My Favourite Albums of 2005

CDWith only a few days remaining in the calendar year, it's time to write a bunch of year-end "best of" entries. I've already hit you with my favourite television shows in 2005 and my favourite musical guilty pleasure of 2005 but now it's time for a biggie. Here are my ten favourite albums of the year that were released in 2005.

10. Feist's Let It Die
I first heard Leslie Feist on Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It In People. Let It Die, her second solo effort, was my quiet album of 2005. It's a great deal slower than my usual fare but it gently rocks my world. There's definitely something about her I dig.
Essential Track: Mushaboom

9. Neil Young's Prairie Wind
I really wanted this to be good. Neil Young is a musical hero of mine and earlier this year, his sixtieth, he required emergency surgery for an aneurysm. On Prairie Wind he's clearly looking back, writing about his recently deceased father and growing up in the prairies, but he's looking back in a collection of solid songs that will please any Young fan.
Essential Track: When God Made Me

8. Kanye West's Late Registration
My ears were very pleased with Kanye West's follow up to his debut smash The College Dropout. Every track sounds great with solid rhymes over solid rhythms. It was the best rap album of the year and, in my humble opinion, West's best effort to date.
Essential Track: Hey Mama

7. Stars' Set Yourself On Fire
I call this sweet rock. It's heavy, but in a soft and melodic way. Just before "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" we're told "When there's nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire." That pretty much sums up this great album out of Montreal.
Essential Track: Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

6. System of a Down's Mesmerize/Hypnotize
Yes, System of a Down released these as two separate albums, but they're clearly meant to be a double album and that's exactly how I view them. Legend has the guys taking their lead from Quentin Tarantino who released Kill Bill as two separate films even though they're two parts of a single whole. In total we have 23 typically awesome SOAD tracks, aggressive, manic and thought provoking.
Essential Track: B.Y.O.B.

5. Death From Above 1979's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
I listened to this album after my brother Steve suggested I'd like it. He was right. It's all pretty heavy and groovy and they're from Toronto to boot. The remix album is awesome too.
Essential Track: Romantic Rights

4. Audioslave's Out of Exile
Admittedly, my vulnerability to nostalgia had me digging Audioslave before I heard a note from them, but this is their second album and I've loved them both. They've both been chock full of great rock songs that get me singing along with Chris Cornell. Out Of Exile is fantastic, three singles deep with more on the way.
Essential Track: Doesn't Remind Me

3. The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan
I wonder if these two can do no wrong? Their seven appearances on SLS tie them with the Foo Fighters for first place overall. I consider every album they've released to be pure play-throughs. Get Behind Me Satan is no exception, even if it is a slight step back from Elephant and White Blood Cells.
Essential Track: My Doorbell

2. Broken Social Scene's Broken Social Scene
I describe Broken Social Scene as absolute melody in a most chaotic way. Listening to their latest album I'm overwhelmed by this chaotic order that somehow, against all odds, melts into such beauty. Play a game of Six Degrees of Separation with this band and you'll smack right into other personal favourites like Feist, Metric, Stars, Arcade Fire and more. It's incredible what's come out of the Toronto alt-rock scene in recent years.
Essential Track: 7/4 (Shoreline)

1. The New Pornographers' Twin Cinema
Best album released in 2005! If the idea of a Canadian album with great harmonies, greater melodies and spectacular play-through quality is at all appealing to you, this is your band. Buy it! Borrow it! Listen to it!
Essential Track: Use It

Other Great Albums From 2005: Beck's Guero, Foo Fighters' In Your Honor, Metric's Live It Out, Wolf Parade's Apologies To The Queen Mary, Franz Ferdinand's You Could Have It So Much Better, Gorrilaz's Demon Days.

It was a great year for music, but nothing sounded as good as 2004's Funeral from Arcade Fire. Although it was released in 2004 and didn't qualify for this top ten list, it truly was my favourite album of the year.


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