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Quibble all you want, but Coldplay was the biggest rock act of the year, and through three albums, are way ahead of where their closest competition U2 was at a similar stage of their career.
NOBODY ASKED THEM, BUT…
HITS’ Editurrs Offer Up Their Faves 0f 2005
It was another year of non-consensus, as the pundits argued loudly about such high-profile bands as Coldplay, the White Stripes and, of course, the Rolling Stones. Resident Music Snobs Bud Scoppa and Roy Trakin came out unequivocally on the sides of all of the above, also agreeing on the merits of Beck, Spoon and “Feel Good Inc,” while Lenny Beer remained in a world of his own, secretly hoping Santa would bring him an autographed 8x10 glossy of Tegan & Sara.

ROY’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
1. White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan (Third Man/V2): The Great (Red and) White Hopes for a beleaguered rock nation, the only group out there that can bridge the gap between the old and the new, and just maybe fill stadiums in the future.

2. Coldplay, X&Y (Capitol): Quibble all you want, but they were the biggest rock act of the year, and through three albums, are way ahead of where their closest competition U2 was at a similar stage of their career. The most lushly melodic pop hooks this side of the Beatles.

3. Beck, Guero (Interscope): Still the smartest kid on the block, his multiculti stew marks a welcome return to the Dust Brothers fold, and the best Latin-L.A. musical mix-cegeny this side of Ry Cooder’s similarly themed Chavez Ravine.

4. Kanye West, Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJ): He may well be just the new P. Diddy, but West’s politicized, self-confident hip-hop is a welcome progression from gangsta rap, and despite his boast he never finished college, even addressing the issue is a step in the right direction. Extra points for collaborating with Jon Brion and freaking Mike Myers out on live TV with his anti-Bush blurt.

5. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (Epic): Comparing the leaked Internet files with the subsequent “authorized” version tells you all you need to know about how commerce affects art in pop, and it’s not all as negatively as you might think. The year’s most compelling female artist is one of the few capable of appealing to both pop and hip-hop fans.

6. Spoon, Gimme Fiction (Merge Records): Along with Sufjan Stevens, this is the most impressive indie effort of the year, as singer/songwriter Britt Daniel takes out his bitterness with a nose-thumbing collection of sweet and sour pop that channels John Lennon and Prince.

7. Gorillaz, Demon Days, (Parlophone/Virgin): The white hip-hop album of the year, and the savviest example of viral marketing. Kudos to Damon Albarn for creating rock’s greatest cartoon band of all time and enlisting De La Soul and Danger Mouse to create the year’s catchiest single, “Feel Good Inc.”

8. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty Records): Cult artist of the year creates concept album of the year, and I don’t even mind that he’s a pronounced Christian. “Chicago” is everything Pitchfork Media says it is and more, a moving elegy in the spirit of Brian Wilson and Paul Simon that also evokes American avant-classical composers such as Charles Ives, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams.

9. Kaiser Chiefs, Employment (Universal Records): Along with the Go! Team, my favorite new British pop band of the year, both more tuneful and livelier than Franz Ferdinand, with an anything-goes stage presence that aims to grab you by the throat. Whether they turn out to be the next Kinks or Squeeze…or Frankie Goes to Hollywood—is up to you, the consumer.

10. 50 Cent, The Massacre (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope): Say what you want about his laconic, minimal rapping style and lack of charisma, the man has his pulse on the current zeitgeist, though, after the desultory performance of his debut film, he just may have peaked like his buddy Em.

