(Happy Festivus to all my heathens!)
So it's that time of year, not when Jesus was born or Jewish people light candles but when the Internet explodes with Top Ten Lists and everyone makes it clear how shitty everyone's taste in everything is.
I need one more weekend to re-listen to everything before I post my list so in the meantime I thought I would put up my revised list of the Top Ten Albums of 2005.
It's funny how some albums just don't end up being as good as you wanted them to be when you put them on your list.
And how the albums you tried to hate on ended up being better than you realized.
I haven't seen anyone really revise their Top Ten List nearly a year later, mainly because the musical attention span in this day and age lasts about 2 songs and no one wants to admit they're wrong.
I took off Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine" because only a few songs kept my attention, Electrocute because it got annoying, "Run the Road" for the same reason and Dangerdoom because it just wasn't as inspired as some other MF Doom efforts.
Rap music still sucked in 2005, even after going back and listening to everything again.
The Documentary was underwhelming, Kanye West's "Late Registration" was overrated, Jeezy can't rap, Tha Carter II was trash and the supposed underground gems like Little Brother's "Minstrel Show", AZ's "The Format" and Blackalicious did nothing for me.
I feel bad when so little rap makes the list, but it is what it is.
Here we go...
10. Common - Be
Common's Gap commercial confirmed the move that this album started.
Common is trying to be the first Lite FM rapper.
Despite some generic happy love raps and some beats aimed for the local old folks home, he still managed to squeak out one of the best rap albums in a weak year for rap.
9. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Yeeaaa bwoy. This is what I'm talking about.
I feel sorry for these young jazz cats because no one takes the time to get to know what they're about (I'm sure some of them are spitting that fire) because old shit like this keeps getting dug up and all the dope boys go crazy.
Or something like that.
Thank God for the Library of Congress.
8. Beanie Siegel - The B. Coming
The first and last good thing Dame Dash gave rap music since Jay-Z exposed him has the charlatan he is.
Beanie spits with a kind of wisdom, regret and reflection that only comes after doing your 5th prison bid.
Maybe when he gets out he'll get locked up again and put out another gem like this.
7. My Morning Jacket - Z
I'm not going to pretend to know a shitload about My Morning Jacket but I will say this, they made the 7th best album of 2005.
How do I know?
Because I liked 6 albums from 2005 better.
After someone asked me why this wasn't in my old list, I listened to it again and they were right.
The oddball falsetto of the lead singer, combined with the dabblings in reggae, psych and folk brought this band into my Top Ten.
6. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
People would have loved for this album to flop so they could say cool indie things like,
"God, the EP was so much better than the album"
Like they did when TV on the Radio dropped their debut full-length.
But they couldn't because Bloc Party followed up the greatness of "Banquet" with an album full of terse post-punk, hook-centric, mainstream-indie rock.
And if the lead singer wasn't black, they might have gotten that Arctic Monkeys love.
Oh yea, I went there.
5. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
Spoon = Not Famous, Fairly Unknown = Critical praise?
I'm trying to figure out the exact number of records a rock record can sell and still get some love form the critics at the end of the year.
Regardless, "Gimme Fiction's" slapdash of Sonic Youth guitar histrionics, strong upbeat melodies and best rock-piano this side of the Walkmen ended up working together.
And their concerts are filled with white girls from Michigan that want to smoke weed with you. Take that as you will.
4. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
Go Platinum after years in the underground = Hipster Backlash?
Is that the formula?
Is that why Pitchfork put Camron in the Top 5 and shunned The White Stripes?
Fuck what you heard, this album el fuego and it worked even better live.
3. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
This album came out overseas in 2004 and got its official U.S. release in 2005 so it can fill up two years of lists.Shit, I'm looking for a way for this to get on my 2006 list.
If you don't experience sheer joy while listening to this album you might have very well spent your childhood running from the Janjaweed or escaping the Rwandan genocide.
If so, I can forgive you.
2. MIA - Arular
I'm against terrorism and annoying hipster fetishism and I still enjoy this album.
Is her voice annoying? At times, but the album remains extremely listenable due to the strong production and she's attracted attention from Timbaland so her next album should be even better.
1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
The songwriting, the ambition, the incredible instrumentation, it all still works.
Sufjan's 50 state project, however doomed to failure it is, produces the best music of whatever year it's released in.
With song titles like:
- 2. The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight...
He walks that fine line of indie pretension but I'm along for the ride until he puts out his NY album with the song:
For Sean Bell, The Poor Negro Who Was Shot Mercilessly By the NYPD and His Wife Who Still Mourns for Him, One Day You Will Get Your Comeuppance or Negroes Will Riot.
The 2006 lists should be up next week.
The 2006 lists should be up next week.