Saturday, December 31, 2005

Fave Songs Of 2005

Well, the year 2005 has almost passed us by, and it's a good time to look back at the songs that have rocked our world for the past 12 months. The songs listed below are by no means the best songs released in 2005. Indeed, how do you even measure what's the best? Is there a thing such as the best?

Personally, I prefer the term "favourite" as it simply means that these are the songs that have struck a chord with you and when you look back on 2005 say, five years down the road, these are the songs that you remember 2005 by.

As it is, it is impossible to listen to every song being released by every artiste in the year. Unless you work in a radio station, that would be near impossible. So what is reflected in this list is merely a selection of songs that I have chanced upon and made an impression on me. Without further ado, here they are in no order of merit:

1. Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
This is a totally unexpected choice as I didn't think that a song by an American Idol winner would make it to the list. But this is really Ms Clarkson's finest moment so far since winning the first season of Idol. She has proven to be a stayer and has quite a few hit singles under her belt already, namely Breakaway, The Trouble With Love Is, Behind These Hazel Eyes and her latest hit Because Of You. She has the pipes and she has proved she's more than just a fad. Let's give her credit where it's due.

2. Cool by Gwen Stefani
I have liked Gwen since her No Doubt days and I was really pleased she managed to be successful on her first solo outing as well. It's a toss up between Hollaback Girl and Cool really. Indeed, Hollaback Girl is one of the best tracks of the year. Its beats and chorus lyrics are nothing short of inventive, but like I said, this is a list of my favourite songs, and Cool stands out for its simple yet touching lyrics, as well as its synth pop sound.

3. The Hand That Feeds by Nine Inch Nails
I've never heard any of NIN's songs before this, and I had no idea how large a cult following they had. Apparently, With Teeth (from which The Hand That Feeds is culled from) is their most accessible album to date. This track really opened NIN to a whole new audience and it is one of the best tracks of the year. It's hard to think of metal songs as dancy, yet THTF is certainly one song that makes you wanna dance. It's all the more remarkable considering that Trent Razor delivers a harrowing perfomance here, never losing his intensity and really meaning it when he asks "Will you bite the hand that feeds you? Will you stay down on your knees?"

4. Virginia Moon by Foo Fighters & Norah Jones
While this track is not released as a single, it deserves a place on this list for being so out of the blue and surpassing all expectations. When word got out that the Foos would be collaborating with Norah Jones, everyone wondered what the song would sound like. The two artistes were so dissimilar and no one knew what to expect. But when I heard it for the first time, I was blown away. It is one of the few songs that I immediately like it the first time I hear it. Trust me, there aren't many songs that make me feel this way. If you haven't heard it yet, go listen to it. You won't regret it.

5. Shake It Off by Mariah Carey
While most people would remember Mariah in 2005 for her mega hit We Belong Together, I for one would remember Shake It Off more. The former is undoubtedly a solid track and Mariah deserves all her Grammy nominations for it, but Shake It Off's offbeat rhythms really made me sit up and take a second listen. The staccato "Ooh ooh"s and "Shake, shake, shake shake shake it off"s were creative and provided something new. And Jermaine Dupri is really a super producer I tell you.

6. Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
The best Green Day song from the American Idiot album. The guitar riff is simple yet unforgettable. And I really loved the bells accompaniment. Billie Armstrong's vocal delivery is just right, conveying the right amount of emotion and proving that he can sing more than just punk.

7. Little Sister by Queens Of The Stone Age
This is probably the most obscure song on the list, as QOTSA have never been very mainstream to start with. Coming off the heels of its 2002 breakthrough album Songs For The Deaf, Little Sister was the first single off the Lullabies To Paralyze album. It wasn't a significant departure from the Deaf album and it bridged the two albums perfectly. The track is characterised by the super offbeat rhythms that only QOTSA can pull off. There's also the quirky guitar solo towards the end that brings the track to its climax. Top class.

8. Lose Control by Missy Elliott feauring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop
Missy is always known for her weird beats and even weirder videos, and she somehow manages to top herself each time, which is pretty amazing. She has learnt enough from uber producer Timbaland and handled the reins this time round, and the result is one of the hottest tracks of 2005 that's cool and super dancy.

9. An Honest Mistake by The Bravery
The success of Franz Ferdinand has spawned copycat acts like The Killers, My Chemical Romance and also The Bravery. Dance rock is the next big thing and I don't really know how to categorise their sounds anymore. Is it dance rock? Pop rock? Neo rock? It's hard to say. But it's the direction that many bands are going these days and only time will tell if it is a fad. But An Honest Mistake is as good as it gets, so enjoy it while it lasts.

10. Hung Up by Madonna
You have to give it to Madonna for reinventing herself and keeping herself relevant in the ever-changing face of pop music. Popular music has been dominated by hip-hop for so long, and it's always good to have a good pop tune every once in a while. While not terribly original (it samples ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme), it does contain enough groove to make you get on the dance floor. If only we can move our ass like Maddy can.

11. Technologic by Daft Punk
This is an odd one, really. It's part techno, part trance. The result is a cute yet heavyweight dance number that defies all expectations of dance music.

12. Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz featuring De La Soul
I didn't really like this song when it was released but I admit it's a grower. The Gorillaz know how to have fun, and they make it sound so effortless that you can't help but go for a ride as well.

13. The Importance Of Being Idle by Oasis
I almost forgot to include this song in this list, without which would have been criminal. The finest song Oasis has crafted since Champagne Supernova, this one arrived totally unexpected and was a deserving number one hit for the lads. Featuring a falsetto performance by Noel Gallagher, it was outstanding in vocal delivery as well as its musical arrangement. I particularly loved the triplets rhythms and the keyboard sounds. Will be looking forward hearing this song when Oasis performs live in February in Singapore.


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