Best of 2005

Best of 2005: Sally_Field's picksSally_Field's picks (2005)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: Sally_FieldMeg
(others by this writer | submit your own)

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Meg "Sally_Field" Reinecker is a staff reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed


I've been a staff reviewer for less than a year on Punknews and the only name I've made for myself is "the person who gave the new Starting Line record four stars." Well, I'll tell you this much: If I could travel back in time, I wouldn't have changed a thing, even though I can't write a review without the dark, pop-punk shadow from my past rearing it's ugly head. So with that said, allow me to present to you my ten favourite albums of 2005. And yes, Kenny Vasoli returns. Let the torment begin!

Top 10 Albums
#10. I Am the Avalanche - I Am the Avalanche
When it comes to pop-punk, the Movielife were basically the cream of the crop, so it's not really too surprising that Vinnie's newest project, I Am the Avalanche, is anything less than catchy. "I Took a Beating" and "Symphony" are undeniably the album's most appealing tracks, while "Dead and Gone" and the ever-so-romantic "Green Eyes" also warrant mentioning.
#9. Boys Night Out - Trainwreck
Despite my slight bias (yeah, I used to run their messageboard), Trainwreck proved itself to be not only one of the best albums released during 2005, but also the best concept album I've ever experienced. With an intricate story written by Jeff (of BNO) and turned into lyrics by their vocalist Connor, Trainwreck as a whole is amazingly detailed and interesting beyond all belief.
#8. Comeback Kid - Wake the Dead
It's weird to think that at one point in time, Victory was home to some of hardcore's greats (Reach the Sky, Shutdown, etc.), yet now has a roster only boasting a few hardcore acts. And while Wake the Dead is no Turn It Around, it's definitely reminiscent of Victory's days of yore. With tracks like "Wake the Dead" and "Final Goodbye," the album definitely measures up as a more accessible, positive hardcore release.
#7. the Starting Line - Based on a True Story
I'd be dishonest if I didn't mark the new Starting Line album as one of my favourites of the year. And lying to impress anonymous strangers on the internet or visitors who can't accept opinion for what it actually is (opinion) isn't really up my alley. This album, though still discussing tearing asses up like they just got married, expresses a more mature Kenny Vasoli. And aside from being a maturation, the album is catchy beyond all belief, and with pop-punk, that's all that's to be expected.
#6. Discover America - Psychology
Tooth & Nail
Indie pop gained a lot of ground with this synth-oriented, bubbly release. With tracks like "Green Eyes" and "Call It in the Air" providing an upbeat sound and others like "Everything Changes" adding a more melancholy, diverse feel to the record, no feeling is left untouched by Chris Staples.
#5. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire
Arts and Crafts
If Mates of State had accents, were a lot less cheesy, and relied more on instruments, they may be able to make a record like Stars' Set Yourself on Fire, one of the catchiest pop-driven indie releases I've ever heard. Though "Ageless Beauty" remains a fan favourite, the album's high points also include "Reunion" and "The Big Fight."
#4. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
After I first downloaded this album, it sat in my hard drive for weeks before I'd worked up the courage to listen to it. When I like an album as much as I liked Transatlanticism, a let-down was essentially imminent. Yet, when I finally worked up the courage to listen to Plans, I wasn't disappointed. Sure, the album is different than past Death Cab releases, but it still encompasses the mellow charm that makes the band so appealing in the first place. "Soul Meets Body" and "Summer Skin" remain my favourite tracks.
#3. xLooking Forwardx - The Path We Tread
With two solid albums under their belts -- Ahoy Crew Members and, most noteably, What This Means to Me -- xLooking Forwardx had a lot to live up to with their debut release on Facedown. And they went and exceeded all expectations. From start to finish, The Path We Tread is a powerful, relentless, positive hardcore album that stands out immensely in a world full of tough guy, mosh-on-your-face hardcore.
#2. Veda - The Weight of an Empty Room
Second Nature
What haven't I already said about Veda that hasn't been called an exaggeration? Kristen May did a world of good for female-fronted indie rock this year with her powerful, guiding voice in Veda. It's one of those albums where it's near impossible to pick a favourite track because each are so appealing in their own ways.
#1. the Decemberists - Picaresque
Kill Rock Stars
Britpop has never sounded so solid. Picaresque is nearly an hour of dreamy, charming rock laced with pianos and Colin Meloy's distinct vocals. The album is addicting and unique from the upbeat tracks such as "The Infanta" to the more mellow, emotional tracks in the likes of "From My Own True Love (Lost at Sea.)" To put it simply, this album is a gem and, without a doubt, my favourite release of 2005.
Best EP
Iron & Wine - Woman King
Sub Pop
Its melodies are complex, its vocals are breathy; 6 songs is surely not enough. Woman King is a folk-influenced, indie rock masterpiece, sotospeak. "Jezebel" well represents the album's consistently pleasant, slow-tempo feel.
2005 Mix Tape
    Side A
  1. Bloc Party - This Modern Love
  2. Comeback Kid - Wake the Dead
  3. the Starting Line - Surprise, Surprise
  4. the Campaign 1984 - Different Kind of Hurt So Good
  5. Bane - Hoods Up
  6. Discover America - Green Eyes
  7. Modern Life Is War - D.E.A.D R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
  8. Veda - Safe
    Side B
  1. Stars - the Big Fight
  2. Some Girls - the DNA Will Have It's Say
  3. Iron & Wine - Jezebel
  4. Blacklisted - Finding Faith
  5. Death Cab for Cutie - Soul Meets Body
  6. Between the Buried and Me - Alaska
  7. Tim Kinsella - 'member sexy 'branes
  8. Never Say Die - the Death of Mustache Metal
  9. I Am the Avalanche - I Took a Beating

As for 2006? There's only two things I'm musically xlooking forwardx to. And that's new albums from Saves the Day and Good Clean Fun. Aside from that, BeDLighT 4 BLuE eYeS could put out seven reissues of the same albums and I'd be content.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 6, 2006)

yeah, the Decemberists are definitely not Britpop

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

Britpop? You know the Decemberists are from Oregon, right?

