Damn right you’ll rise again: Best of 2005

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A year after joining Stylus Magazine and becoming settled into what everyone called The Blogging Thing, I started reading Pitchfork regularly. Those guys deserved another look after horrifying me in the late nineties with what became clear was embryonic work of considerable gaucheness and parochialism (a welcome tonal shift started by my lights in 2005). Which means that in 2005 I ignored Clap Your Hands Say Yeah but liked other cause célèbre Bloc Party and beyond other considerations loved how M.I.A. sounded. Spooon and The New Pornographers, whom I don’t much revisit these days, released their most rewarding work. Kate Bush’s set of two discrete albums, one of which chronicled the Woolfian epiphany of a painter. Brad Paisley roping me in with a dumb song about alcohol and yanking me towards “The World” and an Alison Krauss duet. The Hold Steady holding my attention for about the lats time with their tales of barroom blitz. Miranda Lambert releasing a cocksure, careening debut as worthwhile as anything in her catalog. Franz Ferdinand and 50 Cent with even better followups to OK debuts. Stevie Wonder wowing me with the best singing of his life. Topping the list as they never did in 1987 is a Go-Betweens album with a production commensurate with the exquisite songwriting: ten songs about biting a girlfriend’s lip, remembering forgotten friends, accepting your fate as the most talented of a family of honest workers. What a way for Grant McLennan to go.

But the biggest beneficiary of retrospective promotion is by the rapper with the forked tongue who showed me to croak couplets through swamp gas and bong smoke.

I’m most grateful for the friendship with Thomas Inskeep, an incalculable influence on my R&B and country taste whom I met in 2005; he’s spent the last eleven years regretting it or my puns.

The Go-Betweens – Oceans Apart
The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II
Lee Ann Womack – There’s More Where This Came From
M.I.A. – Arular
Kate Bush – Aerial
Spoon – Gimme Fiction
Brad Paisley – Time Well Wasted
The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
Bobby Bare – The Moon Was Blue
Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Bette
Miranda Lambert – Kerosene
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
Stevie Wonder – A Time to Love
Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
50 Cent – The Massacre
The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree
Kanye West – Late Registration
Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor
Amy Rigby – Little Fugitive
The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang
Gary Allan – Tough All Over
Four Tet – Everything Ecstatic
New Order – Waiting For the Sirens’ Call

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