Top 25 Albums of 2005: Part 2 (10-1)
10. My Morning Jacket - Z
"By trimming thirty minutes off their standard record’s length, the members of My Morning Jacket have paradoxically managed to broaden their sound, cutting the fat to give us ten songs that jive, moon-walk and cock-rock in equal measure. " -Prefix Magazine
9. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
"Spoon continues to build one of the most consistent, and distinctive, bodies of work in indie rock -- the band makes changes and takes chances from album to album, but ends up sounding exactly how Spoon should sound each time."
-All Music Guide
8. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
"Unlike so many of their Gang of Four-worshipping peers, Bloc Party are that rare band that can actually transcend their influences and press clippings, crushing the fervor surrounding their arrival in a hail of splintered guitars and sumptuous despondency."
7. Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
"It's a densely melodic place composed of layered instruments so intricately intertwined with each other and Bird's lyrics that repeated listenings inevitably reveal a hidden but grandiose vision of what a pop record can be."
6. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap You Hands Say Yeah
"When they began their self-titled debut, they were uncertain kids from Brooklyn making a record from all the music they had ever known. They’re leaving veterans of the game with obvious talent and colossal potential."
-Delusions of Adequacy
5. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
"Their sturdy, inventive debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, draws further, fresh blood from the indie rock stone."
"What really distinguishes Apologies to the Queen Mary from just another ambitious rock album though, is the dynamic and accessible songwriting -- and the voices that propel those songs from the streets to the stratosphere."
4. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
"With Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River have made the kind of minor classic that will inspire obsessive-compulsive love affairs with the lucky people who stumble upon it."
"Consistently excellent, Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy is a record that stuns on first listen, then manages the elusive -- it sinks deep into your soul."
3. Animal Collective - Feels
"Feels takes the Collective in an exciting new direction, creating the kind of record that expands on the group's less esoteric strengths while also pushing their sound forward."
"Half of the album is rambunctious and full, driving and manic; the other half charms us with melancholic lullabies fueled by a single sip from the purple bottle. The result: With Feels, Animal Collective has created its first pop masterpiece."
2. The National - Alligator
"The National seems to have settled into a fine balance between the hungover brooding of Leonard Cohen and the more mellifluous tendencies of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen."
-Delusions of Adequacy
"Tonally and lyrically somewhere between Leonard Cohen, Aidan Moffett and David Berman, Berringer’s cynical, world-worn love-letters and resigned croon work perfectly with the band’s rock steady rhythm-section."
"The National are able to pack as much power into the songs on Alligator as any of the more heralded indie-rock bands working right now, only The National have taken the common influences and grafted them into something altogether fresh and remarkable."
1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
"From its framing gimmick and its anti-folk folk songwriting to its he-has-to-be-kidding song titles and its show-offy instrumentation, Illinois should reduce to a simple stunt performance. That it's pop-art of the highest caliber, instead, cements Stevens as one of the most vital voices in music today."
"Once you've taken in how wonderful it sounds, it'll be time to thrill at how much of it there is, then how dense it all is."
"Someday the Smithsonian will file this sprawling musical celebration into their collection between Van Dyke Parks’ Discover America and Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers -- joyous, generous Americana filtered through a singular sensibility."
"Vast in scope and breathtaking in its beauty, Illinois may very well be the album that heralds Sufjan Stevens as one of this young century’s most talented artists."