Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Year in Music

Music lover that I am, I really didn't buy many CDs this year. There just wasn't really all that much that truly grabbed me.

I bought Green Day's American Idiot, because it was touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. And as a carb freak, I should've known better. What's better than sliced bread, really? Not saying that the record isn't good - it is - I just saw it as little more than a good rock album from a band who was really good at crafting catchy hooks and melodies. I've always liked Green Day, even before they were getting all this respect. I just don't see what all the fuss is about regarding that record.

I didn't buy it, but I borrowed my niece's copy of Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway several times. Laugh if you must, scoff if you will...but that girl has a set of pipes on her. And just about every song on that record is irresistible. That is good pop music. That's all it is, it's not pretending to be something else. Kelly's just a girl who can sing who has good songwriters behind her, and the combination creates solid, enjoyable music. If you're looking for deep meaning, don't buy her record. If you want to be entertained, it's definitely worth checking out.

One record I should really get my hands on is Elvis Costello's The Delivery Man. I've heard a handful of songs from it and they're all good. I'd like to check out other veterans' offerings like Paul McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang.

John Hiatt didn't disappoint with Master of Disaster. (Please tell me how this guy still flies under so many radar screens??) I wasn't really jazzed about another favorite's latest though, Bruce Springsteen's Devils and Dust. What I've heard of it sounds pretty somber. I don't like when he gets in those moods....for entire albums, anyway. I thought after the thoughtful, bittersweet The Rising, he might put out something a little more effervescent as a follow-up. Still, I haven't heard it in its entirety, so I can't be completely negative.

For some reason I refuse to buy U2's How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It could be because I loathe "Vertigo". It could be because Bono drives me crazy these days. Or it could be because I was promised this record as a "gift" for subscribing to the local public radio station, and they somehow ran out of them and I got some stupid in-studio acoustic collection that I never listen to instead. "Miracle Drug" is a great song though. I downloaded that one.

Charlie Sexton....I would buy your new CD but uh, I don't think so. It's not gonna happen. I'm going to get my friend Paul to burn his copy for me. Ha ha! How do you like them apples?? (This will only amuse me, Paul and my best friend, unless any of you remember my stupid Charlie Sexton story.)

As I've already mentioned in another post, the best record of 2005 is the Knockout Drops' Escape from Bellevue and Other Stories. They are also the best band you've never heard of in this or any of the past several years. I'm not just saying this because I sort of work for them now. I work for them because I feel this way! If you like Tom Petty, Wilco, Guided by Voices and The Replacements you'll like them.

Since I haven't purchased many whole records, I'll just give you a list of my favorite songs from this year (in no particular order):

Tightrope Walker - Knockout Drops
E-Pro - Beck
Dancing with Joey Ramone - Amy Rigby
Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
Master of Disaster - John Hiatt
Unplayed Piano - Damien Rice/Lisa Hannigan
It's the Nighttime - Josh Rouse
The One I Love - David Gray
Something Wild - Maia Sharp
Boomerang - Roomful of Blues
Until I Get It Right - Bill Deasy
Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw
Shootout at the Candy Shop - Jess Klein
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Leaving New York - R.E.M.
Baby Girl - Sugarland
They Can't Buy The Sunshine - Turin Brakes
Kiss of Life - Supergrass (This was on a Greatest Hits compilation that was technically released in the latter part of 2004. But I didn't find the song until early 2005 and it kicks ass. So, here it is on my list.)

Also, I've noticed that Fiona Apple's new record is topping many music critics' "best of" lists....assuring me that the girl is still churning out self-important, unsavory crap.


LoraLoo said...

I'll admit it, I love Kelly Clarkson. She really is talented, and I have both her albums.

I didn't buy Green Day either. It's not that I don't like them, perhaps it's that they get overplayed on so many different genre stations. It's seriously annoying to hit 4 different stations on satellite radio and STILL hear the same band.

Welcome back! You were missed.

Teri said...

I'm gonna swipe your year in review theme - provided I can remember anything prior to last week...

Sangroncito said...

Feliz Ano Novo do Brasil!

Lee Ann said...

I agree with you about Kelly Clarkson. That girl can definitely sing!
I do like Green Day, American Idiot I thought was well done.
I haven't bought a lot of music this year either.

Writeprocrastinator said...

What, no Gorillaz?

Edge said...

Happy New Year! Love your pop culture column. Thanks for all your comments!


guile said...

you've got good taste in music :)..

Stacey said...

You might want to check out Maia Sharp's earlier release "Hardly Glamour" which is what turned me onto her. I love the song "I Need This to be Love" which she performed while touring with Bonnie Raitt this year. I think Maia's an "up and comer" in music who writes incredible pop style lyrics with depth.


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