Jen was bugging me to do my “Best of 2005” music list. I’ve never done a list like this before, so it’ll be a bit different than most lists. I think each album has a little bit of a story, if not just a small anecdote. So here’s my list of albums and songs that best summed up 2005 for me.
Album with the Most Tritones Adult. – Gimme Trouble I think that there might be a new rule regarding punk rock bands. 20 years ago it was all typical I-IV-V progressions (Hey, Ho, Let’s Go!). Adult. approaches it a little differently from the opposite direction with mostly diminished figures, and not much else. Still an alright album…just lots of tritones.
Album That Took Some Getting Used To and Now I Love It: Bloc Party – Silent Alarm I first heard Silent Alarm at the beginning of the year and I couldn’t stand the lead singer’s voice. I liked some of the songs but in the back of my mind kept thinking “we do not need another whiny Brit white guy trying to be a rock star.” Then I learned that the lead singer was actually black and I was able to put a face with the song…now this is one of my favorites of 2005, even the remixed version ranks pretty high. This probably makes me a racist.
Album That Seemed Like It Was Going to be Fantastic Until you Listen to it: Alarm Will Sound – Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex Twin A new music ensemble performing Aphex Twin seemed like a great idea at first. I had heard about the London Sinfonietta doing Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and this seemed like the closest I would ever get to hearing those arrangements. While pieces like “Fingerbib” and “4” are real nice, everything else just made me want to listen to the originals. Still, Alarm Will Sound gets an A for effort. That, and they’ve also got out a great chamber recording of Steve Reich’s “The Desert Music”.
Remix Album Lost On Me Because I Haven’t Heard the Original: Sound Tribe Sector 9 – Artifact: Perspectives I heard about this in Remix magazine. Sound Tribe Sector 9 is supposed to be incredible because they have a very electronic sound, but they perform everything live. Not like this remix album of Artifact. This one contains a lot of remixes of a track called “Possibilities”, which has a soul influenced vocal line going “I wonder why the nevah tried to tell meeee..bum, bum BUM I wonder why they never tried to shell (?) meee bum, bum BUM)”…It’s all in the flows!
Best Album Made Almost Entirely on a Casio Keyboard M83 – Before The Dawn Heals Us Especially “Teen Angst”. Casio keyboard + Cubase + 1/8 note quantizing = this album. Also features very similar composition techniques used by first year E-Comp students, such as relying on the sound of a Pad patch and then dicking around with the pitch bend wheel.
Just Made Me Want To Dance Chok Rock – Big City Loser “Give It Up” is 11 minutes of dancing around the room like an idiot…and that’s why I can’t wait for a full album from Chok Rock.
Song That I Think Is Really Sad Even Though I Haven’t Really Paid Attention To The Lyrics Yet: Jenny Wren – Paul McCartney Some word painting on “Took Her Sun Away”. Him and Gesualdo have so much in common.
Longest thing I only paid $0.99 for at the iTunes Store: DFA Holiday Mix Featuring some LCD Soundsystem songs, big surprise there, right? I wish I could seperate this into multiple tracks easily, but alas, record companies don’t really want me to enjoy legally downloaded music.
Album I Didn’t Understand the Praise For: Spoon – Gimmie Fiction I’ll have to listen to this one again, but besides “I Turn My Camera On” I don’t see the incredible genius in this yet.
Album That Made Me Sing From A Woman’s Point of View in the Car: Colette – Hypnotized Besides some very fun cuts, Collette makes me feel better about singing along to something that’s not all whorish like Gwen Stefani. I can relate more to “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On” than “This SHIT is Bananas!”
Album That Also Made Me Sing From A Woman’s Perspective In Private: Annie – Anniemal I LOVE this album for its fun hooks. Although technically released in 2004, Anniemal didn’t hit the states until this year. Sounds a little 1980s at points, but that just contributes to why I like it.
Album with the Best Failed Marketing Plan Harvey Danger – Little by Little They released it on the internet to encourage sales, not realizing how sales would be affected by actually letting people listen to it for free. I downloaded it, listened to it, and decided not to buy it…almost made me also want to sell my copy of “Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone”. Did anybody end up buying it?
Album That Made Me Imitate the Artist While Driving and Dance Like a Fool and Has Remained my IM Icon For a Very Long Time: Jamie Lidell – Multiply “It won’t stop, won’t STOP, ‘till it’s got youuuu on your knees!” Warp’s known mainly for abstract, snare rushed Aphex Twin beats. That’s why it’s great to hear a record come from them that you can actually dance to. I did a song about some girl’s butt this summer and it ended up sounding much like “When I Come Back Around” in some ways. This guy can sing. I ended up getting the Super_Collider album…I think I might like that one more than Multiply. I gotta hear some Cristian Vogel stuff.
