Monday, January 16, 2012

Solipsistic History: 100 Songs for 2005

The year was 2005, a year of great tragedy.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.

Mitch Hedberg was found dead in a hotel room in New Jersey.

Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note was titled "Football Season Is Over."

The Chicago White Sox won the World Series.

And yet, as I've explained elsewhere, it was a singularly perfect, intensely personal musical year for me.  I heard the Hold Steady for the first time in 2005.  I heard the Mountain Goats for the first time.  I heard the lyrics that would one day make up the name of this blog.

So here are my favorite songs of 2005.  I spent so much time over the last two months putting this list together ... you would think less of me if you knew exactly how much.  Before we get to the songs, a quick Q&A on methodology:

Q:  Are you sure this list includes everything you were listening to in 2005?
A:  Pretty sure.  I searched my iTunes by date, combed through playlists song-by-song, looked at the year-end lists at Pitchfork, Stylus, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Drowned in Sound.  Again, I put a scary amount of time into this.

Q:  Were you really listening to all these songs in 2005?
A:  The vast majority.  There are a few that I've discovered in the years that followed, but most of these are lower in the list.  (Specifically, numbers 85, 86, and 96.)

Q:  How did you determine release date for singles, leaks, etc?
A:  A song was eligible for 100 Songs for 2005 if it appeared on a proper album release in 2005.  This means that some big 2005 singles (for instance, Snoop Dogg - "Signs") were classified as 2004 releases, and a few leaks (like Morningwood - "Nth Degree") were pushed to 2006.

Q:  Did you cheat for singles collections?
A:  Yes.  Both number 66 and number 99 were released as singles before 2005, but were included in 2005 compilations, and so made the list.

Q:  What's up with Robyn's "Be Mine!"?
A:  It will be the only song to appear on more than one 100 Songs list.  I cheated and used the American release date to include it in 100 Songs for 2008.  2005 is its spiritual home, though, and this list wouldn't feel right without it.

Q:  Did you really listen to this much ignorant hip hop in 2005?
A:  And then some.  If Mac Dre had survived 2004, this list would probably look a lot different.

Q:  What is the lowest-ranked song on 100 Songs for 2005 that you could argue would have been Song of the Year in 2011?
A:  I think Bright Eyes - "Light Pollution" at number 80 would have been a serious contender.

So ... who wants to live vicariously through the sonic minutiae of someone else's life?

