2005's Best Music
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


What follows is some of my favourite music in 2005 - oh, and a contest! It is long but I only do this once a year.

My 22 Favourite Songs of 2005

Twenty-two is an arbitrary number, but a good one. Hopefully you will know most of these but if you do not, each of the twenty-two songs is available for you to download. I hope you like them.

1. Robyn - "Be Mine!"
So what is this song? Besides a rainshower, a sunshower? What is it, besides a chance to get rainsoaked on the street and then to walk into the park? In the park everything will be too green, with flowercolour diluted by the rain and by tears. But it'll be wide and open, with lawns and strips of asphalt for you to run along, with soil and sky and space for your whipping feelings. What is it besides that? It's astonishing and complicated emotions - it's the triumph of acknowledging your own sorrow, an affirmation of sure feeling. In that way it's Dylanesque, Joyce-like: it's subtle and messily real, and Robyn makes it feel so easy to realise. And what else? What else is this song? It's a pop song - yes, for dancing and cheering, with zips and pows, with cellos that stab and whirl til the park's right here in the club, in your room, and there's space for feeling everywhere. (more StG on Robyn) [buy (free worldwide delivery)]

2. Okkervil River - "For Real"

Okkervil River do something else. They draw the red windowshades and they kneel in their living-room - they kneel because they're turning their guitar amps up. Like I said, it's that perfect boom of word and sound, barbed yells and crushing blows. It's sinister but elegiac, scary but true. It's about murder and feeling, voices crying for sensation. "There's nothing quite like the blinding light / that curtains cast aside." The electric guitars are stuck through with spruce branches, with nails, with bits of eggshell. It's like the stamp in the middle of Wilco's "At Least That's What You Said," only instead of Tweedy's guitar solo there's the lamplight of a rhodes, the mounting panic of Will Robinson Sheff, and then a terrible tumble of drums, the searing chorus of pierced guitars, the knowledge that you're hurtling downhill, downstream, downtown, toward the smack and clasp that will make things clear. [buy]

3. The Strokes - "You Only Live Once"
The list's latest entry. But listen, kids - I can't shake the bra-na-na na na of the guitarline, Julian Casablanca's crooked vocals, the doubleclink of drums, the way the "oh-oh" feels already like something I'll sing, ruefully, when I'm 60. And the chorus is but a stall, a sideways-dancin' intermission so that when we return to the verses, it's fresh as daisies in a coffeepot of water. [pre-order]

4. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"

More spell than song, a glamour spread over four and a half minutes: a moment of beauty, a moment of beauty, another. Let's all wear this song round our wrists, let's wonder at it. When does a vocoder begin to sound more human than a human? How do you write such a string of sounds, an almost unrepeating pop-song that still wraps full circle? How can I learn to sing like this? [buy direct from Imogen and avoid evil Sony rootkits]

5. Broken Social Scene - "Ibi Dreams Of Pavement"

A rock'n'roll steamship that wheels straight into the gale, straight into the whale's mouth. Old Blue dives deep, past coral towers and ravines, past death, and all the while there's Broken Social Scene inside - playing a lunatic pop-song, breathing seawater, battered by noise and bliss and that cetacean's pink tongue. If only all "art-rock" was this exciting; if only all rock songs could break surface and so brightly spout. (more StG on "Ibi Dreams...") [buy]

6. Sufjan Stevens - "Casimir Pulaski Day"
The marvel is not that Sufjan Stevens has written another pretty song. (A song of oboe and mandolin, of harmonies and his own tender voice.) The marvel is what he's hidden inside it. It's a song of repetition: repeated melody, repeated chords, instruments one after another repeating Sufjan's simple ditty. Stevens sings small domestic scenes, - the touch of grass on feet, sunlight through a window, a kiss, - and these images too begin to repeat. Echoing snatches of familiar phrase, as if the chorus is wrapped into the story itself, the mundane borrowing part of the mortal, the spiritual stowing away with the sexual. All of this accumulates, piling up with every circle of acoustic guitar strum - til the slightest change catches your breath in your throat, till the perfect repetition makes your heart stammer in your chest. The way Stevens sings "mouth"; the way you see her running, bare-footed; the plaintive/peaceful/pained/precise way that Stevens sings, finally, that "He takes and He takes and He takes". Stevens has made such small things say so much, turned real-life imagies into full-bodied statements of the erotic, the transcendent, the mournful. And all of it in such a pretty song, such a trifling song, a song light as air and too diffuse to even be caught in a stained glass window. [buy]

7. Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone"

How can I be more clear than the pinpricking of electric guitar at 0:34? The way that glint flickers into fullblown flash - and of course the way the mountain then falls on your head. (Don't worry, you are awesome enough to fight your way out.) [buy]

8. Herman Dune - "Not On Top"

What does a real life sound like, in one's twenties? (Beyond?) It sounds awkward, it sounds sloppy, it sounds well-worn and yet secretly glad. If you're lucky there's a guitar solo like a bird darting in a tree, a cute girl on backing vocals, a chorus like a Tin Man who's already got a heart and just needs to learn some up-to-date dance-moves. "There's 67 better ways to make some sense." Yeah, whatever! (more StG on Herman Dune) [buy]

9. Amerie - "1 Thing"
How did this song sink to #9? Lordy! I wade into "One Thing"'s go-go waters, just bellow my belly-button, and then I let myself be tugged by the off-on flow of the guitar, I let myself get snagged by Amerie's fish-hook voice, the twinkling lights of her "bing bong bing", and above all I get caught up in the ratatat drums. The drums they make me feel like I'm standing up even when I'm falling down, they let me take to the air even when I'm trudging all the way to work. (more StG on Amerie) [buy]

10. Wolf Parade - "I'll Believe in Anything"
You wait for the organ to resolve but first the drums butt in, big as Babel Towers. The rest of the song takes a long time to live up to the sprawling height of those bass-drum Towers. Voices twist, guitars tangle, but we don't go summit-scaling till the chorus at two-minute-something. It's then that suddenly the windsocks are full, that your hands are full of brickwork, that you're climbin' climbin' climbin'; it's then that the gargoyles spread stony wings, blink lunatic eyes, and swoop off into tomorrow. When the Tower falls it's the gargoyles who'll teach the world to talk. (What Jordan said.) [buy]

11. Smog - "The Well"

Quoth i: Every instrument seems to rub a different spot, and Bill Callahan's voice comes coffeecrackly in your ear, perfectly close-and-removed, perfect perfect perfect. ... Every time each part of the song arrives (cymbal shush, violin scrape), it's like a bud springing into bloom. It seems to be on a loop, but there are those little beats of difference, voices answering Smog's song, when everything changes (slightly, slightly). And, of course, it's hysterical. ... [W]here I'm moved is when the drums gear up in the end, in the rainbow moment where all the song's rhymes and themes burst up together, astonishingly written, wry and poetic, a lesson taught, a lesson learned, a joke and a parable. And my heart just swells on a woody springtime day. (more) [buy]

12. Page France - "Chariot"
I read somewhere that this song was about the Rapture. Not the dancepunk band; the big Messianic hooray. That's cool: there's room for that. It's also about plain old small-case rapture, about when a feeling's tugging on you so hard that a thumpthump bass-drum isn't enough, that a tambourine isn't enough, that you need a whole parade of singsong. Let's fill the gardens, friends. Let's take out the nightingales and bluebirds. Let's fix bells to our shoes and clap our hands. Let's put fairytales in our pockets and paint murals on the walls of our mouths. Let's follow a Piper into a mountain and turn the mountain into a cathedral, a circus, a place for us to break bread and quaff wine, and laugh. (more StG on Page France/guestblog) [buy]

13. Sugababes - "Push the Button"
On Bonfire Night we went to beautiful Musselburgh and stood in front of an enormous bonfire. The fire seemed more liquid than solid, something kinda dangerous despite our smiles. They set off fireworks - bam fizz wow! And through it all they played pop music, they played "Push the Button", and me I scribbled down lyrics so that I could google them when I get home. I smile at this song, I love the chorus' slow rev up, but I am pretty sure that if I met The Sugababes in an alley they could stop me breathing just by thinking it. Bam fizz wow! [buy]

