Favorite list (of sorts)

I’m working at Waterloo Records again for the holiday season, and a year-end tradition is the Employees’ Top 10 Picks. I haven’t kept a running list this year — apathy, go figure — but with a deadline looming for submission, I figure I may as well take a stab at making one.

Here goes.

Favorite Releases of 2005

  1. Sigur Rós, Takk … Ah! So that’s where ACO got her inspiration for irony! A stunningly beautiful album with the dramatic dynamics reknowned of mono and Explosions in the Sky.
  2. Gang of Four, Entertainment! (Remastered) I’d heard of Entertainment! for years but never actually listened to the album itself. Oh what my life would have been had I discovered this album when it first came out.
  3. Kate Bush, Aerial I still love my friend’s quote: “Kate Bush needs to release a new album and save the world from Tori Amos.” Here is the sound of the world being saved.
  4. … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart I listened to an advance of this album in 2004 and put it on my 2005 list before the year began.
  5. Bob Mould, Body of Song I’m not big on Hüsker Dü, but I really dig how Bob Mould mixes indie rock with Cher.
  6. Sleater-Kinney The Woods Sleater-Kinney + Dave Fridmann = ULTRA EAR FUCK! In case you miss Number Girl …
  7. The Arcade Fire, Funeral Yeah, I know it was released in 2004, but I only managed to get around to listening to it this year.
  8. Yorico, Cocoon Nary a peep has been heard from Onitsuka Chihiro, but Yorico is more than qualified to fill the gap.
  9. bloodthirsty butchers, banging the drum Tabuchi Hisako finally manages to integrate her ferocious guitar into the butchers’ chaotic songwriting.
  10. Duran Duran, Beautiful Colours This disc of outtakes shows just what pile of crap Astronaut really is.

Honorable mention:

  • Madonna, Confessions on a Dancefloor The main reason I hated 2003’s American Life was because Mirwais sucks. Stuart Price does a far better job on this continuous disc. Thing is, it sounds a lot like Kylie Minogue’s Fever, doesn’t it?
  • Enya, Amarantine 2000’s A Day Without Rain was the sunniest album in Enya’s ouvre — it’s also her weakest writing. Amarantine, on the other hand, sounds incredibly rich. She Westernizes her Japanese on “Sumiregusa” way too much, though.
  • Fuji Fabric Fuji Fabric Eclectic is an oft-abused adjective, but really — try coming up with something better to pin down Fuji Fabric’s unlabelable indie rock. (Technically a 2004 release, but I didn’t get to hear it till this year, and I haven’t lived with Fab Fox long enough to make a judgement.)
  • toddle, I dedicate D chord Tabuchi Hisako sounded sweet singing karaoke, but she strains to keep a note on her own solo project. That’s fine — it makes for an nice, uneasy contrast with her explosive guitar playing. Man does this woman know how to put some hurtin’ on a six-string.
  • Sasagawa Miwa, Amata A number of dead spots prevented this album from being the multi-cultural watershed of her debut. Sasagawa on a weak day, though, is still far more interesting than most artists on their best.
  • John Zorn/Naked City, The Complete Studio Recordings An incredible reissue of the legendary band’s catalog, available for the first time in the US. The new vocal version of “Grand Guignol” makes so much more sense.