Best Of 2004

If you look back at the Best Of 2003 Issue (Click Here) you'll see it was The Year Of The Darkness, a year where S Club 8 made great choreographed pop and George Galloway, Tony Benn and Michael Moore stood proud joint winners of Man Of The Year. What makes the end of year review so special at Designer Magazine is you're judged on the last 12 months rather than the scenario of the Brit Awards where either U2 or REM were guaranteed the Best Band In The World regardless of whether they'd actually released anything. Read on for the Designer Magazine Best Of 2004 selections which we hope provide as many surprises as it does recognize the tremendous success of some of our favourite acts

Best Band / Artist
1. Morrissey
2. Scissor Sisters
3. Franz Ferdinand

Morrissey and Scissor Sisters set a pattern for the rest of the year which saw them competing in most of the main categories in our End Of Year Review. It was the veteran, the Mozfather, which beat off the young(ish) whipper snappers to the crown of Best Band / Artist. With "You Are The Quarry" Morrissey released an album that captured the minds of a younger audience who'd been playing a steady diet of the Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and a host of bands inspired by the Smiths and Morrissey. His live shows at the MEN Arena, Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Leeds Festival proved time and time again in the space of a few short months why we still hold Morrissey close to our hearts.

Best New Band / Artist
1. Scissor Sisters
2. Do Me Bad Things
3. The Departure

Designer Magazine first witnessed the Scissor Sisters playing to 350 people at the Academy 3 in Manchester following the reworking of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". It was a date that Ana Matronic described as a gay mans wet dream before pointing out to Jake all the young chickens in the audience. Since then we've seen them progress to playing two sold out dates at the Manchester Apollo, working with Kylie on "I Believe In You" and provide a much needed injection into a conservative and staid music scene.

Elsewhere Do Me Bad Things and The Departure stepped onto those first few rungs of the ladder. At Leeds Festival over the Summer we suggested Do Me Bad Things were a band that pissed over label mates The Darkness, who'd have thought they'd have gone onto support the spandexed rockers on their arena tour and do exactly that a few short months later?

Best Album
1. Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
2. Green Day - American Idiot
3 The Zutons - Who Killed The Zutons?

For all the focus on the live shows, the image or the characters in the Scissor Sisters, what made them break through in such a huge way was an album that kept you listening from beginning to end without clicking the skip button. From Elton John style ballads to hi-energy disco through to country rock "Scissor Sisters" had all the hallmarks of a greatest hits collection.

(Photo by Alex McCann)
Best Live Act
1. Morrissey
2. Scissor Sisters
3. Do Me Bad Things

Three strong acts with unforgettable live shows, but again it was the veteran of mope that just about clinched the title of Best Live Act of 2004. It was at the Carling Weekend where the likes of Green Day, The Darkness and The White Stripes all failed to deliver that Morrissey really shone bright. Unfairly relegated to 2nd headliners under the watered down blues of Jack and Meg White, Mozzer braved a dark rainy and emotional performance.

Best Rock Act
1. Lostprophets
2. My Chemical Romance
3. X Is Loaded

Lostprophets were in a strange sense of flux in 2004 where the dual pop / rock continuum got f**ked up in the blender to the point where only the band truly know who they are. If you'd seen the Prophets on one of their countless TV appearances you'd have a witnessed a band softened around the edges and morphing into the skinny tie look of the Strokes et all. In their live shows though what they delivered was a rock tour de force that proved without a doubt that despite the aesthetic grandeur at the heart of the Prophets is just a great rock band.

Best Alternative / Rock Single
1. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
2. The Departure - All Mapped Out
3. Do Me Bad Things - Time For Deliverance

Three bands earlier on their career provided three amazing singles which were played on the Designer Magazine on repeat for well over a week. With all three bands set to drop albums in 2005 it won't be the last you hear from these guys.

(Photo by Shirlaine Forrest)
Best Pop Act
1. V
2. Busted
3. McFly

We could lie and say the reason that V are the Best Pop Act of 2004 is because they made such a groundbreaking album that the world of pop would be changed forever. What V do is return to the boy band basics of choreographed dance routines, pouting for the prepubescent girls and touching each other up for the homosexualists. They also wipe out any memory that Westlife, Blue and the Pop Idol / X Factor blandness ever happened.

