Monday 14 September
Starting off the new working week all dedicate to the year 2005. By the end of the week I will be picking my top 3 albums from that year. So throughout the week we will go through the contenders. Some albums have featured before, others getting played for first time in ages.
The contenders on Monday were – Calla, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Mould, Arcade Fire, Audioslave and Death Cab for Cutie.
First up was Calla who to be honest I cannot for the life of me remember how or why I picked this album, Collisons. Described as post-rock and I was listening to some of that at the time but this album just passes me by. One of those ones you buy and then think what was buying that for?
Bruce Springsteen is no stranger to the blog, in fact Devils & Dust featured back in week 25 if you want to catch up on the review here.
Being a fan of both Sugar and Husker Du, there is always a place for Bob Mould. By Bob’s sixth solo album he was returning to his rock roots after trying his band on electronic music.
Body of Song contained much of the electronic influence of its predecessor Modulate, but Mould’s trademark guitar work, which had been buried in the former album’s mix, was brought back to the forefront which was a welcome return to form.
Audioslave’s second album Out of Exile is a favourite of mine. I like this one better than their debut as the band finally find their feet. When you have the 3 former members of Rage Against The Machine and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden on vocals, you were always going to get the comparisons with their previous bands.
Even in concert, they deliberately choose not to play songs from the previous bands but choose cover versions as way of finding their feet. Notably cover versions I have heard seeing them live included The White Stripes 7 Nation Army and The Clash’s White Riot. Weirdly enough the last time I saw the band at the Oxegen festival in County Kildare, they did play Killing In The Name much to the delight of the crowd but I fond it a bit odd seeing Chris Cornell trying to rap like Zach de la Rocha.
I think may have caused a bit of controversy when compiling this list by including Arcade Fire’s debut album, Funeral on the playlist. I really thought it was released in 2005 as it seemed to have topped most polls that year. When I went onto Google to research the albums, the UK release date was given as 2005. It was released in the USA and Canada in 2004. Oh well that eliminated that from the contenders for #3albums05.
Rounding off the day was Death Cab for Cutie. Plans received generally positive reviews and picks up where 2003’s Transatlanticism left off. The album produced three singles and was nominated for Grammy in 2006.
Tuesday 15 September
Today’s contenders were Elbow, The Cribs, Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, Feeder and Idlewild.
Elbow were considered of the favourites for the poll but after listening to Leaders of the Free World I was nearly scrambling for the off switch. Maybe it was just me or maybe after not listening to them for so long I kind of forgot what they sounded like. This was their third album and I have most of their catalogue but don’t think I will be revisiting soon. Change my mind!
Next up was NME favourites, The Cribs whose second album The New Fellas was came in at 11th place in their albums of the year. It’s a good album but not in my top 10. The same magazine even declared the song Hey Scenesters! was named one of the “Greatest Indie Anthems Ever”.
High praise indeed. I might revisit this band at some point to give them another go.
Idlewild featured here on two separate lockdown playlists. Today, their fourth album Warnings/Promises gets a chance to be a contender. This album is a departure from the sound of their earlier material, blending contemporary folk influences with melodic rock. There isn’t anything that’s instantly catchy like previous singles When I Argue I See Shapes or You Held the World in Your Arms. I think this would be best described as their last best album.
Pushing the Senses was Feeder’s fifth album and was quite similar to Comfort in Sound. Many critics saw the band becoming like Coldplay or Keane but I don’t think they are. It did really well in the end of year polls and even Grant Nicholas was annoyed about the Coldplay comparisons. Just because you add a bit of piano doesn’t turn a band into Coldplay. While the album is not a real rocker like previous albums I still think this is a good album.
Depeche Mode’s Playing The Angel was their eleventh album and a favourite of mine after Violator. The album is a classic blend of synth-pop beats, heavy guitar riffs and dark lyrics. Probably not an album for putting on during a party but its a great album and a definite for my top 3. We will see how the rest of the week goes.
I have been a fan of Foo Fighters from the very start and In Your Honor for album number five, saw the band releasing a double album of heavy rock songs on one disc and mellower acoustic songs on the second disc. A decision by Dave Grohl to do a diverse blend of songs. The album featured some high profile guest stars such as John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Norah Jones, and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). It’s a good album and doing the acoustic stuff shows the band can strip it back while still being able to rock.
Wednesday 16 September
Midweek on the countdown to picking 3 albums for 2005. Today’s contenders included Kaiser Chiefs, The National, Nine Inch Nails, Nine Black Alps, Maximo Park and Nada Surf.
Kaiser Chief’s debut album Employment took its inspirations from the Britpop and new wave movements, 1970s-era punk rock and Beach Boys-esque West Coast music. At the time I really liked this and seeing them in the Limelight was my Oasis moment, ie getting to see a band play a small venue before they get huge. After this the band did get huge.
Another debut album from that year came from Maximo Park who released A Certain Trigger. Also another band that you picked up after reading about them in NME. They headlined the NME new bands tour and Arctic Monkeys were on the same bill. After they finished their set lots of people left. I have never been to a gig seeing people leave before the headliners come on. Bizzare!
Still on the theme of debut albums, Nine Black Alps debut Everything Is was an album that took you back to the grunge era. You could tell that the band were definitely fans of Nirvana. A really good album and I enjoyed it.
