Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Top 10 Albums of 2005


As 2005 draws to close, it's time for that insufferable ritual -- Top 10's. Why do we do it? To justify re-reviewing our insufferable reviews? Or to see whose list contains the most obscure albums?

Whatever the reason, without further adieu, here are some favorites and the Top 10 CDs from Thrasher's Blog:

1. "Z" - My Morning Jacket
MMJ's "Z" is definitely not causing Zzzzzz's. While Jim James doesn't like to be compared to Neil Young, we still like him because he reminds us of Neil.


2. Back To Me - Kathleen Edwards

"Much of the disc stomps along like Tom Petty touched by some of Neil Young's ragged glory, but Edwards is often at her best when she's at her most subdued."


3. "Okemah & The Melody of Riot" - Son Volt

Jay Farrar seems to be channeling Woody Guthrie's spirit.


4. "Kicking Television" - Wilco

Another example of why live music is better.


5. "Countryman "- Willie Nelson

OK, so Willie doing reggae is not Bob Marley, but it's still fun to try.


6. "Live at the Fillmore" - Lucinda Williams

Influenced by Neil Young's Live Rust with minimal talking and excellent live recording fidelity.


7. "Cold Roses" - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
"The results suggest what Whiskeytown might have sounded like if its brand of alt-country had absorbed the influences of Neil Young and the Grateful Dead and had replaced its fiddle with steel guitar."


8. "Forgotten Arm" - Aimee Mann
A concept album in the best of traditions, from music, vocals, down to art design. Sort of like Greendale on the dark side of town.

9. "Howl" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
A big departure from previous work. And that's a good thing. Totally uncategorizable music. Johnny Cash meets Jesus & Mary Chain. Acoustic, rockabilly, feedback, goth American rock. I don't know what it is, but I like it.

bruce-springsteen-devils-dust-cover.jpg 10. "Devils & Dust" - Bruce Springsteen [The song] " 'All I'm Thinking About", seems to be either a homage to or parody of Neil Young. It features a rough approximation of Young's wobbly falsetto and lyrical references to his doomy 1970s track 'Don't Let It Bring You Down', allied to the sort of carefree Chuck Berry chug that the perennially troubled Young couldn't muster if you put a gun to his head."


"Prairie Wind" - Neil Young

And for #11? A Neil Young album -- just because I happen to enjoy his music.

Not enuf? Over on Chromewaves, Frank has a rundown on a bunch of the Best of 2005.

Also see, Thrasher's Blog: Top 10 Concerts of 2005.


At 12/27/2005 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't say I agree with all of them (esp Willie?!), but a good list anyways.

At 12/27/2005 01:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil young... #11? Blasphemy.

But the best album of the year, hands down, is Sufjan Steven's 'Illinois'.

At 12/27/2005 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, some of you folks might enjoy Dana Cooper - he has a new album called "Made of Mud" at www.danacoopermusic.com. Also, Neil and Stills will be on Richie Furay's next album coming out in 06 - a bit of a Springfield reunion!

At 12/28/2005 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have have just overlooked this one, Electric Magnolia Company (Trial and Errors)...should be album of the Year in my opinion...

At 12/28/2005 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's actually Magnolia Electric Company (Trials and Errors) FYI sometimes my dyslexia takes over.

At 12/29/2005 07:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...good list, but what about BRIGHT EYES, "I'm wide awake its morning"?
THE album of the year...

At 12/29/2005 12:06:00 PM, Blogger --josh-- said...

Cool list... but more important, GREAT blog! I'll be back!

I was disappointed with the Lucinda, because I have a boot of an FM broadcast she did in '03 that is way better. As I hear it, she thought they were taping more gigs than they did, and she didn't get enough takes to make the more career-spanning set she was hoping for. I love everything she touches, but after hearing that '03 show (and seeing her on the tour), I was a little down on the live one. Relatively speaking.

Haven't heard My Morning Jacket yet. Amazon keeps telling me I'd like it.

Liked the Aimee Mann as well. Kathleen Edwards was in the spinner a lot earlier in the year, and I like the Heartbreakers touch, but for whatever reason by December I was over her. We'll give her another chance.

At 1/02/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

On Blogcritics, http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/12/29/133947.php
Rodney posted:

Thrasher, Being the enormous Neil Young fan you are, I can't help but notice that Prairie Wind doesn't quite make the cut. Are you as underwhelmed by it as I am? Put me in the camp who does not find it a return to form. I'll easily concede that between Singer-songwriter Neil and Hard Rock God Neil, I prefer the latter, but I can appreciate both. For me, he reached his height in the singer/songwriter mode with Harvest and the woefully underrated Comes a Time, and I just don't see this new CD as being at that level. It's pleasant, it's listenable, it's not boring -- but I can't get real excited about it, either. Can you?

Thrasher replied:
Rodney - good question. Quite a few folks have asked "Why is a die-hard Neil Young fan listing Prairie Wind as #11 on his Top 10 list"?

Well, a couple of reasons. First, my automatic response would be to put the album at #1. You know, it's Neil so it must be #1.

I figured that was a rather predictble approach so I decided to pick my 10 and then add Prairie Wind to the end.

But here's the bottom line on Prairie Wind - it is an essential and quintessential Neil album. It is really a summary of his career and Canadian roots.

As with Greendale it is underestimated on first listen. But over time, it will resonate. The concert performances of the songs are very strong. "When God Made Me" seems rather subdued on the album but comes alive in concery. Witness the Live 8 & Katrina Benefit performances. Truly stunning.

Anyways, when the film of the Ryman concerts is released in 2006, I think many will come around on the album and recognize it's greatness in the Neil Young discography.


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