14. Dirty Three ft. Cat Power - "Great Waves"

Quoth i: I don't know if I've ever heard Cat Power this mystical, so urgent without being desperate, so in control of her talents. ... Jim White play[s] behind her, [a] rattle and blur that leaps against my heart. Even more startling is that she sings of hurricane and flood, yes you got it, and there are so many images fresh in our mind. "The world is gone." A violin sounds like a ukelele or else it's a plain old mandolin and I imagine ... the individual bodies that are exploding when Chan sings "the bodies are exploding", the individual humans running for cover when Chan sings "humans running for cover", the cars "intersect[ing] in the middle of the sky". ... If there's going to be a song that makes me think of Katrina, me who was in Slovenia when the storm hit, me who doesn't have a TV, me who feels a million miles away and hasn't really been able to care, well then let it be a song that's a swamp, a morass, a thick soup of sound - and also a reservoir, a pool, a gift: every twig, leaf and raindrop, every brush of snare and thump of tom, everything unrehearsed and yet perfectly placed. [buy]

15. We/Or/Me - "Aimless Day"
Funny that a song that felt so strongly of summer becomes so dear in the winter: the glockenspiel's the only warm thing in the room, something to gather round, to stare into. (i wrote a lot more here.) even tonight, it seems to be better than "pink moon". [go see them in Chicago in January]

16. LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House"
Me, I want LCD Soundystem playing "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" at my house. The song has me at "H'OW-ow!" and it's still got me when things get spacey and cow-bell-y. "I've got a bus and a trailer at my house." When I listen to this I want to have (started and then) quit cocaine, so that I can open a window on an absurdly clear day and dump a million kilograms of it out the window, laughing madly, and yeah yelling "H'OW-ow!" as it blizzards in my pleasant Edinburgh block. [buy]

17. MIA - "Hombre"
Tiny hammers in my ears, tingtinging to get me into the right mode, beats tenderising me so that when MIA hits her stride I'm ready to join her: dancing like a girl and not like the hombre, imagining the joy that comes when you're out and this song suddenly comes on - like a musical interlude where we're all supposed to dance and bop and bump, glance-glancing at the girl who sings the chorus. [buy]

18. Andrew Bird - "Fake Palindromes"

Quoth i: We need to cut to the meat of the matter in a patented Said the Gramophone run-on sentence. The song's clear and obvious claim-to-fame, the wet and beating heart, the energizing whip-snap, is that killer fiddle hook, that four-note earworm, that vivacious blast, that indian sneer of strings with the thunderstomp of drum-and-shaker. And if you don't fall in love with the tune in the first two seconds, you will when Andrew Bird drawls "coulda died... shoulda died". Or when you notice the weird electric guitar that's stalking through the briar in the back, with long long legs. ... Or when "Fake Palindromes" ends (it ends!) after a scarce two minutes and fifty-two seconds. "I want to drill a tiny hole into your head," he sings. Well sign me up - just let me hear this thing again! Put it on a whirling repeat in a purple room with the blinds drawn. Run through that barrage of images, the formaldehyde-swap, the singles ads, the blood in her eyes. And then open the wardrobe and loose the violins, the super strings, the brown swooping things what lift me out the closed window and straight to the moon. [buy]

19. Stars - "Ageless Beauty (Most Serene Republic remix)"
Quoth i: Imagine my glee when I hear what Most Serene Republic have done with the tune: they stripped the synths away, stowed them in the closets, then wheeled out the stringy guitars and threadbare pianos. They made Amy Millan stand right there in the middle of the ballroom as the candles were getting lit, they asked her to sing just the same, but now it's not a superhero's song. Now it's a song for the scale of my life, for all the goofs and the joys, for the way beauty sneaks up out of dusty corners, the way it manifests itself as glints in peoples' eyes. The song has got today's loveliness and not some shiny tomorrow's: it's got friendship and revelry and good craic. It's got a voice sweet as honey cake and some friends who will gobble it up. [buy]

20. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth"

The reason this is one of my favourite songs of the year is because of what happens at 4:08. What happens? The same thing that happens a couple minutes earlier. But this time something's come over me, some regression to my Polish countryman's roots, to the tall-boots and high-jumpin' dance-steps. I am whooping with sneakers on, I am rolling my eyes, I am wearing this band's hype like a cape. I am introducing the Medieval poles to disco-beating indie rock, and I bet you they are loving it. [buy]

