Daniel "TheUndergroundScene" Perrone is a staff reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed
So 2005 is in the books. Every year I try to figure out if this year, musically, was better or worse than the previous one, but with so much going on in each year (and so many albums to account for), it's damn near impossible unless, somehow, the year consisted only of Coheed and Cambria albums, each one more progressive than the next. However, I could definitely say that this was a good year overall, filled with good music, good friends, a kickass college, an awesome family, a hell of a vacation (East-coasters, you would be hard-pressed to find a more fun vacation spot than Ocean City, MD) and just a complete sense of fulfillment. So, without further adieu, the top twenty records of 2005 (as well as some other cute lists):
Top Twenty Albums of 2005
#20. Cursed - Two
January 25 on Goodfellow
Ferocious and sludgy as hell, Two leaves the listener begging for more after what seems like a very short 35 minute record. This album mixed raw power with a sense of atmosphere, making for an out of the ordinary hardcore record. Two serves a nice breath of fresh air.
#19. Funeral Diner â The Underdark
March 29 on Alone
about how epic this truly is was on the money. The Underdark
is a rollercoaster, filled with ups and downs, soft parts and raging, intense moments. There aren't too many albums just like this one anymore, which makes it that much more special.
#18. Common - Be
May 24 on Geffen
In a year with considerably less great hip-hop when compared to â04, Common delivers a soulful, heartfelt release under the wing of Kanye West. With solid beats, a smooth flow, and a good head on his shoulders, Common glides through ten tracks which make up one of the most fun releases of the year; it's good that this man is finally getting recognition again.
#17. Tera Melos â Tera Melos
October 4 on Springman
Ahhh!! This being on here means I have definitely heard this album, finally. For those who don't know, I was a buttface and asked on here if I could hear it. I sincerely apologize, but WOW! This album is totally fresh and exciting, containing excellent technical musicianship that is still coherent and structured, as opposed to being all over the place (like some certain metalcore music). The band's self-titled effort draws the listener in and doesn't let go.
#16. Modern Life Is War - Witness
June 21 on Deathwish
Living proof that hardcore doesn't have to be breakdowns, blast beats, and over the top. Witness breaks all the rules, all the while staying exciting and powerful. More bands need to take a hint from these guys.
#15. Dangerdoom â The Mouse
October 11 on Epitaph
My favorite hip-hop album of the year is a collaboration between prolific MC MF Doom and DJ Dangermouse. Shit, who am I kidding? Most of you already know about this project, as it was one of the most hyped albums of the year. The Mouse And The Mask delivers, and could be the most fun ever had on compact disc. Doom is at the top of his game yet again, and the original beats and appearances by the Aqua Teen Hunger Force (I myself am not a fan, but it definitely serves as a selling point for most) stand out.
#14. Out Hud â Let Us Never Speak Of It Again
March 22 on Kranky
Did you bust a move and start your own dance party on the spot when listening to this album? Yeah, I did too.
#13. 311 â Don't Tread On Me
August 16 on Volcano
It's no secret that I absolutely love this band. Don't Tread On Me is their best album in over six years, and is a true display of tight songwriting and impeccable musicianship â all without any of the rap element (save for one track). I can't tell you how much I listened to this album, and while it isn't flawless, it sure is likeable, and even accessible to those who haven't really been into the band's formula in the past. Probably the most talented group on this list, and this album shows it.
#12. Buried Inside - Chronoclast
February 1 on Relapse
This shit is Earth-shattering. From some of the craziest drumming around to the ear drum piercing screaming, Chronoclast is heavy in every sense of the word. I seriously do not see any fan of hardcore music disliking this one.
#11. Wolf Parade â Apologies To The Queen Mary
September 27 on Sub Pop
I know I was screaming the word that ends with "rated" and begins with "over" a month and a half ago, but this album finally clicked. I still don't find it life-changing like some others may, but Apologies To The Queen Mary is a fine listen and (almost) deserving of the attention it gets. They're this year's Arcade Fire, only better.
#10. Killing The Dream â In Place, Apart
September 27 on Deathwish
A stellar hardcore release if there ever was one. It's got everything you could ask for: passionate yet brutal vocals, more speed than Sarah Goldfarb's got in Requiem For A Dream, more breakdowns than Mariah Carey, more chins than a Ch...whatever, you get the point. I love it.
#9. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah â Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
September 13, self-released
I'm finding that a lot of people love to hate this album, but for some unknown reason, it really drew me in. Maybe it's the "pretty awful but still listenable" vocals, or just the catchy nature of the music, but I'm feeling it. "In This Home On Ice" still blows me away every time I hear it.
#8. Bane â The Note
May 17 on Equal Vision
It's not as good as any of their past work. It does sort of sound like B-sides off of Give Blood. Do I have a problem with that? Actually, I did, but I have since grown up and gotten over that. This band is so fucking important to hardcore music; they have been in the past, and they still are. Aaron Bedard's lyrics are still as passionate as ever, and most of these songs will provoke finger points, singalongs, and stage rushes (but not violence!) for years to come. It takes some warming up, but the prize comes to those with patience.
