Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ok, here it is. My favourite album of 2005. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be disappointed, shocked, angry. But it is my favourite.

Some albums I discovered too late in the year, but might have been contenders. Broken Social Scene's self-titled album would definitely have been a top ten album, had I heard it before Christmas. Also, The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, is as good as pop-rock gets. Perhaps if Ryan Adams had not released 3 albums in one year (surely trying to set some kind of record or prove something to who knows who), he might have produced something that was a favourite of mine (Jacksonville City Nightes comes close). Also, I ashamedly have yet to really give Sufjan Stevens a real critical listen yet. I couldn't find it to buy after Christmas in Saskatoon (which is a good sign, since it was obviously sold out), so it too wasn't in consideration. All things considered though, I doubt that any album would top..


1) Late Registration - Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella)

Kanye is like the Orson Welles of Hip-Hop. Perhaps that's high praise, but the guy is a genius. Unfortunately, like Welles, he knows it. He went off on MTV declaring George Bush a racist (whether or not it's true, it's probably not wise). He says he's a brilliant rapper. He's a top-notch producer. And it's true. The College Dropout was one of the best albums of 2004, but Kanye went and did the impossible; not only was his follow up better than his debut (proving the sophmore slump is nothing but a rumour), but it is perhaps one of the best Hip-Hop albums I've ever heard, and at least the best of the decade. Hip-Hop was getting stale. The fact of the matter was that there wasn't much choice between the ridiculous "gansta" rappers like 50 Cent and the overly serious "socially conscioius" rappers. Kanye defies definition. He features guest spots from everyone from The Game, on the thought provoking "Crack Music," one of my favourites, Common, and even Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx on the infectious single "Gold Digger" (not only is it brilliant, but it's probably one of the most uncomfortable pop songs for a white boy to sing along to, when Kanye rhymes "I ain't saying she's a gold digger / But she aint' messin' with no broke n***er"). Kanye combines clever, but not overly self-conscious rhymes with club-worthy rhymes. He went out and defied convention by hiring producer Jon Brion (soundtracks to Magnolia and I Heart Huckabees; Fiona Apple). He rhymes about both bling and the damage caused by traffiking in "blood diamonds" in my adored single, partnering with superstar Jay-Z on "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" (also featuring an amazing sample from the James Bond-theme to Diamonds Are Forever). I've listened to this album more than almost any other this year. The fact that a Hip-Hop album would make my number one favourite never crossed my mind at the beginning of the year, but Kanye showed my that my preconceptions were off. This is the most interesting, entertaining, and artistic album I've listened to all year. I love it and it's a classic. Standout Tracks: "Touch the Sky," "Gold Digger," "Crack Music," "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," "Celebration"

Coming soon: Top Ten Films of 2005.


GoldNboy said...

Good choice. I personally like Franz Ferdinand's CD better but to each his own. Can't wait to see your top ten of movies. Munich was awesome. It better be on there.

Anders said...

Are you kidding? Munich was amazing. It will rank very high. The question is, how high?

Meghann said...

So stay tuned till next year when Anders finally gets around to posting the top movies of 2005! J/K!