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Monster Music Awards 2004
The Best Album Award
Manic Street Preachers - Lifeblood     Dizze Rascal - Showtime     Kasabian - Kasabian     Marillion - Marbles     Snow Patrol - Final Straw     Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines
Marillion - Marbles
Manic Street Preachers - Lifeblood
Dizzee Rascal - Showtime
Kasabian - Kasabian
Marillion - Marbles
Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines

This has been one of the best years I can remember for sheer quality music. Shorlisting 6 albums was hard enough, and in the end finding the winner became harder than I thought. Of course everyone who knows me will be claiming this was an obvious choice, predictable and no real surprise, but this is the right winner. Of course none of you have actually even heard Marbles. Blinded by what you have heard about Marillion and public opinion. As a result, you have seriously all missed the best album of the year. And despite being asked over and over again when I was going to do these awards as some of you go on my trusted word, I also know, no one will buy this album as a result. And it's a shame. Because little do you all know, but this group are shaping the way music is made and released right behind your backs, while at the same time writing and creating music all these so called new wave bands could never make or even have the vision to think about making. When I hear how The Killers have made the best album of the year, it makes me so frustrated. Compared to Marbles, The Killers and their likes are so average, so lame, so souless. Yes I know, it's all about taste and opinion and what is one man's flavour isn't anothers. But I would bet my house on being able to convert anyone who actually sat down and "listened" to this album. I have been trying to convert Furterz for years, and this year on hearing Marbles I decided on one last push, a few months later and one Gig later, Young Furterz was round to copy every single Marillion album ever made. He was blown away by them live...and Furterz is the hardest nut to crack when it comes to matter of music.

So ok, enough of turning this into a rant as to why you should all start listening to this band, just what is the album like. It's everything you want it to be. It's a music lovers dream, musically it's as deep as you could possibly want to go. It's emotional, is loud, it's soft, it's personal, it's alive, it's haunting. It gets under your skin, the more you listen, the more you hear. These tracks are not the kind you can download to your PC and listen to at your desk (are you listening Matt), you only do that for background music. Spare me such an insult, this album should never be used in such a brainless way, the same goes for all these albums. Marbles is what music is all about. You listen to music because of the way it makes you feel, and if your brave enough, this album will make you feel things that make you feel uncomfy as well as alive. The Invisible Man, The Damage, Fantastic Place, Neverland....these are tracks most could never make and sure as hell could never have the soul to even write. Marbles is the best album of the year.

As good as Marbles is, there were a few moments this year when I started to wonder if it would actually win this award. You see no matter what most think, I am a fair man, and if there is something better I am more than happy to say so...and have in the past. Snow Patrol - Final Straw was (because I'm not the kind of bloke to make out I have been with them every step of the way if I haven't) the first time I had heard of them. For ages I was convinced this was the best debut album I had ever heard, but it's not. This is their 3rd album. Listening back to their earlier stuff, you can tell this is their coming of age album. Spitting Games, Chocolate, Run...genius. This album is full of engery and great anthems. Snow Patrol are possibly the band of the year in respect of sudden exposure and rightly so. You can tell this has been a long journey for them to get here and you could also tell from the live gig I saw with Furterz that they know it. Genuine and fingers crossed loads more to come. Manic Street Preachers - Lifeblood was a real bolt out of the blue. Taking into account Marillion will never win anything, it will be the biggest crime ever if this album does not win the Mercury Award next year. This is one of the best sounding albums I have heard in such a long time. Let's face it, most people seem to have turned their backs on The Manics, after Know Your Enemy, I can see why some thought they had lost it. But there comes a time when you have to accept that a band has to move on. Do we really still want The Manics blaring out more and more political commentry? Do we really still want them screaming about the state of the world. Grow up. First and formost, these are musicians. Sure they still have their say on this album, but you can tell, you can hear, that they just wanted to make a fucking brilliant music album. And they have. This is awesome. If you have never been a fan, put off by their stance on the political world, then this is the album to start listening to. For those who have always been fans, this is never "The Holy Bible", nothing ever would be. That was a one off, caught in the moment, lost in the depression of the genius Edwards. It's time to move on, and now they are making the best sounding album of the year bar one. BUY IT. So what do you do when the band your in has long lost it's soul and purpose and importance in the music world? You go solo and start making music that your ex band couldn't even dream of. Graham Coxon - Happiness in Magazines is fantastic, and another than had me doubting who would win this award. Punk-pop is alive and well. This is a great listen. Loud and proud. Ever wondered who the genius in Blur really was....well just look at Blur's Think Tank and this album and you will find the answer. It is of course Punk from 2004, anyone looking to hear a Punk album that sounds like it has come direct from 1977 is fooling themselves. Music like this relates to theyear it's written which is why you will find a couple of slower tracks that you would never dream of finding on a 70's Punk Pop album. It's almost criminal to label this album as Punk or Punk Pop, there are influences of course, but it is fair to say you can hear David Bowie on here as much as you can hear any raw voice from the street. An album everyone should buy this year if only to wake them up from the dull tones of the so called bands of the year. If you were one of the people who thought razorlight were great this year, do yourself a favor and throw it aside and listen to something with more life to it. As I have said Furterz is a hard nut to crack and here is an album I will never get him to agree on. Dizzee Rascal - Showtime. While everyone crows over how good The Streets are and how much of a god Eminem is, they should take a look at this lad. Original, in touch and totally focused on where he wants to go and not where he is told to go. Granted there are a few tracks on this album I will skip over, but for the sheer orignial material on here it is one of the albums of the year. I haven't been a fan of this type of Urban music for a very long time. I got bored of it, and it wasn't until Dizzee came on the scene that I knew why I was bored of it. A pattern had been set and all artists had to follow it in order to get anywhere. Dizzee came along and basically stuck two fingers up and did his own thing. Most of the lyrics are of course of the same school as most Urban music, but it's the sound that grabs you and makes you want to hear more. I have to be in the mood for it, but along with his first album, these are rapidly becoming important albums that eveyone should own. Kasabian - Kasabian was one of the surprises of the year. I had never heard of them until the album and I don't think many had. But what an album. A bright new fresh mix of funky tracks mixed with hard hitting rock tracks full of passion. To look at they scare me, everytime their advert comes on TV I think to myself "there is no way I would buy their album", but thank god I got this album before I saw them, now they just care meas I try to focus on the music. Awesome debut album, but one that gives me one of those feelings that this could have been to big too soon for them. We will see on the follow up album. But this is easy one of the albums of the year.