Twenty From 2005

What follows are my 20 most favorite songs that I heard first in 2005. I did a list like this last year too. I'm not a writer or a critic, and I tend to ramble a bit. My goal was to tell a little bit about why a certain song was chosen - to give you an idea what I was thinking. If the album the song is from is a favorite of mine you'll see a little pink asterisk next to the album name.

As of January 24th 2006, all links to music files have been removed from this post. The early bird catches the worm, eh?

The Beast And Dragon, Adored / Spoon (Gimme Fiction*)
I got to believe it come from rock and roll.
Had this been a top 50 list, half the songs on Gimme Fiction would've made it. I settled on this one because of the thick mood, big drums, the tenor of Brit Daniel's voice, phrases like "I've been watchin my friends move away" and the dirty lead guitar cut-ins. This song is completely amazing rock and roll. Uh huh, all-right!

I'll Believe In Anything / Wolf Parade (Apologies To The Queen Mary*)
I'd share a life and you'd share a life.
Big and Loud. I love the way it starts out - carried by the vocals and guitar & driven by the drums. Around 2:25 it fills in and gets really huge and dense. I'm not sure what this song means but the emotional build and sense of drama is incredible.

Beat Connection / LCD Soundsystem (LCD Soundsystem*)
Everybody here's afraid of fun.
Dance-tastic. LCD Soundsystem opened their set at The Metro with this song which (until that point) was never one of my favorites. The energy of that performance was like nothing i've experienced. I hear it in a different way now - and I LOVE it.

Positive Tension (Jason Clark Of Pretty Girls Make Graves Remix) / Bloc Party (Silent Alarm [Remixed])
Something glorious is about to happen.
I bought Silent Alarm on recommendation and never really connected with it. Some months later [Remixed] came out and I downloaded a number of tracks from the mp3 blogs. This track outshines the album version - without it I would've never revisited the Silent Alarm and realized how great it was. More on that later. x

Multiply / Jamie Lidell (Multiply)
I'm so tired of repeatin' myself.
Head bobbin' soul that's so completely soulful it's difficult to believe that it was created in this century, let alone in the past year.

This Will Never Happen / Herman Düne (Not On Top*)
What's the matter baby? Ahh, Whatever you want.
Folk story-song - an excellent soundtrack to driving or walking. The glut of words and slight humor make David Ivar's lyrical flow irresistable for me. It's all brought together with a catchy melody in the chorus - making this one of the feel good-ing-est songs of the year.

Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games / Of Montreal (The Sunlandic Twins)
Too lovely to be true.
This IS the feel good-ing-est song of the year. The joyful absurdity of the lyrics, bumble bumble bass and stereophonic production make this tune the aural equivalent to Jolly Ranchers and chewy Sprees. Reminds me occasionally of "Nothing But Flowers" but that can't be bad.

The Greatest / Cat Power (The Greatest)
Melt me down.
OMG I love Chan Marshall. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. Looking forward to the rest of this album next year.

Lottery / Damien Jurado (On My Way To Absence)
It's popular with the disco dancers.
If Rosie Thomas weren't singing on this song it wouldn't have made it to the list. Damien's writing is as good as ever, but it's Rosies harmonies that deliver the shiver-factor that sustains (even demands) repeat listens.

The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us! / Sufjan Stevens (Come On Feel The Illinoise!*)
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged.
There are so many great songs on Illinois, but this one stands out for me. The writing is excellent. The arrangement is big and small and swirling and peaceful just in the right parts. The best Sufjan songs make me cry a little and smile and hit rewind at the last note. My words can't do it justice.

Cha Ching / Lady Sovereign (Vertically Challenged)
I never go hungry due to the beats I eat.
Fun and grimey. Miss Sovereign's incredible flow is perfectly paired with jaggedy hard hitting beats. I keep waiting to get tired of this song. Not yet!

Sofa King + The Mask / Danger Doom (The Mouse And The Mask*)
No speak with the english, I only do the math.
I'm sort of cheating here. This is actually two songs - but for me they create a musical dyptich, each song suffering when seperated from the other. MF Doom is inventive and funny and ridiculous, with a matter-of-fact kind of flow. Dangermouse's production keeps the fun going, and I'm left with a smile on my face. Ghostface ain't bad with his appearance on "The Mask." My favorite Hip-Hop record of the year.

For Real / Okkervil River (Black Sheep Boy)
Some nights the blood from real cuts feels real nice.
There's a "spooky" nature to these lyrics that would normally turn me off, but it doesn't. Must be the repetition of the words "real" and "really" and the energy and momentum of the musical arrangement.

This Modern Love / Bloc Party (Silent Alarm*)
I've never known what's good for me.
Hard to pick a favorite from this record - which did pretty much nothing for me the first 4 times I heard it. Now I can listen to these songs over and over and rather than getting tired of them my desire only increases. "This Modern Love" has it all: dynamics, catchy phrases, call and response, momentum, fantastic melodies and big "la-la" backround vocals. Another great driving/walking tune.

Spirit / The Clientele (Strange Geometry*)
We went for a drink, we went for a drive.
It was the first evening snow this year when I experienced this song in the right environment. I kept rewinding and rewinding to get more of it. There's something old and something new here. A walking song, no doubt. The way he sings "I've got the spirit" is so assertive in contrast to the verses. It's also, appropriately, fleeting.

Windsurfing Nation / Broken Social Scene (Broken Social Scene)
All they want is a free ride.
The BSS performance at Intonation Festival this summer was my favorite of that day - and in a way it prepared me for the dense, noisy production of this record. This song is way less melodic than some of the others, but it's more fun. Perhaps it doesn't work as well out of album context - I just love the drums and the repeated anthem.

Dot Eye / Sam Prekop (Who's Your New Professor*)
The less I know, the better.
What you'd expect from Mr. Prekop, I suppose - but it's SO well done. The interplay of the instruments and the overlapping repetition of the vocal melody is really rich, and the recording itself is warm and inviting. Fall asleep music, if you like sleeping with the music on.

Ignition (live) / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
When I hear you say...
This song transcends novelty and asserts its greatness. Could be because Will picks a solid song to start with. The lyrics are totally ridiculous, but theres a hook here... Maybe I'm all wrong about this. You decide. There's got to be a reason i've listened to this song over 20 times in the past 5 months. There's just GOT to be... x

Bandit / Neil Young (Greendale)
Bob Dylan said that, something like that.
I'm not in the habit of following the current releases of artists like Neil Young. However, I'm glad this song got posted to STG this year - because it's really good. It's a talk-folk story song, the kind that usually get old to me after a few listens. Neil gets over that hump with a really good melodic chorus, a bunch of cliches, and a really good rambling delivery that uses a lot of repetition. Maybe I should be paying closer attention to Neil... nah.

Sing Me Spanish Techno / New Pornographers (Twin Cinema*)
I wanna crash here right now.
Great pop rock from a great pop rock record. A.C. Newman brings the caliber of songwriting from last year's solo release back to the New Pornographers for an album that really is as good as everyone says. Good for dancing.