January 10, 2006

Music 2005 - Final Thoughts

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...

11 comments:

Parky said...

I know what you mean about the Dav Ford album, but when you consider that he wrote, produced and performed the whole album on his own, in his own house, it takes on a greater level of appreciation.

Better things are heading this way, of that I'm sure. My favourite track off it at the moment has to be "Katie" by the way.

Andrew Hayward said...

Parky-

It does seem to be a high-quality recording, especially considering those things. By the way, do you happen to have a digital copy of the hidden track? I discovered it yesterday and would love to be able to listen to it on my computer.

George said...

I'm glad to hear that you are getting into MF DOOM. I swear that guy could rap over anything. As for my top ten, i will think and send it to you. But it will probably be just want i was into mainly rather than the whole music spectrum, like how yours is, cool? That way you can pick a few to check out and really sink your teeth into some hip-hop. peace

Andrew Hayward said...

George-

Yeah, definitely, that's cool. It'd be silly to list albums you haven't really listened to. I just want to see what you really dug from 2005 and maybe I'll check some of it out.

BTW, I'm reading that Chappelle link in your profile. Interesting shit...

george said...

Andy-

10.Gorillaz-Demon Days-great production, quirky, gloomy, and neon colored all at the same time, plus track with MF DOOM.

9.Walk Like A Man Soundtrack-the soundtrack is for a movie based of the ideas represented in song for the album MURS 3:16 the 9th Edition. A slew of good tracks from Brother Ali, MURS, Atmosphere, John Cena (yes, the wrestler, kid can roc mic) and Vox Vermillion,a group(not rap) that i think you should really check out. they have a myspace. their song on the album is called "underground"

8.Atmosphere-Headshots Volume Se7en
this is a rereleased collection of old atmosphere songs that were never on CD, just tapes, till now. A lyrical buffet.

7.Kanye West-Late Registration
Waited all summer for this and was for the most part, pleased. I was happy with his the amount of social issues he touches on, and the fun and humor is still there, but i needed more beats like "touch the sky", which wasn't even his beat, it was Just Blaze's.

6.Lil Wayne-Tha Carter 2
this guy snuck this in right before the buzzer and dropped an amazing album. he says so much on every song and his metaphors and descriptions are crazy. He's got this crazy swagger about him. Please Say The Baby!

5.Common-Be
Common's lyrics and Kanye's Beats go hand in hand. "testify" is an awesome song. But hands down the best track on the album is....the intro? damn that intro was nuts.

4.Danger Doom-The Mouse and The Mask
The Gorillaz collabo paid off and we got another great DOOM album. I liked the adult swim theme and DOOM's "garbage mouth" (i always think of a garbage creature when he raps)lyrics are on point.Just give me the Ghostface/MF DOOM album already.

3.Fort Minor-The Rising Tied
If the next two albums didn't come out this probably would have been number one. its accessible, the music is well produced, and Mike Shinoda actually has some nice shit to say. Plus styles of beyond, lupe fiasco, Black Thought, Kenna, Common, and others al make cameos. WOW!

2.Felt 2 (slug & MURS)- A Tribute To Lisa Bonet
A much more complete album than the first FELT (Tribute to Christina Ricci) Slug and Murs are like Peanut Butter and Jelly, and ANT the producer is the bread. You really need to check this out, great lyrics, its catchy, and its what hip hop should sound like nowadays ( take a note mainstream america)

And my number one...

1.Atmosphere- You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having

Theres something about atmosphere that everyone can relate to. Every song has a piece that someone can make their own. This is some of the bet producer/emcee work ever. I want more people to know about them, and at the same time, i dont. thats why i only tell people that i think "deserve" to listen to atmosphere. thats kinda messed up. and the last track "Little Man" chokes me up every time i hear it, but its constantly on replay. i wouldn't trade my signed copy of this album for anything in the world. This is Atmosphere's best album yet.

Andrew Hayward said...

George-

That's so awesome, thank you so much for taking the time to type that out for me. You could've just poppped out a list and I would've been happy, but to get your feelings and reactions along with it... it's great man, thanks.

The Gorillaz CD... I'm starting to turn towards it. I hadn't given it a very complete listen... I had a corrupt track, and just lost interest when I first got it. I fixed it and will be giving it more play time (and will pick it up if I like it enough). I'll look into Vox Vermillion. I thought that Kanye would rank higher on your list, honestly... but it's ranked the same on mine, so I guess we both felt about the same about it. "Touch the Sky" is such an amazing song, production-wise (not to mention lyrically, especially with the Lupe Fiasco cameo). I've been meaning to check out the Lil' Wayne disc... the reviews were glowing, so I'll definitely do that at some point.

