Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Best Albums, Songs and Shows of 2005
Faith Evans is gone.
2005 may not have been the greatest year in the history of popular music, but it was undoubtedly the best year ever for its fans. Satellite radio, music subscription services, MySpace, PureVolume, Yahoo’s Launch, MP3 blogs, podcasts and countless other new channels provided more music at lower costs than ever before. The new challenge isn’t uncovering the great music- it’s dedicating enough time to the music you love once you find it, given the endless options available at your fingertips. I hope this site helps.
My Favorite CDs of 2005
1. The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday
The Hold Steady meld two of my seemingly incongruous musical obsessions, Bruce Springsteen and Husker Du, to create the album of the year.
2. Bettye LaVette- I've Got My Own Hell To Raise
Just like in a fairytale, the obscure soul belter returns to make the best music of her career.
3. The White Stripes- Get Behind Me Satan
This classic rock throwback is why albums will survive the Ipod age.
4. Marty Stuart- Souls' Chapel
Now that Johnny Cash is gone, Marty steps up with rugged gospel that Johnny would admire.
5. OK Jones- Push/Pull
Forget "best local" release- this rootsy, rocking CD is one of the year’s best in any category.
6. Various- Run the Road
Grime, a recent British derivation of hip hop, is always icy, often scary, and occasionally hilarious.
7. Kanye West- Late Registration
Sure, he’s insufferable. But as he’s quick to point out, he backs it up with musical genius.
8. Los Super 7- Heard It On the X
Roadhouse heaven- Calexico and Delbert McClinton areonly two members in this big tent.
9. Faith Evans- The First Lady
If LaVette made a classic old-school soul album, Faith provided an up-to-date version. The MP3 is proof.
10. The National- Alligator Lloyd Cole did all this twenty years ago with another reptile, Rattlesnakes, but the Ohio outfit does dark angst equally well.
My Favorite Singles of 2005
I don’t understand how some people can make these lists only to ignore the songs that unite us. I treasure knowing that when I hear Fall Out Boy’s Sugar, We’re Going Down or Kanye West's Gold Digger somewhere- anywhere- years from now, I’ll have an immediate bond with the people who surround me. And those great songs didn’t even make my list. So, here are ten stunning hit songs, or would-be hit songs, that received video rotation and/or commercial radio support.
1. Metric- Monster Hospital
The very definition of rock’n’roll, Monster Hospital is a desperate, angry protest of war. It’s also incredibly sexy.
2. Mike Jones- Back Then
What a thrill to hear the chopped-and-screwed sound of Houston’s late DJ Screw rule radio. And you have to love Mike Jones. Who? Mike Jones!
3. M.I.A.- Galang
I suspect- and deeply hope- that pop music of the new millenium will be filled with international clashes from the likes of M.I.A.
4. Gwen Stefani- Hollaback Girl
B-A-N-A-N-A-S, indeed. Gwen, or should I say, Pharrell, is utterly original.
5. Hollertonix- Tippin' Toxic
With all the remixes flooding the market, it’s hard to keep up with what’s legit and what’s not. Either way, this mash-up of Britney, Paul Wall and Mike Jones is a blast.
6. Green Day- Wake Me Up When September Ends
You wanna feel this song? Watch a group of kids light up when it comes on. It’s Hey Jude for the 7 to17-year-old set.
7. Gorillaz- Feel Good Inc.
Clearly the biggest song of the year, it deserves its stature.
8. Kaiser Chiefs- I Predict a Riot
In the year of the riot, this anthem kept burning.
9. Kanye West- Heard 'Em Say
I chose this wrenching song only because I’m tired of explaining the lyrical content of Gold Digger to children.
10. Young Jeezy- Go Crazy
I’m deeply troubled that this glorification of drug slinging means so much to me.
My Favorite Shows of 2005
1. The Hold Steady- Jackpot Saloon
The Hold Steady almost killed me.
2. The Architects- All over town
Kansas City’s best rock band will wreak Revenge in February 2006.
3. Bettye LaVette- The Hurricane
She made me cry. Three times.
4. Trio Mediaeval- The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Heaven must sound like this Nordic vocal trio.
5. Ian McLagan- Davey’s Uptown
The former-Face grinned his way through a joyous set of pub rock. Ooh La La.
6. Chick Willis- The Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival
It’s almost unbearably hot at his gritty annual festival. Even so, Willis had ‘em dancing.
7. The Wild Women of Kansas City- All over town
I’ve seen her schtick dozens of times, but I still marvel at Myra Taylor’s gumption. The three other gals aren’t slackers, either.
8. Lee McBee- BB’s Lawnside BarB-Q
One of Kansas City’s best secrets, McBee’s blues mojo can conjure Little Walter.
9. The Tarbox Ramblers- Mike’s Tavern
The mysterious roots men from Boston finally dust Kansas City’s broom.
10. The National- The Record Bar
Not since One Block West in the 70s has Kansas City had a premier rock club like the Record Bar. The National took advantage of the new venue’s excellent sound and lighting.