The Year in Music

It's that time of year again, when everybody who has the slightest interest in pop culture starts making "Year's Best" lists. I'm usually at a major disadvantage when it comes to this sort of thing, as I can never really remember when any particular album was released, and I buy a lot of stuff that isn't new, so I end up associating all sorts of songs with a given year that aren't really eligible to be the best of that particular year.

Technology has come to my rescue, though, in the form of iTunes, which lets me sort songs by rating and year of release. It's not foolproof (somehow, it claims that "Symapthy for the Devil" by the Stones is a 2005 song), but it's better than what we used to have. So, here's the list of songs from 2005 that I rated five stars:


  • "Catch My Disease," Ben Lee
  • "Into the Dark," Ben Lee
  • "Like a Rolling Stone (Live)," Bob Dylan
  • "Call to Love," Crooked Fingers
  • "Soul Meets Body," Death Cab For Cutie
  • "The Girl I Can't Forget," Fountains Of Wayne
  • "Do You Want To," Franz Ferdinand
  • "Feel Good Inc. (Album Crossfade)," Gorillaz
  • "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," The Hold Steady
  • "How a Resurrection Really Feels," The Hold Steady
  • "Goodnight Goodnight," Hot Hot Heat
  • "Pickin' It Up," Hot Hot Heat
  • "Jumping the Wall," Ian Knapp
  • "Honey I Been Thinking About You," Jackie Greene
  • "Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)," Kanye West
  • "The Bucket," Kings of Leon
  • "bad sake," kingsley
  • "This Year," The Mountain Goats
  • "Love Love Love," The Mountain Goats
  • "Always Love," Nada Surf
  • "Sing Me Spanish Techno," The New Pornographers
  • "Meadowlake Street," Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  • "If I Am a Stranger," Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  • "Dance All Night," Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  • "Life Is Beautiful," Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  • "The Comeback," Shout Out Louds
  • "Very Loud," Shout Out Louds
  • "Evilution," The Silent Type
  • "Van Gough," Slender Means
  • "It Makes No Difference," Solomon Burke
  • "Let Somebody Love Me," Solomon Burke
  • "Dakota," Stereophonics
  • "I'm Pretty Sure I Can See Molecules," Troubled Hubble
  • "This Girl," Volebeats
  • "Beverly Hills," Weezer
  • "Shine a Light," Wolf Parade

(That's 36 songs from 2005 rated five stars. There are another 371-odd rated four stars (I haven't gone through to check for misdated old stuff), and 320-some rated three stars. Just in case you were counting.)

What can we learn from this? Well, 2005 was evidently a dreadful year for band names. I mean, really, "Volebeats?" Also, I'm prone to overrating bands that I see live-- I like all those Ryan Adams tunes, but there's no way that was the top record of the year. And it's another banner year for streaming audio, as 24 of those 36 are songs I've never heard on the commercial radio stations around here (though, to be fair, two of them never made KEXP, either-- I got The Silent Type and the Volebeats based on positive reviews from 75orless.

Album of the year honors go to The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday, which only put two songs in the five-star playlist, but got most of the rest of the album onto the four-star list. Honorable mention records would be the Mountain Goats and the New Pornographers (which also has a bunch of four-star songs).

If I had to boil the above list down into a Top Ten, the winning songs would be (alphabetically by artist): "Catch My Disease," "Soul Meets Body," "Do You Want To," "Feel Good Inc.," "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," "This Year," "Sing Me Spanish Techno," "Van Gough," "Dakota," and "Beverly Hills." ("Diamonds From Sierra Leone" would be #11, lest you think I just hate rap...) Interestingly, about half of those are great tunes off otherwise undistinguished albums (most notably from Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, and Weezer). I'm not sure what that means, but there you go. Three of the top songs ("Do You Want To," "Feel Good Inc.," and "Beverly Hills") are really aggressively stupid, but the Franz Ferdinand song is so catchy that it almost makes even me think that dancing would be a good idea.

(Originally posted at my steelypips blog.)

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