Wednesday, February 22, 2017

40 From 40: 2005

There's been a loose theory that the biggest paradigm shifts in music happen in the middle years of a decade. The Fifties invented rock'n'roll itself, the Sixties brought the Beatles and soul, the Seventies prime disco, golden age of reggae and the launch of electronic and punk, the Eighties the Live Aid-aided rise of the megastar, indie, house and video, the Nineties club culture, Kurt Cobain's death, pop as its own construct and Cool Britannia. The Noughties...? Maybe the middle year, the fourth in our series of 40 songs from 40 years, gave us enough clues that this was in fact the self-reflexive era. Digital downloads were included in the chart from April, channelling the rise of the iPod and iTunes, making perhaps the decade's biggest change about the delivery method rather than content. "Teenage girls will lose their grip on the pop scene" wrote the Times, wrongly, maybe because the boys were all playing the newly launched Guitar Hero instead. As if in sympathy Crazy Frog had a number one, while a 34 year old record co-credited to a comedian who played no part in the recording, Is This The Way To Amarillo, was the year's biggest selling single. All of Elvis' number ones were reissued, one becoming the thousandth ever chart topper. The art of the pop single ended not with a bang, but with Digital Rights Management. Take That, Cream and Roger Waters with Pink Floyd reformed, the latter for Live 8, an event billed at the time as a natural contender to Live Aid as pop's greatest ever event but barely remembered now, maybe because Geldof's aim of "awareness" to advertise a protest march was too woolly. Michael Jackson was cleared of child molestation. Kanye West made his first controversial statement about a president. Pete'n'Kate happened.

2005 was also in many ways the online breakout year, as the success of Funeral the previous year was the starter pistol for blogs to not just extend the global boundaries of what drew attention but express excitement about all manner of new bands and increase the rate of hype turnover accordingly. (Hands up who remembers Annuals?) In Britain a combination of analogue (CDs) and digital (a fan Myspace) led to Arctic Monkeys having ever word of songs not yet released bellowed back at them by increasing crowds, leading to a number one debut single. That April also saw the launch of Sweeping The Nation, and apologies right now for the inevitability as the latter third of the survey subset is maybe less an overview of what was going on and more "stuff we like". It happens. Luckily 2005 was a really strong year, so this is a really great playlist, starting with the words "the start", ending with the words "full stop", and in between taking in an especially strong year for the emergent American scene, retro-futurism, heavy poetic literacy, post-rock, alternative vs mainstream in hip-hop, glorious bubbling pop joys and, of course, darkness. The descriptions for each song were taking us far too long to write for little gain - if people want them back we'll do so, especially when we go back a few more years than this and things need actual historical context, but hopefully the songs should sell themselves.

The Lucksmiths - A Hiccup In Your Happiness (from Warmer Corners)
Saint Etienne - Milk Bottle Symphony (from Tales From Turnpike House)
Patrick Wolf - The Libertine (from Wind In The Wires)
Jeremy Warmsley - 5 Verses (from 2006's The Art Of Fiction)
Final Fantasy - This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine (from Has A Good Home)
Dirty Three - Great Waves (from Cinder, Chan Marshall on vocals)
65daysofstatic - Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here (from One Time For All Time)
M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames (from Before The Dawn Heals Us)
Broadcast - Black Cat (from Tender Buttons)
Prefuse 73 feat. Ghostface & El-P - Hide Ya Face (from Surrounded By Silence)
Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco - Touch The Sky (from Late Registration)
M.I.A. - Bucky Done Gun (from Arular)
Amerie - 1 Thing (from Touch)
Bloc Party - Like Eating Glass (from Silent Alarm)
Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline) (from Broken Social Scene)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - In This Home On Ice (from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
Sufjan Stevens - Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother! (from Illinois)
The Mountain Goats - This Year (from The Sunset Tree)
Jeffrey Lewis - Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror (from City & Eastern Songs - Spotify version not the same as the album version, annoyingly)
William Campbell & Kevin MacNeill - Local Man Ruins Everything
Kate Bush - King Of The Mountain (from Aerial)
The Chap - Auto Where To (from Ham)
CSS - Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above (from CSS, released in Brazil in 2005 so ner)
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (from Witching Hour)
Girls Aloud - Biology (from Chemistry)
Doves - Black And White Town (from Some Cities)
Guillemots - Trains To Brazil (from 2006's Through The Windowpane)
The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno (from Twin Cinema)
Young Knives - The Decision (from 2006's Voices Of Animals And Men)
The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives (from Picaresque)
Sleater-Kinney - Jumpers (from The Woods)
Spoon - I Turn My Camera On (from Gimme Fiction)
Field Music - If Only The Moon Were Up (from Field Music)
Sons And Daughters - Red Receiver (from The Repulsion Box)
Okkervil River - For Real (from Black Sheep Boy)
Antony and the Johnsons - Hope There's Someone (from I Am A Bird Now)
iLikeTrains - A Rook House For Bobby (from 2006's Progress Reform)
Low - Monkey (from The Great Destroyer)
Sigur Rós - Glósóli (from Takk...)
Brakes - Comma Comma Comma Full Stop (from Give Blood)

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