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Everyone else is doing it, so I figure I should as well: these are the songs that soundtracked my 2005. iTunes claim they have a running time of 1:19:59, so in theory they'll even fit on a single CD. Just about. Maybe.

01. Serenity - David Newman

In general I didn't care for David Newman's Serenity score as much as I did for Greg Edmonson's Firefly scores (of which a little more later), but for this track I make an exception. It's the reel that plays after the prologue is done, over our first glimpse of Serenity herself, camera circling around her as she falls into atmo, heat shield glowing. It's not long enough, but it makes it clear that yes, Firefly is back.

02. Winter in the Hamptons - Josh Rouse

Like a few others on the list, this isn't a 2005 track; the album it comes from, Nashville, came out in 2004. But it was February this year that Amazon mistakenly sent me a copy, and it's every month since then that I've listened to it at least once. I've since been back and gone through Josh Rouse's previous albums, but I think Nashville is the best: it has a directness and lack of showiness that works well. 'Winter in the Hamptons' is a crisp, jangly, poppy tune. Your feet will be tapping.

03. Black And White Town - Doves

It has to be said that Some Cities is not as good as The Last Broadcast. But then, ninety-five percent of the albums I own aren't as good as The Last Broadcast, so that's no particular shame, and it's not like Some Cities doesn't have selling points. Chief among them, as far as I'm concerned (and a definite high point when I finally saw the band live, back in March), is this echoey motown stomp.

04. We Used To Be Friends - The Dandy Warhols

Predictable? Of course. 'We Used to be Friends' is the theme tune of my tv discovery of the year, Veronica Mars--if you haven't checked it out yet, what on earth is your excuse?--and would therefore be indelibly associated with the year in my mind no matter what. Thankfully it's also one of The Dandy Warhols' best songs.

05. I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to be Nicer - The Cardigans

At the very least, this has to be in contention for best song title of the year. It was a fine single, too, all growly guitars and snarly Nina Persson. Sadly, the following album, Super Extra Gravity, didn't maintain the quality throughout; like 2003's excellent Long Gone Before Daybreak, the overall vibe is alt.country, but it's a rougher, less reflective album, and the poorer for it.

06. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt - We Are Scientists

Best indie-rock-dance-disco-thing tune of the year, brought to my attention by brassyn. Next!

07. Love Steals Us From Loneliness - Idlewild

Like 'I Need Some Fine Wine', 'Love Steals Us From Loneliness'--"my anger is a form of madness/so I'd rather have hope than sadness"--is a good single from a disappointing album. There were still flashes of energy and melody, but they were hard to find in the wash of mid-tempo and middling-quality tracks. Here's hoping the band can rediscover a bit of passion before their next album.

08. Darla's Sacrifice - Rob Kral

2005 was the year that an Angel soundtrack CD was finally released. This made me a very happy bunny, since I am a score music nerd, and Rob Kral's work always impressed me. Disappointingly, the CD didn't include what is perhaps my favourite score--from the second-season episode 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been'--but there are plenty of other goodies to enjoy. Such as this, from the last act of 'Lullaby', notable because it's an act with almost no dialogue: it's left to the images and the music to carry the story. Like the show itself, it's a piece of music that treads a fine line between melodrama and moments of genuine emotion; the thundering clamour of Holtz's walk through Caritas is almost gleefully OTT. But every time, when the piano comes in for the last minute or so, it kills me again.

09. Better Together - Jack Johnson

And now for something completely different. In fact, it would be hard to get more laid-back than 'Better Together', which made it the perfect soundtrack to my holiday in Italy at the end of June. I can close my eyes and be back in a hammock in the hills north of Lucca. I think I have majuran to thank for bringing it on the trip, so--thanks!

10. Landed - Ben Folds

Songs for Silverman was a step forward from Rockin' the Suburbs. Even if it did include an inexplicably popped-up version of 'Give Judy My Notice', a trio of great tracks--this one, 'Jesusland', and Elliott Smith tribute 'Late'--more than made up for any deficiencies. And dammit, it's still just good to hear a piano played like that.

