IN 2003

Yes, yet another year behind us! It's time for recaps! The year 2003 was not the most impressive and that will certainly show in my chart of the last 12 months. I won't write a chronicle on a particular disc neither, because I do not consider that there is enough meat to do it. Of course, I got some music records of the year in 2003 (Attache ta Tuque from the Cowboys Fringants, Fallen from Evanescence and Pearl Jam's Lost Dogs), but one of them was not even listened to at the time of writing this (the Pearl Jam) and the 2 others, although obviously good records, did not inspire me enough to do so.

However, I would still like to take this opportunity to tell you about a mini-album (5 songs) from a Montreal-based rock band named Bordello. After having played in nearly ten bars and concert halls since the beginning of 2000 and after suffering the great hardship of the departure of its singer, lead No Angelguitarist and unbelievable stage animal Erle at a very inopportune moment in February 2001 (or maybe late January), the band persevered and has finally got to a first professional-sounding record (which doesn't mean to be negative about Make me Bleed (2000), of which I liked the songs very much, but which recording quality was pretty bad, honestly) in 2003: No Angel. This album, the band's first public recording with a woman (Nadzine) on lead vocals, justifies the wait with a more professional sound and more serious lyrics than before. Even if I personnally was deceived of not finding the good old catalysts Welcome to the Show and Strap On as well as the nice and soft Down in the Shades on this record, my general feeling of the disc remains very positive, in particular for the title track and Echoes. Some may doubt of my impartiality since I personnally know 2 (not to say 3) of the band's 5 members, so I might as well stop here, but let me just tell that I honestly think that this band deserves to be better known. By their status of English band in French province/country, there will probably be only a thin line between two ways: remaining a small band in the great Montreal or become popular throughout Canada. I invite you to buy their CD at the Cruella boutique in Montreal or on www.bordello.ca , and maybe you could contribute to make them take the good the best of two paths.

Maybe I could also briefly talk about the French-language concert of the year in Quebec: the Cowboys Fringants at the Bell Center on December 30th 2003. Over 20,700 people (a record for a Quebecker band inside a concert hall) and a show with the Cowboys' usual energy, but also with an excellence that managed to go well beyond expectations, which were already up for an historic result. Everything was perfect musically, they were using new and excellent arrangements and linkings, really no down period during the (over) 2 hours of concert, 3 curtain calls, many good guests such as Jorane and Dumas, etc... It simply was the apogee of the Quebecker musical event. Those who were not at the Bell Center that night just missed something completely amazing!

So here are we getting to the main subject of this article: the favorite songs of the author and administrator of PowHertz in 2003! Not the best year so far, but still well enough stock for a top 65! I would like to recall, like at every year, that this represent PowHertz' FAVORITE songs and not necessarly the songs that PowHertz believe to be the best technically or artistically. They are all songs that aired on the radio and/or musical T.V. in 2003, except for the following 3 exceptions that were released in December 2002 but that I only discovered in early 2003: Fine Again from Seether (I even think that this one was released in November 2002... it is very close from simply be put in the forgotten ones of 2002, but I deceided to include it in 2003 anyway), Dans les Airs from Vénus 3 and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous from Good Charlotte. Note that there is less French this year. The end of COOL FM's daily French-language chart did not help, as well as the definitive closure of the station just before Christmas time.

Stupid Girl Cold
Always tough to name a #1, especially when we are conscient that it is not the greatest artistic success of the decade... Neither the talent of author not the talent of composer  really impress in this song, but the final result really is a finished one; it SOUNDS SO BIG! I think that there are some people who did a wonderful job in studio to work out and put the final touch on this track, that probably is the one that made me trip the most in 2003. Obviously, this is the best one from Cold to date. I admit, not having purchsed their record Year of the Spider tough, since I had been a bit disappointed of the previous one, 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, despite presence of the very good No One.

Show me how to Live Audioslave
Audioslave's marketing strategy has become clear with this single! Cochise was the radio cut for the fans of Rage Against the Machine, Like a Stone was a new style for the 4 members of the band and Show me how to live is the single aimed at former fans of Soundgarden! For the grunge fan that I've been and that I still am, it's been a delight for me to hear a song sung by Chris Cornell (ex-singer of Soundgarden) that was that worthy of the best days of his former band! It's true real Soundgarden, with a little surprise at the end in bonus. It was not the biggest hit of 2003, but it's because I didn't vote enough for it!!

Fine Again Seether
Good song a bit "grungy" that reminds me the kind of band of Local H, but in even better. The song talks about real things and could certainly be useful to alcoolics as a Last Resort from Papa Roach has been for suicidals.

