December 2005: Two CD-Rs


1. Depeche Mode, “Precious” (single*)
2. Saint Etienne, “Stars Above Us” (from Tales From Turnpike House)
3. Calexico / Iron & Wine, “He Lays In The Reins” (In The Reins EP)
4. Erasure, “Here I Go Impossible Again” (Nightbird)
5. Doves, “Almost Forgot Myself” (Some Cities)
6. Kate Bush, “How to be Invisible” (Aerial)
7. Carla Bruni, “Quelqu’un M’a Dit” (Quelqu’un M’a Dit)
8. Tori Amos, “Sleeps With Butterflies” (The Beekeeper)
9. Ivy, “Four In The Morning” (In The Clear)
10. The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, “Heading for a Breakdown” (Origin Vol. 1)
11. Emm Gryner, “Forget Georgia” (Songs of Love and Death)
12. Martha Wainwright, “When The Day Is Short” (Martha Wainwright)
13. Oranger, “Haeter” (New Comes and Goes)
14. Natacha Atlas, “You Only Live Twice” (The Best of Natacha Atlas)
15. Shivaree, “Mexican Boyfriend” (Who’s Got Trouble?)
16. Fiona Apple, “Oh Sailor” (Extraordinary Machine—leaked vs.)
17. Mike Doughty, “I Hear the Bells” (Haughty Melodic)
18. The White Stripes, “Blue Orchid” (Get Behind Me Satan)
19. Antony & The Johnsons, “Fistful Of Love” (I am a Bird Now)

* purchased on iTunes; have not heard parent album Playing the Angel


1. The Mountain Goats, "This Year" (from The Sunset Tree)
2. Spoon, “I Turn My Camera On” (Gimme Fiction)
3. The Go-Betweens, “Here Comes A City” (Oceans Apart)
4. Paul McCartney, “Jenny Wren” (Chaos and Creation in the Backyard)
5. Super Furry Animals, “Atomik Lust” (Love Kraft)
6. Marianne Faithfull, “Crazy Love” (Before the Poison)
7. LCD Soundsystem, “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” (LCD Soundsystem)
8. Sufjan Stevens, “Casimir Pulaski Day” (Illinois)
9. Ani DiFranco, “Recoil” (Knuckle Down)
10. Sleater-Kinney, “Wilderness” (The Woods)
11. Aimee Mann, “Clean Up For Christmas” (The Forgotten Arm)
12. Fiona Apple, “Parting Gift” (Extraordinary Machine—released vs.)
13. Tompaulin, “Brave” (Into the Black)
14. The Decemberists, “16 Military Wives” (Picaresque)
15. Stars, “Reunion” (Set Yourself on Fire)
16. Ben Folds, “Landed” (Songs for Silverman)
17. Andrew Bird, “Fake Palindromes” (The Mysterious Production of Eggs)
18. Saint Etienne, “Let's Build A Zoo” (Up the Wooden Hills EP)
19. The New Pornographers, “The Bleeding Heart Show” (Twin Cinema)

Instead of posting my forty favorite tracks of the year (as I did in 2004), I’ve assembled two seventy-minute mixes of songs I’m not bored with yet. Each artist gets one song, with two exceptions: Saint Etienne (whose album came with a limited-edition bonus EP that’s ostensibly a preview of a children’s LP set to come out in ’06) and of course, Fiona Apple, whose record exists in two versions: the first, which you had to (illegally) download and the second, a radically different re-recording that was the “official” (if not, in my opinion, definitive) release.

I haven’t rated the songs in any order; if I did, at least six or seven of the top ten would be from, like, two albums. I’ve assembled “Best of the Year” mixes in the past, and had a slightly easier time doing so when I reviewed CDs for Splendid! ‘cause I acquired so much stuff. However, even without that “luxury” (it really wasn’t one), I didn't exactly struggle to fill up two CD-Rs. If I had jettisoned my one-song-per-artist rule, I could’ve made a third disc, possibly a fourth. At the very least, I salvaged a few tracks from LPs I rarely listen to all the way through.

I’m finding it hard to step back and find any discernible trends or patterns in the music I listened to this year. Each disc’s running order isn’t all that significant—I could’ve holed up in my room all weekend playing around with transitions and such, but opted to socialize (and drink) instead. I knew that “Fistful of Love” and “The Bleeding Heart Show” would make good closing songs from the get-go, and thought it was a cute idea to put “Atomik Lust” next to “Crazy Love”. Otherwise, you could probably play these discs on shuffle and be perfectly fine.

Actually, I find listening to these mixes a bit overwhelming: hearing one of your favorite songs after another doesn’t allow for much breathing room; it almost leaves one prone to skipping the highlighted track if you were to play the parent album immediately afterwards. Still, I like holding on to some documentation of what I loved in a given year; it’s even more fun a few years down the road, when I can either bask in the nostalgia of what I used to love, wince at it, or just simply keep on loving the song(s).

Sometime next week: The Best Albums of 2005.