Matthew's Top 20 Albums Of 2005

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Postby matthew_dixon » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:17 pm

Okay - I have four days off work, two this week, two next week. In those four days and those four days only, I'm going to go through my top 20 albums of the year. Five of them a day!

It's going to be essentially based on the albums I've bought (or been given) this year. However, there's a few honourable mentions. The red and blue "Best Of" CDs by the Beatles were given to me on my birthday. I can't really call them albums of "this year" though. Therefore, I've left them out.

Narrowly missing out are the new albums from favourites of mine TQ and Lonestar, plus Daniel Powter's album, the Best of the Bangles and 2 CDs of Best of Gilbert and Sullivan.

So - stand by for the first 5.
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Postby matthew_dixon » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:46 pm

20. Athlete - Tourist
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Back in 2002/3, I absolutely LOVED "Vehicles and Animals", and so the comeback of Athlete was eagerly awaited this year. Sadly, it just wasn't quite as good as it could have been. The singles ain't up to their best, but they're the best tracks on a rather disappointing package. Still, enough to make my top 20 of the year though.

Top 3 tracks
1. Wires
2. Half Light
3. Twenty Four Hours

19. Klara Kormendi - Debussy: Piano Music
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Claude Debussy would have to rank as one of my favourite composers. He has the ability to take an image of a situation into his head and convert it into music. Probably my favourite piano piece by Debussy would have to be the "Gollywog's Cakewalk", which I learnt for my A-level, however unfortunately that's not on this CD (indeed it would be totally out of place on such a relaxing CD). Still, some great Debussy on this CD by a great pianist. Sadly, I struggled to find a decent picture of this one.

Top 3 Tracks
1. No. 6 Des pas sur la neige: Triste et lent (from Preludes I)
2. Clair de lune: Andante tres expressif (from Suite bergamasque)
3. No. 6 General Lavine: dans la style et le mouvement d'un Cake-Walk (from Preludes II)

18. Goldie Lookin' Chain - Safe As F***
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Never let ANYONE say I don't have a diverse music taste! About the only chart you'll see ever to contain Claude Debussy and Goldie Lookin' Chain next to one another this one! Well the Newport rap possee came back this year with another set of great fun rap tunes. Not much more to say than that really - some great singles released from it, and one other obvious one still to release

Top 3 Tracks
1. Your Missus Is A Nutter
2. R'n'B
3. Charmschool

17. The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell ... And Back
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Whilst the Athlete comeback might have been majorly disappointing, the Darkness's one was only a minor disappointment. True, they could have done better, but it's basically more of the same from a great rock band. It's somewhat of a grower on me this album, didn't like it at first THAT much, but it's really starting to show its fruit now

Top 3 Tracks
1. One Way Ticket
2. Hazel Eyes
3. Girlfriend

16. Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
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Aye, now this was a genuinely nice album this. Old Macca has had his classics for many many years now, and some of the stuff on here, whilst somewhat more mature sounding, is up there with his best. So yeah, all in all a good album. Oh, and "English Tea" is definitely the first of a number of tracks I wish to highlight as this chart goes on. It would be safely in my top 40 of the year (probably top 20) if it had only been released as a single!

Top 3 Tracks
1. English Tea
2. Fine Line
3. Jenny Wren
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Postby Cornholio » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:35 pm

I admit that a Top 20 Album chart from you is topclass, but I admit also that there are some of them I just don't listen because they're not my type. This are the albums from this lot, that I've listened this year and I liked :lol: :
20. Athlete - Tourist (Just like you, "Wires" is the best song of this album :wink: )
18. Goldie Lookin' Chain - Safe As F*** (The previous album was better, but from this album I liked "R&B" and "Paranoia" :lol: )
17. The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell ... And Back (this is an album I listened view that are the Darkness...It's quite new so I can't express a critic oppinion, but I don't find it that good like the first one)
xox.
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Postby matthew_dixon » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:29 am

Well at least I had a fair few views - even if I had only one reply! Cheers Alan!

On with another five...

15. Karl Jenkins - Requiem
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Only one person has two entries in this top 20, and that is the musical genius that is Karl Jenkins. So, first up, it's his requiem, a piece with all the originality of Karl's work, and with all the power and emotion of a great requiem. The CD itself includes the work "In These Stones Horizons Sing" as well, composed to celebrate the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre - a venue that is truly magnificent (saw Miss Saigon there in the summer, tis a truly marvellous venue). All in all quite simply great music.

Top 3 Tracks
1. In These Stones Horizons Sing
2. Dies Irae
3. Pie Jesu

14. El Presidente - El Presidente
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El Presidente would have to rank as one of my favourite new bands of the year, and so their debut album release (which only happened just a couple of weeks ago) was a LONG awaited affair! Needless to say, the album is truly fantastic, and whilst their top 40 debut is far and above the best track on it, the others are still truly amazing songs.

