Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Impressing Me in 2005

Here goes:

Bloc Party editorscover HardFi2
Witching Hour franz depeche
Doves gorillaz Goldfrapp

10. Goldfrapp - Supernature - This album is the soundtrack to a sci-fi sex scene. They've really improved on Black Cherry, and made a deliciously addictive album. "Slide In" and "Ride the White Horse" are outstanding.

9. Gorillaz - Demon Days - Sure it's a little over-done, but there are some gems here - even the over-Appled "Feel Good Inc." "DARE" is outstanding, if not just for the fact that it brought Shaun Ryder back from the dead. "Manana" is excellent as well.

8. Doves - Some Cities - A blend of both Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast, but it followed the more pop oriented sound of the latter album. "Black and White Town" is absurdly catchy.

7. Depeche Mode - Playing the Angel - I'm not going to say that it is better than Violator or that it's a return to form (Ultra and Exciter were the usual dark synth pop), but this was a surprisingly good album. It took me a little while to get into it, but I have. "Precious," "Lillian," and "Nothing is Impossible" are stand outs.

6. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It Much Better... - Possibly a better album overall than Franz Ferdinand. Franz managed to mature their songs without diluting their trademark sound. There's no "Take Me Out" on this album, but it may be stronger from start to finish than Franz Ferdinand. Nice to see that the sophomore slump didn't apply here.

5. Ladytron - Witching Hour - Ladytron took the best parts of 604 and Light & Magic and really put it all together for this album, with a little more live instrumentation than the first two. "Destroy Everything You Touch" is an incredible song, one for which words cannot describe.

4. Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV - The Clash meets dub with a little Britpop thrown in for added measure. Very strong singles on this LP, and "Hard to Beat" is one of the best songs of the year - essentially what Daft Punk's "One More Time" would sound like if a guitar band covered it.

3. Editors - The Back Room - Sure, they have the Interpol comparisons, but they stand out in their own right, primarily because Tom Smith has a much better voice than Paul Banks. This is dancerock that doesn't need to be remixed to make you dance. While some of the slower tracks are bitter pills to swallow, songs like "Munich," "Fingers in the Factory," and "Blood" are dark dancerock staples.

2. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm - I played this non-stop back in January/February. And I keep coming back to it. It's impressive that one album can have such staying power throughout the year. "Helicopter," "Banquet," "The Price of Gasoline," "Like Eating Glass," the list goes on and on.

1. The Departure - Dirty Words - Guitar driven dancerock with a hint of new wave. Starting with the excellent "Just Like TV," the album is strong all the way through. Many outstanding tracks, including "All Mapped Out," "Be My Enemy," and "Talkshow." The YE$ remix of "All Mapped Out is incredible. They unfortunately won't tour the U.S. until after their second album, which they are presently working on. Here's to 2006.

Honorable mentions:
- Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth (after a few listens, I realized that this was an excellent album)
- New Order - Waiting for the Siren's Call (you can't recreate the magic, but this was a nice album with a couple of great dance songs)
- Stereophonics - Language, Sex, Violence, Other (same great Stereophonics)
- The Tears - Here Come The Tears (nice to have Anderson/Butler back, but it's no Suede)
- The Bravery - S/T (yes, I still like this album and you would too if you didn't spend so much time talking about what poseurs they are)
- Out Hud - Let Us Never Speak Of It Again (outstanding indie dance music)
- LCD Soundsytem - S/T (outstanding indie dance music, with cowbell)
- Royksopp - The Understanding (a lot of nice downtempo electronic tracks here, and a wicked album cover)
- Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger (Britpop alive and well - three minute guitar songs)
- Ian Brown - Solarized (some nice tracks, standard Ian Brown)
- Babyshambles - Down in Albion (tabloid fodder aside, this is surprisingly good)
- Madonna - Confessions on the Dancefloor (not kidding, the production is incredible and I'm always impressed at how she always reinvents herself).

Individual tracks I loved not mentioned above: Performance - "Love Life", White Rose Movement - "Love is a Number", Annie - "Heartbeat (Alan Braxe remix)"

Other best of 2005 lists - Ricky Wilson from Kaiser Chiefs (he name checks Britpop new and old); Blake Miller from Moving Units (mostly dancepunk and indie rock); Donewaiting; Yeti Don't Dance.


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