Best of 2005 Music

Being part of the iPod revolution made 2005 a definite winning year for my musical tastes as I discovered a host of new bands (and old bands I'd never heard of) that now populate my playlists.
Here are my top 5 tracks for 2005

5. 'Lonestar' - Severed Heads
The Heads put out a new album ('Millenium Cheesecake' - not available in stores, but via iTunes download), and this was head and shoulders the best track. A churning ambient work, it has a 10 note melody line that shifts subtly over the course of the song in typical SH fashion. While it lacks the definitive sample that is the hall-mark of a great SH track, it nevertheless manages to crack my top 10 list of SH tracks all-time - no mean feat.

4. 'Paul Simon' - The Russian Futurists
Yes, you read that right, the songs name is 'Paul Simon'. The good news is that the track is a bombastic, bouncy, in your face revelation. The bad news, is the rest of the album is nowhere near as good. Since 2005 seems to be the year that horn sections (or their sampled equivalents like in this track) returned with a vengeance, it's only fitting I tip my hat to the track that got the trend of big brass background started off for my iPod playlist.

Sample lyric:

"It's the worst of those,
It's the first to go
It's the last to come back
When the sun melts the snow"

Full bonus points for being a white 'hip-hop' (though that description is a stretch) band from Winnipeg.

3. 'Ceremony' - New Order
No, I haven't taken too many drugs, I am placing a track on the list of best for 2005 that was first released back in the early 80s. Here's the thing, a friend of mine big into music discovered that he could download entire concerts on-line - not just new stuff, but the old stuff that you could only find on vinyl as bootlegs.

So he downloads the entire Paris 1982 concert by New Order for me - and I fell in love with them all over again.

In 1982 the band was; still recovering from the death three years earlier of Ian Curtis, still hadn't fully embraced the disco sound that would infect them in later albums, and for all intents and purposes were at a crossroads between the industrial punk band they were, and the electronica dance-meisters they would become. For this brief window (The 'Movement' 'Everythings Gone Green' and 'Power Corruption and Lies' albums) they had the energy and raw power of punk, and the atmospheric keyboards and beats that would creatively drown them in later albums from 'Republic' onwards.

'Ceremony' - the one New Order track that was written when they were still 'Joy Division', captures that 'interstitial space' they occupied between now and then, past and present, life and death.

Sure, the vocals are painfully off-key, and the bands play can best be described as 'sloppy', but the unrestrained power of the track is self-evident.

They were young and crazy, and still unsure of themselves, but they were also never more dynamic than on that Paris stage in 1982.

2. '7/4 Shoreline' - Broken Social Scene
Antother Canuck band hits the top of my list (it was a GREAT year in Canadian music - don't believe me? Check out CBC3's podcast of new Canadian music each week - guaranteed to be at least one track per episode that will have your search engine humming to track it down afterwards), this band occupies a strange and unique place in my heart. I first heard them when their video for 'Stars and Sons' played on Much Music. K', so that ruled, and I bought their album and enjoyed most of it.

Now some of you know that I've been heavy into the (now defunct) Canadian band 'godspeed you black emperor', and their side projects like 'Do Make Say Think'. So imagine my surprise when I discover that a large chunk of the people who make up Broken Social Scene come from Do Make Say Think and godspeed? Needless to say, I was surprised (the three have very distinct sounds), but pleasantly so.

7/4 Shoreline is the obvious killer track from their new album, and has been in heavy rotation on my playlist since I bought the disk and ripped it to my hard drive. There were two other tracks they have competed for this spot on the list, but 7/4 beats out 'Fire eyed Boy' and 'It's all gonna break' by virtue of....it's superior horn section.

1. 'The Hypothesist' - Novillero
Ok, so I'd never heard of this band before, or the single, until I was driving back to Vancouver and listening to the best radio station in the country (CJSW) as we trekked from Calgary to Banff on the way home to Van. First up, any song that turns anythings so unwieldy as the word 'Hypothesis' deserves a chance in my book.

Canadian band? Check

Ultimately though, there's the morbidly obese pop hook they blast with (what else) their horn section, and it runs through your brain obsessively until you get the chance to purge it. And we all know the only way to purge it is to hear the original again.

When it came down to it, 'The Hypothesist' was unquestionably ruling the iPod, and so it would be King for 2005.

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