Sunday, January 15, 2006

My Top 10 Albums of 2005

OK, this is my 2005 round up. I am never happy with these lists but this year I made myself write something about each album I put in the top 10 so I have an additional element to be disappointed by. Ehh. Whatever, it should be more interesting when I look back on this late in the year... where I can try to understand what I was thinking. First I list my honorable mentions for 2005 in alphabetical order by band. The ranked list then follows. For each album I also included my favorite song from that album... though in many cases I am even less sure of my song choices than I am of my album choices. Offhand the one song not mentioned that really should be is "Anytime" by My Morning Jacket. I'm way late on the MMJ train; I like Z but I still find it rather uneven and to include it would open the door to many other albums I liked this year... but "Anytime" is one of my favorite songs of the year.

Can't Forget the Following (Band/Album/Favorite song on that album)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl - "Weight of the World"
Caribou - Milk of Human Kindness - "Barnowl"
the Decemberists - Picaresque - "The Mariner's Revenge Song"
Kathleen Edwards - Back to Me - "In State"
the Fiery Furnaces - Rehearsing My Choir - "A Candymaker's Knife"
Tim Fite - Gone Ain't Gone - "Not A Hit Song"
Low - the Great Destroyer - "Death of a Salesmen"
Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration - "Black Forest (Lorelei)"
the Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree - "This Year"
the New Pornographers - Twin Cinema - "Sing Me Spanish Techno"
the Ravenonettes - Pretty in Black - "Somewhere In Texas"
Scout Niblett - Kidnapped by Neptune - "Fuck Treasure Island"
Sons & Daughters - The Repulsion Box - "Choked"
Stars - Set Yourself on Fire - "He Lied About Death"
the Sun - Blame it on the Youth - "Say Goodbye"

Top 10

10. Tullycraft - Disenchanted Hearts Unite -- Ridiculously fun and amazingly catchy. I can't say that this is my favorite Tullycraft but it is not their 4th best. This album is simply full of bouncy singles. Favorite: "Our Days in Kansas"
9. Sufjan Stevens - Come on Feel the Illinois -- This is a light and beautiful pop record. It is full of simple, gorgeous musical lines and big, bright and happy choruses. Favorite: "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts"
8. Rogue Wave - Descend Like Vultures -- It's fully the Rogue Wave rather than just Zach and the approach is fuller as a result. Favorite: "You"
7. Sigur Ros - Takk -- It doesn't have the scope or design of ( ) but their music remains grand in scope and vision and beautiful in execution. Favorite: "Glosoli"
6. Electrelane - Axes -- At this point I've listened to it who knows how many times but my thoughts are still the same, this CD is fantastic. The basic sound is like a blend of Rock It to the Moon and The Power Out but in a way that transcends either album. And any fears that the sound was moving inextricably away from the post-rocky goodness of Rock It have been fully assuaged. Favorite: "These Pockets Are People"/"The Partisan".
5. the Kills - No Wow -- Jamie has gotten better, more adventurous. This is why a somewhat plodding song like "Dead Road 7" still works ridiculously well. And there are better songs such as "Love is a Deserter" and "I Hate the Way You Love." What really blew me away about this album, though, is how Alison sounds on the revelatory "Rodeo Town." I had no idea she could sing like that, she could pull of a song like that. I will listen to anything she records. Favorite: "Rodeo Town"
4. Why? - Elephant Eyelash -- I don't know what to say. Until I heard it I had no idea music could be made like this. A blend of genres (indie rock, hip hop, rap) and a tendancy towards sonic experimentation leads to glorious pop songs like "Gemini (Birthday Song)" and passionate, intense songs like "Act Five." Such a good record. Favorite: "Whispers Into the Other"
3. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods -- If S-K call it over now it'll do a disservice to this album. Their last album will be seen as an abberation - or worse, as an experiment that broke up the band (regardless of the reality.) An addtional album would also be beneficial for the live show; allow them to work old songs in with the new; to show that they fit together. Oh, and by the way, the songs on this album are just seering. Favorite: "Jumpers"
2. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy -- One listen and I was hooked. The music is strong but it is the lyrical richness that has kept me coming back. There are big and glorious rock songs and soft, tender pieces... and the imagery and themes in the words hold it all together. And the Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP is way good too. Favorite: "So Come Back, I Am Waiting"
1. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene -- I don't know how they did it but they topped You Forgot it in People. The singles are at first glance not singles but once you stick with them they are just so full, musically that they are a joy to behold. I'd name songs but I wouldn't stop. There isn't a misstep on this disc. Favorite: "Ibi Dreams of Pavement"


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