The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

December 29, 2005

Record review of 2005, part 4: Special awards

Before my favourite records of this year are finally revealed, I am dishing out some special awards to those who really deserve them.

Mittelpunkt der WeltBest Lyrics Throughout an Entire Album
Element of Crime: Mittelpunkt der Welt. Considering how awful most German song lyrics are, it is barely believable that the award for best lyrics should go to a German record, but Sven Regener, singer and lyricist of Element of Crime and recently also acclaimed novelist, has clearly outdone himself. Even when they wallow in sentiment, his lyrics stay clear of kitsch; throughout the entire album, they're intelligent and touching and always feel genuine. A rare feat.

Still Feel GoneBest Neil Young Song Not Written Or Sung By Neil Young
Uncle Tupelo: "Looking for a way out". Sorry for overlooking this little gem for so long. I know this came out 14 years ago, but I only came across it this year. Uncle Tupelo's Still Feel Gone is a strange album that is full of songs that let the band's influences shine through only too obviously: a couple of songs seem to be stolen right off R.E.M's Out of Time, also released that year. "Looking for a way out" is very obviously a heavy nod to Neil Young, but what a great one. It's almost like the song that Young never managed to write, and you can see in it the foundations for Jeff Tweedy's later songs that came to full fruition on Wilco's A Ghost Is Born.

The Best Party EverCutest Album Cover of the Year
The Boy Least Likely To: The Best Party Ever. Infantilists rejoice: here is a perfectly cute album wrapped inside a perfectly cute album cover, and it's still intelligent enough not to make you feel all dumb. A touch of Belle and Sebastian perhaps, but who the heck cares with a cover like this?

You Could Have ItMost Overhyped And Overrated Album of the Year
Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have It So Much Better. I'm not surprised that this album sold so well, because bad albums usually do. I'm more surprised that even discerning record critics liked this lame excuse for playing the same song thirteen times and then release it as an album.

Kidnapped by NeptuneMost Abrasive Female Singing Since PJ Harvey's Rid of Me
Scout Niblett: Kidnapped By Neptune. This is not an easy album, nor is it an album that you are ever going to really like, but it's a pretty good one. You never quite know whether Scout Niblett is really such a twisted, tormented personality or whether it's just part of her act, and that puts her firmly in the ranks of scary female singers. Although it's obvious why she is often compared to PJ Harvey and Cat Power, she brings in enough original style and madness to make this an original, if totally spooky record.

A Ghost Is BornBest Neu!/Byrds Crossover Song So Far
Wilco: "Spiders (Kidsmoke)". The rhythm pattern is stolen from krautrockers Neu!, the guitar solos could be right out of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High"; both elements and an instrumental chorus (I love those!) are amalgamated into one of the most hypnotic 10-minute songs recorded in the past decade. You either love this or you hate it, but you'll always treat a song like this with respect.

Posted by Horst on December 29, 2005 09:05 AM to reviews | Tell-a-friend

The Cartoonist said on December 29, 2005 02:27 PM:

Hallogallo. :-)

Juha Haataja said on December 30, 2005 10:33 AM:

Good point that bad albums usually sell well. I have been
flip-flopping about Franz Ferdinand. Is it any good? Is it bad? But definetely it could have been so much better.

whittler said on January 1, 2006 05:02 PM:

I recommend getting "Anodyne" if you like Uncle Tupelo. One of my favourite ever albums.

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