Best of 2005…

December 30, 2005

OK all, to kick off the new year, I will start by reviewing the old
year. 2005 was a great year for music if you took the time to listen.
Commercially, indie bands have never seen it so good. The divergence of
medias has created a generation of youth that seek out, for better or
for worse, their music on popular television shows, commercials, and
independent films. We have seen the new media dominating the tastes of
the masses in the successes of bands like the Arcade Fire, Clap Your
Hands Say Yeah! (surprisingly), and Wolf Parade, which is a far cry
better than having that power in the hands of the four main record
labels or clear channel. Mainstream radio is dead to us, as we have
grown to Live365, pod-casts, Last.FM, and blogs. We saw an explosion of
the strangest kind when nu-wave came back with a vengeance and replaced
nu-metal as the world’s most annoying genre. Yes, we have it good these
days. Choice is everywhere, and we choose greatness! There are a bunch
of albums this year that were particularly great and a bunch of albums
that received confusingly positive reviews. All in all, 2005 marks a
shift in the way people find and enjoy music and in my opinion, you
should be ashamed of yourself if didn’t take the time to search and
find.

Top Ten Albums of 2005…

10. Grizzly Bear and V/A — Horn of Plenty (remixes)

One of two remix albums that out did their predecessors this year
was Grizzly Bear. Haunting but innovative, the Bear took so already
screwed up songs and messed them up more. The result, a more solid
representative of what they were trying to get across the first time:
this is what the new sound is, get used to it.

9. Feist — Let it Die

An album that fully represents how far the indie scene has come,
Feist’s "Let it Die" is one of the most seductively beautiful albums
created for some time. Through and through a pop album, "Let it Die" is
the new pop; challenging yet accessible with a hint of mischievousness
and a huge amount of talent.

8. The Decemberists — Picaresque

The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy’s story telling finally has an equal
match in musical expression. Picaresque will first grab you with its
songwriting and leave you humming its remnants for days. With this
effort, the Decemberists created one of the most literate and
intelligent album’s of the last 5 years and luckily also wrote some
catchy tunes to go with it.

7. The Books — Lost and Safe

This album may not be The
Book’s best album, but it surely beats much of what’s out there today.
Their staggering talent mixed with weird cut ups, smashed together with
pop sensibilities created a sensory masterpiece that is simultaneously
confusing and alluring.

6.  Bright Eyes — I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning/When The President Talks to God

For all those Bright Eyes haters out there, for shame, for shame.
The split with Neva Dinova showed us that Conner wasn’t finished
impressing us and now this album gives proper argument to the
declaration that Conner Oberst is the heir to the Dylan thrown. When
The President Talk’s To God, while showing Conners annoying, immature,
drunken flame, is one of the best protest songs out there today, and
one that is completely honest, regardless if you agree with it or not
(which I don’t for the most part.)

5. Low — The Great Destroyer

From great pain comes great art. The Great Destroyer is a sad
listen, heartbreaking at times, but a major step forward for Low. A
more raucous effort from the former king and queen of slo-core shows
musical maturity and and a direct look into the soul of a talented,
tortured man. "Death of a Salesman" used to be just one of my favorite
sad movies, now it’s one of my favorite sad songs of all time.

4. Bloc Party and V/A — Silent Alarm Remixes

Yes that’s right folks, the Remix album gets a higher rating than
the actual album. For all of you who think that this is a ludicrous
pick because without the original, the remix album wouldn’t have
existed, well you are right, but screw you. The artists that remix
"Silent Alarm" give a fresh and new perspective on an already
successful album. But this album is one that will surprise you with
every new track in a fantastic way which is something that I can’t say
for the original. Don’t get me wrong, Bloc Party is fully responsible
for this record and should get all the respect in the world for
creating it, but their second try was better than their first.

3. 13 and God — 13 and God

Collaborative albums are all the rage these days, and thank God for
it. 13 and God is a collaborative effort from The Notwist and
Themselves but in my opinion created an album that is better than any
individual record from either of the contributors. Also, I want to set
the record straight on the descriptions of this record. Many people
have said this sounds like the Postal Service, those people are stupid.
Take a listen and make up your own mind, but please, take a listen,
this album was vastly overlooked this year.

2. Phosphorescent — Aw Come Aw Wry

If you like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! because you think the lead
singer has a cool crackly voice first of all, I don’t have that in
common with you and you might want to leave me alone, but secondly,
Mathew Hauck’s voice is doubly as crackly and is sung over good songs!
Aw Come Aw Wry is a theme and variation’s record that is as rich as it
is fragile. What could that possibly mean, you ask? I don’t know, but
it sure sounds good, and so does the album. ACAR is a kin to much of
the organic folk music you hear today but lack pretense, and critical
acclaim, which is really a shame.

1. Sufjan Stevens — Come on and Feel the Illinoise!

Yes. Correct. Every major critic got this pick right. Sufjan
Steven’s latest release is the best disc of the year. But not only is
this the best CD of the year, it’s the best CD of the decade. This is
no joke. If you don’t know what I am talking about, turn off your
computer right now, get in your car, go to any record store that will
carry this record, buy it, and study. Study hard, this is important to
your survival.

Next… The most overrated albums of the year…

JK

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