you're being literal, repeated exposure and living with them if you're not. Sasha's lists are ultimate proof that for schmusic luvvahz, active listening is the antitode to the perceived blahs, but also in a more general way I do think the year's just been/is really good.
Since SFJ's lists do shift all the time I will simply note of his list-so-far that of the 89 albums he's got on there now (and he included the caveat about a month ago that "everything below 40 is just me keeping track," quoted freely), I have only myself heard 27, not counting the Nu-Mark mix, which I heard most of at a store recently, or the several discs I have but haven't played yet. Of the 41 singles, I'm familiar with a measly 12; it would've been 13 if he hadn't switched his vote for Ghostface & Jadakiss's "Run" from the regular version to the Pistol Pete remix. Obviously, I need to acquaint myself with a radio, which I'm hoping happens on my impending Minneapolis trip (leave there late Tuesday, overnight flight, arrive Wed., stay at the Days Inn near the U of M campus Wed-Thu nights, then w/the other double-M Fri-Sat, and fly back Sunday aft./evening.), or maybe when I get someone to make me a CD or whatever. The point, though, is that I'm digging this year's ear-products a lot and I'm not even hearing what, according to someone whose tastes I trust pretty well, are all the good ones. So I think that bodes well.
The other thing is that I do find it difficult to keep "official" track of albums these days, partly because I'm disorganized, partly because as per my year-end mix-thing, I've been keeping track of individual songs, one per artist (and a maximum, I've decided, of three per compilation) gearing up for what I'm expecting to be two MP3 CD-Rs worth of new stuff and a third of reissued material. This means I'm not keeping track of albums or singles, per se; you could argue that I'm wrong about the latter, since anything can be a single now (and Pazz & Jop allows you to vote for whatever tracks you want to--they prefer "focus tracks," but they don't disqualify your ballot if you don't pick them), but I sort of doubt "I Love You Golden Blue" or "Send Me Shivers" or "Slammin' Ragga Bootleg Track"* are going to be "singles" in even that sense, but on they go. Then again, Sasha has the advantage of being on Abstract Dynamics, where you can tweak and link separately individual entries, which Blogspot doesn't do; maybe I'll just start a separate blog to do my albums lists in a similar fashion. Because unlike last year, when I was swamped w/work (wrote a book, y'know) and life (moved x-country and started a new job, y'know), this year I'm settled enough to be able to keep real track of albums instead of pulling together a top ten, just barely.
Anyway: musically, a good year, so far. I hope it keeps going like this.
*Sonic Youth, Mouse on Mars, and Kid606, respectively.