The Freelance Mentalists.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
my top 10 list of favorite moments in 2004

1. The moments on Ely Guerra’s "Te Amo, I Love You" when it changes from being floaty trip-hop slowjam into total rawk beast, courtesy of some slammin’-ass guitars from Ely and Pancho Lelo de Larrea and Ely wailing like a cranked-up banshee: "Yo arriba! Por favor! Mi amor, déjalo!" Actually, all the moments on the album (Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy) where she loses control and becomes the Mexican Janis Joplin, or Ann Wilson, or Robert Plant, or whoever she’s channeling, because DAYUM SHE SEXY, all cinco feet nothin’ of her, fine fine woman in an afro wig

2. Jadakiss with the simplest best line of the year, maybe: "You know why they made the new twenties? Cause I got all the old ones." I don’t know why I love this line so much; it’s less political than all the other lines, it’s probably jacked from something else, etc. But I just love it, especially because I know Anthony Hamilton is lurking around the corner to beat that chorus into submission.

3. The loop on Luiz Gayotto’s "Hilária," composed of people laughing in Brazilian Portuguese (is that possible?). This album, Fragmentos de musica livre e espontaneo, is like Brian Eno in the 1970s, just great pop music composed by a loony avant-garde genius, but I love this track in particular, especially when he starts tweaking the loop ever so slightly, making it into blips and bleeps and bops over that insistent beat.

4. Chingo Bling’s telephone conversation with the shoe guy who wants him to endorse "Air Chingo" sandals, and Chingo doesn’t want to sell out (the skit is at the end of "Fuck a Major Label," after all) so he makes the corporate tool guy yell "Chow me de moneyz!" like he’s Cherry McGwire. All of The Tamale Kingpin is pretty funny like that – even better is the skit where Chingo is president and the reporter asks him why he built a plywood room onto the White House for his abuelita.

5. Driving through town with my brother Jeff listening to Lil’ Jon’s "Stop Fuckin Wit Me," which is like the dude from Suicidal Tendencies’ "Institutionalized" grew up and now has child-support and employment issues. We had the windows down in the cold so we could yell "All I wanted was a Pepsi!!!!"

6. Finding Carlinhos Brown’s Alfagamabetizado for $1.00 at the Frugal Muse Outlet Store. This was like my Holy Grail moment of 2004, comparable to finding the original vinyl of the Four Season’s Genuine Imitation Life Gazette for $.99 last year.

7. Watching some corny awards show with my daughter a couple of months ago when Alicia Keys came out and went into "Karma," just tearing it up. Emma and I looked at each other and just nodded, all serious, like "Aw yeah, that’s our girl!" She just got the album last night for Hanukkah, and I hope she opens it soon so I can hear it.

8. Bursting into tears, late at night, listening to "Believe You Me" by Allison Moorer, when I realized how far ahead of all other country songwriters she is right now, which is to say "all other American songwriters."

9. Somehow becoming the go-to guy for Sao Paulo musicians who want their stuff to get reviewed in the U.S. There was a period where I was getting a brown-paper package every other day with weird scrawls on the outside and weird wonderful wild music on the inside.

10. Hearing the most beautiful song I have ever heard in my life: "Hecho en Buenos Aires," by Bersuit Vergabarat.
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