Ten for Tuesday: 2005 August 3, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: 2005, Beck, Bright Eyes, Gorillaz, Kanye West, music, My Morning Jacket, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, the new pornographers, The White Stripes, top ten
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken trips in our top ten time machine to 1980, 1990, and 2000. Today we will be taking a short hop to five years ago, 2005. In ’05, I was 28 years old, we had been living in the Memphis area for a year, and our second child was born. Needless to say, it was a busy and exciting time. There was also a great deal of excellent music and movies being released and that is what we will look at today.
Top 10 Albums of 2005
10. The Decemberists – Picaresque
Picaresque was my introduction to The Decemberists, a Portland-based indie band known for its use of unusual instruments and hyper-literate lyrics. I was quickly taken by their lush arrangements and Collin Meloy’s storytelling, particularly on great songs like “We Both Go Down Together” and “16 Military Wives.”
9. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
This was around the time that I first became aware of one of The New Pornographers, one of indie rock’s great supergroups, and soon their brand of power-pop drew me in. The combination of Dan Bejar, AC Newman, Neko Case (one of my personal favorites) and others is a winning one on this fantastic collection.
8. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
I can understand how Conor Oberst’s earnest, quavering voice rubs some people the wrong way, but I’m certainly not one of them. To me he exudes confusion and doubt in way that seems so real and normal.
7. Beck – Guero
I’ve been a huge fan of Beck since his breakthrough back in the 90’s and over the years I’ve collected all of his albums. While this one is not his best (a distinction that goes to either Odelay or Sea Change), it is a nice swerve back to the “two turntables and a microphone” style of alternative dance-rock, complete with random Spanish phrases and great beats, that he popularized a decade earlier.
6. Gorillaz – Demon Days
It was an interesting concept to say the least when Damon Albarn from the band Blur teamed with cartoonist Jamie Hewlett to form a new sort of project, one involving an animated alternative rock/hip-hop act, but it was this incredible second release, with unavoidable hits like “Feel Good, Inc.” and “Dirty Harry,” that they truly became a force to be reckoned with.
5. Spoon – Gimme Fiction
For 15 years, the Austin-based band Spoon has lurked just below the level of stardom, slowly building up their name and garnering attention without ever truly breaking through to the big time. Gimme Fiction shows the band doing what they do best, creating great danceable alternative rock numbers like “I Turn my Camera On” and “My Mathematical Mind” for their growing legion of fans.
4. The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
The duo of Jack and Meg White were on top of the world at this time following the hugely successful lo-fi albums White Blood Cells and Elephant, but with Get Behind Me Satan, they decided to swerve from the blues-rock path they were blazing. Their more experimental style may have confounded some, but I loved it, particularly on great songs like “My Doorbell” and “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet).”
3. My Morning Jacket – Z
I was first introduced to MMJ’s spacey, retro-70’s style on the incredible album preceding this one, It Still Moves, but I think I can safely say that I believe Z is even better. Jim James’ band is on fire this time around, employing their Southern sensibilities through a psychedelic haze to produce a truly great work. Check out songs like “Gideon” and “Off the Record” and you’ll agree.
2. Kanye West – Registration
Back before he was a headline-grabbing bad guy, interrupting the acceptance speeches of teenage award winners, Kanye West was one of the most important forces in hip-hop and this is probably his masterpiece. How can you not like “Gold Digger” and “Diamonds from Sierra Leone?”
1. Sufjan Stevens
Illinois marked the second in Sufjan Stevens’ now seemingly-stalled 50 state series of albums, but this work is so incredible, so varied and interesting, that it seems almost impossible to top. Stevens employs a childlike uncertainty to his vocals against a lush instrumental background to tell stories from the great state, including songs like “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” “Decatur, Or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!,” and “Chicago.” This is a must-have from 2005.