#7. Bloc Party â Silent Alarm
March 22 on Vice
More hype!! In fact, this was probably the most hyped album of the year, and let me tell you, I fell head over heels in love with this record. It hasn't exactly aged all that well, but it is still a ridiculously catchy effort from these UK kids. "Banquet" is one of the best singles of the year, and I am 100% looking forward to this band's next one (if the "Two More Years" single is any indication, we will be just fine). Thumbs way up.
#6. Comeback Kid â Wake The Dead
February 22 on Victory
My review of this was pretty controversial, and ended up being pretty awesome because of that. While I still stand behind everything I said, it is obvious (being that this is #6) that this is not the best album of the year, although it is damn close. It's the best album Victory will has and will put out in a long time, and this is just the beginning for this young group. They've got the world by the balls; now it's just time to wait and see what they do with it.
#5. Latterman â No Matter Where We Go...!
August 9 on Deep Elm
HELL YEAH. This is what I'm talking about!!!!! I seriously love every goddamn thing about this album, and you really should to. All I want to do is smile while I'm listening to it, because this shit is something special. This has owned my life for the last part of this year.
#4. Sigur RÃ³s â Takk
September 13 on Geffen
You all know about Sigur RÃ³s by now, and with good reason. Takk is wonderfully accessible (but not dumbed down), and could possibly be their best release. Wonderful.
#3. A Wilhelm Scream - Ruiner
August 16 on Nitro
More controversy and difference of opinions surrounded this one, but this is one hell of an album. It's beastly. It is amazing just how good some of these songs are. The band took the formula that worked wonders for them on Mute Print, and cranked it up to 100. Vocally, this is album of the year. Take out two or so songs, and this IS album of the year. A Wilhelm Scream was probably THE band of 2005; you never stopped hearing about news from their camp, especially since the fantastic Mute Print was only released last year, and also since the band has been on countless awesome tours, playing their asses off and impressing almost everyone. This band is on another level.
#2. Broken Social Scene â Broken Social Scene
November 1 on Arts and Crafts
I still don't know everything that's going on on this album. The band's self-titled record is just so dense and packed with awesome that it's hard to know exactly what's happening when, but somehow, the songs work themselves into very listenable and likeable pieces of music. The duality of the vocals and the fact that no two songs are on the same page blows my mind. There's something for everyone here.
Top Five EPs of 2005
#1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
July 12 on Asthmatic Kitty
I wish I had the words to say just how much I love, adore, and appreciate this album. This is music as an art, in it's finest form: beautiful, honest, and caring. No one has done what this young man has done in his short career. There's nothing that can compare to just how good this album really is. Who thought folk music could be so catchy and accessible? With the use of countless instruments, backup vocalists, and, of course, his own talent and amazing voice, Sufjan Stevens has created a masterpiece. There's not a dislikable thing about Illinois. This kid has one hell of a future ahead of him, and I for one will be a fan all the way. Nothing that has been released in the past year can possibly touch this. Hands down the best album of 2005.
#5. Crime In Stereo â The Contract
July 12 on Blackout
This band does melodic hardcore with the best of them. No bullshit, straight forward music that proves that you don't need to be heavy as hell to kick some ass.
#4. Iron and Wine â Woman King
February 22 on Sub Pop
A diverse yet beautiful collection of acoustic songs from out favorite bearded man that isn't Santa Claus, Sam Beam. Chilling and moving, these six songs are among the best he's ever written.
#3. Ruiner â What Could Possibly Go Right?
November 8 on 1917
All I can say is that I cannot wait for a full-length from these guys. If this is any indication, WATCH OUT.
#2. Explosions In The Sky â Travels In Constants, Vol. 21: The Rescue
Sometime in November on Temporary Residence
Eight songs recorded over eight days for a mail-order only release from our favorite post-rock band. It's not up to par with the rest of this band's stellar catalog, but it's still great music in its own right. This band's 2006 release is my most anticipated release of the year. In fact, check out a new song off that (a live version) right here
. Thank me later!
Top Three Rarities Compilations of 2005
#1. Aesop Rock â Fast Cars, Danger, Fire, and Knives
February 22 on Definitive Jux
Aesop Rock is the best hip-hop artist around right now, period. You can't ignore this man's flow, beats, and ridiculous lyrics, as well as the fact that this limited edition EP comes with an 80-page booklet featuring all of the lyrics from his past efforts, and then some. Just listen to the beat on "Food, Clothes, Medicine"!!!! This is tops in this genre.
#3. Fordirelifesake â A Daydream Disaster
July 26 on Thorp
I know you all love to hate this band, but this collection of older material really is some excellent technical metalcore music, before the band began to get too over the top. This band displays massive amounts of talent on this disc, which is a good, comprehensive look back at the band's early days.
#2. The Lawrence Arms â Cocktails and Dreams
June 21 on Asian Man
Do I really need to say anything as to why this is here? It's the Lawrence fucking Arms, only the most popular band on this website! Great comp, well deserving to be up here.
The Best Reissue of the Year
#1. Boy Sets Fire â Before The Eulogy
October 18 on Equal Vision
This compilation does further back than any other compilation that I know of. Instead of just re-releasing songs from only semi-rare EPs and splits, they went as far back as their very first two demos, songs that almost no one had heard. That fact alone put this at the top of the compilation heap, but the fact that the songs are ridiculously good doesn't hurt, either.
