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
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.
Iron & Wine - Woman King
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.
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.