Reviewing 2005 in music surprised me somewhat because I’d forgotten how many of my favorite albums were released that year. So please, let me metaphorically shove them into your hands.
“Studying Stones” – Ani DiFranco
Some of Ani’s albums from the Aughts were less likely to be one of my favorites compared to many of her 90s ones, but 2005’s Knuckle Down is quite lovely, and perhaps my favorite from that decade, with the exception of the live album, So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter. “Studying Stones” is my favorite song from Knuckle Down, a bittersweet tune about appearing “fine.”
“Helicopter” – Bloc Party
Silent Alarm is a good album, and probably, if you’ve heard of Bloc Party but aren’t a major fan, this is the album you have heard. If nothing else, you’ve probably heard “Helicopter” somewhere. It’s been used in both Guitar Hero 3 and FIFA 06, as well as a bunch of other video games. My kids are quite fond of jumping around to it.
“Tables and Chairs” – Andrew Bird
The Mysterious Production of Eggs is my husband’s favorite Andrew Bird album, so I let him pick which song I would feature here. He says that it’s because, “There will be tables and chairs / There’ll be pony rides and dancing bears / There’ll even be a band,“ and also, “There will be snacks, there will.”
In Alphabet Soup, I also talked about “Fake Palindromes,” another song from the album. Eggs seemed to mark the moment Andrew Bird went from being known by a handful of people to being the indie-hipster-love-du-jour. And that’s all right – like I’ve said before, I do not begrudge a musician their success, and this is indeed an excellent album with which that happened.
“Someday Soon” – Doves
For five weeks now (that is to say, when we crossed The Year 2000-threshold for this column) I’ve waited to talk about Some Cities.
Some Cities is my favorite Doves album, and maybe one of my favorite albums of ever. Every time I hear singer Jimi Goodwin do his thing here, I kinda want to hug his face off, and “Someday Soon” is my favorite song on the album. Previously, I’ve discussed “Walk in Fire“ – a very close second – but “Someday Soon” helped me write the end of my novel. For that, I will forever be telling people to listen to Doves, as if thisissoogood wasn’t reason enough.
All my love and all my heart go with you
Just look into my eyes and what can you see
All the love and all the time keep with me
I keep it with me
Someday soon you’ll know how it feels to love someone
“Of Angels and Angles” – The Decemberists
Mostly, I picked this song over any of the others on the album Picaresque because whenever I set the entire music folder to shuffle, my old laptop seemed a little unnaturally obsessed with it. Really, it was a fan of the entire album, but this song came up a lot, and it’s not that I was exactly complaining, but whatever algorithm “shuffle” was based upon was not all that random. This is a common observation, I know, but out of all the music I own that was also on the computer – likely 30% that is related to Oasis or Ryan Adams in some way – The Decemberists are what struck its fancy? Huh.
FUN FACT: Singer Colin Meloy grew up in Helena, Montana, which is about an hour and a half south from me. He also majored in creative writing at the University of Montana in Missoula, which is also where I went to school, albeit three years later.
FUN FACT #2: Montana residents are preternaturally compelled to mention any and all celebrities who are from the state, even if it’s the Unabomber. We exist, yo.
“Dance All Night” – Ryan Adams and The Cardinals
Speaking of Ryan Adams! Here we are with another one of my All-Time Favorite Albums, Cold Roses. I had a hard time making up my mind which song to include – though I’ve already talked about “Let it Ride,” my favorite, and “If I Am a Stranger.” How to decide upon the tricky third favorite? These are serious considerations, maaaaan.
I ain’t lonely now
Yeah, I got someone I love
Someone to think about
Oh, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan and your Cardinal men. This album is perfection.
“Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” – Martha Wainwright
Okay, yes, I picked this song for the title. Martha! Daughter of Louden Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, sister to Rufus: here she is with a debut album of her own. Her mother and her brother both contributed to the album, but it’s still all her.
“I will not say I’m all right for you“ – it’s sort of the opposite of Ani DiFranco’s “Studying Stones,” and I dig it.
“Devils and Dust” – Bruce Springsteen
The Boss’ response to the war in Iraq: Here’s his widely appreciated Grammy performance, which ends with him saying, “Bring them home.”
Also, this album of the same name was one of the last CDs my dad bought before he died. I let it sit in the same spot where he left it, on the desk near his computer, for years.
“My Boyfriend’s Back” – The Raveonettes
Yes, this is the cover of the familiar old song which appears on The Raveonette’s album Pretty in Black, though it is also on the soundtracks for The Vampire Diaries and Stubbs the Zombie. It’s a somewhat fuzzier take on the original, though it does not stray very far. This one’s quite fun to sing in the car.
“Ride a White Horse” – Goldfrapp
This video is so Derelicte, I keep expecting Hansel to turn up (He’s so hot right now).
We’ve already talked about the sexy-sexybusiness that is “Ooh La La“ from the same album, Supernature, but “Ride a White Horse” is a dance-y good time as well.
“Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz
When this song was all over iPod commercials, I made the ill-advised decision to argue with a stubborn toddler. My daughter was around two at the time, and she insisted that the song was on a Target commercial. I tried correcting her. This was not a good idea. If there is anything more futile than trying to convince a toddler of something they do not want to believe, I’m not sure what it is.
“Not About Love” – Fiona Apple
Yes, that is Zack Galifianakis lip synching Fiona Apple’s words. This is one of my favorite videos, and one of my favorite songs from Extraordinary Machine, the title track of which I talked about in Alphabet Soup. I really love the rapid-fire piano and the line, “I miss that stupid ache.” One of her best.
“Come On/Let’s Go” – Paul Weller
Very nearly did I launch into this big appreciation of “From The Floorboards Up,” also on the album As Is Now, and then I realized I already had. “Come on/Let’s Go” is both an “I do what I want” anthem and a love song: “Sing you little fuckers / Sing like you’ve got no choice.”
(Yes, the video edits that line.)
I love the necessary abandon to the lyrics, that itch to go big, even if it does not work out in the end. To have tried and failed is better than never trying at all, we know.
The Importance of Being Idle – Oasis
Noel Gallagher’s tribute to stillness: “The Importance of Being Idle” is one of his sneakily personal tunes that allude to the difficulties he had during the beginning of the decade with divorce, going off drugs, and meeting his now-wife. Still, there are enough fiction-y bits written in there to throw us off, all in the name of making a better song. And it is a great song, one of Oasis’ better singles. Don’t Believe the Truth was a lovely return to form after the average Heathen Chemistry.
I can’t get a life if my heart’s not in it…
The video, starring Rhys Ifans, is also pretty great.
“The End” – Ryan Adams and The Cardinals
What? I am so not cheating! Ryan Adams and The Cardinals were extremely productive in 2005, is all. “The End” comes from Jacksonville City Nights, and I am not even getting into Adams’ third release that year, 29. And if we’ve learned anything from my music columns it’s that I’m (delightfully?) single-minded at times.
So! How fitting that we end this week’s column with a song called “The End.” Along with “The Hardest Part,” this is my favorite song from the album. You should maybe-yes listen to it now (though this live version is a little different from the recorded version).
Then consult Wikipedia’s 2005 roundup and your own music collection, and tell me your favorites.