21. Agent Simple - "Brother"

Finally a song where I feel like Petit Nicholas, skipping to school, my leather satchel swinging alongside me. If Stephin Merritt is gonna be a stuck-up grump, a no-fun bully, it is so good that Agent Simple has been discovered. Finally - a wry and clever friend who writes songs for the Mister Men to sing along to, heads waving in the breeze. (What Dan said.) [buy]

22. Paul Duncan - "Oil In The Fields"
Good combinations: peanut-butter and strawberry jam; white wine and Nico; sadness and inevitability. Duncan is willing on his melancholy march. He knows he must go - "drawn back home again". He's been drinking, dreaming, getting lost in fields of big blooming flowers, mellotron orchids, under the blackgold starry sky. He's been feeling blue, but you know? the blue is turning to a hot reassuring purple. Molars said it well, too. [buy]

Runners up: R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet pt. 2", Elbow - "Mexican Standoff", Mountain Goats - "Dilaudid", New Pornographers - "The Bleeding Heart Show", Antony and the Johnsons - "Hope There's Someone", Spoon - "Sister Jack", and on and on...



So, yes, Said the Gramophone has another contest. Boston's Brian Michael Roff and The Deer released an album this year called Inventory. It is a great record, dusty late-summer alt.country with a harvester's generous smile. I last wrote about it in April.

Brian is offering up a copy of Inventory, a copy of the ultra limited Pre-Inventory promo EP, and a BMR button. And shipping! And what do you need to do?

These are my ten favourite albums of 2005:

1. Final Fantasy - Has A Good Home
2. Robyn - Robyn
3. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
4. Smog - A River Ain't Too Much To Love
5. Herman Dune - Not On Top
6. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
7. Sigur Ros - Takk
8. MIA - Arular
9. The Constantines - Tournament of Hearts

10. Page France - Hello, Dear Wind

(Runners-up: Young Jeezy, Antony and the Johnsons, Fiery Furnaces, Jon-Rae and the River, Sunset Rubdown, The Clientele, Damian Marley, Clem Snide, The Evens, Jose Gonzalez, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ...)

To win BMR's prize-pack, all you need to do is to pick your favourite album of 2005 and then write a haiku about it. Three lines, a total of (5+7+5=) 17 syllables.

Then either email me your haiku with the subject "CONTEST ENTRY", or post your haiku as a comment on this here post. The deadline is 11:59 EST on Monday, December 12th. The contest is now closed. Good luck!

(Did I mention how great the packaging is on Inventory? It is an elegant hand-made somethin'-special.)



Tuwa has two terrific songs and apt accompanying words. I particularly love the Ian Love track - just Josh Rouse enough to please, hurtling forward with stars in its eyes.

Frank has heard the secret unreleased version of the last (fanTAStic) Wheat album, and has some samples for your enjoyment.

Plan B is selling prints of some of the fantastic photos that have appeared in the magazine. Outstanding shots of Afrirampo, Daniel Johnston, Kevin Blechdom, Arcade Fire, Devendra Banhart, and many more. A total steal at £10 each (or five! for £20). In related news, the December/January issue of Plan B has short reviews by me of the new Robyn and Mt Eerie records, and of Explosions In The Sky's visit to Edinburgh last month. Let me know if you pick it up.

The December issue of The Skinny has, among other things, a review by me of Stars (I know, the UK is slow), and another episode of StG-lite, The Easy Gramophone (starring Devin Davis, Bishop Allen, Dizzee Rascal, and more).

If you made it this far: thank you.

Posted by Sean at December 6, 2005 3:00 AM

Regarding Why?'s Elephant Eyelash:

Surrealists break up
then lick their wounds, speak and sing
with the same strange tongue

Posted by Brian Nicholson at December 6, 2005 4:48 AM

Peter Licht: 14 Lieder

A moment of joy,
a bright light in the shadows
that guides you from here

Posted by Marc at December 6, 2005 6:17 AM

Sean : I playied some of the music for Bubbie...she REALLY likes it...strange !!!

Posted by Zaidie Ben at December 6, 2005 9:37 AM

I know you didn't like Guero, but no "Missing" on the song list? IMO that's the best song of 2005.

Posted by Brian at December 6, 2005 10:17 AM

This is the longest thing I have ever read in the world.

Posted by Ash Karreau at December 6, 2005 10:39 AM

excellent choices i reckon. that robyn album will v. shortly be mine, particular thanks for the tip on free delivery on that one.

