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the top ten albums of the years (so far) part one

A week or so ago I said to myself. Wow, its almost August. July, the seventh month of the year has nearly come to a close. Meaning that, not only is the year, 2005, half over, its a little more than half over. Yikes. Well, where has the time gone? Probably a lot of it has gone to blogging and other internet time wasting activities. That said, with each passing day the viability of a "Best of The First Half of The Year Music List" (or something less awkwardly titled) decreases, so I decided that if we were gonna do it. We better do it now. So here it is. The Grand Opening-Grand Closing Top Ten Albums of the Year (So Far). I should mentioned that this list was arrived at, as a group, by Brendan, Keegan, Aaron, Marc, and Chad. We each submitted our personal top ten list, and tabulated the scores. The results seem to have pleased no one, with everyone accusing the other somebody else of being a slave to Pitchfork (that's the uber hip music site, pitchforkmedia.com) and overlooking far more deserving albums. But this Top Ten List is a compromise, and if no one is happy, then its probably an excellent compromise. Today we'll have the first half of the list, 6-10. Tomorrow, 1-5, as well our favorite albums that didn't make it into the Top Ten.


Josh Rouse's most recent effort sneaks into the top ten, not by virtue of overwhelming support by any one voter, but rather by appearing on the fringes of several top ten lists, and thus accrewing a point here and a point there. If I had to pick three words to describe the album they would be "Solid", "Comfortable", and "Safe". Hardly the most lauditory of adjectives, but while Nashville won't surprise you, or blow you away, it will be there when you need it, and it won't let you down ("Sad Eyes", track nine, is my favorite, it boasts a nice piano part, and swirling string arrangement). This seems to be the general sentiment of the group. Keegan calls it "solid", but "not as breathtaking as 1972 (his previous album)". Chad says "not as good as his other albums, but still good". Marc said "N/A", which is Marc for "I haven't heard it". Although, I send it to him a few days ago, so he may have a thing or two say about it now. Aaron (in what will become a familiar refrain) hasn't heard it, but wonder why "everyone is all over Josh Rouse's albums, while he's not that impressed" Below is a link for "Sad Eyes".

listen to sad eyes


This albums nudges it's way into the top ten powered mostly by Keegan's unbridled enthusiam. He calls it one the "timeless" records on the list. Other's share his enthusiam to various degrees. Aaron likes the album alot but find the production to be a bit too 'clean', but highly reccomends you see them live as they have a 'great raw energy', which he feels the album lacks. Marc refer to this album as the most suprsing inclusion on the list. I'm not sure if that he means he wa surprised by album itself, or simply to see it made the cut. I've only just heard the album. And from my one listen I couldn't find anything overtly wrong with it. Chad's response was simply "Who?". Below is a link to preview the entire album.

preview the entire album


Boy had I had enough of Bright Eyes before I heard this record. I'd had enough of the constant stream of 'Next Dylan" articles, the teenybopper fans, and the whiny irritating Conor Oberst persona. So I was entirely prepared to dismiss and dislike. But i was pleasantly surprised. Oberst has ditched his emo influenced theatrics for a subtler more mature sound, more influenced by country and folk (the album even boast a duet with Emmylou Harris). Aaron calls it more "genuine, human and emotional, than his other albums but in a more subtle way". Marc say that it's the kind of album that 'creeps up on you and takes over your music listening when you wouldn't expect it". Keegan calls it "a great example of an artist in his prime". But Chad wonders "wheres the love for 'Digital Ash' (the electronicish album he released at the same time, earlier this year)". Clink the link below to listen to "Lua".

