Saturday, December 31, 2005

list season: the top ten albums of 2005.

2005 was a really good year for albums, and being an album guy, there were some i enjoyed wholeheartedly. without any overblowing things, here are my top ten albums of 2005:

1. okkervil river- black sheep boy:
"a cinematic masterpiece about love, loss, and climbing into will sheriff's arms with blood on your clothes. the songs are good on their own, but as a whole, this is, hands down, the best-made album of 2005."

2. bloc party- silent alarm:
"i downloaded a copy in january, bought it in march when i saw them live, and until about september, this was my album of the year without question. silent alarm is paranoid, frantic, gorgeous, atmospheric, rhythmic, and genius. sometimes, all in the same song. out of all the neo-post-punk bands flooding the market, bloc party is most likely the one band we'll still be talking about in thirty years."

3. akron/family- akron/family:
"possibly, one of the most creatively arranged folk albums of the year. listen for: the squeaking chair in 'italy'. still, the creatively arranged songs wouldn't mean shit if the songs weren't great. like black sheep boy and silent alarm, this is an album you have to sit down with and listen from start to finish."

4. final fantasy- has a good home:
"heartbreaking. expansive. viciously witty. i've said too many times this year that owen pallett is the most underrated singer/songwriter in music today. some people call him a 'poor man's andrew bird', but the songs on has a good home are better than nearly every other singer/songwriter combined. guitar, violin, oboe. every last one of them."

5. wolf parade- apologies to the queen mary:
"the first time i heard this album, i did what everyone else did: write them off as a hybrid of modest mouse and the arcade fire. however, taking a little more time with the album, i realized that although issac brock's fingerprints are all over the record, wolf parade created a debut album that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. the thing about apologies is that everyone has a different favorite song from the album."

6. the decemberists- picaresque:
"i covered two songs from this album and threw them on my demo. how could i NOT put this album on my favorites list? from start to finish, this is the most lyrically creative album made in 2005, but you really can't expect less from someone who is arguably america's greatest songwriter. just like the other albums, there is a wide array of musical styles on picaresque: folk, polka, a 'lust for life' rip-off, and one of the best pure pop songs of the year with '16 military wives'. picking a favorite decemberists album is like picking a favorite child, but in few years, picaresque could get an extra scoop of mashed potatoes."

7. clap your hands say yeah- clap your hands say yeah:
"listening to 'clap your hands', the circus-like intro with alec ounsworth sounding like harry carrey, i don't think people realized how weird this band could actually get. from beginning to end, this album was a bizzare, yet extremely enjoyable ride with some really strong songs. the hype was deserved."

8. bright eyes- i'm wide awake, it's morning:
"as much as i pretend i don't like conor oberst and the manufactured emotion in his song, dude is a truly gifted songwriter. witty, poignant, and at times, downright profound, i tried my hardest not to like conor oberst this year. this album, however, stopped me dead in my tracks. he's not our generation's bob dylan by a long shot, but being our generation's conor oberst is good enough for me."

9. art brut- bang bang rock & roll:
"this is what punk is supposed to be. who cares if you only use three chords when you have arguably the greatest lead-singer-that-doesn't-really-sing in indie rock music today? eddie agros shouts, stammers, and struts his way through a variety of every day tales, making even a trip to the laundromat song of the year. when he comes back to america, he's going to ask if you started a band. if you do, and you can't really play your instrument, this is your reference point."

10. kanye west- late registration:
"as much as i've tried to slam kanye for being such an egomaniac, he's committed to making the best songs that he possibly can. he's not the best rapper out, and in many ways, he's not the best producer, but he does both good enough, and has enough foresight to bring on jon brion for co-production, to make the best rap album of the year. late registration is smart, musically expansive, cocky, heartbreaking, and triumphant. in many ways, just like kanye himself. they say the best classes go to the fastest. america's favorite rapper may have been tardy, but he's definitely got the best seat in the classroom."

and here are the honorable mentions (in no particular order):

the white stripes- get behind me satan
franz ferdinand- you could have it so much better.. (this album is my #11)
devendra banhart- cripple crow
fiona apple- extraordinary machine
re-up gang- we got it for cheap, volumes one and two
john vanderslice- pixel revolt
dangerdoom- the mouse and the mask
sufjan stevens- illinois
ryan adams- 29
laura veirs- year of meteors
chad vangaalen- infiniheart


Blogger Eric said...

Good list. Nice to seem some other people with love for Bloc Party.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Good choice for #1

12:23 AM  

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