2004: The Year of the Usher - 2004 was dominated in every way by Usher and his four #1s. All of his songs spent a combined 28 weeks on top of the billboards. That's more than half the year!
Hey Ya - Outkast - 12/13/03-2/7/04 (9 Weeks)
Already reviewed for 2003.
The Way You Move - Outkast ft. Sleepy Brown - 2/14/04 (1 Week)
Big Boi's single eclipses Andre's single at #1 at the billboard charts. This was the first time this had happened since the Bee Gees in 1977 (this would happen twice later this year with Usher). The Way You Move is nowhere near as good as Hey Ya, but it's still an enjoyable listen with a great video and a few good lines. Good, but not great.
Slow Jamz - Twista, Kanye West & Jamie Foxx - 2/21/04 (1 Week)
Easily the best slow jam ever written about slow jams. Kanye's beat is damn near perfect, speeding up a Luther Vandross sample to make an even better slow jam than the songs it is singing about. Kanye's verse has some hilarious lines about cool whip and Michael Jackson. Twista's verse does not have that much substance, but his lightning quick delivery is undeniably impressive. Combine these elements with Foxx's crooning the chorus to make a damn-near perfect rap love song.
Yeah! - Usher feat. Lil' Jon and Ludacris - 2/28-5/15 (12 Weeks)
Yeah! is the perfect club song. Lil Jon's monster of a beat dominates the track and it dares you not to dance. Usher's loverman crooning perfectly fits the beat and does not distract you from the main purpose of this song: to make you get down like never before. Lil Jon's screams of "Yeah!" and "Ok!" and only serve to pump up the crowd more. And then Ludacris shows up to give a tutorial on how to give a guest rap. I'll just post the lyrics here:
My outfit's ridiculous, In the club lookin' so conspicuous.
And Rowl! These women al; on the prowl, if you hold the head steady I'm a milk the cow.
Forget about the game I'm a spit the truth, I won't stop till I get em in they birthday suits.
So gimmie the rhythm and it'll be off with they clothes, then bend over to the front and touch your toes.
I left the jag and I took the roles, if they aint cutting then I put em on foot patrol.
How you like me now, when my pinky's valued over three hundred thousand,
Lets drank you the one to please, Ludacris fill cups like double d's.
Me and Ush once more and we leave em dead, we want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say
It's true: Lil Jon's got the beat, Ludacris got the flow, and Ursher (sic) got the voice to make your booty go *slap!*
Burn - Usher - 5/22-7/3, 7/17 (8 Weeks)
After giving us the club hit of the decade, Usher decides to slow it down for Burn. It's much better than the similar hits that he had earlier in the decade, but it isn't anything special. I guess after tearing it up at the club, even Usher has to have a hangover.
I Believe - Fantasia - 7/10 (1 Week)
The American Idol coronation song. I like this one more than the others because Fantasia is my favorite American Idol winner. She's capable of better, however, and will hopefully make good career choices in the future.
Confessions Part II - Usher - 7/24-31 (2 Weeks)
This song is almost indistinguishable from Burn. The only difference is that it says that it's part 2 of Usher's confessions, but what the hell happened to part one? It's sort of like the Remix to Ignition.
Slow Motion - Juvenile ft. Soulja Slim - 8/7-14 (2 Weeks)
This is one of the more surprising #1s on this list. The entire song is, as the title says, pretty much in slow motion. It seems to be Pre-Chopped and Screwed, which is slowing down a rap song to imitate the effects of drinking codeine. It's also strange that this song went to #1 considering the verses seem to be about taking a woman back to his house and forcing her to strip and then abusing her. Juve at least is polite, asking if it would be inappropriate if he was to grab her ass. Anyway, the smooth guitar sample is pretty cool and I'm a sucker for this Slow Motion gimmick.
Lean Back - Terror Squad - 8/21-9/4 (3 Weeks)
This is probably Scott Storch's best beat. The dance described in Lean Back ("do the rockaway") appeals to me because it is the only dance that just about anyone can do. The beat has pretty awesome swelling, Asian-influenced strings. The verses are sub-par, but the chorus is fucking catchy as hell and the beat propels the song to become a pretty good club song.
Goodies - Ciara ft. Petey Pablo - 9/11-10/23 (7 Weeks)
It might be an understatement to say that Lil Jon had a pretty good year in 2004. His two big singles totaled 19 weeks on top of the charts. Goodies is like the multiplicative inverse of Yeah!. While Yeah! was a club song bursting with energy and a big beat, Goodies is pretty much minimalist and more about the bedroom than the club. I'm a fan of Ciara, but this song is slightly overrated. I never liked Petey Pablo and I always thought that he was disgusting and misogynist, even for a rapper. However, it's still a good song.
My Boo - Usher feat. Alicia Keys - 8/30-12/4 (6 Weeks)
This collaboration between two titans of R&B produces some pretty "meh" results. It unfortunately introduced the word "boo," meaning lover, into the lexicon. Forgettable R&B which only reached #1 on the strength of its big name stars.
Drop it Like It's Hot - Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell - 12/12-12/25 (3 Weeks)
This is what minimalism sounds like. There's barely even any music on the song besides the little synth riff before the chorus, the chorus of "snooooooooooop!" and that awesome tongue clicking. This is possibly the Neptunes best beat yet. As brilliant as the beat is, someone has to tell Pharrell to stay off his own tracks. He is really a pretty bad rapper, but a great producer. His bad verse is completely redeemed from Snoop's verses, which are awesome despite the Snoop-izzle speak. The chorus is also pretty cool. The dance in question is also about 3,000x better than the "rockaway."
"I got the rolly on my arm and I'm pouring Chandon
And I roll the best weed cause I got it going on"
Other notable hits:
Toxic - Britney Spears (#9) - 9/10
99 Problems - Jay-Z (#30) - 10/10
American Idiot - Green Day (#61) - 6/10
This Love - Maroon 5 (#5) - 4/10
Float On - Modest Mouse (#61, #1 Modern Rock) - 9/10
My Band - D12 feat. Eminem (#6) - 3/10
Naughty Girl - Beyonce (#3) - 7/10
Breathe - Fabolous (#10) - 9/10
Over and Over - Nelly ft. Tim McGraw (#3) - 7/10
Pieces of Me - Ashlee Simpson (#5) - 0/10
Through the Wire - Kanye West (#15) - 10/10
Vertigo - U2 (#31) - 6/10
Jesus Walks - Kanye West (#11) - 10/10
Tipsy - J-Kwon (#2) - 5/10
Let's Go - Trick Daddy ft. Twista & Lil Jon (#7) - 9/10
Sugar (Gimme Some) - Trick Daddy ft. Cee-Lo & Ludacris (#20) - 9/10
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand (#66) - 10/10