Like CD:UK we've got an alleged special arrangement where you buy one and get two free. For that reason we've placed Busted and McFly in 2nd and 3rd position respectively - because they're exactly like V, but play guitars and, Charlie Busted excepted, aren't quite as good looking.

Best Pop Single
1. JC Chasez - Blowin Me Up / Some Girls (Dance With Women)
2. Busted - 3AM / Thunderbirds Are Go
3. Lemar - If There's Any Justice In The World

If JC Chasez would have sold more than a couple of hundred records (NB: See him as the pop Fierce Panda icon if you like) and managed to release a second single he would have walked away with the Best Pop Act by a mile. Still, what we're left with is "Blowin Me Up", a song which blew away fellow N'Sync member Justin Timberlake out of the water and had a video which featured JC playing drums in a fairground. If you haven't got this single in your collection, don't download it off Kazaa - go onto Amazon and buy his album and make sure we get that 2nd JC album in 2005

Best Urban Act
1. Paris
2. Taz
3. Raghav / Jamelia

Although Paris is virtually unknown in the UK, his four albums ("The Devil Made Me Do It", "Sleeping With The Enemy", "Guerrilla Funk" and "Sonic Jihad") are amongst the most important hip-hop albums of all time. If you haven't the heard the music you will of course be familiar with the album cover of "Sonic Jihad" which featured the image of a passenger plain flying directly towards the White House. In this case it truly was judge a book by it's cover as the album looked at America post September 11th and scrutinizes the Bush Administration and white supremacy since the inception of the country.

Best Dance Act
1. Scissor Sisters
2. Goldfrapp
3. Chemical Brothers

2004 was the year that dance music died on it's arse. Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp and Chemical Brothers managed to keep it alive (and keep it live real music fans). With kids wanting to get down to grime music or UK hip-hop the likes of Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy just seemed tired in comparison.

Man Of The Year
1. Morrissey
See Above

Woman Of The Year
1. Ana Matronic
See Above

Sexiest Man Of The Year
1. Ian Watkins (Lostprophets)
2. Christian Ronaldo
3. Charlie Simpson (Busted)

Sexiest Woman Of The Year
1. Lisa Maffia
2. Alesha Dixon (Misteeq)
3. Katie Melua

Last year Ian Watkins of Lostprophets came runner up to Johnny Depp in the Sexiest Man Of  The Year and with no Pirates Of The Carribean styled Depp for 2004 it seemed logical there was only one option. It's a reversal of fortunes in the Sexiest Woman Of The Year where Misteeq's Alesha Dixon fell one place after Designer Magazine Editor Alex McCann met Lisa Maffia at this years In The City music convention. Marriage proposals from either of the Top 3 polls will be gratefully received at the usual Designer Magazine email address

The Arts In 2004

Designer Magazine gave our resident Arts expert Nick Godkin free reign over his editorial choices for The Arts In 2004. Here are his choices for our Best Of 2004 Issue.

Best TV Show
1. The Mighty Boosh
2. Little Britain
3. Early Doors

Best Film
1. Big Fish
2. Finding Neverland
3. Monster

Best Video / DVD
1. Tommy
2. Finding Nemo
3. Love Actually

Best Actor
1. Johnny Depp
2. William H Macy (The Cooler)
3. Steve Coogan (Around The World In 80 Days)

Best Actress
1. Charlize Theron
2. Angelina Jolie
3. Kate Winslett

Best Arts Performance
1. Coyote On A Fence - A Play by Bruce Graham (Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre - March 2004)
2. The Bradshaws (The Lowry, Salford / Charter Theatre, Preston)
3. Betrayal - A play by Howard Pinter (Manchester Palace)

Book Of The Year
1. Feel: Robbie Williams by Chris Heath
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
3. The Coma by Alex Garland

Worst Of 2004

How could we put our necks on the line by choosing the Best Of 2004 without choosing the Worst Of 2004. Here are the results that the PR Companies have been dreading, but as always the readers can make their voices heard on the Designer Magazine Message Board and we're quite happy to set up interviews with either of those featured to discuss our selection

* Worst Band / Artist - Snow Patrol
* Worst New band - Maroon 5
* Worst Album - Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane
* Worst Live Act - Britney Spears
* Worst Single - Eamon
* Worst TV Program - The Farm
* Least Attractive Male - Anthony Costa (Blue)
* Least Attractive Female - Jordan

Words: Alex McCann
All live photos by Karen McBride except where stated

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