Album That Was So Much Better Than Their Last: Fischerspooner – Odyssey I can just imagine what the Logic Pro plugin presets look like on this album. #1 was so boring with it’s octave jumping, eighth note bass rhythms, and guest vocalist from Chicks On Speed (is that the same girl on “Megacolon”?). I thought that Fischerspooner would never get out of mediocrity, but on Odyssey they maintain the lo-fi electro sound and add in good songs that required more brain cells to write than “Emerge”. Thank you.
Album That Made Me Think of Alex’s Other IM Handle (inside joke): Death Cab For Cutie – Plans I’m convinced that if I were to ever meet Ben Gibbard that I probably wouldn’t like him very much. Everything he writes (from Death Cab and The Postal Service) makes me think of some kid from high school who had really bad breath, had terrible acne, took out his retainer at lunch, wore nice sweaters, and always talked about his feelings way too much. For the record, I pretty much kept my feelings to myself, which is why nobody is going to watch me die, aye, aye.
Album From Aging Pop Group That Hasn’t Completely Lost it: Depeche Mode – Playing The Angel I can’t talk about Depeche Mode without talking about New Order. Both groups are from the same time period and to me always had somekind of unspoken, parallel feud going on, like Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees did before that crappy movie with the big boobs came out. While New Order was incredible in the early and mid 80s, Depeche Mode was, frankly, really cheesy and bad. Now everytime that I hear “Jetstream Lover” and compare it to “Precious” or “John The Revelator” I think that the tables have turned.
Album From Aging Pop Group That Put Out an Album I Was Really Looking Forward To and Didn’t Deliver: New Order – Waiting For The Sirens’ Call The lyrics are so bad on this one that they make me think that Nelly McKay wrote them. Really only two good songs; “Dracula’s Castle” and “Guilt Is A Useless Emotion”. I’m sure that the latter is what they were thinking when they wrote all the other tracks, kind of like when they were doing the Sunkist commercial with “Blue Monday” and wrote how much money they were going to get on a window in the recording room so that when Bernard Sumner was singing “Sunkist is the one” he wouldn’t feel so bad. There may be a new New Order album out soon that’s made up largely of leftovers from these recording sessions…please let those be the good cuts. Everything New Order has released since Twisted Tenderness has sounded like an Electronic side project. Maybe that’s what Barney’s all about now, but I sure do miss the sound of Low-Life.
Song That Made Me Say “…is that Shaun Ryder?” DARE – Gorillaz If I could recognize that voice from only having seen “24 Hour Party People” (Happy Mondays albums are too painful to listen to all the way through) then I think that the guy who played Shaun Ryder must’ve really worked hard to imitate that sound. That, or that’s what everyone from Manchester sounds like.
Song That Sounded Too Much Like “Danny’s Song” This Is Such a Pity – Weezer It really is such a pity that you can start singing “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m sooo in love with ya honey” over the top of the chorus and pretty much sync right in. I would’ve also accepted “This Song’s Really Shitty” or “Make Believe That This Album Is Good” but I assume someone else already thought of that.
Album That Is Kind of Weird in That it Features a Singer Who Sounds a Lot Like Peter Gabriel and Has Artwork That Resembles “A Trick Of The Tail.” Elbow – Leaders of the Free World …Why?
Album with Headache Inducing Art: Audion – Suckfish …Don’t look directly at it or you will be in a world of hurt.
Best Song About a Serial Killer: John Wayne Gacy, Jr. – Sufjan Stevens What a great song…really creepy about how everyone’s got secrets underneath their floorboards and how on his best behavior he’s just like you and me. Illinois is also a really good album anyway and had I gotten it sooner it may have gotten my pick for best album of 2005. I think too many 6 second long tracks keeps it from getting that spot.
Best Sigur Rós Album: Animal Collective – Feels Nope, not Takk. How is it that Takk was going to be the most accessible Sigur Rós album ever? After multiple listens I can’t tell. Animal Collective grabs this award for “Loch Raven” alone.
Best Song of 2005: Arcade Fire – Cold Wind And I don’t just say that because I was a big Six Feet Under fan. Cold Wind nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it. It kind of reminds me of this play I saw about just picking up and leaving everything behind; your family, your friends…not telling them where you’re going, what you’re doing. All the family ends up killing themselves. That’s the power of this song.
Best Album of 2005 Jackson and His Computer Band – Smash Rocks SO hard. Best thing to come out of France this year…compared to Kelly Polar, Daft Punk and even Chok Rock. “Minidoux” sounds like Galaga and “Arpeggio” demands that you crank the volume. If you can keep the energy moving over a bed of sometimes abstract, Nintendo influenced music, then I think you deserve first prize.
Runners Up For Other Categories I Didn’t Think Of…maybe next year: !!! – Get Up Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask Imogen Heap – Speak For Yourself Ladytron – Witching Hour Prefuse 73 – Reads The Books Röyksopp – The Understanding Safety Scissors – Tainted Lunch