Monday, December 19, 2005

thus spake drake's Top Albums of 2005

Play it: 2005's Best Albums

After much hand wringing and feverish last minute re-listens and re-evaluations, I've finished my list. Best of lists always have mix of favoritism, but I've tried to make this more then that. Of course, my favorite albums naturally get a bump, but this is still a 'Best' list, not a favorites list. The playlist contains 158 songs from albums I recommend. Why so many? There was a lot of worthy records this year, and I just couldn't narrow it down anymore. There are few I haven't had a chance to hear (or hear enough of) yet, and imagine would change the list a bit: Edan's Beauty and the Beat, Isolée's Wearemonster, Lightning Bolt's Hypermagic Mountain, and Boards of Canada's latest.

01. Sufjan Stevens Illinois
It is with a bit of reluctance that I make this my top album of the year. 2005 was a great year for music, but I don't think there was one album this year that was head & shoulders above the rest... just a really deep year of great albums (that's why I have over 160 listed!) There were really 7-10 albums in my opinion that could've garnered this spot depending on when you caught me. But, honestly, I can't really go wrong with this one, as it really was Stevens' year. And really...who else can make "cancer of the bone" sound so wistful.
Play it
Download "Casimir Pulaski Day" & "The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" (via Catbirdseat)

02. Wolf Parade Apologies to the Queen Mary
The album that moved up the list most upon repeat listens was this one. Whenever this Montreal band's name was mentioned, 'next big thing' 'Arcade Fire' and 'Modest Mouse' were sure to follow. A lot to live up to, and it exceeded much of that. While the Isaac Brock production made it easy to spot the Modest Mouse reference, one that didn't get mentioned much (if at all) was the great Bowie/Eno influence. A remarkable record that is still moving up my lists with every listen. (Review 09/27)
Play it
Download "You are a Runner and I am My Father's Son" (Sub Pop)

03. M.I.A. Arular Sri Lankan-born, London-raised musical and visual artist releases this mish-mash of hip-hop, chunky electro beats and tribal cadence with a mix of politics and sexuality. (Review 03/29)
Play it

04. Animal Collective Feels
This time around they play with formal rock structures, but still stay weird and joyful at the same time. Another album that continues to grow on me. (Review 10/21)
Play it

05. My Morning Jacket Z
Kentucky rockers shake off the southern rock rust (which looked good) and opt for a shinier finish. Polished well. (Review 10/13)
Play it

06. Bloc Party Silent Alarm

On first listen, hands down album of the year. Repeated listens can tire, though, as Kele's voice squeezes emotion out of every syllable. Harkens back to Radiohead's The Bends... wonder if they'll follow a similar trajectory. (Review 03/26)
Play it

07. The Hold Steady Separation Sunday
Craig Finn (ex- Lifter Puller) can do no wrong now, with his latest band's sophomore release. And whodathunk they'd get mention on the TV show Lost and make their debut in a Target commercial?
Play it

08. Andrew Bird And the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Multi-instrumentalist makes his finest album yet, and we're all grateful.
Play it

09. The New Pornographers Twin Cinema
Another album that fell in the past couple weeks, with repeat listens... but that happens with power-pop and it's bretheren. Still love it. (Review 08/23)
Play it

10. Serena Maneesh Serena Maneesh
My Bloody Valentine via Norway... my dreams have forever been altered. Dreamy, sinister, lovely, evil... it's all good.
Play it

11. Broken Social Scene Broken Social Scene
Another great album from the Toronto collective.
Download "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)" (via Said the Gramophone)

12. Spoon Gimme Fiction
Britt takes on both Bowie and Prince in this slap-scattered beauty. (Review 05/10)
Play it

13. Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
Will Sheff's coming into his own as a songwriter. "For Real" might be my fave song of the year. (Live review 09/08)
Play it

14. Sigur Ros Takk...
Still stuck in my dreams, so it's probably good I can't make out anything they're singing. (Review 09/13)
Play it

15. Sam Prekop Who's Your New Professor
Sea & Cake leader's best recording so far (either solo or in S&C.)
Play it

16. Devendra Banhart Cripple Crow
Freak folk plugs in for a few, results are good. Album cover of the year? (Review 09/12)
Play it

17. Kanye West Late Registration
Got the ego down, and now the music is starting to back it up. Great hip-hop release (thanks in part to Jon Brion co-production.)
Play it

18. Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Loudest sounding album of the year... could damage your speakers (or make you think you've damaged them,) so beware. (Review 07/08)
Play it

19. LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem
If it was more consistent, would've been a classic for the ages.
Play it

20. Art Brut Bang Bang Rock and Roll
Tongue in cheek or not, I dig. Line of the year - "I've seen her naked... TWICE!"
Play it

21. Stephen Malkmus Face the Truth
Pavement's finally a thing of the past now with this confident release. (Review 05/24)
Play it

22. Danger Doom The Mouse and the Mask
Danger Mouse and MFDoom's love letter to Adult Swim = Fun. (Review 10/11)
Play it

23. Black Mountain Black Mountain
They've got their influences on their sleeve, and it sounds so good.
Play it

24. Bonnie Prince Billie and Matt Sweeney Superwolf
Best work from Oldham (BBP) since I See a Darkness. Spare and fragile, unwinds before you after several listens.

25. The Go-Betweens Oceans Apart
Ok, let's call it a comeback.
Play it

26. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Review 10/20)
27. Antony and the Johnsons I'm a Bird Now
28. Brendan Benson The Alternative to Love (Review 05/04)
29. The National Alligator
30. Bright Eyes Wide Awake it's Morning
31. The Joggers With a Cape and a Cane
32. The Decemberists Picaresque
33. The Deathray Davies The Kick and the Snare
34. Deerhoof The Runners Four (Review 11/01)
35. Mars Volta Frances the Mute (Review 03/01)
36. Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine (Review 10/04)
37. The Pernice Brothers Discover a Lovelier You (Review 06/15)
38. Franz Ferdinand You Could Have it So Much Better
39. Kings of Leon Aha Shake Heartbreak (Review 02/22)
40. Architecture in Helsinki In Case We Die
41. Beck Guero
42. The Fiery Furnaces Rehearsing My Choir
43. The Spinto Band Nice and Nicely Done
44. Jorge Drexler Eco
45. Eels Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
46. Common Be
47. Laura Veirs Year of Meteors (Live review 08/29)
48. The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
49. Low The Great Destroyer (Review 02/27)
50. Feist Let it Die

These and about another 110 or so more in comments.

Previously
Mother of all year-end lists
Best Albums not really from 2005
Best Artist Compilations
Best EPs
Best Producer

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6 comments:

Casey Dorrell said...

they might be way too low, but it's still good seeing the eels make some year-end lists.

drake leLane said...

yeah... eels were much higher when I started the list last month, but saw a precipitous fall on my last few more evaluative listens.

I love the album, but find it quite a bit uneven, partially due to it's length.

Jason said...

i like your picks. quite similar to mine.
are you one of the pitchfork guys?

drake leLane said...

Had to redo the tracklisting... this time with album titles...

drake leLane said...

thus spake drake's top albums 2005

* "I'll Believe in Anything" - Wolf Parade Apologies to the Queen Mary
* "Pull Up The People" - M.I.A. Arular
* "Grass" - Animal Collective Feels
* "Off The Record" - My Morning Jacket Z
* "Positive Tension" - Bloc Party Silent Alarm
* "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" - The Hold Steady Separation Sunday
* "Banking on a Myth" - Andrew Bird And the Mysterious Production of Eggs
* "Use It" - New Pornographers Twin Cinema
* "Selina'S Melodie Fountain" - Serena Maneesh Serena Maneesh
* "Two Sides/Monsieur Valentine" - Spoon Gimme Fiction
* "For Real" - Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
* "Gong" - Sigur Ros Takk...
* "Something" - Sam Prekop Who's Your New Professor
* "Heard Somebody Say" - Devendra Banhart Cripple Crow
* "Heard 'Em Say" - Kanye West Late Registration
* "Entertain" - Sleater-kinney The Woods
* "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" - LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem
* "Good Weekend" - Art Brut Bang Bang Rock and Roll
* "Pencil Rot" - Stephen Malkmus Face the Truth
* "Old School" - Danger Doom The Mouse and the Mask
* "Modern Music" - Black Mountain Black Mountain
* "Here Comes A City" - The Go-Betweens Oceans Apart
* "Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
* "My Lady Story" - Antony and the Johnsons I'm a Bird Now
* "Spit It Out" - Brendan Benson Alternative to Love
* "All the Wine" - The National Alligator
* "Wicked Light Sleeper" - The Joggers With A Cape And A Cane
* "We Both Go Down Together" - The Decemberists Picaresque
* "The Fall Fashions" - The Deathray Davies The Kick And The Snare
* "O'Malley, Former Underdog" - Deerhoof The Runners Four
* "The Widow" - Mars Volta Frances the Mute
* "Extraordinary Machine" - Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
* "My So-Called Celibate Life" - Pernice Brothers Discover a Lovelier You
* "The Fallen" - Franz Ferdinand You Could Have it So Much Better
* "Taper Jean Girl" - Kings Of Leon Aha Shake Heartbreak
* "Do The Whirlwind" - Architecture in Helsinki In Case We Die
* "Girl" - Beck Guero
* "Slavin' Away" - The Fiery Furnaces Rehearsing My Choir
* "Oh Mandy" - The Spinto Band Nice and Nicely Done
* "Todo Se Transforma" - Jorge Drexler Eco
* "Old Shit / New Shit" - Eels Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
* "The Corner" - Common Be
* "Magnetized" - Laura Veirs Year of Meteors
* "This Year" - The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
* "California" - Low The Great Destroyer
* "Mushaboom" - Feist Let it Die
* "La Réalité" - Amadou & Mariam Dimanche a Bamako
* "On the Floor" - Mary Timony Ex Hex
* "My Doorbell" - The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan
* "Sweet Little Kitten" - Husky Rescue Country Falls
* "The Hustle" - Marah If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry
* "Fake" - The Frames Burn the Maps
* "Publish My Love" - Rogue Wave Descended Like Vultures
* "Crosses" - Jose Gonzalez Veneer
* "High Fives" - Four Tet Everything Ecstatic
* "Cells" - Teenage Fanclub Man-Made
* "Onda Callejera" - Ry Cooder Chavez Ravine
* "Career Finders" - The Perceptionists Black Dialogue
* "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" - The Fall Fall Heads Roll
* "B.M.F.A." - Martha Wainwright Martha Wainwright
* "Running, Returning" - Akron/Family Akron/Family
* "Don't Save Us From The Flames" - M83 Before the Dawn Heals Us
* "Zoom" - Super Furry Animals Love Kraft
* "One Life Away" - M. Ward Transistor Radio
* "Lives Of Crime (Album)" - Fruit Bats Spelled in Bones
* "Stoned Part 1" - Lewis Taylor Stoned
* "Empty" - Metric Live it Out
* "Through With People" - Portastatic Bright Ideas
* "Tive Razao" - Seu Jorge Crue
* "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" - Juelz Santana What the Game's Been Missing!
* "Leave The City" - Magnolia Electric Co. What Comes After the Blues
* "Muppet Face" - Xiu Xiu La For
* "Tangled Up In Plaid" - Queens Of The Stone Age Lullabies to Paralyze
* "In State" - Kathleen Edwards Back to Me
* "Ave Grave" - Thee More Shallows More Deep Cuts
* "Lunar One" - Seventeen Evergreen Life Embarrasses Me on Planet Earth
* "Start Wearing Purple" - Gogol Bordello Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
* "Caught In My Trap" - Pilotdrift Water Sphere
* "Dear John" - Ryan Adams Jacksonville City Nights
* "How We Do " - The Game with 50 Cent Documentary
