Posted by: Dave on January 16, 2006 at 6:05 pm

These are the top 20 songs from albums released between December 1, 2004 and November 30, 2005 in the United States. As I do every year, I factored in the following criteria when ranking the top songs: originality, composition/arrangement/production, lyrics, catchiness/memorability, energy, emotion.

Click here to get the iTunes iMix for my Top 20 Songs of 2005.

1. The Mars Volta “L’Via L’Viaquez” Frances the Mute (Universal)
2. The Mars Volta “The Widow” Frances the Mute (Universal)
3. Common “The Corner” Be (Geffen)
4. The Perceptionists “Black Dialogue” Black Dialogue (Definitive Jux)
5. Shout Out Louds “Very Loud” Howl Howl Gaff Gaff (Capitol)
6. Bright Eyes “We Are Nowhere and It’s Now” I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek)
7. Stephen Malkmus “Pencil Rot” Face The Truth (Matador)
8. John Legend (featuring Kanye West) “Number One” Get Lifted (Sony Urban Music)
9. Kanye West “Gold Digger” Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella)
10. System of A Down “B.Y.O.B.” Mezmerize (American/Columbia)
11. 50 Cent (featuring Lloyd Banks, Prodigy, Spider Loc & Mase) “I Don’t Know Officer” Get Rich or Die Tryin’ Soundtrack (G Unit/Interscope)
12. Kanye West (featuring Jay-Z) “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella)
13. John Legend “Used to Love U” Get Lifted (Sony Urban Music)
14. The Mountain Goats “Lion’s Teeth” The Sunset Tree (4AD)
15. Ben Folds “Bastard” Songs for Silverman (Epic)
16. Buck 65 “Bandits” This Right Here is Buck 65 (V2)
17. Buck 65 “Centaur” This Right Here is Buck 65 (V2)
18. Cage “Stripes” Hell’s Winter (Definitive Jux)
19. Fiona Apple “Tymps (Sick in the Head Song)” Extraordinary Machine (Epic)
20. Bright Eyes “Landlocked Blues” I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek)

12 Responses to “Top 20 Songs of 2005”

  1. Ben Says:

    “We Belong Together” should be on this list. The Futureheads cover of “Hounds of Love,” too. “Gold Digger” is pretty crap, isn’t it? I find it quite boring. Plus, Kanye West is a walking embarrassment. Such a simpleminded child being trumpted by critics and backpacker fans as providing intelligent hip hop is one of the most bizarre twists of the last few years. David Banner is Francis Crick compared to this dude. Have a taste from the Chicago Sun-Times:

    “I know the government administers AIDS,” West raps in “Heard ‘Em Say,” and in several interviews he has repeated the conspiracy theory that white men “planted” AIDS in Africa. The notion is scientifically unfounded, and gay activists criticize it for fueling confusion about an already misunderstood disease. But West is unapologetic.

    “I wrote [‘Heard ‘Em Say’] in like 20 minutes, so what was coming out of me was everything that was taught to me by my parents. It just flows out of me, just like if someone on the street is rapping. But I really do believe that. I believe that’s it’s connected to the diamonds thing, too: Africa has all these resources, so just like [white settlers] sent smallpox to the Indians, they sent AIDS to Africa. That’s just one of those things I believe, and I also believe that Jesus died for our sins. There’s no point in throwing out facts that I can prove.”

  2. Dave Says:

    I had “We Belong Together” at #22. It just missed the list. Great pop song. Great comeback song for her.

    “Gold Digger” amuses me and it’s a great party jam.

    But Kanye is a reckless visionary whose number may be up soon. His erratic behavior and obsession with musical perfection(certainly not factual perfection in his lyrics or beliefs) will likely push him into years of seclusion where he attemps to make the perfect album. Yep. I’m saying Kanye may become Axl Rose soon.

  3. Ben Says:

    Your biggest problem there is that you’re wrong. What is this “party jam” people speak of? Usually they seem to be referring to some wack hip hop song I can’t dance to.

    Here was my Top Singles of 2005 list. I left off some really good stuff, but I still stand by most of it.

