Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Top 5 Albums of 2005.

Yeah, yeah...everyone's doing it. Personally I wouldn't mind skipping this bit for the sake of individualism but then again I've always wanted to sell-out and what better way to show my gratefulness to the music-whoring society of snobs than to publish my own personal top 5 music albums to have grace my thoroughly-filtered music collection.

a.k.a. 'Underrated Album of the Year': Brendan Benson - The Alternative to Love (genre: indie pop, pop rock) / released: March 22, 2005

Look. Ryan Adams' got three different releases this year and they're all techncially LPs! I personally found every Ryan Adams release to be special in their own right but nothing comes close to what this Detroit native's produced in a single year. All in all, this album is filled with pop-flavoured tunes and catchy riffs that a common denominator for indie-rock albums this year (think Matthew Sweet!). Gone widely unnoticed by the music community in general, Benson is no stranger to obscurity. Having released two LPs prior to this gem, Benson manages to turn the heat up with far more catchy and direct approaches with 'The Alternative to Love'. Indie snobs may shun this beauty but neutralists won't.

Standout tracks: 'Cool Hands (Warm Heart)', 'Spit It Out'.

a.k.a. '"It Took Me Only Five Listens To Dig This" Album': Sigur Ros - Takk
(genre: experimental rock, post-rock) / released: September 13, 2005

Enough has been said about the critics and indie music fans alike 2 months prior to the official release date of 'Takk'. Leaked into the Net, as most music albums are subjected to these days, 'Takk' was instantly hailed a monstrous classic; some saying that it rivals with Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon'. In exchange of using their native tongue instead of the slang coined as 'Hopelandic' in their previous albums, Sigur Ros kept the consistency of producing subliminally avant-garde music a profession.

I've always had this huge respect for these Icelandic kids for bringing out the best of their sound. NO ONE really understands what's been sung throughout the album but like as they say, that's the beauty of music. I still champion Sigur Ros to go into greater heights next year, they've truly made a believer out of me. Post-rock lives!

Stand-out tracks: 'Gong'.

a.k.a. 'The "I Didn't Know Females These Days Can Rock!" Album': Metric - Live It Out
(genre: indie-rock) released: October 4, 2005

Where were Courtney Love or Shirley Manson when you needed them? Oh yeah, one went overweight on us. She disbanded Hole. One stopped making music that easily fooled us that Hole could have been the next best thing since Blondie. The other...well the other just fluctuated, creatively.

Canadian-based quartet, Metric, fronted by the new poster girl of indie-rock, Emily Haines, continues where her band last left a big exclaimation mark in our heads in 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?'. A fittingly titled follow-up, 'Live It Out', Metric churns out stop-start punk-pop anthems without a hint of letting down their hair. Meticulously sung with the sort of slackerism and unique vocals that would make any indie-rock female lead singers hurl in jealousy, one cannot believe that Metric is only a mere 2 albums old.

One the albums released this year that I can actually listen to from start to finish without having to skip a track.

Stand-out tracks: 'Patriarch On A Vespa', 'Monster Hospital', 'Handshakes'.

a.k.a. 'The "God I Just Hate Fags But..." Album': Antony and The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
(genre: post-cabaret, chamber pop) / released: February 1, 2005

Just get with the program. This album is a must-have!

Stand-out tracks: 'You Are My Sister (feat. Boy George)', 'Hope There's Someone', 'Fistful of Love (feat. Lou Reed)'

a.k.a. '"Let's All Hope He Doesn't Win A Grammy" Album': Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
(genre: folk/rock, chamber pop, lo-fi) / released: July 5, 2005

This album's filled to the brim with weird compositions and even weirder instruments (Sufjan apparently plays the banjo, yo!). It's quite possibly the hardest album to contest against this year and the album that I fear will win Sufjan Stevens a Grammy. Not that he doesn't deserve's just that I've always associated winning a Grammy to being a jinxed artist when it comes to your next record release. I don't think that he'll ever surpass this masterpiece even when he stated that he'd like to make fifty albums of all the U.S. states. 'Illinois' is a montage of mature, earnest, consistent and innocent vibes all rolled into one, that is until its most haunting track, 'John Wayne Gacy, Jr.' plays just one third into the album.

Standout tracks: 'Chicago', 'Casimir Pulaski Day', 'The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts', 'They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhhh!'


Other notable mentions...

Doves - Some Cities
Released: March 1, 2005

Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
Released: August 30, 2005

Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
Released: May 31, 2005

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
Released: August 23, 2005

Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
Released: October 4, 2005

Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary
Released: September 27, 2005

Depeche Mode - Playing the Angel
Released: October 18, 2005

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