Since Shanghaiist kicked off in July this year, we’ve inflicted opinion after opinion on you, our faithful readership. Here comes a whole bunch more.
This time we’ve taken it upon ourselves to inform you about the best music released in 2005. Specifically, the top 25 albums of the year (summed up in exactly 25 words each).
The list was painstakingly compiled by five Shanghaiist contributors. We say painstakingly because some of us absolutely loathed the choices of the others — in fact, not a single album appeared in all five lists.
For the record, the five contributors comprised three Americans, a Scot and an Aussie. And judging from the complete absence of Chinese music from the list, it might be wise if next time we convince one of our Shanghainese friends to lend a hand. (Actually, as always, we encourage all of you to submit your own lists, thoughts, suggestions, insults-about-our-mothers as comments at the end of this very long post.)
Enough italicized intro, here it is … the Shanghaiist top 25 for 2005. Enjoy.
1. Illinois by Sufjan Stevens
“John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” is certainly creepy, yet it remains as undeniably beautiful as every other track on this LP. Best album of the year.
2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
We’ve been clapping our hands and saying “Yeah” — even “F*ck yeah!” sometimes — to this rousing debut, which Billboard calls “a nearly perfect album.” Only nearly?
3. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning by Bright Eyes
4. Gimme Fiction by Spoon
Finally — thirty seconds into Track 7 — we realised that, okay, Gimme Fiction is not the greatest rock album of the decade. Not far off though.
5. Infiniheart by Chad VanGaalen
Some call this guy the second coming of Neil Young. And, yes, he is Canadian. But did Young carve his own instruments? We think not.
6. Apologies To The Queen Mary by Wolf Parade
So, you like the rock ‘n roll, do you? From the opening drums, you’ll be hooked. It’s hard not to march along to this parade.
7. Beauty and the Beat by Edan
8. The Find by Ohmega Watts
Creative and imaginative new old skool beats with a sample-heavy swagger, funky soul and razor sharp dancefloor cuts, hip-hop for everyone — not just hip-hop fans.
9. Contact Special by Jeff Mills
The underground techno legend emerges from his bunker once more to assault the masses with this collection of technical funk waveforms and alien-sounding melodic chimes.
10. Everything Ecstatic by Four Tet
For Four Tet’s folktronica fans, Everything Ecstatic marks a turning point from folky sunshine to drum-laden soundscapes, eerie vocal samples and devolving rhythm experiments.
11. You Could Have It So Much Better by Franz Ferdinand
Tertiary effort by Scottish quartet, Andy and the boys have tossed their skinny ties and proven they’ll outlive the neo-80s crowd with infectious britpop beats.
12. School of the Flower by Six Organs of Admittance
When the same guitar riff plays for fourteen minutes and you still don’t want it to stop, something’s going right. Otherworldly collages of acoustic sound.
13. Out Of Exile by Audioslave
Cornell from Soundgarden has crafted a rock record worth listening to over and over, and you will. Musical, meaningful, and drawing praise like Led Zep.
14. T.R.I.N.I.T.Y. by The Advent
A trip into high intensity sonic warfare on Berlin’s seminal Tresor label. Dance floor techno with enough sub-bass to knock out yer Granny’s false teeth.
15. The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada
Edinburgh’s finest present their long-awaited follow up to 2002’s Geogaddi. It doesn’t disappoint, unless you’re an art-farty music critic who likes lyrics and guitars.
16. Arular by M.I.A.
17. Kasabian by Kasabian
These 13 tracks from Kasabian are the new messiah of the forgotten techno indie musical genre. Half guitar, half electronic, half Stone Roses.
18. Fallen Leaf Pages by Radar Brothers
19. Black Sheep Boy by Okkervil River
At times haunting, at times rocking, always achingly beautiful, this album gets better with every spin. It’s I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning‘s brooding moody step-brother.
20. The Wedding by Oneida
Whither Oneida? This member of Shanghaiist played bits of The Wedding to his mother and even she loved it. Riff-heavy garage rockers go all poppy.
21. In Your Honor by Foo Fighters
Ten years in, Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters release dual discs including one killer guitar driven pop rock record and one brilliant acoustic experiment.
