Part of the malaise crits seem to be feeling about this year as Top Ten time rolls around has to be due to the lack of exciting debuts or breakthroughs. Most of the big albums are by artists who have released big albums before. Even noteworthy full-length newbies like M.I.A., Annie and LCD Soundsystem were more exciting hypes in 2004 thanks to Piracy Funds Terrorism, "Heartbeat" and "Yeah." There's no doubt in my mind that Kanye's going to win Pazz'n'Jop - the first act to win it twice in a row since the Clash. Singles-wise, two big likelies (and possible #1's on my own list) are "Mr. Brightside," from a 2004 album, and "Since U Been Gone," a blatant anomaly in the singer's ouvre (...what a feeling!). My favorite debut this year is Louis XIV, which I've gathered is an unpopular opinion. Those cads actually made an album as Convoy before realizing that tart-baiting and Bowie cops were their raison d'etre, so I guess my favorite true debut this year is by Loquat. I haven't heard of them either.
Unless the Bloc Party and Young Jeezy send your soul aquiver with dreams of what might be or voting for the New Pornographers gets more thrilling for you each time (you NPR-eared lame-o*), this hasn't been a "music - FUCK YEAH" year. Praising Shut Up! was definitely more of a gas than namechecking Sleeping In The Nothing. Not that this will stop me from putting Sleeping In The Nothing on my p'n'j ballot if the next two monts don't bring me some grander treasures.
*I'm just kidding, you NPR-eared sweetheart.