Continuing my list this week, here are albums 11 through 15 of my favorite albums of the year (16 - 20, honorable mentions).
15. Iron & Wine – Woman King and In the Reins (with Calexico)
Yes, I know this is two albums (and two bands even), but neither would qualify as a full length album. I just couldn't let any list of the best of 2005 not include something from Iron & Wine. Sam Beam's music has absolutely captivated me--and it's not even normally my cup of tea.
Each album seems to be about the perfect length as is. To make either of these albums any longer to allow them to qualify for a list with more strict qualification rules would likely take away some of their power. And the addition of Calexico to the mix works very nicely.
14. Gorillaz – Demon Days
Damon Albarn and his animated company have done it again, this time adding Dangermouse to the mix. This album picks up right where the last one lets off, letting Albarn continue to explore the ground he was beginning to break with Blur. I listened to this album almost non-stop right after I got it, and for much of the year, I was convinced it would make my top 10.
13. The Spinto Band – Nice and Nicely Done
I only recently discoved this band, but what's not to like. Great harmonies, infectious melodies, and smart songwriting. I know it will sound like pop to many ears--and it is. But, it's pop that is so well done that it makes anything else that gets pop-like radio airplay seem merely pedestrian by comparison.
12. My Morning Jacket – Z
Despite all the problems this album has had due to its copy protection (thanks Sony), it really is the most focused work by My Morning Jacket to date. Gone are the expansive, sometimes chaotic song selections and there's a little less falsetto, but what remains is an album that really hangs together as an album, which is really hard to do in age of file dowloads and iPods on shuffle.
11. Sleater Kinney – The Woods
This may have been one of the most anticipated releases this year, and it didn't disappoint. The Woods does a great job of capturing the band's live energy and translates it to bits and bytes. It took me a while to warm to some of the more warbly vocal moments, but when you just want to drive (and drive fast), this album may be one of the best couple of the year.
That does it for 10 through 20. Next week, we'll examine the first half of the top 10, and I'll reveal the top five and all other albums receiving consideration during the week after Christmas (sadly too late for you to buy any of them for the music aficiados in your life [Ed Note: Like anyone would listen to you anyway]).
NP: "I'll Believe in Anything" - Wolf Parade