22. Demon Days by Gorillaz
23. MegaSession 2006 by Cari Lekebusch
A 3-hour DJ mix of the entire Hybrid Productions
discography encompassing a variety of dance styles. Diverse, listenable and intelligent electronic music straight outta Stockholm.
24. Pixel Revolt by John Vanderslice
Vanderslice mixes songs about 9/11 and Iraq with those about some girl named Sarah Shu and a guy who lost his girlfriend’s rabbit. It works.
25. DE9: Transitions by Richie Hawtin
Is it a DJ mix or is it a whole new creation in itself? Minimalist Hawtin pushes boundaries once again in this patchwork quilt-like album.
1. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
3. M.I.A. – Arular
4. Gorillaz – Demon Days
5. Edan – Beauty and the Beat
6. LCD SOundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
7. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
8. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
9. Prefuse 73 – Surrounded by Silence
10. DangerDOOM – The Mouse + The Mask
11. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand
12. The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
13. Four Tet – Everything Ecstatic
14. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (Remixed)
15. Animal Collective – Feels
16. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary
17. Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
18. The Boy Least Likely To… – The Best Party Ever…
19. Caribou – The Milk of Human Kindness
20. Autechre – Untilted
1. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
2. Six Organs of Admittance – School of the Flower
3. Spoon – Gimme Fiction
4. Radar Bros. – Fallen Leaf Pages
5. Oneida – The Wedding
6. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
7. Wolfmother – Wolfmother
8. Opeth – Ghost Reveries
9. Four Tet – Everything Ecstatic
10. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
11. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
12. Sigur Ros – Takk…
13. Caribou – The Milk of Human Kindness
14. John Hassell – Maarifa Street
15. Jan Jelinek – Kosmischer Pitch
16. Edan – Beauty and the Beat
17. Chad VanGaalen – Infiniheart
18. Stephen Malkmus – Face the Truth
19. Dungen – Ta Det Lugnt
20. Autechre – Untilted
A. Robb Spitzer
1. Ohmega Watts – The Find
2. Audioslave – Out Of Exile
3. Kasabian – Kasabian
4. Foo Fighters – In Your Honor
5. Dean Gray – American Edit
6. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
7. Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock
8. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
9. INXS – Switch
10. Shakira – Fijacion Oral I
11. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
12. Amerie – Touch
13. Eels – Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
14. Athlete – Tourist
15. The Bravery – The Bravery
16. Stereophonics – Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
17. Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
18. Chris Brown – Chris Brown
19. Twista – The Day After
20. Damone – Out Here All Night EP
1. Chad VanGaalen – Infiniheart
2. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
4. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy
5. John Vanderslice – Pixel Revolt
6. My Morning Jacket – Z
7. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
8. Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production Of Eggs
9. Spoon – Gimme Fiction
10. Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures
11. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
12. of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
13. Brakes – Give Blood
14. Iron & Wine – Woman King EP/In the Reins EP (with Calexico)
15. Superwolf – Superwolf
16. Stephen Malkmus – Face The Truth
17. The Decemberists – Picaresque
18. M. Ward – Transistor Radio
19. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree
20. The Capitol Years – Let Them Drink
1. Jeff Mills – Contact Special
2. The Advent – T.R.I.N.I.T.Y
3. Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
4. Cari Lekebusch – MegaSession 2006
5. Richie Hawtin – DE:9 Transitions
6. Joey Beltram – The Rising Sun
7. Juan Atkins – Metroplex 1985-2005
8. Juan Atkins – The Berlin Sessions
9. Neil Landstrumm – The Life Of Grime EP
10. British Murder Boys – All The Saints Have Been Hung
11. Dave Clarke – Live
12. Autechre – Untilted
13. Laurent Garnier – The Cloud Making Machine
14. AFX – Hangable Auto Bulb
15. Electronic Resistance – Exposure
16. Cristian Vogel – Station 55
17. Thomas Brinkmann – Lucky Hands
18. Carl Craig – Just Another Day
19. A Guy Called Gerald – To All Things What They Need
20. Woody McBride – Pscenario (EP)