11. Red Moon - Turin Brakes

I cannot explain why I like Turin Brakes. By all rights, I should find the vocals annoyingly nasal, and the lyrics verge on the banal ("if you try/you'll be alright"). And yet, and yet ... every time they release an album I find myself listening to it obsessively for at least a month. Maybe there are subliminal messages I'm subconsciously trying to decode. Anyway: 'Red Moon' is the best and liveliest track from this year's effort, Jackinthebox.

12. Camera - Editors

I saw Editors play to a packed barn at Truck festival, before I'd heard of them or about them in any way. Live, they were more Stills-meet-early-Idlewild than the Interpol-lite they can seem on record. In the absence of a genuine Interpol record, mind, The Back Room is a more than satisfactory substitute. This track, for some reason, reminds me of wandering around London on a wintry day.

13. Undercover - Gemma Hayes

If I was listing my favourite albums of the year, The Roads Don't Love You would be right up there. It's a bit less country-folk than Night On My Side, and there's only really one track, 'Easy on the Eye', that recaptures the acoustic charm of Hayes' early EPs. But the more complex arrangements on tracks like 'Keep Me Here', 'Nothing Can' and 'Tomorrow' work well, and the album as a whole, though it took a while to get under my skin, is just lovely.

14. You Never Left My Side - KTB

The problem with enthusing about KTB to anyone who didn't already know about her used to be that I had nothing I could play them. The songs on All Calm In Dreamland are fine, but the recording is distinctly naff (perils of a small label, I guess), and it really doesn't do justice to her voice. This year's album, Bluebird, is a partial fix, with a much greater sense of personality coming across. It helps that the songs are better, too; Kathryn-Williams-like simplicity, but an emotional directness that doesn't become saccharine. Well, most of the time. 'You Never Left My Side' is one of the highlights of a very good record.

15. Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part - Ryan Adams

Yes, my favourite Ryan Adams track of the year--and let's face it, with two single albums and one double album, that's not a small pool to beat--is a quiet, angsty ballad. Are we surprised? No, not really.

16. The Funeral - Greg Edmonson

I'm not sure whether the mp3s of the Firefly soundtrack were available last year, but it was only a few months ago that I finally got my hands on them. The mix of styles is still wonderful. This is from the end of 'The Message' (another ending that relies more on images and music than on action), and if you aren't moved by it you must have a heart of stone. Either that, or for some inexplicable reason you haven't seen the episode in question.

17. Vampire Heart - Tom McRae

It seems to have been a year for disappointing albums with great individual tracks: The Cardigans, Idlewild, and now Tom McRae. All Maps Welcome starts strongly, but fizzles out frustratingly at the two-thirds mark. Before it does, though, we get this minor masterpiece. There's just a hint of self-parody at times ("If it don't end in bloodshed, dear/it's probably not love"), but all is forgiven for the high violin note at 1:32. I'm such a pushover.

18. Great Expectations - Elbow

I'm not sure whether my favourite album of the year is Elbow's Leaders of the Free World or Eels' Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (see below), but I do know that 'Great Expectations' is my favourite single song of the year, and runs 'Red' close as my favourite Elbow track. It's just perfect: lilting waltz time, slow ripples of acoustic guitar, shuffling drums and a clear piano line running through the middle. And over it all, of course, Guy Garvey's aching vocals. brassyn take note: if this ever shows up on my last.fm page with 229 listens in one week, it will be because I actually did listen to it 229 times in one week.

19. Rebellion (Lies) - The Arcade Fire

Everyone else loves the Arcade Fire, and so do I. I've probably loved each individual track on Funeral the most at some point or other over the last four months; right now, the organised chaos of 'Rebellion (Lies)' takes the cake.

20. Things The Grandchildren Should Know - Eels

I don't think, before now, there has been an Eels album I could genuinely say I loved. A lot of Daisies of the Galaxy is wonderful, but some of it isn't; similarly with Beautiful Freak, and Electro-Shock Blues has always been a bit too dour for me to get properly into. But Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, both baggy discs of it, I love. Of course it's patchy; any album this big would be. But the sprawl of it is a large part of the charm, since it takes in a wide range of styles and subjects, and it's so big that you just keep on finding moments of unexpected beauty long after other albums have been exhausted. And how do you end an album like that? With a song like this, a song of surprising warmth and apparent sincerity.