A little bit deceiving the first time I listened to it, because it was reminding me a bit too much of Voodoo. However, after a few times I listened to it, I finally admitted that it only was a song in about the same style as another one played by the same band, but certainly not a case of auto-plagiarism. It's an excellent songs that come and get you with its tribal arrangements and its general subject in which most people can recognize themselves.

Going Under Evanescence
Less popular but more convincing than Bring me to Life, according to me. The voice of Amy Lee (no, not the porno actress!) litterally carries on the song and even makes it touching. So deep and true, she carries the song so high that it gives some emotions! Has a pop singer such as Céline Dion ever made you feel anything like that? Not me! Going Under ends in simplicity, with a chorus that is identical or so to the other choruses of the song, as if the band wanted to say: "we already got as far as we could, now we're just giving you a little bonus". They would be right. When they start the last instance of the chorus, they already won and the rest is only celebration.

Some Metallica, heavy as we like them ! It comes back a bit more to the style of old discs such as Master of Puppets, but with the sound and technology of 2003! What a pleasure to listen to this mega-piece of no less than nearly 6 minutes... that passes like 4! Also, nice guitar during the "Keep seaching [...]", which sound so round in the ear.

Girl's not Grey
Funny relationship with this one. After the first few times, I was finding it a bit "cheap", seeing in it a side of very ordinary punk following the receipe of thousands of punk bands throughout America. However, after hearing it more and more, it solidly inlaid in my head and is now prisonner of it forever! After all, I do not even think that it sounds like punk anymore; I cannot even find anything to compare it to! The rock song of 2003 that is the more pleasant to sing and the most rousing one too. To play in any kind of party without any problem.

Mon Chum Rémi Les Cowboys Fringants
Sublime ballad from the Cowboys. Despite the seriousness of the subject of the song (suicide), they still find a way to make us laugh with the "50 piasses" or "celui que j'pleume à chaque année avec le pool de hockey"! Now I recognize my little Cowboys of the time of Dieudonné Rastapopoulos! By far my favorite French song of the year!

St.Anger Metallica
Nobody should fear to listen, listen again and again and again. In the beginning, even for very well-trained ears like mine, it was looking a bit like easy "smashing" with the sole goal to insure that everyone understood that Metallica was back to its tough style. However, we end up seeing a bit clearer in this very dense sound (like some Korn) and appreciate more accurately this excellent performance of musicians, in particular the drums in the verses and guitar in the bridges. A little slackening in the choruses, though. Pay good attention to Lars Ulrich's drums during the verses; you'll notice as offset is the beat. It's disconcerting at first, but cool when you catched it.

So Far Away  Staind
Difficult to rank, because on one hand the soft guitar of the intro and verses is so entrancing that we would like to make it a #1, but on the other hand, this beauty dwindles very clearly just as the guitarist's fingers get tired (already at the 2nd verse, he seems to hope that it's gonna end soon!). Also, Staind tries here to make a song of the  verse-chorus-verse type, but you cannot adopt this formula and completely botch up your chorus! So, overall, it's a nice song, but a song that could have been even much better. Good idea to incorporate strings (other than guitar and bass) during the slight raise of intensity before the last chorus.

11 Just Because Jane's Addiction
Strong comeback for Jane's Addiction! Explosive, dynamic, well executed, as good as their classic Been Caught Stealing, in my opinion. Much more in the style of Stop (their other hit from Ritual de lo Habitual in 1990), though. Obvious lack at the lyrics level, though, but the strengths of this track are elsewhere.

Hit That The Offspring
First time I heard it on the radio: disaster! I could not manage to hear anything else than the little electronic sound that I was finding hyper commercial and I was telling myself that The Offspring was continuing on its drop that started after its legendary album Smash. However, when the shock was behind and digested, the 2nd time was not as bad, and I finally tamed it. When I listen to it today, it's the bass that I hear first, followed by guitar and drums; well, the base elements of the punk Offspring of its origins. In fact, it's not really an as radical change as I believed at first. Excellent one from The Offspring, with interesting lyrics too.

Linkin Park
The best from Linkin Park? Hard to say... one thing's for sure, it is more than satisfying! I like the electronic intro, entry of the drums in the song, and all the rest. Little  passage extremely similar to some Marilyn Manson near the end, proving that Chester no longer has the voice of a little boy (I talk about the part when he says "hear me out now [...]").

Seven Nation Army The White Stripes
I was loving it at first with all its guitar exploration under the same simple and retro little theme, but I unfortunately got an overdose of it! I was loving it after the very first times I hear it on the radio at 99.9 The Buzz (months before it becomes famous), but after hearing it twice a day during months and at every radio station possible, I finished by cooling off! Still one of those that gave me the most sensations this year.

