The foundation of artist-to-fan interaction was changed forever in 2003.
I was in 7th and 8th grade, finally old enough to be aware of (and interested in) the new music that was being played on the radio. My peers and I were also savvy enough to begin downloading songs and making mix CDs for each other. Making the rounds of my middle school’s hallways were “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous” by Good Charlotte, “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne, ” “Hey Ya!” by OutKast, “Kissing the Lipless” by The Shins, “Where Is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas and even “In da Club” by 50 Cent.
And while we thought of ourselves as forward thinking and deep-digging music connoisseurs, those songs barely scratch the surface of notable releases from that year.
There’s Belle & Sebastian fan favorite Dear Catastrophe Waitress, early My Morning Jacket high-point It Still Moves, The Postal Service’s lone effort Give Up, Kathleen Edwards’s debut Failer, Beyonce’s first solo outing Dangerously In Love, Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlaticism…. the list goes on.
It was a year of cross-pollination. Hip-hop infiltrating pop, emo masked as indie rock, political protests made through electronic rock and traditional British folk re-imagined as new-age Pacific Northwest folk. A reinvigorated audience found itself listening to albums outside of its usual stomping grounds in 2003.
Meanwhile, Apple launches the iTunes Music Store, further solidifying the digital path that the music industry had taken and making 2003 not only the (potentially) greatest year in music but also one of the most significant.
Elephant – The White Stripes
Hail to the Thief – Radiohead
The Black Album – Jay Z
Welcome Interstate Managers – Fountains of Wayne
Speakerboxx/The Love Below – OutKast
Chutes Too Narrow – The Shins
Dear Catastrophe Waitress – Belle & Sebastian
It Still Moves – My Morning Jacket
Give Up – The Postal Service
Get Rich or Die Tryin – 50 Cent
Failer – Kathleen Edwards
Hearts of Oak – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Magnolia Electric Co. – Songs:Ohia
Diamonds on the Inside – Ben Harper
Transfigurations of Vince – M. Ward
Rules of Travel – Rosanne Cash
Day I Forgot – Pete Yorn
Electric Version – The New Pornographers
Life for Rent – Dido
Michigan – Sufjan Stevens
Youth & Young Manhood – Kings of Leon
Heavier Things – John Mayer
Her Majesty the Decemberists – The Decemberists
Want One – Rufus Wainwright
Dangerously In Love – Beyonce
Echoes – The Rapture
The Lemon of Pink – The Books
Transatlanticism – Death Cab for Cutie
Fever to Tell – Yeah Yeah Yeahs