listen to lua

7. M. Ward - Transistor Radio

I'm partially responsible, if not almost wholely responsible for this album landing at number seven, but if I had it to do again I'd probably not include it in my top ten. I like M. Ward live, and he's written some terrific songs, and I respect the hell out of him, but I've never made it all the way through this album once, and as that's the case it really shouldnt be top ten material. Keegan agrees, and then some. He says, "this album is over-produced, over-talked about, and over-hyped. M Ward is undoubtedly an amazing songwriter and guitar player, but he's yet to release an album with more than 5 really listenable tracks, which is sad, cause all in all, his songs are fantastic, despite the shitty production and long-winded format. Marc while shorts on specifics, disagrees, saying "genuis artist belong in the top ten, and he's one of them." Despite being the guy who introduced me to M. Ward, Aaron hasn't heard the album. Chad always the wordsmith offers this critique "Boring". Click on the link below to listen "Big Boat" and see if you agree.

listen to big boat

6. Coldplay - X&Y

If you visit this blog often, then that probably means you know Chad Hartigan at least a little bit. And if you know Chad Hartigan at least a little bit, you probably know this guy likes Coldplay. And not just a little bit, he's head over heels in love with everything they've every done and will ever do. For the purposes of this blog he only offered the folowing. "Amazing" he says. But if prodded I'm sure he would wax hyperbolic about this band for months. So, yes this is Chad's number one album of the year (so far, but unless Coldplay releases a surprise second album I think it has a pretty solid lock on his top spot), and thus with a little help from Mr. Dewitt who lauds it for it's "solid" "front to back" play, and it's ability to "satisfy a hunger so albums haven't" this year. Aaron is confused and not sure what to think "I can't tell quite what to make of this album. Part of me thinks it's boring and a step backwards from A Rush of Blood to the Head, but another part of me thinks I just need to listento it more. I think if I lived with Chad and heard it hundreds oftimes I would like it a lot more than I do." Oh no my friend. Oh no. I was sick of this album before it even came out, before I even heard. I bought Rush of Blood to the Head, in the summer of 2002, and listened to it a few times. It was nice enough, but it wasn't for me. Yet thanks to living with Chad I was trapped in a two year long relationship with that album. And now it's like I finally managed to execute a breakup, and enjoy some being single, only to be talked back into giving it one more go. And my god is this album boring, and the lyrcis. I never noticed the lyrics before, but they're absolutely terrible. Marc agrees saying "I started compiling a top ten most disappointing albums 2005 list but didn't finish. This album was on it. Thinking about this album is what spawned the idea. Seriously, I should've expected what we have here, though. I gave it my honest listen and then haven't had the urge to dabble in it once more and don't intend to. This is the spot where CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH should be or JOSEPHINE FOSTER without a doubt. But if you're more of a Coldplay man click below to listen a hand picked Hartigan track, "The Hardest Part".

listen to the hardest part

STAY TUNED. Tomorrow we'll have the second half of the top ten, as well as our favorite albums that didn't make the cut.

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8:01 PM

Coldplay rules!!    

8:03 PM

ten bucks says the rest of your top ten is more whiny white boy music. the m. ward album blows, by the way.    

10:03 PM

while i welcome a variety of opinions, i hate anonymous posting, if you're going to share your thoughts include your name, or don't bother.    

10:31 PM

that makes the ten bucks a sure thing. thanks hotshot.    

10:55 PM

geez it's easy to be dickhead when you can hide behind anonymous posting. i'd also be interested in slightly more insightful comments, such as why the m. ward album blows..and what albums should be on the list that aren't.    

12:04 AM

i think it's probably just as easy to be a dickhead regardless of typing your name or not (and are we still calling people dickheads?) and why don't you just say it proudly "I listen to douchy whiteboy whiny music." Say it. Come on, you can do it. "The 6-10 albums are whiny whiteboy music, and i like them a lot." Say it, c'mon. M. Ward-hmm. Let's just listen to the album again, searching for something that isn't like lukewarm coffee--okay, regeneration--no, that's dull, well, here comes the sun again, that's at least...oh wait, no, it's terrible.    

12:28 AM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

12:39 AM

I like and listen to douchy whiteboy whiney music!

12:44 AM


There. People are still saying it. Probably even more after that weak defense of what was an undoubtedly trollish couple of posts.

