The 20 Albums From 2005 I Still Have In Their Entirety!
1. The Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree
Download: "Love, Love, Love"
There are few things I like to think less about than my adolescence, and as such I tend to avoid any tv show or movie that deals with that stage in life. But what makes The Sunset Tree such a remarkable memoir is how it utilizes the distance of perspective while holding on to what makes the period beautiful and worth remembering. While my own youth was free of abuse, everyone at that age is imprisoned by dependence and bursting with emotion, something this album captures without reveling in Breakfast Club self-pity and naivete. The music is equally devoted to an emotionally expressive minimalism free of egotistic indulgence. This may be the MGs' "emo" album by default, but compared to the mountains of product that cater to the kind of person The Sunset Tree describes, this is an honestly affectionate masterpiece.
2. Electric Six, Senor Smoke
Download: "Rock'n'Roll Evacuation"
Folks who cry for 'relevant' music that acknowledges our socio-political climate need look no further than "Rock'n'Roll Evacuation," whose apocalyptic insanity was as startling & potent as any other 4 musical minutes in 2005 - even before the titular chorus was given an even more horrifying resonance in late August. Electric Six's giggly glut of sex, death and dance-metal resembles the mix of nightmare and inclusiveness wraught by the New York Dolls, who probably seemed silly and negligible to many in their time too. The album won't be released stateside until February '06, a year after its British release, but I've played it so often this year - first as four MP3s from a blog, then from a NME realmedia stream before scoring a CD-R from a more net-savvy friend - that I couldn't pretend to associate it with any other.