Now, if I could just find the option to export iTunes playlists, I'd be happy. I'm sure I've done it before.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I have to go shopping (boo!) but I'll download these later once I'm home because I've got hardly any of them. Then I shall come back and comment with something more substantial (and it'll be at replies +80 by then I imagine).
In the meantime:

brassyn take note: if this ever shows up on my last.fm page with 229 listens in one week, it will be because I actually did listen to it 229 times in one week.

I don't know Niall, the trust is gone. How can I ever believe your last fm charts ever again? WOE.
I'll download these later once I'm home because I've got hardly any of them.

This presumably means you'll hate them. :p

(and it'll be at replies +80 by then I imagine).

Nah. Music posts never get that many comments. (Yes, I am trying to undo the jinx you just placed on the comments by reverse psychology. Or is it reverse reverse pyschology now?)

How can I ever believe your last fm charts ever again?

Look at these eyes. Are these the eyes of a liar? I would not lie to you. About Elbow.
(Yes, I am trying to undo the jinx you just placed on the comments by reverse psychology. Or is it reverse reverse pyschology now?)

I could always smalltalk Ban if 80 comments that badly ...
... seems I only managed bad psychology, then.
I was just trying to be helpful...

This presumably means you'll hate them. :p

Now now, you never know. I liked Ban's Andrew Bird recommendation so I'm not that inflexible really.
But if I do hate them then at least I can knowledgefully scorn you ;p

Look at these eyes. Are these the eyes of a liar?

Yes.

I would not lie to you.

Liar.

About Elbow.

See?! Speaking of Elbow tjere's a track of theirs I do like but I don't know the name of it. I couldn't tell you if it's on your list or not but it was the single. The content is quite political as I recall and quite heavy duty but if I remember rightly, it works.

Commencing downloading as we speak.
But if I do hate them then at least I can knowledgefully scorn you ;p

That'll make it sting so much less. :p

Liar.

Hmph!

Speaking of Elbow tjere's a track of theirs I do like but I don't know the name of it. I couldn't tell you if it's on your list or not but it was the single.

From the recent album? The first single was 'Forget Myself', but that's not particularly political ("They're pacing Piccadilly in packs again/and moaning for the mercy of never come rain"). The title track, 'Leaders of the Free World' is more politcal ("the leaders of the free world/are just little boys throwing stones") but I don't know if it's a single. They're both the louder, rock-y sorta Elbow.

Commencing downloading as we speak.

*is on tenterhooks*

In other news, I listened to the rest of Takk today. Several times. It's not bad, you know. Are there other Sigur Ros albums I should also have?
*is on tenterhooks*

Hush. You don't have to exaggerate. I am listening listening listening right now.

Are there other Sigur Ros albums I should also have?

Apart from all of them? I'd go back one to () - so much fun to ask for in record shops :)

Oh and it could very well be that Leaders of the Free World is the Elbow track in question which makes me extremely dozy indeed but I just don't pay attention to them.
Leaders of the Free World. And if you liked that, you may also enjoy Mexican Standoff.
Like the second album, I'm finding that the end of All Maps Welcome is improving with age and familiarity.

Silent Boulevard is not up to the earlier material but is a good cathartic song, and Still Lost is just heartbreaking if I'm in the right mood, particularly that broken "Why don't you come / to look for me?" at the end.

Just Like Blood is more consistent, but in some ways I prefer All Maps Welcome lyrically.
Just Like Blood is more consistent, but in some ways I prefer All Maps Welcome lyrically.

Pah! Just Like Blood is clearly his best album.
Pah! His self-titled debut is far and away his best. The other two have massive strengths but also some weaknesses, and overall just aren't up to the same superlative standard.
Select the playlist then File > Export Song List.
But that only exports a text or XML list. What I want is to be able to delete some of the playlists from my sidebar, but be able to save them as separate files and open them directly to play them when I feel like it. I'm sure I've done it before, as I said ...
Oh right yeah. I think you'd need to create an .m3u file in Winamp or similar then - iTunes recognises those but if there is a way to create them within it it's very obscure.
I checked. Nashville was, in fact, a 2005 release. In February. :)

On McRae, I think saying the last third of AMW is rubbish is a bit unfair - only the last three tracks are lacklustre. It's an album that gets better on each listen, as opposed to the debut which is striking from the off, but never really deepens on relisten. I've warmed to AMW a great deal since its release. It's very much like Songs for Silverman - forgettable, even poor, close, but a great early 50-75%.