What's more disturbing, to me, is Aaron's lack of love for Josh Rouse. I'm thinking it might be cured by a couple of listens to his 'Bedroom Classics' EP. It features an earlier version of "Sad Eyes," as well as a couple more pretty hot tracks (see "Miserable South," "A Song to Help You Sleep," and "Michigan""). Keegan ought to have it, but if anybody needs it I can drop it (at dialup speed).

Sorry if I'm too much of a "douchy whiny whiteboy."


12:44 AM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

1:03 AM

ms. stefans,

i listen to a lot of music. a portion of which you'd evidenlty categorize as "douchy white boy music". Although 'douchy white boy' music makes me think of things like dave matthews band, and yes coldplay...the sort of music one might listen to in a college dorm while they tack their john belushi poster to the wall. "Whiny White Boy Music ", which i believe you intitally labeled it, struck me as more appropriate. But either way. I certainly understand why you might be disenchanted w/ the proliferation of white male twenty something indie rock. my own list happened to include a wider variety of music that would reflect a greater breadth of the culture (but when the votes were tallied thats how it went down). I don't have a problem w/ the expression of a critical opinion, in fact i welcome it. But I'd like if it wasn't expressed anonymously (as I think you would have to agree that it's generally much easier to expressing a dissenting opinion when you dont have to put your name behind it). And I'd also like if rather than simply saying the thing you're commenting on sucks, you offer another point of view, or at least articulate it's failings. Certainly you're under no obligation to do either. But it seems that would be more useful and productive. Additionaly, I still do use dickhead in a sort of tongue in cheek manner from time to time, and based on the level of discourse in the previous posts its struck me as appropriate at the time. However, I shall refrain from using such terminology in the future, if it serves to minimize my point of view. Additionally I'd be interested to know what specifically you dislike about albums listed, and what albums you might include in such a list, as I'd mentioned before.


Brendan McFadden

P.S. - I realize that this is only a lame internet blog, and I'm probably take this way to seriously, but hey what can i say.    

1:45 AM

Personally kim - I totally agree with you. I too hold the opinion that "white boys" that listen to "white boy music" are way douchey, and would be lots cooler if they drove around in tricked-out escalades calling each other the "N-word" and jamming to tupac's 7th posthumous album. At least then they'd be TRYING to have a little culture - word?

P.S. I think bands like coldplay and bright eyes are lame, except maybe when i see a black person listening to them because I'm like WTF?!?!!!!1

P.P.S. I also agree that the term "dickhead" is O-U-T! This year we hipsters are all using the much trendier "douchebag," or its adjective form "douchey!" lol    

1:51 AM

Kim Stefans, I love you.    

3:13 AM

why wouldn't you? she makes this blog feel quasi-legitimate and gets brendan freaking out about it in a most civil fashion. Quite entertaining.    

6:38 AM

I feel like i just stole the tonka truck in the sandbox. I guess i should go listen to more m. ward and cry some.    

8:24 AM

no, seriously kim, i think you should stay, i like getting brendan riled up.    

10:36 AM

I like Journey.


11:26 AM

whats up kim. stick around, i like arguing. also im still curious what sort of music you're into.    

6:47 PM

Josh Rouse-what? Yeah, it's tasty.
Thad Cockerall-I refuse to even give this a chance, because of personal reasons, but i am curious if he has any lyrics about yoga and Toccoa, which he FUCKING STOLE.
Bright Eyes-This is a dope album, although yeah, i guess it's kind of whiny for a guy who seems to be considered royalty. I still don't have much of an opinion on his whole genre, but i do think that Desperaciados is pretty effing sweet.
M. Ward-I have this album, i swear. I've apparantely heard it, but remember nothing about it. His old band Rodriguez is supposedly way better.
Coldplay-uh, yeah. OK. More power to you, but i'm still rooting for Gwennie do kick Chris to the curb so he can make the breakup record that is his whole purpose on earth.    

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