    075. R. Kelly – Trapped in the Closet
    074. Vitalic – My Friend Dario
    073. Heiko Voss – Call Me Killer EP
    072. Missy Elliott – Lose Control / (JLC Remix) / On and On
    071. Lindstrom – I Feel Space
    070. Damien Marley – Welcome to Jam Rock
    069. LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk is Playing at My House / (Soulwax Remix)
    068. Mariah Carey – Shake It Off
    067. Richard Hawley – The Ocean
    066. Sean Paul – We Be Burnin
    065. Ciara f. Ludacris – Oh
    064. Juliet – Avalon / (JLC Remix)
    063. Outhud – It’s For You
    062. Geto Boys – G-Code
    061. Basement Jaxx – Oh My Gosh
    060. The Clientele – Since K Got Over Me
    059. Prefuse 73 f. Ghostface and El-P – Hideyaface
    058. The Strokes – Juicebox
    057. The MFA – The Difference It Makes / (Superpitcher Remix)
    056. LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations
    055. Rihanna – Pon De Replay
    054. Rachel Stevens – So Good
    053. Girls Aloud – Biology
    052. Saint Etienne – A Good Thing
    051. Goldfrapp – Oh La La / (Tiefschwartz Remix)
    050. Ada Blondix 2 – Maps (Michael Mayer/Tobias Thomas Remix) / Cool My Fire (Erlend Oye and Band)
    049. Outhud – One Life To Leave
    048. Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
    047. Feist – Inside and Out / (Ewan Pearson Dub)
    046. Fischerspooner – Kick in the Teeth
    045. Robyn – Be Mine
    044. Jamie Lidell – Multiply
    043. Fischerspooner – Just Let Go / (JLC Remix)
    042. Ladytron – Destroy Everything You Touch
    041. Ghostface and Pete Rock – Be Easy
    040. Royksopp – What Else Is There? / (Trentemoeller Remix) / (JLC Remix)
    039. Michael Mayer – Lovefood
    038. B. Sigel – Feel It In The Air
    037. Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down
    036. Mario – Let Me Love You
    035. Rachel Stevens – Negotiate With Love
    034. Art Brut – Emily Kane
    033. Three 6 Mafia – Stay Fly / (Remix with Trick Daddy etc.)
    032. Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To
    031. New Order – Krafty / (Glimmers Remix)
    030. 50 Cent f. Mobb Deep – Outta Control / (Remix)
    029. Fannypack – You Gotta Know
    028. Girls Aloud – Long Hot Summer
    027. Bloc Party – Two More Years
    026. Mike Jones f. Paul Wall & Slim Thug – Still Tippin / (Diplo Remix)
    025. Snoop Dogg f. Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson – Signs
    024. Benjamin Diamond – Let’s Get High / (Braxe Remix)
    023. New Order – Jetstream / (Richard X Remix) / (JLC Remix)
    022. Kanye West f. Jay-Z – Diamonds (From Sierra Leone) / Diamonds
    021. Kylie Minogue – I Believe in You / (Mylo Remix) / BPM
    020. The Paddingtons – Panic Attack
    019. Rachel Stevens – I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
    018. Bloc Party – Banquet
    017. M83 – Don’t Save Us From The Flames / (Superpitcher Remix)
    016. Turbonegro – All My Friends Are Dead
    015. Junior Senior – Itch You Can’t Skratch
    014. Kylie Minogue – (Can’t Start) Giving You Up / (Alter Ego Remix) / Made of Glass
    013. Natalie – Goin’ Crazy
    012. Saint Etienne – Side Streets
    011. Madonna – Hung Up / (JLC Remix)
    010. Trick Daddy f. Cee-Lo and Ludacris – Sugar (Gimmie Some)
    009. DFA 1979 – Black History Month / (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)
    008. Brazilian Girls – Don’t Stop / (Riton Re-Rub / Dub) / (Extended Mix)
    007. Art Brut – Good Weekend
    006. Maximo Park – Apply Some Pressure
    005. The Game f. 50 Cent – Hate It or Love It / Clipse – Hate It or Love It
    004. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
    003. Mariah Carey – We Belong Together / (Remix)
    002. Rex The Dog – I Look Into Mid-Air
    001. The Futureheads – Hounds of Love

  4. Dave Says:

    I saw rooms full of people go nuts for the “Gold Digger” in ’05. Hell, they even danced…spirited dancing…with a strong sense of rhythm.

    You couldn’t be hatin’ on Kanye too much if you’ve got the Diamonds on the list.

    Art Brut, Bloc Party and Futureheads…all of them make good music. None of them make very original music. They need to branch out from their late 70s/early 80s Brit punk fixations. And that new New Order stuff was nice…but kinda bland.

    Trick Daddy and co. were good with the Sugar. If you’ve never heard Talking Heads “Sugar On My Tongue,” which was borrowed and reinterpreted for the hook, I highly recommended it.

  5. Ben Says:

    Wait, I’ve got a Common fan dogging me about not picking original enough steez? What is “Be” if not Common’s repackaged version of himself. I found it depressing to see him regress so strongly after his hippie experimentation fell flat with his fanbase.

    His performance of “Food” on Chappelle with Kanye was probably the highlight of that album.