The Common disc is great, there's a burn of it at work if you want to play it there. Williams was like, "That's solid... I didn't think you were down with that." Color me amused, haha. I agree that the intro is great, but I'm more fond of "The Corner." Danger Doom is the shit, I wish I'd checked it out a little sooner. I'm big on "Old School" right now largely because of Talib Kweli's part: "Making up a miracle flow, over a cereal bowl..." So great.

I like the Fort Minor much more than I expected to. Lucky I was able to pick it up new for under $6... forced myself to listen to it and found it to be quite solid. I totally get what you're saying about Atmosphere... I've felt that way about artists before. When they're not too big and you feel an ownership of sorts, like you have a stake in their career. I appreciate you trying to clue me into them, and I promise I'll finally give it a good listen in the very near future. Also, that P.O.S. review will happen eventually... though I might end up reviewing the new CD instead, as it'll be out in a couple weeks and I'm all about staying current. ;)

Thanks again, boss.

george said...

Thats love. The 3 things I need in life; Food, videogames, and music!

And we all need to hang out, eat, and play some mad three-six-OH!

Aaron said...

The Mew CD actually ended up being my favorite album of the year. I wasn't sure what to think of it right away, but it didn't take long for me to really get into it because I didn't have much else to listen to at the time, so I devoted quite a bit of attention to it for a good month. There's only one song I could really do without (A Dark Design), and it's something that no doubt has to be listened to as a whole. Despite a few tracks, the rest of the album can't be pulled apart individually like "Frengers" can, but I'm 98% sure that I like it more than the last album as long as I consider it as a whole, or as one big 50 some-odd minute nonsensical thought.

But believe it or not, I've had a huge amount of trouble coming up with a numerical list for '05. I do agree it didn't deliver as many great albums of '03 or even '04, but it delivered a lot of good albums for me, and all those good albums pretty much were equal in quality, too. I did end up buying 28 CDs from this year though, which is an all-time high for me.

Top 3:

1. Mew - And the Glass Handed Kites
2. Foo Fighters - In Your Honor (acoustic disc, mostly)
3. Doves - Some Cities

The rest of my Top 20 (maybe) alphabetically:

Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
Cave In - Perfect Pitch Black
Dredg - Catch Without Arms
Folds, Ben - Songs for Silverman
Giant Drag - Hearts and Unicorns
Life and Times, The - Suburban Hymns
Metric - Live It Out
Nada Surf - The Weight is a Gift
New Idea Society - You Are Awake or Asleep
Oceansize - Everyone Into Position
OK Go - Oh No
Open Hand - You and Me
Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times
Starflyer 59 - Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
Stevens, Sufjan - Illinois
Weezer - Make Believe

I know, I know. Weezer? I still liked the album sans two songs though. I'm kind of pushing it by adding it and "I'm Wide Awake..." to the list though. I think I actually like My Morning Jacket's "Z" and World Leader Pretend's "Punches" more, but I just haven't given them that much of a shot. But I haven't given "I'm Wide Awake..." much of a shot either. 2006 is going to rock my socks though.

Aaron said...

P.S. There's four bands that begin with the letter "O" in that list. That's fantastic.

Andrew Hayward said...

I've got eight of those discs... I picked up the Metric today for a few bucks at the local indie shop that's closing down. I'd listened to it a couple times before and figured it worth the tiny price. I've heard a bit of the Giant Drag, and the only song that really stuck out for me was "Cordial Invitation." But it may get another chance.

Thanks for posting your list, boss. I was wondering what your top picks would be. You and Parky both liked the Mew the best, I believe. Check out Copeland (see the insistant MySpace comment).

Aaron said...

Yeah, I'm going to download Copeland in just a few minutes and I'll let you know what I think later on.

"Cordial Invitation" by Giant Drag is awesome, and I wish they did more songs like it on the album. But I dig the whole angry chick vibe the album has overall, even if a lot of it is sophomoric. But "Kevin Is Gay" is what made me keep listening to it, because that song just screams "the Pixies!," and you know I'm a big fan of them. "My Dick Sux" was one of my top 5 songs of the year, too, and was appropriately on my Myspace page for awhile. Thankfully, I can stomach the cat scratch vocals.