January 08, 2006

The Best of 2005: 11-15

11: Wilco - Kicking Television

Like I said earlier, there are only two live albums on my Best of 2005 list. Wilco has been around for some time now, making hit albums like "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", "Being There", and their most recent studio album "A Ghost is Born". Although their studio albums leave little to be desired, Kicking Television is more Wilco than you could have ever hoped for. The only live album released by a band who has made a name for themselves with their live performances, lives up to all the hype that's been put on it. From the first song "Misunderstood", you know Wilco brought their A game for at least 1 of the 4 nights they played for their home town Chicago crowd. This double disc is packed with favorites spanning across the entire Wilco collection. Gems include "Via Chicago", "Spiders (Kidsmoke)", "Jesus, Etc.", "Shot in the Arm", "Misunderstood", "Company in My Back", and "I am Trying to Break Your Heart" just to name a few. A must have album for any Wilco fan.

12: Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

A double disc album beautifully written by Mark Oliver Everett that is a diary of the pain, heartbreak, and joy in his life. After his sister's suicide and fathers death, Everett became somber and closed. This is apparent in Blinking Lights. Some songs make you want to cry and others are so beautiful you can't help but fall in love. A few song are cheerful, making you forget you were crying just a few songs ago. Some have words, and some don't. Some have percussion, and others are just a guitar or piano. Either way you slice it, this album is full of some of the most moving and loving songs I have heard all year, leaving you with a feeling of completion. This album is high on my Best of 2005 list for a reason people, check it out.

13: Sleater-Kinney - The Woods

"The Woods" is a rock and roll album that was completely unexpected from the female Portland, OR trio. Exploring a new sound full of heavy guitar riffs and powerful drums, this album gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "girl power". Within the first few seconds the music grabs you by the collar and makes you listen. With their authorative attack at reality television and celebrity power in 2005, "Entertain" shows us these women want no piece of the pie. With a well known producer David Fridmann (Weezer, Flaming Lips) at the wheel, Sleater-Kinney has made a modern rock classic. Progressive psychedelic guitar solos carry the 11 minute "Lets Call it Love" that was amazingly enough done in one take. The Woods is for anyone who wants to let off a some powerful steam at the world we live in today.

14: Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine

After 6 years of waiting, Fiona Apple finally comes out with a new album, shattering all expectations put on her. Not that it was easy to put this album out. Fiona went through problems with her label as most artists do. Sony refused to put out her new album, but after lots of aggressive internet protests, the label finally released they needed to change. Extraordinary Machine leaves her other albums in the dust. Not that "Tidal" and "When the Pawn..." Weren't enjoyable albums. Fiona has always been a very serious artist with meaningful songs. The difference is the maturity you hear in this album. Fiona has become the well-developed musician we all hoped she would be. "Parting Gift", "Extraordinary Machine", and "Tymps" are the showcase songs on this album.

15: Ben Lee - Awake is the New Sleep

I took the advice from the title of this album, and since the day I bought it Ben Lee has been my wake up album of the year. Every morning when my alarm goes off it goes off to the sweet melodies of "Awake is the New Sleep". Once you get past the contagiously catchy single "Catch My Disease", you'll realize this album is packed with clever lyrics and relaxing tunes to carry you through the entire morning. Well at least 50 minutes of your morning.

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