Happy new year all you musical nuts.
Because the New Year is still relatively new, and because I haven’t gotten a chance to go to the record store yet this year, I'm going to kick things off by going over some of my recommendations for the best albums of 2005. But rather than just throw a bunch of albums out there, or do a top ten list, I'd rather break them up into genre. This way, it can serve as a polite suggestions as to what album is the best for each kind of music.
As always, these are based entirely on my opinions, and if you don't like it, you can sit on it and spin.
Now on to MR.DOGG'S BEST OF 2005
Artist: Smoke or Fire
Album: Above the City
Comments: Smoke or Fire don't sound much different than your modern day punk band, and the fact that their on Fat Wreck Chords doesn't help to break them away from the pack any. But there is something about their first CD that pushes it above the pack. It might be the tight rhythm section, or the snarling vocals that are a throwback to the early 80's style of singer. In the end, I think it's just drive, ambition, and the fact that it sounds like these guys are having fun doing what they are doing. And in a time where emotion is bought and sold like appliances, any music with true emotion behind it is worth a listen.
Tracks: "Culture as Given" "Cops and Drugs"
Artist: Foo Fighters
Album: In Your Honor
Comments: Before this album was released, a lot of people thought that Dave Grohl had lost his steam. Their previous album (One by One) had sounded flat and rehashed, like the Foo Fighters were covering their own songs, and people began to speculate that Grohl was spending so much time with his other side projects (Protbot, Queens of the Stone Age) that the Foo Fighters were done. With the release of this album, the Foos get their focus back, regain their swagger, and step once and for all out of the giant nirvana sized shadow they've been living in. "In Your Honor" if full of the kind of songs you always knew the Foo Fighters could make, the kind of songs that grab you by the short hairs and don't let go. Listen to "Deepest Blues" for the best rock song they've written since "Everlong".
Tracks: "In Your Honor" "Hell" "The Deepest Blues Are Black"
HIP - HOP
Artist: Common / Young Jeezy
Album: Be / Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101
Comments: I decided to pick tow artists because of all the modern popular genres of music, no one genre is as split as hip - hop. (Besides indie music, which can fall into any genre as long as the word indie is slapped to the front of it) On the one had, hip-hop seems to be all about the hustle. Songs that make you think of street life and doing what it takes to get by. (Whether or not the artist had to live the life and get by) For the more hard aspect of hip-hop, look no further than Young Jeezy. However, hip-hop is also about poetry and history, about pain and soul. If you're looking for a more introspective and substantial brand, then Common's "Be" is the best album for it, hands down.
Tracks: "Be" "The Food" "Chi City" / "Standing Ovation" "Go Crazy" "Get Ya Mind Right"
Artist: Bloc Party
Album: Silent Alarm
Comments: The 80's are back baby! Let the bad hair, stupid keytars, and lame synth riffs reign supreme! 80's revival has been big these last few years, and lot of bands are cashing in on sounds that were recorded over 20 years ago without expanding on them or changing them in any noticeable way. The big exception in my mind being Bloc Party. I'll admit that at first listen it sounded like a band riding the wave of success created by Franz Ferdinan and the Killers. However, those willing to give it a second listen will find a group with big ideas and the courage to just rock. But overall, it will sound like a step forward, using the past as a stepping stone, rather than a throwback with no originality.
Tracks: "Blue Light" "This Modern Love" "Luno"
MR. DOGG'S FAVORITE ALBUM
Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Comments: Make no mistake, this is folk music. But it is also so much more than that. It is a well written and engaging story about the history and life of the state of Illinois. It is a cracked genius at work; with Sufjan Stevens waving his baton with a mad grin on his face, conduction everyone to play at the same time while marinating a sense order. It is an octopus, playing his banjo, guitar, piano, organ, glockenspiel, trumped, keyboard, drums, and bass; making full songs by itself. It is a choir, vaguely singing to god, but more to joy. But overall, it is an album of loss, love, regret, hope, and brilliance. My favorite album of the last five years, and the most beautiful one I have ever heard.
Tracks: "Chicago" "The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades is Out to Get Us" "John Wayne Gacy Jr." "Decatur"