I don't think I can pick a favourite Adams song of the year, but Elizabeth is indeed a thing of beauty. Although, I think, not actually finished. (Adams all over, then.)
I checked. Nashville was, in fact, a 2005 release. In February. :)

Huzzah!

On McRae, I think saying the last third of AMW is rubbish is a bit unfair - only the last three tracks are lacklustre.

Also 'Packing for the Crash' ain't up to much. And I have listened to the album a fair bit, but it's just not growing on me. (Unlike the end of Just Like Blood, which did.)

I don't think I can pick a favourite Adams song of the year

Yes, but that's because you're wrong about the albums that aren't 29. :p
Are you suggesting to me that there aren't good songs at least on Cold Roses? :)

Clearly the best Adams songs this year are on 29 - 'Elizabeth' and 'Strawberry Wine' - but dare we discount a Sweet Illusions or a When Will You Come Back Home? Really, though, in a list of 'important 2005 songs', I'm looking at Let It Ride being my Adams choice, even though I know it's not perfect.

I think Cold Roses hangs together best, JCN has the best performances (particularly vocally, but across the board), and 29 the cleverest songs. I wish he could start making one decent album. :P
OK, so I may currently be under-rating Cold Roses a little due to the 29 love. The songs you list are good. I still don't understand why you think the performances on JCN are the best, though.
Because they kinda are - though he gets close on a couple of 29 ones. And on the subject of good songs, JCN has Hard Way To Fall, which is a classic Adams girl song, and The End, which I still think may well be genius (but sometimes think is rubbish :P).
As someone who came across Ryan Adams in Whiskeytown days and has about half of his subsequent albums, can I just say that Ryan Adams is good, not great, with occasional flashes. It just seems that those flashes have blinded people to the low quality control of the rest. 3 albums in 2005 (one a double) ought to have been one max.

Actually I have nothing against Adams apart from those quality control issues, this is just my usual rant about one artist getting all the plaudits whilst others are virtually ignored.
You'll find no argument from me on any of those issues. :P
That's a sweet list!

I am a technophobe at heart, and I'm still scared of downloading, but hey, my work didn't give us a bonus this year, and instead I got vouchers that can be spent at Shoefayre, Poundstretchers, T J hughes, Ethel Austin, various offies (this is where they think their emloyees like to shop, jeez, don't know where they got that idea from)... or HMV! So, I'm planning to get the Editors album. I had considered Hard-Fi, but my dad got that for Christmas, so maybe I can borrow that.
Yey free music! I will always reply if you post music. Will have to wait till I get back to London to download them though.
At this point, I must recommend Nina Persson's solo album A Camp, which is even better than Long Gone Before Daylight.
Yes, I've been meaning to get that. Thanks for the reminder. :)
(Deleted comment)
me either. :(
http://urchin.earth.li/~sax/general/music/rebellion-lies.mp3
Oops! Sorry about that--I underscored in the URL where I should have hyphenated (as truckerr spotted). Hopefully fixed now, so try again.
Thank you! Downloaded a bunch to try.
01. Serenity - David Newman

So Serenity? That's like some big film thing then. Between this and number 16, you're going to kick me off your journal aren't you?

02. Winter in the Hamptons - Josh Rouse

yay!

03. Black And White Town - Doves

I never liked them. Oh! I did like the Sub Sub song back in the day but current incarnation as Doves, nah. They're solid and consistent but boring to me. The fact that they are exciting to so many is not something I object to, merely something that baffles.
I like the drums and then everything else kicks in and aaah, it's Doves whining about Manchester again.

04. We Used To Be Friends - The Dandy Warhols

Me and the dandys don't get on. I'm going to listen to this because I'm listening to all of this so here goes.
*listens*
Nooo. no. no. I can't. I can't finish it. Sorry!

05. I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to be Nicer - The Cardigans

I do think this is a good single and I really like the video for it too. I do like this. It takes a lot for me to admit that about the Cardigans.

06. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt - We Are Scientists

yay!

