Top Eleven Songs of 2005:
Purchase Best of 2005 iMix
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
"Three out of five, three out of five (it's not enough) / Six out of ten / Better luck next time / Just like his Dad, just like his Dad (the same mistakes) / Some things will never be different."
Blending punk, disco bass lines, electronica, and the most subtle political commentary since The Rolling Stones' early years, this band from London one-upped Franz Ferdinand as the best U.K. band.
matt pond PA - Several Arrows Later
"I am listening/I'm hearing every single word/I see breadth and size and changing minds."
Every once in a while, you come across an album which becomes immediately familiar during the first listen. This is one of those albums, and should be purchased in spite of one of the strangest frontman-influenced band names ever.
Kanye West - Late Registration
"I'm trying to write my wrongs / but it's funny these same wrongs helped me write this song."
With unique samples, self-produced beats, and wide range of collaborations (from Maroon 5's Adam Levine to Jamie Foxx), Kanye West has annihilated the Sophomore Jinx Theory.
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
"You try making me wait / but you come undone when you come undone / everybody makes mistakes / but it's always mine that seem to keep on sticking / get your payments from the nation / for your trials and tribulations."
I never thought I'd actually write this ... this is a great electronica album. This NYC-based group released one of the most creative, interesting albums of the year.
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
"Oh yes I feel a rat apon the wheel / I got to know just not so much is real."
This Leeds-based band has exploded in the wake of bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Libertines. Heavy influences by The Clash and The Kinks alongside modern influences (8-BIT sampling).
Coldplay - X&Y
"Lights will guide you home / and ignite your bones."
This album took longer than expected, but it finally grew on me. Despite maintaining the simplicity of Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, this album carries a different feel of Coldplay's prior two albums.
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
"I do believe it's true / That there are roads left in both of our shoes / If the silence takes you / Then I hope it takes me too / So brown eyes I hold you near / Cause you're the only song I want to hear / A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere."
After releasing the side-project Postal Service's album, Give Up, Ben Gibbard reunited with bandmates to record Death Cab for Cutie's fifth album. The band picks up from where it left off on Transatlanticism, which frankly should have been in my 2003 list.
Caribou - The Milk of Human Kindness
Lyrics? Uhhh, what? This is an instrumental album, dude.
Dan Smith originally recorded under the pen name Manitoba; that is, until past-his-prime punk rocker/East Village bartender Joey Manitoba sued him for trademark infringement. Under the updated, Canadian-influenced moniker Caribou (seriously, didn't he learn his lesson about trademark infringement?), Smith has recorded an album that deserves it's own genre: not quite electronica, not quite indie. Best description I can think of is a cross between Jeff Tweedy (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) and Dangermouse.
The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
"Look, we've seen this kind of thing before / four kids hanging from the reference door / and if he hollers let him out / cause he's gonna shout / something in the way she moves / just shouldn't be allowed."
Vancouver-based band that's helped bring indie rock to the forefront. A Cuckoo's Eleven perennial, The New Pornographers' newest release has a darker tone yet retains the band's melodic signatures.
The Decemberists - Picaresque
"Here on these cliffs of Dover / so high you can't see over / and while your head is spinning / hold tight it's just beginning."
The best band to come out of Oregon since ... uh ... Black Rebel Motor Club? This indie-rock band in the vein of The New Pornographers.
Jamiroquai - Dynamite
"How many times can a man watch the sun rise over his head without feeling free? / How many words will fail me in my negligence to arrest this crazy part of me? / It's been so long and the groove in my heart's nearly gone."
After flying under the radar with 2001's A Funk Odyssey, Jay Kay & company's fifth release tops all prior successes, even the tripped-out video for Virtual Insanity and the infamous "Vote for Pedro" moonboot dance in Napoleon Dynamite.
Nada Surf - The Weight is a Gift
"To make a mountain of your life / Is just a choice / But I never learned enough / To listen to the voice that told me / Always love / Hate will get you every time / Always love / Don't wait til the finish line."
A strong follow-up to their 2003 hit Let Go (third on 2003's list). Continuing in their vein of mellowness, it's a wonder how they're the same band as their 1995 album High/Low ... but in a good way.
Beck - Guero
"See me comin to town with my soul / Straight down out of the world with my fingers / Holding onto the devil I know / All my troubles'll hang on your trigger / Take your eyes and your mind from the road / Shoot your mouth off but look where you're aiming / Don't forget to pick up what you sow / Talking trash to the garbage around you."
Beck returns to his Midnight Vultures and Odelay form, reinforcing the fact that his 2003 hit Sea Change was exactly that. Also worth noting was Beck's Hell Yes EP, which strictly used samples from a Nintendo Gameboy.
The Bravery - The Bravery
"They don't mean a thing to you / They move right through you / Just like your breath."
I was introduced to this band by two classmates here at Fuqua. A band with promising sound, similar to The Killers. Whether or not this churns into this decade's Oasis/Blur rivalry remains to be seen.
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
"We must talk in every telephone / Get eaten off the web / We must rip out all the epilogues in the books that we have read / And in the face of every criminal / Strapped firmly to a chair / We must stare, we must stare, we must stare."
Nebraksa native singer/songwriter Conor Oberst released two albums in 2005. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is a darker, electronica album while this album is reminiscent of Violent Femmes' influenced folk.
My Morning Jacket - Z
"Well I really don't need the confusion / And you know I just ain't the type / To get all wrapped up / In the illusion of doin' something / That I know ain't right."
If Neil Young replaced Crazy Horse with The Flaming Lips, he would sound like this band. A departure from their Alt-country 2003 album It Still Moves, with a wide variety of flavors.