Diamonds & Guns The Transplants
Simple but very efficient mix of rock and rap. "Rock-rap, you mean something like Rage Against the Machine?" Not at all! "Like Beastie Boys then?" Not at all! You got to listen to it to really understand. A song that doesn't really have a second degree (at least not to my ears), but which really catches on and makes you want to hear it again.

Ostie qu'y s'lève Tard Marc Déry
Not complicated, but very pleasant, as it is often the case with Marc. I was close to rank this song a few positions lower, but then I reminded myself the buzz that I was feeling when I was hearing its first note on the radio and that every time, regardless of my mood!

Did my Time Korn
Very good one from Korn, not as good as the singles of 2002 (Here to Stay and Toughtless), but different. Only one point to reproach: they should have cut it shorter! If I was them, I would have stopped that at 3:31 while the climax reaches its peak, instead of getting back to the same chorus again one last time. The piece would have appeared more intense and the end a little more special. Well, it's just my opinion!

Straight out of Line Godsmack
Nothing surprising, nothing better than usual, just some good Godsmack without any compromise, true ot its roots! Very solid rock, heavy, without superfluity.

Can't Stop Red Hot Chili Peppers
I was greatly happy to hear some RHCP that, finally, was no sounding the same as the large majority of their radio hits from the last few years such as By the Way, Californication and Otherside ! Can't Stop was something fresh, new, light, something that has nothing exceptional but which you can listen very well in any circumstances.

Like a Stone Audioslave
Very different style for the former members of Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden. Nice love song, well made, never boring at all.

Joyeux Calvaire ! Les Cowboys Fringants
Another hyper-rousing track from my national Cowboys! Particularly efficient in concert.

Creatures (for a while) 311
Explosive entry after the"Watch it now!"! I enjoyed a lot 311's attempts of soft material over the last few years (Amber, I'll Be Here a While), but they always remain that appreciated in their unique original style!

I Hate Everything About you 3 Days Grace
Mainly for music of the verses and the voice of choruses. Do not rely on the title to think that it's a sadistic song! The title has a legitimate meaning, but you need to listen to the song to understand it properly!

D-Natural is Back D-Natural
The first impression is obviously to laugh or at least to smile, faced a sound that's so "old school" and a chorus like "D-Natural is back, envoye, sors ton '6-pack' pis embarque dans' barraque". However, we cannot deny that this song is catchy! Then, the reflexion starts. "Is that really this bad or only different?". The answer is B, ddifferent from the rap that's done in 2003; a rap that is more "old school", almost even comparable to likes of MC Hammer, but at the same time a rap that is more musical, much faster, dynamic et stirring, less coarse, sung in a more caucasian way (that said without any racism, the black rappers are all sharing  a similar way to pronounce their rap, and it's not necessarly everyone who likes this way of rapping) with lyrics that fell with a great impact.

Let's also mention, for those who would not know, that D-Natural has retired once again in this year 2003. His Web site www.d-natural.com is even closed now, aftre having posted for several days a long message in which he was saying that rap is only about "brutality" and "violence" and that he prefers to retire from that. He was also sharing his fears in regards to the spread of private information on his such as his address and phone number, so it is not excluded (according to me) that he received some threats from people of the "purist" hip hop world.

Pas de Panique Caïman Fu
This song was playing at COOL FM not long before its definitive shutdown. It is a cool little Quebecker song, sung by actress Isabelle Blais. Here are a lyrics excerpt of which I remember:
refrain: "Madame, pas d'panique. Pas de pani-que, pas de panique. On est tout p'tits, oui tout petits, tout p'tits à l'infini [...]"

Dans les Airs
Vénus 3
A bit of exploration for Vicky and her men! As it's almost always the case with this band, the lyrics does not really mean anything and are not really interesting, but the music and the melody are very good! However, this tracks marks the beginning of a use of electronic technologies and a new tone for the band, which makes it hardly comparable to their many old hits.

Remember Disturbed
I heard it only 3 times on the radio, but I know that I would have just needed to have it in my possession to have listened to it 25 times instead of 3 this year! Nothing genious but, a bit like Straight out of Line from Godsmack, it's a song without any compromise, real hard rock as we are expecting from Disturbed.

Away From me  Puddle of Mud
Many said that P.O.M.'s new record has no originality and that this first single out of it is only a bad attempt to imitate Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. I admit visible similarities between Nirvana and some Puddle of Mud songs including this one, but it's not that bad for it! The lyrics are sometimes a bit easy and foreseeable, but the overall piece remains some respectable grunge, pleasant for fans of this style as I am.

