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December 1, 2005

2005's Largehearted Favorite Albums

Compiling my eleven favorite albums of 2005 was no easy task. This year especially, it seemed that my short list consisted of over fifty records, any of which could have made the final list on any given day. Though there was no Milk-Eyed Mender that blew me away, the depth of this year's releases was still impressive.

Here are my eleven favorite albums of 2005, along with free and legal mp3 downloads from each:

I Am a Bird Now

Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now

I put off listening to this disc for weeks, fearing that it could not live up to its hype. Even with Lou Reed, Devendra Banhart, Rufus Wainwright and others adding their estimable talents, Antony Hegarty's rich voice and heartfelt lyrics are the soul of this record.

"You Are My Sister" [mp3]
"Hope There's Someone" [mp3]
"For Today I Am a Boy" [mp3]
"Fistful of Love" [mp3]

Noah's Ark

CocoRosie - Noah's Ark

The Casady sisters' followup to their debut La Maison de Mon Reve shows their growth as musicians as well as songwriters.

"Beautiful Boyz" [mp3]
"Noah's Ark" [mp3]

The Runners Four

Deerhoof - The Runners Four

Deerhoof continues to recreate themselves with every record, and The Runners Four continues their run of great albums with a collection of pop tunes.

"Wrong Time Capsule" [mp3]
"Rrrrrrrright" remixes

Separation Sunday

The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday

Craig Finn's seemingly stream-of-consciousness lyrics over the classic rock riffs are the perfect match on this album, and I have found myself singing "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" more often than any other song released this year.

"Your Little Hoodrat Friend" [mp3]
"Stevie Nix" [mp3]

Pixel Revolt

John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt

With his fifth album, John Vanderslice gets a bit more poppy but remains socially and politically aware. The result is his strongest outing yet, a strong statement from me (a huge fan of his previous albums).

"Exodus Damage" [mp3]
"Trance Manual" [mp3]

The Sunset Tree

The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree

My favorite songwriter wrote The Sunset Tree about his teenage years, and released his most solid album yet.

"This Year" (streaming video)


The National - Alligator

I hadn't listened to their album until I saw them blow blogging darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah off the stage one night. Since then, after repeated spins, I am a believer. On the strength of Matthew Berninger's exquisite lyricism, this album made the list.

"All The Wine" [mp3]

Black Sheep Boy

Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy

Will Sheff writes beautiful songs about loss, then the band executes them to a tee. Black Sheep Boy is (at the moment, at least), my favorite record of the year.

"Black" [mp3]
"For Real" [mp3]

The Woods

Sleater-Kinney - The Woods

This disc probably spent the most time in my car CD player this year of any 2005 release. Intelligent, fuzzy, powerful, and loud, this is the perfect summer album.

"Entertain" [mp3]
"Jumpers" [mp3]

The Woods

Spoon - Gimme Fiction

Britt Daniel is a genius at writing sweet American pop music, and this album is testament to that.

"I Turn My Camera On" [mp3]

The Woods

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

Believe the hype, Stevens manages sincerity, spirituality and humor seemingly effortlessly.

"Casimir Pulaski Day" [mp3]
"Chicago" [mp3]
"Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" [mp3]

See also:

2004 Largehearted Favorites
2003 Largehearted Favorites
2002 Largehearted Favorites