Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My Best of Music 2005 List (finally!)

Woops. Almost forgot about this. Glad someone reminded me.

Here it is, the list you've all been waiting for, my totally personal, extremely difficult, Best Of The Year List.

1. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

I listened to this album so much for a majority of the year, I pretty much burned out on it. That's why it was hard to pick it for my favorite of the year, but it so dominated my consciousness for so long and, i believe, will stick with me for the long haul, it easily fits into the #1 spot. When i think back of my 2005, the year I really settled in Florida, when I worked at Smart Publishing, and moved to South Beach and began working for The Greater Miami Jewish Federation, I was (very often) listening to Bloc Party's brilliant debut album. (And, as a reward for my devotion, their playing in Ft. Lauderdale in April. Woohoo!)

2. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

Another strange one. My first reactions were cold, weird. It seemed too noisy, too busy, too random of a collection of songs to really work. And yet, I kept coming back to it. Even today, a year after hearing it for the first time, it's one of the most played CD's in my car. It's #2 in my six-CD changer and I think the button is a little worn from all the times I've pressed it. There's a violence in this record that seems to quantify a lot of thoughts and emotions felt during the past year. At the same time, it's a timeless album that seems to predict the future of music. Powerful, emotional, exquisitely Canadian. (Going to see them at Lollapoolza in August, along with 129 other bands and they're the main attraction. Can't wait!)

3. The National - Alligator

Another album that seems to have melded with my life this year and become a kind of smoky mirror for it. Songs on this album mean so much to me, because of their subject matter or because they remind me of certain times and events. The National have a distinctly American sound (a kind of wry cynicism, mixed with pure, dark, New York concrete) that perfectly captures how I think and approach things. For a displaced New Yorker like myself, The National are a much appreciated reminder of home.

4. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

If the other albums on this list remind me of this past year here in Florida, Apologies brings back to my days of Tool, Metallica, and White Zombie. Metal with an almost literary attitude. Wolf Parade are another Canadian band and there really is something in the water up there because this album has some truly spectacular moments on it. Tempo-changes, grooves, and just beautiful melodies mixed with abundant imagery of snow, cold, and loneliness. A real surprise of an album. Looking forward to more work from these guys!

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Never got around to writing a review for this album, because, really, what could I say that hasn't been said? These guys are the most talented young musicians around. Definitely cemented that after seeing them live a few weeks ago and listening (wayy tooo much) to a live performance from French radio. Their style is original, strange, seeped in personality, and bubbling with enthusiasm. And they do it all without barely breaking a smile and without the backing of a label. I'm very much a production whore and I can hear the rough edges on this album and that brought it down a notch or two on the list, but this is easily the most impressive and original album I've heard in a long time. From the sound of their live sets, they're working on some great new songs and a "real" debut album should be out soon and will, probably, destroy the world.

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