Posted by Anonymous at December 6, 2005 11:07 AM

great selections and certanly the smog and herman dune would be on my list as well (if I wasn't so lazy)

ps redesign is nice too, at first I wasn't so sure but now I forget what the old site even looked like

Posted by craig at December 6, 2005 11:14 AM

I enjoyed your list. It's nice to see there's other people out there who can enjoy both The Broken Social Scene AND Kelly Clarkson.

Posted by Alex at December 6, 2005 11:27 AM

winner should let us post their 17 on http://reviewhaiku.org.


well, we really like BMR too and think that would be super dee-doooooooper.

how now brow cow!!

Posted by k at December 6, 2005 11:53 AM

Wow! Thanks so much for such a comprehensive lovebomb of music! You continue to raise the bar you helped create in the first place!

Posted by Yoshi at December 6, 2005 12:24 PM

You're grey and green and
I'm the garden in Fall
and your apple shines.

(Sunset Rubdown: Snake's Got A Leg)

Posted by Sam at December 6, 2005 2:10 PM

Sorry. Revised after I mistyped:

You're grey and green and
I'm the garden in the Fall
and your apple shines.

(Sunset Rubdown: Snake's Got A Leg)

Posted by Sam at December 6, 2005 2:12 PM

tim kinsellas- "crucifix swastika

some say pretentious
channeling cummings he is
a gold kinsella

Posted by gina at December 6, 2005 2:25 PM

Great post, I like the Strokes song as well.

Posted by HumanityCritic at December 6, 2005 2:30 PM

Thanks for posting the sugababes, can't get enough of that song.

Posted by Milo at December 6, 2005 2:59 PM

Hi, it's been far too long since I've been here - you're in Edinburgh permenantly now?! I don't suppose you'll remember me, I'm from Glasgow and emailed you just before you came over. Anyway, just to say hey and that is SOME LIST! I completely agree with you about Casimir Pulaski Day too - it's definitely on my mix of the year.

Posted by lism. at December 6, 2005 3:21 PM

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah again
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Posted by jerry yeti at December 6, 2005 4:04 PM

(Wilco: Kicking Television)

The blur of crying
Sparks shards of electric ice
Still love rock and roll

Posted by Eric at December 6, 2005 4:11 PM

Deerhoof "the runner's fore"

Japan feels the West,
Making crunchiness so cute,
Asshole becomes man

Posted by Calebs at December 6, 2005 4:57 PM

the stop start stutter
winter in the summertime
drums just broke my heart

(wolf parade:apologies to the queen mary)

i feel kinda like Thax

Posted by trevor at December 6, 2005 6:32 PM

About "EP" by the fiery furnaces:

Smouldering forges
Dropped dada rhymes like blown glass –
But why grandmother?

Posted by shepherd at December 6, 2005 7:24 PM

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

As a trumpet blares,
Illinois becomes our home;
Chicago, our love.

Posted by Michael Haight at December 6, 2005 7:57 PM

he states his wonder
in a State of wonderment
writing all alone

Sufjan Stevens! Illinois! Yes!

Can we make multiple entries? As long as its for the same album?

Posted by Yoshi at December 6, 2005 8:04 PM

Not that I don't stand by my entry... I do!

Posted by Yoshi at December 6, 2005 8:06 PM

"Whatever it is
she's doing, don't stop the tape--"
"It's not analog!"

(Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself)

Posted by K. Hill at December 6, 2005 8:29 PM

Devin Davis- Lonely People of the World, Unite!

(new to me in 05 anyway)

White black bang hit crash
Blue red smoke-filled brush stroke strums
Color in my ears

Posted by John Segee at December 6, 2005 9:16 PM

What I'm looking for
An alternative to love
Benson spits it out

Brendan Benson's An Alternative to Love

Posted by Fernando at December 7, 2005 12:05 AM

Deerhoof, "the Runners Four"

A tinny child voice
Bang crash scream team on repeat
Solace in the noise

Posted by Amy at December 7, 2005 12:47 AM

I originally read "Pick your favourite albums of 2005." The key being the fact that I pluralized album. So, here are my top 10 favourite albums of 2005 in haiku form.

Noah Floating to Illinois!

Fantasy ark scene:
animal hunter milks buck;
bird orchestre sings.