GreenVandal (January 3, 2006)

I like your reviews usually.

That being said, this list is vomit worthy.

This year as a whole was pretty boring for music anyway...

SilentStorms (January 3, 2006)

i don't agree with Sally's top 10 list, but who could possibly have the same listening ear as me? No one. We are all different, and everyone needs to respect those differences. Hey Sally, what happened to Loftus on this top 20, cuz thanks to you it made mine. Thanks.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

i agree that decemberists released the best album of last year. but thats all i agree with.

didn't stars cd come out in 04?

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

Disgraceful list.


Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

well sally, you're fucking stupid.

theundergroundscene (January 2, 2006)

i applied and got in!

no fucking of brothers or sisters for this man

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

I Am The Avalanche's album was pretty good. I don't really think it's Top 10 material, but it was pretty good. And yes, The Movielife kicked ass.

And I'm sorry to all of you "punks" out there, but I must agree that The Starting Line's album kicked ass.

But c'mon, seriously, Plans sucked.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

i don't think you know what britpop is

Jesse (January 1, 2006)

"Don't worry Sally, we will run away together one day. I love you. Seriously."

Well, you'll probably have Brian to deal with.

I love how incestuous the Punknews.org staff really is. At least half of these people got their gigs from knowing someone already on staff, me included. Big ups to carrying on the tradition, and bigger ups to those who got the job via the Internet.

stevejonestherealbones (January 1, 2006)

score is for how many albums i own on this list. and its a gay one

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- myspace.com/jonesthebones

maverick (January 1, 2006)

I seriously can't believe Veda made anyone's year-end list, especially this high! Christ, have you never heard a fuckin' Denali record? What about Portishead?


md40_07 (January 1, 2006)

Good work. I liked nearly every one of your top 10 (minus The Starting Line) but then I looked at your mix tape and saw that you had Surprize, Surprize as your single. That was the only good song on the album in my opinion

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

I'm still rofllolz, even several months later to the "pop-punk gang vocals" starting line review

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Why can't Kill Rock Stars go back to putting out Unwound albums?


Sally_Field (December 31, 2005)

Yeah, you still suck.

Arch Angel, dude, I got a picture of you tattooed on my innner thigh. I hope you diggit.

I hope this makes us cool now.

Thanks for the constant support, bro!

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Stars was released in Canada in 2004, USA in 2005.

And a big wtf at the Tim Kinsella comment, while his brother blows him away, he still has been in better bands and has more talent than most.

Marlon (December 31, 2005)

"List rendered useless due to the inclusion of Tim Kinsella in any capacity that is not negative. Sorry."

I think Owls proved he's not god awful when he has Mike to level him out.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Don't worry Sally, we will run away together one day. I love you. Seriously.

youwinalemon (December 31, 2005)

I can't say I really agree with most of this list, but nice call on The Decemberists as #1.

Also, you people really do give this girl way too much shit.

swingline (December 31, 2005)

punknews.org? more like... ABSOLUTEPUNK.NETROFLMAOHTML

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

any band with x's in thier title should not be on a label or a band at all for that matter

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Stars' release was from 2004.


Dante3000 (December 31, 2005)

Strange, I don't always agree with Ms. (Mrs.?) Fields, but the editors seem to respect her enough to let her be staff and yet all anyone can do is bitch about her. If the guys who run the site approve of her work, why do you think your bitching will change anything?
P.S. She has big brass balls (she just keeps them in a jar).

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

This isn't fuckin absolutepunk.net. gtfo off my site sally

AlmostPunkEnough (December 31, 2005)

you continue to have the most testicular fortitude of any reviewer here. the irony....

psychoos231 (December 31, 2005)

what the??? Who's this person

thirtyseconds (December 31, 2005)

"Crap. I thought Woman King was released in 2004. My iTunes is wrong. I would have had it on my list..."

Ha ha. Agreed. I never realised it was out this year either. Good shout on that Sally

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

also come on man, let go of that starting line thing

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

i just vomitted in my mouth.

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

the only list i'm not crazy about


k-dubs (December 31, 2005)

see, i was originally going to try to tear you a new asshole about the whole concept album thing... or the including of the starting line...

buit then the curve ball had the decemberists at number one.

damn you for blocking all sarcastic, asshole-oriented comments i could of thrown at you with that gem at #1.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Boys Night Out wrote the best concept album you've ever experienced? Get the fuck outta here...

Archangel (December 31, 2005)

"BeDLighT 4 BLuE eYeS "

Yeah, you still suck.

Jesse (December 31, 2005)

Crap. I thought Woman King was released in 2004. My iTunes is wrong. I would have had it on my list...

maverick (December 31, 2005)

List rendered useless due to the inclusion of Tim Kinsella in any capacity that is not negative. Sorry.


Etienne (December 31, 2005)

I Am The Avalanche really suprised me. I've been listening to it over the break every day. Good stuff.

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