Crazy Beat Blur
Damn have I searched it on the Internet this one!! Never found! I only heard it a few times at the radio station 99.9 The Buzz, and that's all! A dirty rock in which is very tightly integrated a weird but fascinating robotic/electronic aspect, a rock that I liked even the first time I heard it and which appreciation was just confirmed after that. Definitely, Blur ever releases 2 similar singles for the radio! They are great cameleons...

30 There There Radiohead
Slightly deceiving coming from Radiohead, but it obviously remains good material anyway. Particularly brilliant finale (in the context).

31All in the Suit that you Wear Stone Temple Pilots
Verses to listen with good speakers! It bangs! Average comeback for the legendary S.T.P.; not totally joyful, not deceiving neither.

Somewhere I Belong Linkin Park
A bit irritated by Chester's persisting "I was confused" during the verses, but it's a good song overall.

33Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Good Charlotte
The band's best. A punk close to be qualified of "typical", but it distinguishes from the mass with a lighter and more pleasant sound, a more original main subject, a much better care given to the vocal aspect, maybe a bit more melody, etc.

34 Bring me to Life Evanescence
A shock at first (a girl that almost seems to think that she's in an opera, on a background of electric guitars with a very rock sound and the guy that raps and screams on top of that!!!), but I went beyond the shock and got to appreciate the emotion transmitted by singer Amy Lee. Not as efficient as Going Under, though.

35 Bandages
Hot Hot Heat
Simple but catchy song.

36 L'Amour dans le Désert (Montuno, Baby) Stefie Shock
It's all mixed up for Stéphane a.k.a. Stefie! Usually, he works very very hard on his texts and simplifies the music a lot. This time around, it's the exact opposite: it's pretty complex music with a relatively weak text! No matter the lyrics, it's a pleasant song to hear.

37 Beau Filon! Plume
I long wondered if it was an old song that I just didn't know from our national famous alcoolic, but finally it seems to be a song of early this year! It's pretty funny, very pleasant to hear. There are memorable lyrics, such as: "C'comme les enfants obèses, qui se bourrent de mayonnaise pis qui mangent des tartes aux fraises" or "ça fait d'jà 5 couplets et j'affiche complet, même si j'trouve ça un peu simplet".

38Numb Linkin Park
Inferior to Linkin Park's average, but it would be a good song to end up the album.

39 Still Frame Trapt
I love the intro. I enjoy the rest.

40 Headstrong Trapt
A style that breaks down a bit too much, like if they were auto-cesuring themselves! I like it less than Still Frame, but I like it anyway, including for the guttural "anyone"s!

41 Bottom of the Bottle Smile Empty Soul

Volvo-driving Soccer Mom Everclear

43 Let's Push Things Forward The Streets

44 Maudit Bordel Marie-Chantal Toupin

45 Qui a le Droit
Easy remake, but in the end, it was a good idea of song to cover. We realize that it was a very good song from its root, but that only Patrick Bruel's performance that was making it a bit oldish and boring.

46Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades Brand New
Special, very special! Came at the very end of the year, it may be disadvantaged here; future will tell us!

47 Send the Pain Below Chevelle
Relatively ordinary, definitively not as good as their first hit The Red released last year, but still deserving a place in this chart. I often cranked up the volume just before the explosion of "I can't feel my chest, drop down"!

48 Will You P.O.D.

49 Elle Dort avec moi Éric Lapointe

50 Minerva The Deftones

51 Out of Control Hoobastank

Low Foo Fighters

Ma Folie Douce Amère Annie Major-Matte
Yeah I know, it does not belong there! It's during my 3 days in Rimouski this summer, I had nothing else to listen than the region's little pop station and I heard this song a few times there, and I admit having been a bit charmed by the sensuals "j'avoue, tu m'étonnes" from the little Annie!!!

54 Kung Fu Minou Papillon
Definitely bad lyrics, but definitely interesting music!

55 Whippet Exterio
Really just for the chorus' very catchy lyrics: "ça pogne d'in dans des Whippets fondants, quand tu mords dedans ça fait 'squick, squick, squick'"!

56 Feeling This Blink 182
The verses just suck very bad, but I love the air of the chorus, very catchy. D'ailleurs, c'est définitivement meilleur quand c'est Mark (le bassiste) qui chante!

57 Fortune's Faded
Red Hot Chili Peppers

58 Je ne sais pas Dumas

59 Like Glue Sean Paul
After laughing at it for so long, I guess I probably can say that I got to like that... or it's maybe just after hearing so much other songs from Sean Paul, all as bad from one to the other, that I finally got to find this one good!!!

BOOM! System of a Down
By far System of a Down's worst radio single that I know. Yet entertaining.

