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WYEP Decades Week: 2004's dance music, brit pop and electro acoustic projects


For better or worse, 2004 marked the official launch of Facebook. Also occurring was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history with an earthquake that triggered a tsunami that took the lives of over a quarter of a million people, and the start of construction on the tallest human made structure to date in Dubai, UAE. and musicians Rick James and Ray Charles passed away in 2004.

Musically, 2004 was a big year for dance music, brit pop, electro acoustic projects, and for an emerging sub-genre of music, still referred to as indie rock. There were some groundbreaking releases from new acts like The Killers debut album, "Hot Fuss." Arcade Fire released the critically acclaimed "Funeral," Sufjan Stevens put out "Seven Swans," and Iron & Wine had the sophomore stellar effort "Our Endless Numbered Days." 

U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" was the fourth biggest selling record in the world. Loretta Lynn worked with Jack White and put out, "Van Leer Rose."  On the Pop side of the music world, Usher, Alicia Keys, and Outkast were having big years on the charts. Today, as we celebrate 2004 as part of WYEP's Decades Week, here are some of our favorite songs of the year:

The Killers, “Somebody Told Me”

It’s not very often that a debut album spawns one big radio hit, but The Killers "Hot Fuss" had four big hits on it, and the album peaked at No. 7 on Billboard in 2004. “Somebody Told Me” was the second single released and combines some garage-style guitar parts combined with crushing synths to create an energetic dance rock smash that ends up being about simply trying to meet someone in a club.

Citizen Cope, “Son’s Gonna Rise”

Fusing Folk, hip-hop, rock, soul, and blues Clarence Greenwood’s sophomore effort glides through and attempts to tackle social issues lyrically. “Son’s Gonna Rise” is a memorable track that displays his love of combining hip-hop and rock all while lyrically having fact and fiction collide.

Feist, “Mushaboom”

Elements of jazz, folk, pop, and a little funk to create a song that finds happiness and peace through simplicity, and finding beauty through being present, daily. Leslie’s sparse vocals make the feel of the song much more intimate, creating a lasting connection to the themes of the song.

Los Lonely Boys, “Heaven”

Los Lonely Boys are a trio of brothers from Texas that combine smooth blues guitars, soaring harmonies, and a big hook on their very first single. Their debut album went multi-platinum and the band won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a group or duo. Henry Garza wrote the song when he was 18, after tragically losing his first son. The song deals with the pain of loss and hope of reuniting in heaven.

The Shins, “New Slang”

This song gained a lot of traction, attention and airplay after being placed in the movie and on soundtrack to the indie-film, "Garden State." James Mercer wrote the song about the dysfunction, angst and depression in his home town. The track was written before The Shins were even technically a band, and after the placement of this track in the movie, where it’s referenced as “This song will change your life.” The band, song, and critical praise helped propel The Shins to indie rock stars.

Music Director Kyle Smith found his way to Pittsburgh via Burlington, Vermont in 1998. Smith’s career in radio has spanned over 30 years and numerous genres, including news and sports. He found his home in the AAA format at Alternative Rev105 in Minneapolis.