(sufjan stevens - illinois, caribou - the milk of human kindness, cocorosie - noah’s ark, antony - im a bird now, final fantasy - has a good home, buck 65 - secret house against the world, broken social scene - s/t, animal collective - feels, bell orchestre - recording a tape the colour of light, jana hunter = blank unstaring heirs of doom)

Posted by Lindsay at December 7, 2005 3:34 AM

just write 'i love you'
sideways on your wrist and you
will feel like i do.

(jason anderson "the wreath")

Posted by justin at December 7, 2005 7:20 AM

from the infanta
to the angels and angles
its leaves caress me.


Posted by tim. at December 7, 2005 7:37 AM

This is wonderful! All of it!
The biggest surprise for me was the new Strokes song. Never thought I'd like them!

Posted by Caroline at December 7, 2005 9:11 AM

Sufjan sings Illinoise.
I get lost in time and space.
I replay, again.

Posted by Reed at December 7, 2005 3:06 PM

Kudos for giving top honors to "Has A Good Home" (was my personal second choice), but why no Final Fantasy in your top songs? "This is the Dream of Winn & Regine" is amazingly lovely (and even better live, without the techno-beats).

Still, nice choices all 'round. (And I'm glad I'm not the only one that prefers the MSR remix of Ageless Beauty!)

Posted by Beth Hamill at December 7, 2005 3:31 PM

final fantasy "has a good home"

please please please he screams.
pierre trudeau was there when;
the audience died.


Posted by suckingalemon at December 7, 2005 3:47 PM

some albums came out
and i listened to a bunch
but sufjan is best

Posted by max at December 7, 2005 5:53 PM

Final Fantasy - "Has A Good Home"

fragile like winter
want nothing want everything
buried together

Posted by Danny at December 7, 2005 7:15 PM

three women coming
of age now let's call it love
walk into the woods

(sleater-kinney, the woods)

Posted by brendan at December 7, 2005 7:28 PM

Pitchfork hype be damned,
C.Y.H.S.Y. flawless
except for track one.

Posted by thomaus at December 7, 2005 10:27 PM

Regarding Sufjan's Illinoise

As the music gives
its theory about my state
I count resemblance

Posted by Jack at December 8, 2005 12:05 AM

These songs set the tone
for my date with cottage cheese
no more throwing up

(Herman Dune - Not On Top)

Posted by Dave at December 8, 2005 12:15 AM

Embrace death and life
Here's my plan to follow through:
Make your name sing

Death Cab for Cutie - "Plans"

Posted by Anonymous at December 8, 2005 12:23 AM

I can hardly BELIEVE you didn't include Of Montreal, that's crazy, just craziness. You are a crazy-man.

Posted by Anonymous at December 8, 2005 3:25 AM

M. Ward warbled while
Richard Hawley crooned but then
Brandi Carlile wailed.

Posted by Theo at December 8, 2005 3:42 AM

Such wonderful haikus!

Anonymous - I know, I am astounding. :) You may also wish to remark upon the glaring omission of "Illinoise" from my favourite albums... (This was no accident: I am astonished at the way people are celebrating the album as a whole.)

Posted by Sean at December 8, 2005 4:37 AM

Oh, and Beth - The songs on 'Has A Good Home' are astonishingly consistent, but they (particularly "Win and Regine" and "Please Please Please") cracked my top 30 and not my top 22. This was a year of fantastic tunes and much fewer fantastic records.

Posted by Sean at December 8, 2005 4:40 AM

Archer Prewitt - Wilderness

Always keeps going
a kaleidoscope of sound
to jump start your heart

Posted by Amber at December 8, 2005 5:55 AM

The first submission for the 25th Annual Said the Gramophone Favourite Album Haiku Contest:

It's Twenty-thirty,
the Clap Your Hands reissue
tops again somehow.

Posted by Geoff at December 8, 2005 12:03 PM

I could never "get" Broken Social Scene. They're beyond me, I guess - too overproduced and lacking interesting ideas and melodies. On the other hand, I tried real hard to dislike Okkervil River, but failed miserably. "For real" is definitely tops.

Posted by death to cd's at December 8, 2005 12:15 PM

I just got to downloading the songs (my connection was slow when I posted last night) since I just knew about 7 out of the 22 and... good stuff. I completely passed over LCD Soundsystem and it seems I should've paid them some attention.