* "My Own Face Inside The Trees" - The Clientele Strange Geometry
* "Let's Trade Skins" - Great Lake Swimmers Bodies and Minds
* "I Owe" - Living Things Ahead of the Lions
* "Haeter" - Oranger New Comes and Goes
* "Sea Lion" - Sage Francis A Healthy Distrust
* "Forever Lost" - The Magic Numbers The Magic Numbers
* "Hello Hammerheads" - Caribou The Milk of Human Kindess
* "You Almost Had It" - The Golden Republic The Golden Republic
* "Heart Attack" - The Moaners Dark Snack
* "Forget Myself" - Elbow Leaders of the Free World
* "Draw Us Lines" - The Constantines Tournament of Hearts
* "Hold Hands And Fight" - The Rosebuds Birds Make Good Neighbors
* "Hide and Seek" - Imogen Heap Speak For Yourself
* "Sugar" - Ladytron Witching Hour
* "Sirius (Album Version)" - Pelican The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw
* "Finding Out True Love Is Blind" - Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
* "O, KY" - Archer Prewitt Wilderness
* "Sixteen" - Lucero Nobody's Darlings
* "Initiate" - Calla Collisions
* "This Shameless Moment" - Saxon Shore The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore
* "Radio, Radio" - Swords Metropolis
* "The Wives of Artie Shaw" - Kinski Alpine Static
* "Spectacular" - Graham Coxon Happiness in Magazines
* "Dead Man" - The Residents Animal Lover
* "Blankest Year" - Nada Surf The Weight is a Gift
* "Idiocy" - The Double Loose in the Air
* "Golden Boy (Torture In The Shed)" - Mendoza Line Full of Light and Full of Fire
* "Let It Be Me" - Rosie Thomas If Songs Could Be Held
* "Phoney Marony" - Apollo Sunshine Apollo Sunshine
* "Pretty Little Neighbor" - Giant Drag Heart and Unicors
* "I Hope Yer There" - Tim Fite Gone Ain't Gone
* "I Burn Today" - Frank Black Honeycomb
* "Parthenon Drive" - Echo and the Bunnymen Siberia
* "Requiem for o.m.m.2" - Of Montreal The Sunlandic Twins
* "Caterpillar Girl" - Lou Barlow EMOH
* "This Old Guitar" - Neil Young Prarie Wind
* "Slow Rewind" - Sam Championd Slow Rewind
* "Hydrant Game" - Quasimoto The Further Adventures of Lord Quas
* "The Rays" - The Bats At the National Grid
* "I Am Without" - Calvin Johnson Before the Dream Faded
* "Exodus Damage" - John Vanderslice Pixel Revolt
* "It Ended On An Oily Stage" - British Sea Power Open Season
* "Weight Of The World" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Howl
* "Why Bother At All" - Koufax Hard Times are in Fashion
* "Circles" - Bob Mould Body of Song
* "Fill Me With Your Light" - Clem Snide End of Love
* "Andalucia" - Crooked Fingers Dignity and Shame
* "Road To Rouen" - Supergrass Road to Rouen
* "Say Anything" - Dios Malos Dios Malos
* "Someday Never Comes" - Brandi Carlile Brandi Carlile
* "I Guess You're Right" - The Posies Every Kind of Light
* "Feel Good Inc." - Gorillaz Demon Days
* "Electrified" - Dressy Bessy Electrified
* "Miss You" - The Concretes Layourbattleaxedown
* "Japanese Girls" - Robbers On High Street Tree City
* "B.Y.O.B." - System Of A Down Mezmerize
* "There's A Fire" - Longwave There's a Fire
* "Summer Of His Youth" - Treasure State Migration
* "Soul Meets Body" - Death Cab For Cutie Plans
* "Ride The Wild Wave" - The Oranges Band The World and Everything in it
* "Quem Sabe Isso Quer Dizer Amor" - Milton Nascimento Pieta
* "Death Is the Answer" - Early Man Closing In
* "I Predict A Riot" - Kaiser Chiefs Employment
* "Cease Fire" - Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion Exploration
* "Fine Line" - Paul Mccartney Chaos & Creation in the Backyard
* "Trap Star" - Young Jeezy Let's Get it: Thug Motivation 101
* "Heading For A Breakdown" - The Soundtrack Of Our Lives Origin Volume 1
* "Krafty" - New Order Waiting for the Siren's Call
* "My Name Is Love" - Rob Dickinson Fresh Wine for the Horses
* "What Do I Care" - Juliana Hatfield Made in China
* "Ringway to Seatac" - The Wedding Present Take Fountain
* "Valentine" - The Sun Blame it on the Youth
* "Subtraction" - Cass McCombs Prefection
* "Precious" - Depeche Mode Playing the Angel
* "Happy In The Morning " - Nikka Costa Can'tneverdidnothin'
* "Island Of The Honest Man " - Hot Hot Heat Elevator
* "Love Is A Deserter" - The Kills No Wow
* "Khaki and Corduroy" - Laura Cantrell Humming by the Flowered Vine
* "Halo" - Amandine This is Where Our Hearts Collide
* "Drinking Beers" - Miguel Mendez My Girlfriend is Waiting

Andrew said...

Good list. I finally put my top 12 up at bloggedy blog.

AC