It ended up being a massive undertaking, but I'm quite glad I did it. I think much of it comprises my best work to date in the field of music journalism, and I feel much more confident now about my writing in that area. With another year of regular writing (and some work on a major music website) and a solid internship, I could be ready for a job in the field shortly after graduation in December. I'll definitely do it again at the end of the year.
I also wanted to touch on a concern that my friend George brought up in the comments of the last post. He noted that he thought a Top Ten list should cover all genres, not just the main one I listen to. I replied by saying that this was merely my personal top ten (and runners-up), and that I can only rank the albums I've listened to enough to have an opinion about. I'm glad he brought it up because I wanted to make it clear that this was not meant to be a "Best Of 2005" type list, merely the list of my favorite albums of the year, as well as reasoning why. More importantly, it was a chance for me to put down all the words that float around in my head and feel like I accomplished something.
I thought 2005 was a solid year for music, but nothing spectacular. There were several records that impressed me, but there were very few blockbuster releases that really affected me. Many of the records I was awaiting were pushed back to 2006, which is why I think this year has the potential to be one of the best years for music in recent memory. The last year to be really astonishing was 2003, with brilliant albums from Brand New, Death Cab for Cutie, and the Format, not to mention other excellent ones from Matthew Good, Muse, and Thursday, among others. Five of those six artists are likely to release records this year, as well as many, many other great acts.
I've been spending the last couple weeks catching up on releases I skipped over in 2005. Sam gave me Anberlin's Never Take Friendship Personal, which is a solid, albiet derivative, pop-punk record. It seems to fall somewhere between Midtown and Thursday, which should be amusing, but is actually very listenable, and I'm enjoying it regularly. I picked up Danger Doom's The Mouse and the Mask, which is an excellent hip-hop record. If I'd gotten into it sooner, it very well could've made my runners-up list. Regardless, it's highly recommended. I've also been listening to MF Doom's MM.. Food (from 2004). Doom has such an excellent flow and amusing beats, many of which seem to be based upon corny musak, but they work so well. Thanks for the continual mentions, George. I finally got around to checking him out, and I'm quite glad I did.
I started listening to Copeland's In Motion today, and I'm on my second time through... it sounds quite good, though I'm not sure who to compare it to. At times, I pick up similarities to Eisley, Muse, and Queen, but none seem like a good comparison to the work as a whole. I'll try to touch on this album again as I spend more time with it, but it sounds quite good to me at this point.
I finally got around to importing Mew's ...And the Glass Handed Kites and David Ford's I Sincerely Apologise for All the Trouble I've Caused. The Mew album had grown on me a bit in December, though I was initially having trouble getting interested. David Ford was the singer of Easyworld, and his solo debut was just released this past fall. It's not altogether different from the Easyworld stuff, but most of the upbeat numbers are gone. This one has the potential to pick up heavy rotation from me, as both of the Easyworld albums did.
In my next post, I'll try to touch upon some of the first 2006 releases. Ten days into the year, and I've already got 70 songs on my 2006 playlist. Should be much to discuss this year...