The Year In Review - MUSIC
Ok, so I'm not normally known as the music guy (as has been stated, movies is my thing); but the end of the year came and I realized that, you know, I've listened to a lot of music this year. I've been to a lot of concerts. I've bought a lot of CDs. And boiling it down to a list of ten albums, takes a little bit of work, because music is such a constant part of my life. So like Luke I'm going to offer up my Top Ten Albums of the year, followed by some honourable mentions, some of my favourite singles and some memorable performances that I was able to take in this year.
Of course I do all of this with the caveat that I do not proclaim myself a music expert. I don't know everything about every band, nor do I have time or money to listen to every major release of the year (hence some major albums that I have yet to listen to, including Sufjan Stevens Illinois, The New Pornographers Twin Cinema and My Morning Jacket Z). Also, I do have to send some thanks in the direction of a few of the people who I credit with encouraging my interest/education in music: Ewan Currie, Joel Fonstad, Meghann Fior, and Lesley Matheson. And anyone else who suggested an album to me that I really liked. Thanks.
It's been an interesting year for music. Living in Victoria, in my own place, music is always on. I always have my iPod with me. That means that there's been some really great new discoveries for me this fall of old music as well. I must say that Joy Division and New Order will now always be among my favourites. Also, I discovered Jeff Buckley and realized what an impact he's had on the kinds of music I like. More recent bands that I've found, such as Interpol (thanks to Lesley's obsession) and The Libertines have also become regular fixtures in my listening patterns. It's also been a year of the Canadian Indie bands, a couple of which will appear on my list; discovering these bands has become much easier thanks to the CBC Radio 3 Podcast. It's a great weekly dose of the newest and most interesting happenings in Canadian music.
So, without further ado let me present my favourite albums of the year 2005.
10) Guero - Beck (Interscope)
There are certain artists who I will check out almost anything they release. Beck is one of those artists. He is the consumate eccentric musician (crazy tracks, Scientology) and he's difficut to pin down and define. Sea Change is one my favourite albums of the past few years, but for Guero he returned to the more "classic" Beck sound working with the Dust Brothers (Odelay) again and creating something that harkens back and looks forward at the same time. The first single "E-Pro" definitely got me moving, nodding my head along to the the album. The album title (which means roughly "white boy" in Spanish) is definitely fitting, as on the second track, Beck brings in the Latin influence that he experienced growing up. Of course part of the greatness of a Beck album is that you never really know what to expect, and yet you do at the same time. While Guero is a bit of a return to the sounds of the Odelay-era, and probably doesn't rank along with my very favourite Beck albums, it's so well done and sent me on a Beck listening spree in the spring and so it belongs on the list: Standout Tracks: "E-Pro," "Girl," "Scarecrow"
9) Don't Believe The Truth - Oasis (Epic)
Another old favourite band on the list. This album may get the award for "Biggest Surprise" of 2005. Last winter, when Ewan mentioned that Oasis had a new album out this year, I was kind of interested, but not really, since it seems it's been all downhill since (What's the Story) Morning Glory. But low and behold I listened to it and it rocks! Of course, if you're not an Oasis fan already, you're not likely to change your mind, but it's as if Noel Gallagher remembered what made Oasis the best wanna-be Beatles band in the world and went back to it. Standout Tracks: "Lyla," "Love Like A Bomb," "The Importance of Being Idle," "Let There Be Love"
8) Apologies to the Queen Mary - Wolf Parade (Sub-Pop)
The first Canadian Indie artist on the list, I had the pleasure of seeing these guys open for The Arcade Fire in Vancouver in October. Their stage energy and my friend Meghann's enthusiasm prompted me to check out a few tracks of theirs and low and behold, I liked their album work even better than their performance. The opening few notes of "It's A Curse" won me over, and Luke heard my comments and got me the album for Christmas. While the band may recieve some criticism from those who say they sound like other bands (their local compatriots The Arcade Fire, or Modest Mouse), I think they have a unique "indie" sound with a solid rock core. The whole thing is outstanding and makes me hungry for more. Definitely one of the best albums of the year. Standout Tracks:"Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts, "It's A Curse," "This Heart's On Fire"
Tune back in tomorrow for albums 7-5 of my favourite albums of 2005.
Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Year In Review - MUSIC