(1) Mountain Goats - "This Year"
(2) The Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
(3) Stars - "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead"
(4) New Pornographers - "The Bleeding Heart Show"
(5) Bright Eyes - "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)"
(6) The Mendoza Line - "Catch a Collapsing Star"
(7) Hot Hot Heat - "Goodnight Goodnight"
(8) Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"
(9) Wolf Parade - "This Heart's On Fire"
(10) Decemberists - "Sixteen Military Wives"
(11) Fall Out Boy - "Sugar, We're Goin' Down"
(12) Voxtrot - "The Start of Something"
(13) Coldplay - "Fix You"
(14) Kanye West - "Gone"
(15) Sufjan Stevens - "Decatur"
(16) Architecture in Helsinki - "Do the Whirlwind"
(17) Devin Davis - "Giant Spiders"
(18) Robyn - "Be Mine!"
(19) Hold Steady - "How a Resurrection Really Feels"
(20) Bright Eyes - "Arc of Time"
(21) Atmosphere - "Get Fly"
(22) Bloc Party - "Helicopter"
(23) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth"
(24) Imogen Heap - "Goodnight and Go"
(25) The National - "Lit Up"
(26) Wolf Parade - "Shine a Light"
(27) Speaker Speaker - "Statues/Shadows"
(28) Rich Creamy Paint - "Warehouse"
(29) The Boy Least Likely To - "I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star"
(30) Bloc Party - "Blue Light"
(31) Lucksmiths - "The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco"
(32) Two Hours Traffic - "Limelight"
(33) Marah - "Walt Whitman Bridge"
(34) Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Let It Ride"
(35) Eels - "Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)"
(36) Rogue Wave - "Bird on a Wire"
(37) Helen Love - "Debbie Loves Joey"
(38) Coldplay - "Talk"
(39) Fall Out Boy - "Of All the Gin Joints in All the World"
(40) New Pornographers - "Sing Me Spanish Techno"
(41) Lovemakers - "Is It Alright?"
(42) Silversun Pickups - "Kissing Families"
(43) Maximo Park - "Kiss You Better"
(44) Magic Numbers - "Love Me Like You"
(45) Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "If I Am a Stranger"
(46) Hey Negrita - "Old Britannia"
(47) Mountain Goats - "Up the Wolves"
(48) Common - "The Food"
(49) Kaiser Chiefs - "I Predict a Riot"
(50) The Mendoza Line - "Settle Down Zelda"
(51) Okkervil River - "No Key No Plan"
(52) Architecture in Helsinki - "Maybe You Can Owe Me"
(53) Death Cab for Cutie - "Crooked Teeth"
(54) Antje Duvekot - "Dandelion"
(55) The Bravery - "An Honest Mistake"
(56) Kano - "Remember Me"
(57) Blue Scholars - "No Rest for the Weary"
(58) The Light Footwork - "The Art of Everyday Communication, Part One"
(59) Marah - "The Demon of White Sadness"
(60) Maximo Park - "Signal and Sign"
(61) Thao Nguyen - "Tallymarks"
(62) Voxtrot - "Raised by Wolves"
(63) Miri Ben-Ari - "4 Flat Tires"
(64) Robyn - "Who's That Girl?"
(65) Atmosphere - "Pour Me Another"
(66) Belle and Sebastian - "Marx & Engels"
(67) Stars - "Calendar Girl"
(68) Tim Fite - "No Good Here"
(69) The National - "Abel"
(70) Devin Davis - "Iron Woman"
(71) Bright Eyes - "At the Bottom of Everything"
(72) Broken Social Scene - "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)"
(73) Gorillaz - "Feel Good, Inc."
(74) Coldplay - "White Shadows"
(75) Halloween, Alaska - "Drowned"
(76) Mountain Goats - "Dance Music"
(77) Okkervil River - "Black"
(78) Roll Deep - "The Avenue"
(79) Sufjan Stevens - "Chicago"
(80) Bright Eyes - "Light Pollution"
(81) The Game - "Hate It or Love It"
(82) Chamillionaire - "Ridin'"
(83) Depeche Mode - "Precious"
(84) Lil Wayne - "Shooter"
(85) Louis XIV - "A Letter to Dominique"
(86) June - "My Side of the Story"
(87) Three 6 Mafia - "Stay Fly"
(88) Young Jeezy - "Go Crazy (Remix)"
(89) Hard-Fi - "Cash Machine"
(90) Immaculate Machines - "Invention '77"
(91) Herman Dune - "Not on Top"
(92) The Exchange - "Aperture"
(93) Juelz Santana - "Rumble Young Man Rumble"
(94) Gucci Mane - "So Icy"
(95) Acid House Kings - "This Heart Is a Stone"
(96) Alan Astor - "Fantastic Fantasy"
(97) Motion City Soundtrack - "Everything is Alright"
(98) Jamie Lidell - "Multiply"
(99) LCD Soundsystem - "Losing My Edge"
(100) Caesars - "Jerk It Out"


  1. Great list. Alright, my own addendum using only my iTunes dates off the cuff:

    Atmosphere - Little Man
    Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me
    Beanie Sigel - Feel it In the Air
    Ben Folds - Late
    At the time I would have put "Faithful" by Common, although I now universally prefer the song "Be" if I have to take one.
    Death Cab - "What Sarah Said"
    The Exchange - Poor Man's Blanket
    Pretty much the entire Bloc Party and Fall Out Boy records, (but I completely agree with the ones picked. "Of All the Gin Joints" was my favorite.)
    Foo Fighters - Best of You
    John Mayer Trio - Another Kind of Green
    Kanye - Heard Em Say
    Kanye - Hey Mama
    Weezy - Hustler Musik
    Little Brother - All for You
    Matisyahu - King Without A Crown
    Mike Jones - Still Tippin
    Miri Ben Ari - Fly Away (glad to see 4 flat tires on it)
    Motion City Soundtrack - When You're Around
    Stereophonics - Dakota
    Talib Kweli - Ms Hill
    Not ONE song from "Get Behind Me Satan"? Maybe my iTunes is incorrectly marked, but at least The Denial Twist if not several more
    Young Jeezy f/Akon - Soul Survivor
    50 Cent f/Mobb Depp - Outta Control (remix)

    There's a lot of records I absolutely LOVED this year; White Stripes, Bloc Party, Common (half of Be), Kanye's LR, FUCT, Motion City Soundtrack.

    I remember my brother made an awesome mix tape this summer, had stuff like Take Your Momma Out, but also Burning Photographs. I know that song came out in '03, but it will always recall '05 for me, like a forgotten smell of some girl's lotion from junior high that had been buried in your memory like a yearbook packed in a forgotten box in an attic somewhere where you no longer even live.

    That song will always recall the summer of 2005.

    Good list.

  2. ALSO - do you remember drunkenly texting each other the chorus to Stay flyayayayayayayaaaa? I mean, I don't either.

  3. fantastic mix. Really looking forward to hearing these. Being new to your site (redirecting from Fluxblog), have you put together other mixes from other years? Search function doesn't seem to work.