Flashback: Best Music of 2005

In anticipation of the shutdown of Apple’s MobileMe service, I am re-posting some of my old blog entries before they become harder to retrieve.

This entry was originally posted on January 8, 2006.

It’s that time of the year again, and I want to blog about the year 2005 in music. A lot of artists released albums in the year 2005 to substantial hype, most of whom fell far short of the hype. In fact, even though there was a lot of music released in 2005 that was very good and enjoyable, this may have been one of the most underwhelming years, musically, I’ve seen/heard in a while. So… here goes:

Best song: “Soul Meets Body,” by Death Cab for Cutie
runner up: “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Aaahhh!” by Sufjan Stevens
Worst song: “Get Your Way,” by Jamie Cullum
runner up: “All About the Wordplay,” by Jason Mraz

Best eulogy: “Jazzfrac’s Soul,” by Taki76

Best ‘Free Download of the Week’ on the iTunes Music Store: tie between “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by the Fray and “Don’t Push” by the Exit.
Worst ‘Free Download of the Week” on the iTunes Music Store: “Let Go,” by BarlowGirl

Best song from a soundtrack: (tie) “Breathe Me,” by Sia from Six Feet Under, and “Damsel in Distress,” by Idina Menzel from Desperate Housewives

Now for my list of the ten best albums of 2005:
10. Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple. This album would have placed higher on my list if she had preserved some of her anger from her previous efforts
9. Small White Town, by Danielia Cotton. I really wasn’t that impressed with her work until I saw her live. She can really belt out a tune.
8. In Your Honor, by the Foo Fighters. This is their best album since their debut.
7. Aerial, by Kate Bush. Good to hear her back on the scene. And with a 2-disc set no less.
6. No Direction Home, by Bob Dylan. Great hearing the alternate versions of that stuff. And it goes perfectly with the PBS documentary.
5. Plans, by Death Cab for Cutie. As solid a rock album as came out in 2005.
4. Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come on Feel the Illinoise! Easily the most pretentious album since Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness a decade ago, but since he clearly embraced the pretense (see the song title above as the runner up for the best song of the year), so did I. The ending just left me feeling empty.
3. If You Didn’t Laugh, You’d Cry, by Marah. This album is doing what their album from a few years ago — Float Away with the Friday Night Gods — was intended to do.
2. Out Here at Sea, by Karen Kosowski. The only thing keeping this from being my number one pick was that it wasn’t long enough.
1. Picaresque, by the Decemberists. Fun and funny, energetic and basically flawless.

There were three reasonably well-established artists who released albums in 2005 to great fanfare, and the albums they put out were quite disappointing. I have never been much of a fan of Dave Matthews, but his latest album disappointed all but his most rabid fans. I have been a fan of Tori Amos for quite some time now, but her album, The Beekeeper, definitely is one of the worst of the year. For the first time in her career, she put out an album that is not challenging and, quite frankly, sounds like it’s full of outtakes from her previous effort, Scarlett’s Walk. And the worst album of the year has to be Coldplay’s X & Y. Apart from the song “Speed of Sound,” the album is a crawl through emotions that lead singer Chris Martin didn’t need to share with anyone other than his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, and their daughter, Apple.

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