SECOND 10: The Mars Volta, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen (Devils and Dust), Bob Dylan (No Direction Home soundtrack), My Morning Jacket, The Go! Team, Bright Eyes (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning/Digital Ash in a Digital Urn), System of a Down (Mesmerize/Hypnotize), Nellie McKay, Coheed & Cambria

HONORABLE MENTION: Weezer, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Feist, matt pond PA, Ry Cooder, Matisyahu, Bloc Party, Patti Smith (Horses/Horses), Fleshtones

BUD’S SOUNDTRACK OF 2005 IN TWO VOLUMES
Vol. 1
Brighter Than Sunshine
1.   Beck, “Scarecrow”
2.   Coldplay, “Speed of Sound”
3.   LCD Soundsystem, “Daft Punk Is Playing at My
      House"
4.   Spoon, “My Mathematical Mind”
5.   The White Stripes, “My Doorbell”
6.   The Arcade Fire, “Rebellion (Lies)”
7.   Gorillaz, “Feel Good Inc.”
8.    Fiona Apple, “O’ Sailor”
9.    Tom Petty, “Square One”
10.  Beck, “Earthquake Weather”
11.  Aqualung, “Brighter Than Sunshine”
12.  Death Cab for Cutie, “Summer Skin”
13.  The Rolling Stones, “Rain Fall Down”
14.  The Arcade Fire, “Cold Wind”
15.  Matt pond PA, “Halloween”
16.  Aimee Mann, “Beautiful”
17.  Coldplay, “Fix You”
18.  Neil Young, “The Painter”

Vol. 2
Going Through the Motions
1.    Spoon, “I Turn My Camera On”
2.    Beck, “E-Pro”
3.    Coldplay, “Talk”
4.    Ben Lee, “Catch My Disease”
5.    Aimee Mann, “Going Through the Motions”
6.    The Rolling Stones, “Rough Justice”
7.    My Morning Jacket, “Wordless Chorus”
8.    Hot Hot Heat, “Middle of Nowhere”
9.    Beck, “Black Tambourine”
10.  Death Cab for Cutie, “Soul Meets Body”
11.  The Magic Numbers, “Love Me Like You”
12.  The Go-Betweens, “Here Comes a City”
13.  The Arcade Fire & David Bowie, “Wake Up” (live)
14.  Spoon, “My First Time Volume 3
15.  Green Day, “Wake Me When September Ends”
16.  Wilco, “Jesus Etc.”
17.  Neil Young, “It’s a Dream”
18.  Beck remixed by Air, “Heaven Hammer” [“Missing”]
19.  Ryan Adams, “Blue Sky Blues”

LENNY’S TOP NINE HIGHLIGHTS TO CATCH UP ON
1. KT Tunstall: Irish songstress may be the best new artist going right now; be sure to find out about her before your friends do.

2. Southland: Somewhat Steely Dan, part Wilco and fresh and catchy as can be. This indie release is starting to make some noise on the non-comm and Triple-A level.

3. Six Feet Under soundtrack: Highlighted by the Sia tune that closed the final episode, as well as exclusive tracks from Arcade Fire and Interpol, this eclectic mix is a perfect companion to what will be considered one of the all-time best on the small screen.

4. Coheed & Cambria: It would take up too much space to write the entire title to their latest rock opus. All we can say is, listen and enjoy. This one is awesome.

5. Ray Charles, Pure Genius The Complete Atlantic Recordings 1952-59: Thanks to David Dorn and the repackaging team at Warner Special Markets; this seven-CD-plus-DVD box set could be the most complete and well-presented musically retrospective ever.

6. Bloc Party: Saw them at the 94.9 SD show after listening to their album for the past six months. While the label has been unsuccessful to date in breaking them in the U.S. (shame on you, Lyor, Craig and Julie), this band is for real onstage as well as on record, and the cheering crowds support our belief. A must-see and must-hear band.

7. Paul McCartney, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard: His new album is surprisingly good and exceptionally catchy. Like a Beatles album, it improves with each listening. And the live show is amazing.

8. Damian Marley: This musical legacy has taken his reggae heritage and spun it into a modern sound. A must-listen.

9. Morningwood: A band with a female lead singer that's making inroads at Alternative radio. Need I say more? You just gotta check it out to be in the know.

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