23 November 2010

Top Albums: 2005

{ What happened in 2005? Well, Blink-182 announced they're going on an indefinite hiatus, Korn guitarist Brian Welch found religion, Cream reunites for four shows in London, Live 8 happened and it was massive, Britney Spears has a kid. So, 2005 was kind of a bland year for music dirt. It was also a year where I missed out on a lot of great albums. }

It looks like 2005 was a year where I missed a lot of great albums. I didn't catch up on records like Gimmie Fiction by Spoon or Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes until a year or so later. I was aware of the albums and I was aware of the singles but I didn't know the albums. I also missed out on Illinois by Sufjan Stevens. It's a great record but I never really caught on to the whole Sufjan Stevens craze. Maybe I'm irrationally angry at him for not doing that whole fifty states project.

Two albums that I absolutely adore today but didn't really get into until much later was LCD Soundsystem's self-titled album and Z by My Morning Jacket. These are two albums that I play all the time these days but I missed out on them in 2005.

It looks like 2005 was a year where I missed out on a lot of great albums. So, what the hell was I listening to?

Well, here are my top albums of 2005:

5. The Chemical Brothers - Push The Button

The Chemical Brothers are a group that I have loved since their first hit album in 1997, Dig Your Own Hole. Their subsequent records Surrender and Come With Us are stellar records. Push The Button is another solid release by the electronic English duo. "Galvanize" was a massive hit and it's a fantastic song but it really doesn't do justice to the wonderfully psychedelic record.

4. Various Artists - Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack

I feel like I shouldn't put a soundtrack on a top album sort of list but I practically wore this record out and plenty of tracks on this album found its way to many of my mix CDs.

The makers of the Stubbs the Zombie video game took a bunch of classic songs from the '50s and '60s and had hipster bands cover these songs and the result is absolutely brilliance.

Ben Kweller sings "Lollipop," The Raveonettes have a fantastic cover "My Boyfriend's Back," and San Francisco indie-rock band Oranger has an absolutely amazing rendition of "Mr. Sandman." It starts off fairly straight forward but wait until those mid-90s Weezer-ish guitars kick in. Chills.

3. Paul McCartney - Chaos And Creation In The Backyard

Okay, so post-Beatles Paul McCartney albums have been pretty much hit or miss. Some Wings songs are absolutely cheesy but Band On The Run is a fantastic record. Post-Wings, McCartney work has been pretty spotty but Chaos And Creation In The Backyard is an amazing record mostly due to the efforts of producer Nigel Godrich.

Godrich is the producer behind some of the most brilliant Radiohead records and many other bands like Travis, Air, and Beck.

McCartney was challenged on this record by the relatively young upstart and the results are clear. Chaos... is one of the most adventurous albums from McCartney since his days with The Beatles.

2. Oasis - Don't Believe The Truth

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Oasis. They were such an important band to me in high school and you can't easily give up that feeling in those formative years.

Their subsequent records after their massive hit (What's The Story) Morning Glory? were great but a bit stagnant and bloated.

But Don't Believe The Truth was a true return to form. Exciting singles like "Lyla" and "The Importance Of Being Idle" were the most honest and raw songs they have had since their first two epic records. And Don't Believe The Truth was one of the most complete records they have had since Morning Glory.

The record was raw and real and back to basics and the songwriting and the musicianship was strong. The addition of talents like Andy Bell (from Ride and Hurricane #1) and Gem Archer (from Heavy Stereo) made the album complete.

1. Doves - Some Cities

I've always loved Doves but didn't really catch on until before 2005 but in the height of my love for Doves they released Some Cities and the quality of this record blew my mind.

This group from Manchester, England captured dreary English suburbia in this one song.

I didn't grow up in a working class city like Manchester but I certainly identify with that bland, black and white suburban lifestyle and the desire to escape and get out.

The punishing rhythm, the aggressive keyboards and the powerful down stroke of the guitar is a beautiful release of frustration. It's a single I wish I could have written.

Their single "Black and White Town" was absolutely brilliant:

The rest of the record is incredibly strong. Some Cities feature beautiful production, gorgeous melodies, and carries a wonderfully wistful feeling. Some Cities weighs in at an efficient 47 minutes.There aren't any throwaway tracks there. For me, this was certainly the best album of 2005.

Put on the record and go.

2005 Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
  • Babyshambles - Down In Albion
  • Gorillaz - Demon Days
  • Hard Fi - Stars of CCTV
  • Kanye West - Late Registration
  • New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

{ Give this album a go. }

Please be sure to read my post explaining this little project and, more importantly, the criteria that I'm using. Thanks!