07. Love Steals Us From Loneliness - Idlewild

I like Idlewild best when they're bouncy, rowdy and make you want to dance around the room like a twelve year old. This is not...it. It's not enough. The chorus is good and epic but lacks the excitement that American-English had throughout. I don't get any emotion or passion coming through at all and how a song like this can sound so lacking is baffling. So much potential.

08. Darla's Sacrifice - Rob Kral

Aw, you're cute. Brings back memories this does.

09. Better Together - Jack Johnson

I don't mind Jack Johnson in the grand scheme of things. In a world where James Blunt has gained mass popularity for his drippy ballads, I'm happy to go with Jack Johnson. But...he's too mellow for me. He's smooth and chilled-out, and goddammit he's upbeat! So he'd never be something I'd listen to but I can respect what he does. He doesn't make me want to find out where he lives just so I can go twat him (see Blunt, James).

10. Landed - Ben Folds

yay!

11. Red Moon - Turin Brakes

This is alright, better than I expected. Not knocked out but pleasantly surprised.

12. Camera - Editors

I like the singles. And All Sparks. Overall though I'm still underwhelmed and I want to like them. Even this track, it just doesn't stand out. It's as if you know it could be so much more and there's this moment about three and half minutes in where you think it's going to be just that and then nothing.
I think the Interpol comparison is overly-flattering to Editors.

13. Undercover - Gemma Hayes

I like my girls a little less polished and a lot more fucked up so this isn't doing much for me. I think the title track of this album is quite catchy though.

14. You Never Left My Side - KTB

The sparseness of this is good. It's not as edgy as I usually go for but yeah, I'd listen to more. After the three minute mark I was really quite taken.

15. Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part - Ryan Adams

Yay!

16. The Funeral - Greg Edmonson

I take it this wasn't a happy episode then?
I get to say for only the second time this year that I have never seen Firefly. That it is the second outing for this confession is possibly the only thing that will stop it over-shadowing everything else I've written here.

17. Vampire Heart - Tom McRae

Oh this is a pleasant surprise, so unrelentingly miserable and that's good.
I've never bought any Tom McRae but when I hear I like it far more than expected. I probably need to pay closer attention to the man.

18. Great Expectations - Elbow

To me Elbow are like Doves who are like Turin Brakes: middling bands who have their moments but ultimately don't dazzle me like they do others. Nope, I don't know why.
This though is quite nice so some opinions might need to be altered.

19. Rebellion (Lies) - The Arcade Fire

Yay!

20. Things The Grandchildren Should Know - Eels

Yay!
Between this and number 16, you're going to kick me off your journal aren't you?

Don't tempt me. ;-)

02. Winter in the Hamptons - Josh Rouse

yay!


\o/

I like the drums and then everything else kicks in and aaah, it's Doves whining about Manchester again.

...

I do like this. It takes a lot for me to admit that about the Cardigans.

Ha!

so much potential

Hmm. I wonder whether there's an exciting live version out there somewhere.

Aw, you're cute.

Yes, that was totally the effect I was going to. :p

But...he's too mellow for me. He's smooth and chilled-out, and goddammit he's upbeat!

It's there for the memories. Ah, the memories.

15. Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part - Ryan Adams

Yay!


Really? Not sure why I'm surprised by that one ...

I take it this wasn't a happy episode then?

Imagine it with solemn people carrying a coffin, and Knox saying the following over the top: "It's funny ... we went to war never looking to come back, but it's the real world I couldn't survive. You two carried me through that war. Now I need you to carry me just a little bit further, if you can ..." *sniff*

Oh this is a pleasant surprise, so unrelentingly miserable and that's good.

Do people ever look at you oddly when you say things like this? :)

To me Elbow are like Doves who are like Turin Brakes: middling bands who have their moments but ultimately don't dazzle me like they do others. Nope, I don't know why.

It's because you're wrong! For future reference, Elbow > Doves >> Turin Brakes.
Don't tempt me. ;-)

Oh man, that'd be so mean and I'd never recover.

Do people ever look at you oddly when you say things like this? :)

Depends who I'm talking to and not if they know me.
...who are like Turin Brakes

That was just uncalled for.
But they are just so samey!
Oh my god, my comment just took over the world with its largesse. Apologies!
Greetings, add me please in friends. =)



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