Friday, December 16, 2005

Best Albums of 2005:

The Clientele: Strange Geometry
Sufjan Stevens: Come On Feel the Illinoise
Animal Collective: Feels
Kanye West: Late Registration
Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning Strike

Strange Geometry’s sound plays like people watching in the mall. When you catch someone’s eye, do you defiantly stare or do you avert your eyes, pretending as though you weren’t staring? Are you an outsider looking in, or are you simply another part of the scene? Even if you’re both at once, it’s hard to feel them at the same time- Belle and Sebastian certainly tried with “If You’re Feeling Sinister” but never quite achieved the effect. The Clientele delivers an intimate and comfy album rich with experience.

Is Illinois not on anyone's list? Enough has been said about this album; it's got to be the number one this year. On a personal level, I love the shoutouts to my favorite cock rock song and to my home state. Oh, the suburbs were good to me and bad for me, and Sufjan gets it.

Feels- One never knows quite what to expect from a new Animal Collective cd, but they always manage develop a new direction masterfully. Feels is a focused album that draws on a variety of sources but has no immediately distinguishable influence. This is an album that only childhood friends could have delivered- giddy, emotional, fun, dramatic, rooted and going places.

Kanye West's is a huge album whipped into the face of all the critics who predicted a sophomore slump from West. In Late Registration, West undercuts his hubris with something sorely missing from today’s hip-hop- irony. Fair enough, the album has its weak spots- Bring Me Down actually just brings the album down. I have to say, I had trouble choosing between this and Common's Be, another tight contender.

How would high school have been different if the riot grrrrrrls had been the cheerleaders? Go! Team explores this idea in their second album. Not since the Avalanches has a band had so much fun making the album as Thunder, Lightning Strike. And while the comparison is valid, the sound is completely different- the kitsch is rooted on a foundation of live performance, complementary drum riffs and exuberant lyricism. This album deosn't look back wistfully at the childhood pleasures of sitting around in your rocketship underwear watching Saturday morning cartoons; it's music to make you glad that you still do that as an adult.

Most Disappointing Album of the Year: Black Eyed Peas, "Monkey Business"
The Peas are now more concerned about their lady lumps than finding the love, and the ecleticism that made Elephunk such a critically acclaimed album is strained and forced here. IT's a painful album to have to sit through.


Blogger The Bird said...

Hirsch says you should check out a Dutch woman named Solex. And he thinks The Go! Team is god-awful... Don't kill the messenger

11:50 AM  
Blogger rock_ninja said...

This from a man who thinks reggae is silly. I can therefore discount all opinions I don't like.

12:32 PM  

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