The Best Music DVD of the Year
Bruce Springsteen â Born To Run 30th Anniversary
November 15 on Sony
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best album of all time. Yes, best. Yes, all time. Even though I was negative eleven years old when it came out, Born To Run means so much to me. The production sounds light years better, and the classic, timeless songs shine with a whole new light. Every song on this amazing disc is good â from the anthemic "Thunder Road" to the piano-driven "Backstreets" to the pulsating "She's The One" to the chill-inducing and extremely emotion sax solo in "Jungleland," this album is truly deserving of being up there among the greats. If you still haven't heard this, I suggest you do, pronto. It's truly something when you can rock out to an album with your parents and have them talk about how they rocked out to the same album thirty years earlier in their '75 Camaros down at the Jersey shore. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it really is something. Once again, best album of all time right here.
The Most Disappointing Albums of 2005
Bruce Springsteen â Live In London: November 1975
November 15 on Sony (included with Born To Run 30th Anniversary)
Yeah!!! Seeing THE BOSS looking grimey as hell in a tattered wool cap, next to Stevie Van Zandt in an orange suit, next to Clarence Clemons in a white pimp suit, in front of Max Weinberg in a beard and blue wifebeater...it's awesome. The picture is authentic, with an aged look but still very watchable, and the sound is crystal clear. Not to mention the set list is one of Bruce's all time best. A sixteen minute version of "Kitty's Back"? Oh hell yeah.
Kanye West â Late Registration
August 30 on Roc-A-Fella
This disc can show up in top fives all over the place. To me, this album is a huge letdown following a hugely promising debut, my #3 record of 2004. A little less than half of the actual songs are pretty good, and the rest just fail to deliver with the charisma and urgency of his first release. There's an ingredient missing here, and I no idea what it is. Maybe he's taking himself too seriously now? I don't know that, but I do know two things: The College Dropout is far superior to this, and George Bush doesn't care about black people. You fucking know you saw that coming from a mile away.
With Honor â This Is Our Revenge
October 18 on Victory
I'm not going to sit here and act like a little bitch, whining that Victory is the reason for this underwhelming release, because that's not it. The band took a risk by not creating the same album twice, and while that is admirable, This Is Our Revenge is severely lacking what made this band one of the most promising hardcore acts around. It doesn't possess the raw power and speed that made them what they are, and the vocals sound nothing short of terrible. I am more than willing to give this band another shot, because I'm almost positive they can turn this around. These songs are probably still awesome live, but right now, I'm disappointed. I don't want Strike Anywhere. I want With Honor.
The Punknews Mixtape: v. 2005
Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
August 30 on Atlantic
Dear Death Cab For Cutie: Fuck you. You guys not only put out the most disappointing albums ever, but managed to put out a heap of shit that was nothing but crappy piano-based drivel, without a lick of guitar play or your indie-pop sensibility that made you guys so great. Ben Gibbard is not your whole band, so stop acting like it. I don't even like the OC! For a group that released a top-five album in 2003, you make me sick. Did you guys really think that people wouldn't find "What Sarah Said" as a complete ripoff of Transatlanticism's title track, the song that put that album in the upper echelon of musical goodness? Your soul can meet your body all it wants, but I sincerely wish my fist could meet your dumb little chubby 13 year old boy face, mister Gibbard! Yours truly, a disgruntled fan.
Note: this is a mixtape containing great songs not featured on any of the top twenty albums!
- Bruce Springsteen â "Born To Run"
- Sage Francis â "The Buzz Kill"
- Crime In Stereo â "Sleeping Androids Do Dream Electric Sheep"
- Zombie Apocalypse â "Just Meat"
- With Honor â "Like Trumpets"
- Dropkick Murphys â "Sunshine Highway"
- Sufjan Stevens â "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"
- Kanye West â "Gold Digger"
- Against Me! â "From Her Lips To God's Ears (The Energizer)"
- Stars â Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
- The Esoteric â "Ram-Faced Boy"
- The Red Chord â "Upper Decker"
- Minus The Bear â "Pachuca Sunrise"
- Bear Vs. Shark â "What A Horrible Night For A Curse"
- Black Mountain â "Druganaut"
- Rumbleseat â "Restless"
- TV On The Radio â "Dry Drunk Emperor"
- LCD Soundsystem â "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House"
- Lady Sovereign â "Random"
- M83 â Teen Angst
Boy Sets Fire, Dillinger Four, and The Lawrence Arms all have albums that will end up being nothing short of golden. Maybe we'll see a new Tool album next year as well? And finally...how âbout another winning season from Rutgers football? Hell yeah! R-U-RAH-RAH!
And In Conclusionâ¦
Thanks for reading this shit! Once again, it is an absolute privilege and honor to be a staff member on this site, the best music site on the internet. Even though we may lock horns once in a while, I love you all. And not in a dude on dude sex kinda way. More like a pen pal kinda way. Happy new year, everyone! P.S. â Keally, you are DA BOMB!