The Anthem Good Charlotte
"Don't wanna be you-ou, don't wanna be just like you". Very punk, I admit.

Meant to Live Switchfoot

Bad Day
A bit deceiving and unoriginal comeback, but it's still R.E.M.

Girls and Boys Good Charlotte
I don't like the song, but I stuck to the denunciatory lyrics of the chorus: "Girls don't love boys, girls like cars and money".

Suffocate Cold

Let's also mention My Immortal from Evanescence, which I discovered only a 3 or 4 days from the end of the year and that I heard only once in 2003. I will maybe (and probably) gets higher in my esteem within the next few weeks.

Forgotten from the previous years: I'll be Here a While, from 311 (2001, maybe 2002) and Warning, from Incubus (2001 or 2002).


Oh yeah, it's cool to honor the good tunes, but why not also remember the "best" mediocrity of the year as well?!? Like last year, I listened to almost no pop radio this year, except during my 3 days in the Bas Saint-Laurent, where there was no rock radio! Consequently, I don't have a lot of material for the Top Sucks again this year, but I still noted a few titles that I feel the need to mention! So here is the top 10 of the auditive garbage.

1. [Jean-François Bastien] Je Vais Changer le Monde
So ridiculous, so rosy and stuff, it's like a song for kids but that doesn't talk about subjects that interest kids such as a cow (La Vache en Alaska from Carmen Campagne) or fishes (Passe-Partout)! Completely, purely a SHAME!

2. [Yvon Krevé] Chaque Fois
It's so much that I don't know if he's serious. It's probably a satire, or at least a character. If not, I don't see how rap could get any lower than that! Lyrics like "j'ai besoin d'une chick sur mon dick dans mon lit" or "Chiller comme qu'on chill, ça c'est du sport D'être à jeun, c'est rare", eeeesshl!!! You want some more?! OK, too bad for you! I would also have "Les dames qui ont un big butt.
Bouge ton big butt bien bombée bébé" or "Aussitôt qu'on traverse ta porte, dans tout ton block, ça va sentir le pot". It's enough! Let's move on to the next one...

3. [Caroline Néron] Qu'est-ce que t'Attends?
That's what it gives when all the stars of television and cinema are starting to make music records (Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, etc.)! It gives people who are where they belong such as Caroline Néron, with this atrocious song with "suckful" and a bit sluttish lyrics (to fit with the sexy image she's giving herself), badly rendered by an obvious lack of voice.

4. [Black Eyes Peas] Shut Up
Do I need to explain anything?! A slut that says "shut up, shut up" during 3-4 minutes, you know!!!

5. [Kate Ryan] Libertine
If I understood correctly, this is a cover of Mylène Farmer. The song probably was already bad from the beginning, but to tak about something I know, this version is pretty funny! The super-punch chorus: "je, je suis libertine, je suis une catin. Je, je suis si fragile, qu'on me tienne la main".

6. [Ève] Si tu m'aimes
New easy pop icon for Quebec, new 17-year-old little girl that they try to make look like 24-25 with an hyper-sexy (dynamite, sexual bomb, etc.) in the likes of Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. Yes, the ex-Baby Spice (a band that was a tribute to the Spice Girls and which has briefly been very popular in Quebec) is now performing her own songs, with beautiful and deep texts from within such as: "Si tu m'aimes, fais-moi connaître l'amour extrême. Donne-moi un peu de ta chaleur." (If you love me, make me know extreme love. Give me a bit of your heat.)!

7. [Jacynthe] Look Who's Crying Now
I'll tell you honestly, I did not even heard it myself! However, a trustworthy person assured me that I could easily put it here as a very bad song.

8. [Les Wampas] Manu Chao
Frustrated guys! If you were good like Manu Chao or Louise Attaque, maybe you would have better chances to have their "banking account" or their "billfold"!

9. [Wilfred LeBouthiller] Amène-toi chez nous
I don't even want to talk about it, it's just boring! I still wonder though if Wilfred's fans or the author of the song believe that these lyrics are hyper-intelligent and poetic... I hope not!

10. [Live] Heaven
Finished, F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D that band! Heaven sometimes resembles to Dolphin's Cry, but being not as good, while Dolphin's Cry was already far from their career best! They had a chance to get back on track, they didn't take it. Too bad, continue to die slowly from one record to another!


minor revision 2005/01/09:
-added the title and artist for Pas de Panique, which I finally found thanks to an e-mail from a reader of Powhertz
minor revision 2004/02/16:
-switched I Hate Everything About You and D-Natural is Back
-added Warning from Inbubus in the forgotten songs from past years
-few improvements to the text

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