Also, glad I'm not the only one to leave out Illinoise on my top ten. really, I do think the Michigan album was better anyway.

Posted by Amber at December 8, 2005 12:42 PM

Is it possible
to love Wolf Parade and to
hate Modest Mouse? Yes!

Posted by Roman at December 8, 2005 3:45 PM

Holy shit is that Kelly Clarkson song good. What planet have I been living on that I hadn't heard it before?

Posted by AS at December 8, 2005 6:45 PM

Page France - Hello, Dear Wind

Estranged to Jesus
tambourines chime on
I think I've been saved

Posted by Jeremiah at December 8, 2005 7:12 PM

(The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday)

He almost killed me.
I've been plastered with Craig Finn-
The little hoodrat.

And for extra credit:

End of year list? Fun!
Page France, meet Kelly Clarkson.
Said the Gramophone.

Posted by Happy at December 8, 2005 8:20 PM

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving (3-LP)

We listen slowly.
The steady love of our friends
punctuates all loss.

Posted by Chris at December 9, 2005 12:09 AM

i had no idea
antony would rank so high
goldfrapp not at all

Posted by shaun at December 9, 2005 12:13 PM

Bursts of sound swelling
swallow me into their world
Iceland kind of rules

Sigur Ros, Takk

Posted by Steph at December 10, 2005 3:52 PM

That Imogen Heap song... on first listen, wow. On listens 2 through n-1, I found myself wishing I could hear a real a capella version of it. On listens n through now, an uncomfortable feeling has crept in that this could be a songwriter's demo for a killer 80s power ballad. Chameleonlike.

That might be more than 17 syllables.

Posted by rodii at December 10, 2005 4:36 PM

To death to cd's: I have the absolute opposite sentiment. To me, For Real sounds too emo/Saves the Day, as much as I try to like it, while Ibi is this amazing mixture of guitar, drum, and pure emotion.

Posted by Simon Kornblith at December 10, 2005 8:31 PM

wow, robyn? who knew. i remember her from a quite a few years ago when she was making white but catchy R 'n B songs that did quite well. look...uh..listen to her know. very nice! thanks for the re-introduction! :)

Posted by wes at December 10, 2005 9:42 PM

the land of lincoln
never been but now i've known
the good, the tragic

(sufjan stevens - illinois)

Posted by musick at December 10, 2005 10:10 PM

pulse that never ends
mesmerized and hypnotized
slain by sexy voice

(ivy - in the clear [nettwerk america])
my "best of" choice

Posted by eric at December 11, 2005 12:50 AM

regarding: BSS - "BSS"

what becomes the stretch
touches every fear you have
and then waits for you

Posted by wiesengrund at December 11, 2005 8:21 AM

Songs sweet and sad like
when I drop my birthday cake
off a paper plate.

(The Boy Least Likely To- The Best Party Ever)

Posted by miranda at December 11, 2005 10:47 AM

"is this john denver?"
"no, mom, this is john darnielle."
the sunset tree rules.

(the mountain goats - the sunset tree holyshitsogood.)

Posted by eh at December 11, 2005 10:16 PM

My favorite album of the year is Sufjan Stevens - Illinois.

Small whisper wailing
From the Gacy basement sings
Banjo Messiah.

Posted by Jessica Farley at December 12, 2005 10:46 AM

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
i'm grinning from ear to ear.
see my yellow country teeth?

Posted by mbagg at December 12, 2005 1:31 PM

What measure of man
could stand in Callahan's shoes
and walk with such truth

(Smog - A river aint too much to love)

Posted by kid quiet at December 12, 2005 2:49 PM

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Big smile. Yellow country teeth.
Is this love? No doubt.

(an edit to my first entry on the chance that the last line could be interpreted as 7. either way, they could both suck :)

Posted by mbagg at December 12, 2005 3:41 PM

how splendid, how nice
this year: full of fantastics
poised poems with ease

(RE: Haiku Contest 2005)

Posted by bmr at December 12, 2005 7:27 PM

Seas of fictions surge:
Gulls cry out revenge and love—
wheelbarrows of truth.

(The Decemberists: Picaresque)

Posted by Judith at December 12, 2005 11:10 PM

It's past the deadline, but I want to write a haiku anyway.

