This sounds suspiciously like rock and/or roll!
My six favorite discs of 2005:
1. Mike Doughty, "Haughty Melodic"
2. Kanye West, "Late Registration"
3. Kings of Leon, "Aha Shake Heartbreak"
4. The White Stripes, "Get Behind Me Satan"
5. System of a Down, "Mezmerize" / "Hypnotize"
6. John Mayer Trio, "Try!"
The Mike Doughty disc, I don’t even know what to say about it. Wonderful songs, sounds great, doesn’t sound like other stuff, I just love it. Loved it from the first time I heard it. … Kanye West is a good MC but not a great one (Jay-Z blows Kanye away on the track where he appears); but he’s an exceptional lyricist, the disc sounds great, etc etc. … The second Kings of Leon is better than the first, and the first was terrific. … "Get Behind Me Satan" left me cold the first few times I listened; I put it away, came back a couple of months later and it’s been growing on me ever since. … I finally got System of a Down this year; I just never really could get my head around them before, but I get it, and they’re great. … I never cared for John Mayer before, but this is a lot of fun; an excellent band enjoying itself.
Seven more I enjoyed a lot:
Better Than Ezra, "Before the Robots"
Bloc Party, "Silent Alarm"
Hot Hot Heat, "Elevator"
Jack Johnson, "In Between Dreams"
I run hot and cold on Beck, but dug this one from first listen. … Someone, somewhere, once wrote that all great pop music is wistful, and nobody does wistful better than BTE (which also happens to be the bride-to-be’s favorite band, earning them bonus points). … I think if I had another month, "Silent Alarm" would crack the top list. I came to it late, but like it more and more. … In a just world, Hot Hot Heat would be huge stars. They just write one great, memorable, catchy, smart pop song after another. … Johnson’s disc is wonderful top-down music, and I like having the top down. … Kasabian takes me back to when I was a senior in high school.
Welcome returns from old favorites:
(in descending order of my fondness for the discs)
The Rolling Stones, "A Bigger Bang"
Depeche Mode, "Playing the Angel"
Weezer, "Make Believe"
Garbage, "Bleed Like Me"
Oasis, "Don’t Believe the Hype"
New Order, "Waiting for the Sirens Call"
Aimee Mann, "The Forgotten Arm"
Cheers to the Stones and D.Mode for finding their form. In the Stones’ case in particular, I’m such a huge fan that I just can’t rate then objectively. But there’s probably no recording I listened to more this year. Weezer had a great single but, IMO, only a decent album. Garbage sounded great but were a little less lyrically interesting than in the past. The Oasis disc was a major step forward after some stumbles. New Order was solid all the way through but there was no transcendent track, no great single — no "Regret" or "Round and Round." I haven’t connected with either of the last two Aimeee Mann discs; dunno if that’s because of her or me.
Arcade Fire, "Funeral"
Death Cab for Cutie, "Plans"
New Pornographers, "Twin Cinema"
Nine Inch Nails, "With Teeth"
Arcade Fire’s disc was, IMO, the best of these, and I do enjoy it. But the raves were so incessant, and it just didn’t live up to that for me. In the cases of Death Cab and New Pornographers, I thoroughly enjoyed the last offering from each, and both were really well-received, but neither ever did it for me. I used to love NIN, but the last thing he/they did that really thrilled me was "The Downward Spiral."
And finally, the discs that I really wanted to hear but never got around to acquiring or haven’t listened to enough to have an opinion…
Doves, "Some Cities" (just bought it); Gorillaz, "Demon Days"; Sleater-Kinney, "The Woods"; British Sea Power, "Open Season"; My Morning Jacket, "Z"; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Howl"