Every year I give my top five albums for the year. 2005 was somewhat interesting because I'd honestly thought at the beginning of the year that the whole year would be derivative, I'd had a look at the supposed release dates for various things and came up with a few idea of what might be good but in the end, perhaps I shouldn't judge records by their covers before I've even seen said covers.
5. Girls Aloud - Chemistry
Usually you'd expect a manufactured band from a competition like Popstars to fade completely from sight. This is one of those examples when keen management and writing from the artists themselves hasn't produced mediocre shash.
This is a solid record with a number of tracks you'd expect to here again and again. If the disc was sold in Oz it would be one of those summer pop releases on permanent repeat on 2Day FM, but it wasn't released here so yet again Sony gyp the Australian Public.
Stand out: Track 9 - Long Hot Summer
It's been a long hot summer and it's 95° in the shade.
4. Geri Halliwell - Passion
Time and the press haven't been kind to this former Spice Girl. Her previous album Scream If You Want To Go Faster, was made obviously in a rush and in direct competition with other Spices but time had moved on.
Thankfully with this offering Geri appears to have done just that, moved on. Some of the tracks perhaps are in the vein of Madonna but the gems on here come about when she leaves pop behind and moves into cabaret. Hopefully by the time the next album comes out, the pretense of pop will have disappeared, because her voice is more akin to Shirley Bassey rather than Shirley Manson.
Stand out: Track 12 - So I Give Up On Love
Names have been changed to protect the innocent
3. Jem - Finally Woken
When I first heard the opening single off the album I thought that Dido had gone trip-hop. Jemma Griffiths' voice is hauntingly mellow and by rights this is that sort of voice that should be singing arias not electronica.
What makes this record even more interesting to listen to are the other instruments on here, they include a sitar, double bass, spanish guitar, mini harp and even yes, a hot water bottle - weird.
Stand out: Track 1 - They
Who made up all the rules? We follow them like fools.
2. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
A lot of bands you hear happen to be a one trick pony, the problem with Franz Ferdinand is that one trick happens to be very very good. Like the first album this is characterised by their stylised, almost robotic thumping back beats - this really is rock-and-roll.
It's really disconcerting to listen to a track which can have things playing at different time signatures in either ear. It's not impossible to get computers to do this but actual musicians is a real talent.
Stand out: Track 1 - The Fallen
And the Kunst won't talk to you
Because you kissed St Rollox Adieu
Because you robbed a supermarket or two
Well, who gives a damn about the profits of Tesco?
1. Oasis - Don't Believe The Truth
Biased? Maybe. Oasis Mark 2 is different to a Gallagher driven Mark 1, somehow "the biggest band in the world" is more democratic, with writing credits to all members except Zak Starkey who arrived as a session drummer (sounds like his old man this, eh?)
This is a band that no longer has to impress record execs, because they own their own label. Even Lyla the first single although very big and thumpy is probably only the 5th or 6th best on the album. Trust me this is the album that die-hard Oasis fans have been waiting for three years, a true understated epic. If you fell out of love with Oasis, then this album will bring you home.
Stand out: Track 8 - Part Of The Queue
Suddenly I've found that I've lost my way in the city,
The streets and the thousands of colours all bleed into one.