    Also, Kanye deserves credit for “Diamonds.” It’s good. I like “Dear Mama” a lot too and other of his songs. But it’s Jay that kills that track. “I’m not a businessman. / I’m a business, man.” Oh hell, that’s the greatest line ever. He’s really past his prime anymore (although the whiteboy converts to “99 Problems” will be the last to figure it out) but 2005 saw him drop two sick verses. That one and “Dear Summer” on the Memphis album . What’s Jay’s line there? Where he compares other rappers to your drunk uncle. “You know they lame, but you love em all the same.” Something like that. It’s great.

    Also. Trick Daddy > Talking Heads.

    The one song I really left out on that list thought was Jim Jones’ “Crunk Music.” Diplomats were so hot in 04-05. Looking back, Purple Haze may have been the last great hip-hop album. I haven’t been wowed by anything since, short of Beanie Siegel whose B-Coming was incredibly slept on (“Feel it in the Air” is awesome) Both of those records are better than the bloated Kanye West efforts that get all the critical love.

    If I were to do it again, I’d also rate “Stay Fly” much higher. The wall of sound going on there is great and I still listen to it constantly. Embrace’s “Ashes,” if you count it as 05, should be on there. Plus there are a bunch of mashups I stupidly left off and Jacques Lu Cont (_THE_ artist of 2005) had a couple great productions that didn’t qualify for the poll I participated in.

  6. Ben Says:

    Also, and you shouldn’t dog The Futureheads so badly until you’ve heard their Kate Bush cover. I’m not that big a fan of the band in general, but the single-only cover is spectacularly good. If you only heard the album, you haven’t heard this.

    And Maximo Park shouldn’t be so quickly written off. That album showed a lot of different angles than the pop critic Conventional Wisdom (It’s so “angular” they tell me….again and again.) would have it. Go back and listen to “The Acrobat” and see if its so easy to pigeonhole them as a Gang of Four carbon copy.

  7. Dave Says:

    It is disappointing when one rips off oneself…but that’s more forgiveable than ripping off others.

    The “business, man” line is landmark.

    “Dear Summer” was great. Funny how it was the best track on the Bleek album and Memph wasn’t even on it.

    The entire DipSet catalogue is garbage. None of them can rap. I’m shocked you’re on that.

    The Beanie album was solid…but “Feel It In the Air” and “I Can’t Go On This Way” were the standouts. None of the rest of quite matched up.

    “Stay Fly” was huge. Great for Three 6 Mafia’s career…but hopefully it got people on Eightball & MJG, too.

  8. Ben Says:

    Jay-Z needs to remain an executive just to make sure more Eightball and MJG tracks get released.

    Have you heard “Crunk Musick?” The beat has tons of head bobbing testosterone. The only thing since that can match in sheer grandeur is TI’s “What You Know.” The YouTube sound quality won’t do it justice, but here’s the link.

    And, c’mon, are you saying didn’t get down to “Hey Ma?” I mean what the hell, you must hate fun. Cam’ron has serious flow. His album this year is garbage but Purple Haze has a half dozen monster tracks. Even the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun cover is well done. The electro beat on that is very smooth. And how about the Hill Street Blues track, “Harlem Street”? That has some great rhymes. His delivery is wonderful when he’s on.

  9. Dave Says:

    Except for the fun multi-part harmonies, “Hounds of Love” sure sounds like The Jam. Excellent band to model yourself after, but man, it sure sounds like The Jam.

    Crunk Musick may be the best thing I’ve heard from them ever. Still, Juelz is not a good MC. Jim Jones is not a good MC. Cam’ron is better, but never great. I always thought he got by on good hooks and gimmicks. He did have that good line earlier this year on “Touch It Or Not” – “Got something for your face, not Proactiv.”

  10. Ben Says:

    No Jam song is that good. There are a half dozen one-off groups from that era (The Only Ones, The Jags, etc) that put out singles miles beyond The Jam’s best material. Paul Weller’s just lucky he got hung with some ridiculous Ray Davies like “genius” tag by critics and indie types that he’s milked for a career.

    But I digress. I’m a total Kate Bush mark, so maybe I’m out to lunch on this one. Like I said, I really don’t like The Futureheads that much. But I really like that single.

    You like the politically tinged hip hop right? Have you ever heard Brother D and the Collective Effort’s “How You Make the Black Nation Rise?” I was just talking about it with a friend on Friday. It’s a raging Gracie Jones disco track with some bizarrely awesome rapping about how you really shouldn’t be dancing.

  11. Ben Says:

    And I just remembered the best track from Purple Haze. It’s “Killa Cam.” Oh man, I got it on now. The beat on this is so great.

    “This the realest since kumbaya….”

  12. Ben Says:

    But I’ve reconsidered, the last great hip hop album was David Banner’s Mississippi 2. “My Lord” is the best song about the Iraq war yet put to tape.

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