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Top 10 Albums of the year

Posted by miguel on 2005-12-03 14:55:30
1 forum posts
What a great year for music! Hip-Hop is alive and well despite what the naysayers think, indie rock had all sorts of gems coming out and electronic music benefited from some amazing new artists.

Here are my favourites from 10 to 1.

10. Three Six Mafia - The Most Known Unknown

Let me start out by saying that 3-6 Mafia is criminally underrated. I have an album from them that has tracks from 1992-95 which sound like shit that Fourtet and Aphex Twin are doing right now. I am not kidding, Schaus can vouch for me on this. In an era when hip-hop was in full on wiggidy-wiggidy-wack mode, the 3-6 were doing music that couldn’t even be called next level it was so ridiculously far ahead. Their latest album is nothing much, it just has the best hip-hop track of the year with “Stay Fly”, with the rest all rating between an 8 and a 10 in levels of awesomeness and crunkness. You can keep your Common and Mos Def, I’ll take the 3-6 Mafia any day of the week.

9. Kanye West – Late Registration

Everyone from fucking Maxim to the Toronto Star has covered this, so the general populace know’s what’s up with this album. Fiona Apple’s producer does a great job here, and of course Gold Digger is a hot single. But the best rhymes in the whole album do not belong to Kanye but to Paul Wall in Drive Slow. That white boy sure likes diamond teeth! Memo to Kanye: You are not the saviour of hip-hop…not even close

8. Animal Collective/Vashti Bunyan - Prospect Hummer

60’s Folk Goddess Vashti Bunyan combines with the unclassifiable Animal Collective in Prospect Hummer. The real gem here is the title song, which offers the best lyrics of the year: “Your cat is a friendly brother/who’d offer his heart in allegiance/and if he could talk you’d be best friends/but the only friend he has is his food”. I once played this to a very tipsy Katie on our way home from Trevor’s, to which she commented “What is this? It’s like tribal chanting with folk music….I like it!” Then she giggled a lot.

7. Indomitable DJ Caps & Pandemonium Jones – Moving in Stereo

I guess this should technically be called a mixtape, or a musical collage if you will. I call it a masterpiece. While not as immediately accessible as their first effort called Bouillabase, Moving in Stereo is actually more fun once you get into it. Caps & Jones simply love music, and they are here to show you that Juelz Santana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Fleetwood Mack, Reggaeton, Hall&Oates, Crunk and Rock can all get along just fine, thank you very much. This album has everything you could ever want, even a rare O.D.B live performance which captures him at his insane best.

6. Antony & The Johnsons – I am a Bird Now

Here’s the deal with Antony & The Johnsons, Antony is a guy who has a truly unbelievable voice. He is a Transvestite. He makes beautiful music, ghostly hymns full of longing, confusion and sadness that should touch everyone who listens to them. His gender is an intrinsic part of his music, so his voice, lyrics and thematic content all deal with the transience of being a man/woman. But there is so much more to it than that….I am a Bird Now is not a gimmick album, and Antony is no sideshow. Ignoring it would be a great loss...

5. Final Fantasy – Has a Good Home

Oh so pretty……Owan Pallet, the strings collaborator for the Arcade Fire and Hidden Camera’s come out in full effect for his debut as Final Fantasy. Why Final Fantasy? Because, as his website says, "the games are the most amazing combination of melodrama, swords, capitalism, and Japan the world has ever seen. It's the perfect moniker for one to stretch out beneath the umbrella of faggy pretentiousness."
Beautiful faggy pretentiousness is what you get. Lovely looped violin melodies and Pallet’s awesome vocals relating sad love songs about Toronto, homosexuality, and homosexuality in Toronto. It’s fucking awesome. I am so proud that this city can churn out so much consistently amazing music.

4. ModeSelektor – Hello Mom!

Hey Daft Punk, way to fucking suck it up with Human After All. Luckily, artists like Modeselektor, Vitalic and LCD Soundsystem are here to save the day. Hello Mom is ten shades of fucking brilliance. This year is all about savvy genre-bending and modeselektor have done that to the max. You’ve got the euro-crunk masterpiece of 'Dancing Box’, which would put Lil’Jon to shame, the pure electro of 'Die Club Nr.', the 8-bit artistry of 'Tetris Pack' and the balls out ecstacy munching rave-up which is 'Kill Bill Vol. 4'. That’s just 4 tracks out of like 11……if it’s good enough for Mr. Radiohead Tom Yorke, it’s good enough for you.

3. Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock

And here we have the best reggae album in like a decade. Fusing his father’s political and social consciousness with the dancefloor focused production which is a must in the contemporary recording industry, Damian Gong Marley and his brother Stephen have created a classic. Whenever I put this on at the store (which I’m not supposed to) we always get customers asking who is playing. Every single song is gold, and reggae lovers should rejoice now that we have a fresh relevant new sound coming out of Jamaica. Sean Paul is ok and all…..but I can only hear so much about smoking trees and drinking champagne in clubs. Sing about something other than how much fun it is to sex up ladies and dance.

2. Annie - Anniemal

The Norwegian answer to Kylie Minogue gives us the most insanely catchy single of the year with bubblegum and the rest of the album definitely does not disappoint. With production from Erlend Oye (Kings of Convenience), Richard X (Brittney’s Toxic) and a host of others, anniemal is a singular rarity: an intelligent pure pop album. Girl needs to work on her stage presence though.

1. M.I.A/Diplo - Piracy Funds Terrorism:

This is the underground mixtape that got released before M.I.A’s Arular debut. It’s impossible to get due to illegal sample use. It’s also the best album of the year hand’s down.
Producer Diplo, a musical pioneer of the highest calibre, searches the world for the hottest emerging musical forces: Brasilian Baile Funk, British Grime, Southern Crunk beats and throws it all at young Maya, who simply smiles and delivers her sing-song rhymes with ease making every genre her own. As if that wasn’t enough, Diplo drops an exclusive Clipse song and a disgustingly good Bangles mashup that everyone goes nuts over.

Honourable Mentions: Bloc Party, Cuff the Duke, Sufjan Stevens, Vitalic, Certified Bananas, Regina Spektor, Magic Numbers, David Banner, Juelz Santana, Camron

I want to make a note of explaning the absence of Sufjan Stevens from the top 10.

Sufjan Steven's album is epic and pretty and all that. It's also too earnest and doo-goody and wide eyed for my taste. Just like Mr. Steven's himself. All this spirituality and rejoicing in the land and god and all's all very admirable, but I think it's a bit of a front, a facade to sell albums and market himself as this prodigial ingenue who just happens to make lovely music. I just read a story that when someone told him that his album just achieved 40,000 pre orders Sufjan replied "is that a good thing?". Oh fuck off, you know perfectly well that it's amazing for an indie album to get 40,000 pre orders, don't play dumb.

So Illinois is an amazing album, but to me it reeks of magical pony like saccarine sweetness. Maybe I just need to stop being such a jaded asshole.

Like that's gonna happen

Merry Chrismas!
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