The Top 100 Albums of 2004-2005*

*technically the top 50 of 2004 and top 50 of 2005

By Stephen Dranger and Isaac Hoffer

I just got my mp3 player replacement back from SanDisk (I put files an it and somehow sent it into an infinite loop when it started up), and I was caught thinking: What the hell am I going to put on here?

So then it hit me: why not get some new music? But that required me to actually make a decision about something. So instead, I figured I'd look at the best material released recently. Who could I trust to tell me the best music to download purchase? Was there a source whose opinion I could trust that would show me new artists my friends hadn't recommended to me yet?

Not really, I thought, so I went with Pitchfork. I chose the top 50 albums from 2004 and 50 albums from 2005 - I did the extra 50 to stay relevant and to make it a nice 100.

I had been reading in Jono's blog about some guy named Jeric Smith who is all about reviewing stuff in a tournament or marathon-style fashion. On his column, he mentions how "Korn is actually pretty good once you get past their terrible public image," counted Green Day's "Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)" as a positive, and said that "Linkin Park doesn't suck." So much for this guy. So I figured I could do better, and so I decided to review the top 100 albums of 2004-2005! (It's kind of an experiment really, and part of my hypothesis is that Pitchfork sometimes has awful taste in music. We'll see how that goes.)

Joining me is one of my friends from university, eptified, who is probably at least 1.2 times of a better writer than I. Apparently my lj thread was inspiring enough, or maybe it just needed more dissenting opinions. The format used to distinguish our reviews won't always be the same, but the rules will:

The Rules Here's how I'll be doing this: I will review the albums, four at a time, and spend the day listening to them. I will listen to each album at least twice - I refuse to cop out when Pitchfork gives me garbage like Circle Takes the Square or something. Then I will review each album, describing it and discussing its merits and flaws, and rate it according to a system ripped off of a Chicago public access show: Buy It, Burn It, or Skip It. If you'll allow me a Linux analogy:

Incidentally, that's probably what will end up happening to my uh, backup copies of the files. I may even ceremoniously move files to /dev/null instead of just deleting them.

And because I believe that criticism should not just explain how good and why, but for whom, I will always make a caveat of who should or should not purchase this particular album. In a freer America, I would post the best track that I deem representative of that album, but I don't want to be sued even after I'm dead, so I will just state which track it is.

And so we go...


2004 Recap

50-47. Xiu Xiu, Max Richter, Loretta Lynn, and Comets on Fire
46-43. Iron and Wine, The Concretes, Camera Obscura, and The Scissor Sisters
42-39. DJ Rupture, Les Savy Fav, The Walkmen, and Cee-Lo
38-35. Morrissey, Johann Johannsson, Excepter, and Mirah
34-31. Espers, The Futureheads, Califone, and De La Soul
30-27. William Basinski, A.C. Newman, Junior Boys, and Interpol
26-23. Franz Ferdinand, DFA Comp, TV on the Radio, Modest Mouse
22-19. Foreign Exchange, Fennesz, Air, and Bjork
18-15. Kanye West, Sufjan Stevens, Dizzee Rascal, Annie
14-11. Erlend 0ye, Dungen, MIA/Diplo, Sonic Youth
10-07. Joanna Newsom, Ghostface, The Go! Team, Devendra Banhart
06-03. MF Doom, Brian Wilson, Fiery Furnaces, The Streets
02-01. The Animal Collective and The Arcade Fire


50-47. Orthelm, Fiery Furnaces, Okkervil River, The Boy Least Likely To
46-43. Fiona Apple, M83, Vashti Bunyan,Spoon
42-39. My Morning Jacket, Roisin Murphy,Young Jeezy, Robyn
38-35. Devendra Banhart, Dominik Eulberg, Keith Fullerton Whitman, and The Game
34-31. Silver Jews, Bloc Party, Beanie Sigel, Konono No.1
30-27. Franz Ferdinanad, Serena Maneesh, Sun0))), Jaime Lidell
26-23. The Decemberists, Alan Braxe &Friends, The Mountain Goats, Ladytron
22-19. Broadcast, Bonnie Prince Billy &Matt Sweeney, The Hold Steady, Sleater-Kinney
18-15. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, The Clientele, Love Is All, Clipse
14-11. Vitalic, Run The Road Vol. 1, The New Pornographers, Isolee

Email me at dranger aatt gmail doott com