Icelandic dream rock
shimmers with pop transcendence
Takk me to heaven

Posted by Vic at December 13, 2005 3:23 AM

I echo Vic's sentiments; for how can this album go unrepresented?! [The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday]:

Too hopeless to hold,
religion means resurrect.
Sing Hallelujah!

Posted by Christopher at December 13, 2005 3:50 AM


Posted by Christopher at December 13, 2005 3:51 AM

Hi, you dumbfounded me. I tried to fully listen to 6 songs from the list and they are all boring boring boring. Glad I did not miss a thing. Keep it up, 2005 was good for you. Cheers.

Posted by Anonymous at December 16, 2005 3:45 PM

I don't know who you are or how i got to your site and I'm not into hiku, but thank you for turning me on to some new music that flew completely under my radar in 2005.

You got fine taste.

Best in '06


Posted by NA at December 18, 2005 2:09 PM

I am not Chinese.

I just discovered Van Morrisons Moondance.
Listen to the Strokes 'you only live once' when you're walking down a bust highstreet. Don't ignore my advice.

And when you forget
Just look up and remember
There's only the sky.

I know i missed the comp but i think that deserves something special.


Posted by sir schmeigs at December 19, 2005 10:02 PM

I found your site after searching google for "Casimir Pulaski Day", a song that I like alot and was curious about.

Thanks for posting links to all this great music. I downloaded them all and made a cd for my wife.

Information about the Casimir Pulaski historical figure here:

Posted by drew at December 24, 2005 5:05 PM

I have to say that your list of the best singles of the year is one of the best I've seen. You've pick 22 winners in my books (not that really matters). Thanks for also leaving the links up long enough for those of us who are a little slow to be able to enjoy the great music!

Posted by ryansenseless at December 24, 2005 5:55 PM


Posted by KC at December 28, 2005 5:58 PM

i love rap music
its the best music ever
please post more!

Posted by Lucas at January 1, 2006 12:33 PM

Love your blog, not only cuz of the song choices but because i have to think to understand what youre saying :). Just a quick question: Am i the only person in the world who can't stand 1 thing by Amerie, mayb it just got overplayed for me but i absolutely hate it.

Posted by Micah at January 2, 2006 11:37 PM

If you could only pick one, what would be your vote for best song of the century? Esquire magazine’s trying to find out the No. 1 winner - try the single elimination battle royale at http://www.esquire.com/bestsong !

Posted by MUZaaaaaK at January 23, 2006 2:45 PM


Posted by Lisa at February 2, 2006 11:36 PM


Thanks for posting your picks. I downloaded them ages ago and just really listed to them a couple of weeks ago while I was lucky enough to be vacationing on a warm beach (I made a playlist of them all)

My favs were
2. Okkervil River - "For Real"
4. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek" (I absolutely love this - I need more from this artist)
6. Sufjan Stevens - "Casimir Pulaski Day"
8. Herman Dune - "Not On Top"
12. Page France - "Chariot"
15. We/Or/Me - "Aimless Day"

Some of the others I could do without, and some were okay, but these 6 are briliant. Sufjan's is the best. Such a beautiful sad song. I see you have a guilty pleasure for dance pop too. That's okay! ;+)


Posted by palpable at April 12, 2006 6:30 PM

Merrrrrrr . Your list was shit!!!!!!!!.

God bless you steve irwin

Steve was told to wear 30+ protection to protect him from the rays.

Posted by Doug at September 9, 2006 12:25 AM


There is so much fantastic music out there...thank's for putting together yet another good list. I had heard some, and definitely had been missing out by not hearing others. Sufjan is brilliant, as are the New Pornographers; and I have NO idea why I have not been listening to Andrew Bird until now. Word.

Posted by Andrew at October 27, 2006 1:50 AM

I'd like to buy a textlink on your site.
How much would it be? Are there any discounts for advance payment if I order 4-6 month placement?
I'm running some music info blogs and would like to purchase some links for better page rank. I'm currently 0 PR.
I purchased backlinks aldready on livemusicblog.com (in Resources block), radioblogclub.com and in onlinemusicblog.com and few others for my blog.
But I would like to purhcase more for the some blogs that I just created
Please let me know

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny