gorilla vs. bear's Top 50 Albums of 2005
Well, it's that time of year again (okay not quite, but almost), so here's my list of the Top 50 Albums of the year. Now, despite my near flawless taste in music, I'm no expert, and there's tons of stuff I probably didn't give enough attention to this year. So, I'm not claiming these are the best 50 albums of the year, but merely my 50 favorite. I've broken it up into the top 25 (in order) and the next 25 (alphabetical by artist).
Please feel free to comment/make fun all you want. And thanks for reading my blog this year, I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions.
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The Top 25:
24. One State Two State--The Light Footwork
I have to thank Matt for introducing me to these guys, and if I'd heard the full album sooner, it might be even higher on the list.
23. Life Embarrasses Me on Planet Earth--Seventeen Evergreen
key track: Lunar One mp3
22. Nice and Nicely Done--The Spinto Band
key track: Oh Mandy mp3
21. Birds Make Good Neighbors--The Rosebuds
key track: Blue Bird mp3
20. Gimme Fiction--Spoon
key track: I Turn My Camera On mp3
19. Infiniheart--Chad VanGaalen
key track: Clinically Dead mp3
I got this one early in the year and it was in heavy rotation for a while, then I forgot about it until Sub Pop re-released it this summer. He's been called a "bedroom genius", and don't be surprised if his next album is even better.
18. Black Sheep Boy--Okkervil River
key track: Black mp3
Another one that sort of snuck up on me. I saw these guys live early this year when they opened for the Decemberists, and they were very impressive. But for some reason I put off giving this album the listen it deserved until near the end of the summer. I'm glad I finally gave in.
key track: Running, Returning mp3
16. The Vice and Virtue Ministry--The Happy Bullets
key track: The Vice and Virtue Ministry mp3
15. The Loon--Tapes 'n Tapes
key track: Insistor mp3
As far as I'm concerned, if you have Wolf Parade on your list, you can't leave off Tapes 'n Tapes' new album. I'm not sure how I made that correlation, but it makes sense to me. Such a good record.
14. Twin Cinema--The New Pornographers
key track: Twin Cinema mp3
This album started strong for me, then faded a little after a couple months. Then I saw her live, and it worked its way right back onto the list.
12. Picaresque--The Decemberists
key track: Engine Driver mp3
11. Veneer--Jose Gonzalez
key track: Crosses mp3
I know this one came out a couple years ago over in Sweden, but I never heard of the guy until the U.S. release. This album would have made the list based on the strength of "Crosses" and his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" alone.
10. Cripple Crow--Devendra Banhart
key track: Quedate Luna mp3
If you would have asked me the first few times I heard this if it would end up on my year end list, I would've said no way. But after seeing him live, I definitely felt a deeper appreciation and connection with more of his recorded material. Not the creepy little boy stuff though. Also gets my vote for album cover of the year.
9. Broken Social Scene--Broken Social Scene
While this album didn't blow me away at first like You Forgot It In People, it's steadily lodged itself into my brain the more I listen. "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" is not only one of BSS's best songs, it's one of the best songs of this year.
8. The Alternative to Love--Brendan Benson
key track: The Pledge mp3
This one probably won't wind up on many critics "best of" lists, but that doesn't change the fact that I love everything Mr. Benson does. One of the best power-pop songwriters of this generation. I'm willing to bet that the upcoming Raconteurs album (Benson's collaboration with Jack White) will wind up near the top of next year's list.
7. Woman King/In The Reins--Iron & Wine
key track: Woman King mp3
Yeah I know I'm cheating by including both of these as one album, when neither is really an LP (one's an EP, while the other is considered a mini-LP, i think). But I couldn't let the fact that Sam Beam didn't release a full-length this year keep him off my list. Despite their lengths (or lack there of), these are two of the best releases of the year.
6. Feels--Animal Collective
Although I could appreciate it's artistic merits, I wasn't a huge fan of Sung Tongs. A little too chaotic for me. But this album is pure pop bliss. "Grass" and "Did You See The Words" are two of my favorite songs of the year.
5. Silent Alarm--Bloc Party
key track: Banquet mp3
I saw these guys live 3 times this year, and every time they improved on the previous performance. And this reaffirmed the strength of this album to me. Nothing groundbreaking, but really exceptional for what it is.
4. Descended Like Vultures--Rogue Wave
key track: Publish My Love mp3
This album is less immediately loveable and accessible than their debut, Out of the Shadow. It's also more nuanced, fuller, and better. Having a full band suits Zach Rogue well.
3. Apologies To The Queen Mary--Wolf Parade
key track: You Are a Runner mp3
I was almost tired of this band before I even heard their music. I don't usually mind hype (see Sufjan Stevens), but something about all the hoopla rubbed me the wrong way. You know, "the next Arcade Fire" and all that. All I can say is this album rewards repeat listens. I read somewhere that the band described their music as sounding "like burnt toast, or like two pinball machines in a slow motion bareback horserace." Not sure what that means but it fits. The "indie rock" (the genre) album of the year.
2. Takk--Sigur Ros
Ever since I heard the genius that is Ágætis Byrjun, I've been in love with these guys. Slightly less dark and moody than ( ), but equally beautiful.
1. Illinoise--Sufjan Stevens
key track: Chicago mp3
Yeah, I proclaimed this my album of the year quite some time ago, and despite valiant efforts by Sigur Ros, Wolf Parade, and Rogue Wave, that proclamation still stands. An instant classic.
Honorable Mentions and Disclaimer:
I left off some albums that otherwise would have made the list only because even though they were released in the U.S. in '05, they were released in '04 in other countries (namely Stars' Set Yourself On Fire, Dungen's Ta Det Lugnt, and The Go! Team's Thunder, Lightning, Strike).
The next 25 (alphabetical):
13 & God--13 & God
Architecture In Helsinki--In Case We Die
Andrew Bird--...& the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Bright Eyes--Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
Castanets--First Light's Freeze
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah--Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Jason Collett--Idols of Exile
DangerDoom--The Mouse & The Mask
Deathray Davies--The Kick and the Snare
dios (malos)--dios (malos)
Diplo--Fabric Live 24
Final Fantasy--Has a Good Home
Fruit Bats--Spelled in Bones
Ghosty--Grow Up or Sleep In
Husky Rescue--Country Falls
M83--Before The Dawn Heals Us
Metric--Live It Out
The Tah-Dahs--Le Fun
Thee More Shallows--More Deep Cuts
Tim Delaughter--Thumbsucker Original Soundtrack
The White Stripes--Get Behind Me Satan