I was late getting into The National. The first album I heard was Boxer and naturally you go backwards to find their earlier works and I came across Alligator which was their third album. This is a great album and it features the song Mr November which the band designed and sold a t-shirt featuring Obama’s image above the words “Mr. November” referencing the closing track of the album and the month of the U.S. presidential election.
Nada Surf formed back in the 1990s and have released nine albums. The Weight is a Gift was their fourth album and I picked this one up at one of their shows in Belfast a few years ago. I like their style and the Coldplay comparisons are a bit unfair. These guys do rock live.
Leaving the heavyweights until the end with Nine Inch Nails and their fourth album, With Teeth. At this stage the album was pushing for being a strong contender for the top 3. Dave Grohl even pops up this album along with future band member Atticus Ross. Three singles were released from the album – The Hand That Feeds, Only and Every Day Is Exactly The Same. This was another candidate for the top 3. Still got two more days to go through.
Thursday 17 September
Six more albums to go through today and its a real mixed bag with Paramore, Sons and Daughters, System of a Down, Queens of the Stone Age, Sleater Kinney and The Subways.
So a bit of pop punk with Paramore and their debut album All We Know Is Falling to start the day. Not an album that was going to set the world on fire but I gave it a go and it wasn’t that bad.
Scottish band Sons and Daughters second album The Repulsion Box got a listen for the first time in ages. I can’t remember what lead to the purchase of this album. Most likely a recommendation from NME at the time.
Another band picked up from NME was The Subways. The cover mounted CDs were good ways to pick up new bands to like. Their debut album Young for Eternity was really good featuring the singles 1am, Oh Yeah and Rock and Roll Queen.
I first came across Sleater Kinney back in 2000 with their fifh album All Hands on the Bad One. Don’t know what happened but kind of forgot all about them until their reunion in 2014 with the release of The Center Won’t Hold and I got to see the band play at Dublin’s Vicar Street so needed to get a few more of their albums to get up to speed! The Woods was album no.7 and a really good record. Will it be enough to squeeze into the top 3?
System of a Down released two albums in 2005, today we have Mezmerize which is quite a short album by them. It only clocks just over 36 minutes of music. My first reaction to a band releasing two albums in one year lead me to think back when I purchased Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 by Guns ‘N’Roses back in 1990.
Mezmerize and Hypnotize (left that until Friday to play) both debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, making the band one of the few to achieve this with two albums in the same year. Hypnotize would be the bands last album before going on a four-year hiatus in 2006, and the band didn’t release new music for more than a decade, until late 2020 when they unexpectedly released two new songs which I haven’t had a chance to hear yet.
I am a big fan of Queens of The Stone Age and Lullabies to Parlayze was the bands fourth album which was released around the time of my birthday. This was the first album they done after Nick Oliveri was fired from the band. Mark Lanegan and Josh Homme being the only members from the previous album Songs for the Deaf to play on this one along with new members Joey Castillo on drums (Dave Grohl wasn’t available) and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. Live favourite Little Sister and Burn the Witch feature on this album. This should be a contender for the top 3 unless another album is going to sneak in. We shall see.
Friday 18 September
The week is coming to an end and the last batch of contenders are ready to roll. System of a Down, The White Stripes, And You Will Know Us By Trail of Dead, Teenage Fanclub, Thrice and Weezer.
System of a Down get their second and last album, Hypnotize played today. I think it was a good idea splitting the albums down over the two days. Looking back I don’t rate either of these two albums as good as their first two.
I suspect The White Stripes are white hot favourites (pun intended) with Get Behind Me Satan. While I liked the album it wasn’t going to be in my top 3. Now two albums are certs, it is a question of who is going to get third place.
Weezer’s fifth album was a real return to form boosted by the hit single Beverly Hills. It’s a decent album but not as good as their first two albums. Thrice on the other hand went a bit experimental with their fourth album Vheissu. Parts of it recalled the post-hardcore stylings of At the Drive-In, with Radiohead-esque atmospheric transition and some mid tempo arrangements with the loud/quiet dynamic of Thursday and Deftones.
Teenage Fanclub have been seasoned regulars during lockdown and that is testament to what a great band they are. So good even Kurt Cobain loved them back at the start. Man-Made was their eighth album. A really good album but not quite good enough to clinch the last spot available for #3albums05.
That honour was going to And You Will Know Us By Trail of Dead (Trail of Dead in shorter form after this) who released their forth album Worlds Apart. Just thinking I had been listening to Trail of Dead previously on 4 September but looking back at that post, I forgot all about Worlds Apart in that review, so this is the delayed verdict on the album that made me pick it for my top 3 of 2005.
Worlds Apart is an album that just grabs your attention immediately. From the quiet piano riff, to chants, drums and screams, this album feels like you have been in the ring in a heavy weight fight. A worthy selection for #3albums50.
The verdict – well I was wrong about The White Stripes. They came in at no.15. The album that won was Sufijan Stevens with Illionis. Thirteen of the albums that I had in my contenders did make it into the top 50. My picks – Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode tied at no.33. My last pick Trail of Dead was bubbling under. Damn! Could have went for Queens of the Stone Age in the end but picking your favourite is not about the popularity of the album or artist it is more about what that album means to you and for me I thought it was a decent shout.
Next blog for week 27 will be back to normal with selected bands and maybe just one best of year.