Top 3 Tracks
1. 100mph
2. Rocket
3. If You Say You Love Me

13. Roxette - The Pop Hits
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After George Grybop here on UKMIX did a survivor of Roxette songs, I started thinking that I did like a fair few of their songs. When I got the greatest hits albums, I realised just HOW great they were. A load of truly fantastic pop music, and whilst I have to be a little harsh on greatest hits packages rather than just basing them on how great all the songs are on them (let's face it the songs should be bloody fantastic!) the Roxette packages have been amongst my greatest purchases of the year. However, top 3 tracks on such things are going to be a nightmare!

Top 3 Tracks
1. How Do You Do!
2. The Big L
3. Joyride

12. Erasure - Hits! The Very Best Of Erasure
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I can't remember what it was that made me buy this album - looking at the sticker on the cover I'm sure the sale it was in must have been part of the reason. Again, I knew that I quite liked Erasure's material, but it was only when I got this album that I realised just HOW great their music was! On my all time chart, I believe there was only a couple of Erasure songs in my top 1000. After hearing this, a number of their hits would be quite a bit higher.

Top 3 tracks
1. Love To Hate You
2. Stop!
3. A Little Respect

11. G4 - G4
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Last of this batch then, and it's X Factor runners up G4. I know many will disagree with me, but for me, G4 have great voices and do really great versions of every song they try. What is even greater about this album however is that first of all they've taken on some big opera numbers (like Nessun Dorma and the Flower Duet for example) and put them alongside no less than THREE of my all time chart top 10! :o Those guys really know my taste in music! I'm just waiting for the surely fantastic cover of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" that they could do (yeah, I don't think even they could manage "National Express" :lol: )

Top 3 Tracks
1. Bohemian Rhapsody
2. Nessun Dorma
3. Everybody Hurts
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Postby steophonic » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:36 pm

So far there is only one album I know - the Athlete one, and I'm pleased at it's inclusion. Landed at a similar position in my own chart.
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Postby Terence » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:54 pm

You can never go wrong with Roxette and Erasure's hits collection! I hope the El Presidente one is as good as the singles make it seem like!
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Postby Cornholio » Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:42 pm

I agree about the El Presidente single... They really are a promising band. From this lot, a big wooo for Erasure and Roxette. From Erasure I love also "Love To Hate You", but from Roxette my fave remains "Joyride" :P xox.
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Postby king_oxymoron » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:57 pm

Agreed with Ste, just Athlete so far I like!
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Postby matthew_dixon » Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:50 pm

10. Adiemus - The Essential Adiemus
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Back this time last year, I was incredibly jealous when I found out a good friend of mine had found tickets to see Adiemus playing live at the Millennium Centre (which had apparently been sold out for ages) on what would be the choir's last ever tour. Anyway, it's rather odd with me being such a big fan of Karl Jenkins's work - particularly with Adiemus - that I only ever bought any of my own Adiemus music this year, and even then it was only "The Essential Adiemus". I thought this would be the best place to start, but in all honesty, I'd have been better forgetting this and buying the first two albums instead. Don't get me wrong, this is a great package and highlights all the greatest Adiemus moments, but there's still some things lacking in it. Probably most glaringly are the fact that two of my favourite tracks by the group have been butchered into "radio edit" versions of about half their original length. So yeah, Adiemus have made some great music, but I have to say that this album is ever so slightly let down by its commerciality.

Top 5 Tracks
1. Adiemus
2. Cantilena
3. Song Of The Plains
4. Song Of The Trinity
5. Corrente

9. Killers - Hot Fuss
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It might have been released in 2004, but it was only this year I bought what has to be one of the greatest defining rock albums of the decade so far. Quite simply this is full of great songs. Indeed, there's a number of great album tracks that never even made it to be singles (like "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine", "Glamorous Indie Rock'n'Roll" and "Everybody Will Be Alright") Sadly they released one of the weaker tracks from it this year (in "Smile Like You Mean It") but I bought it after "Somebody Told Me" had followed the phenomenal "All These Things That I Have Done" and it's a truly fantastic package.

Top 5 Tracks
All These Things That I Have Done
Glamorous Indie Rock 'n' Roll
Somebody Told Me
Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
Everything Will Be Alright

8. Bee Gees - Number Ones
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Well I certainly hope no-one can argue with the number ones of the Bee Gees! Again, released in 2004, but I only bought it this year, and what a great album it is. The Bee Gees never were one of my favourite acts, well until I got this package and realised just HOW many classic songs the brothers did. From "Massachusetts" at the start, through the beautiful "Words" and "I Started A Joke", on through the disco classics of "Jive Talkin'" and "Stayin' Alive", and on to the pop classics of "Tragedy" and "You Win Again", this album is just solid gold all the way through. Makes it seem rather odd as to why I've not played it more than I have done, and why I actually only really bought it for one track!

Top 5 Tracks (oh you're kidding me! Argh!)
1. You Win Again
2. Massachusetts
3. Tragedy
4. I Started A Joke
5. Night Fever
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Postby jszmiles » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:29 pm

Gosh - I know only 2 of those: Adiemus and Roxette :)
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Postby Terence » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:04 pm

That Bee Gees one is amazing by nature. I'm intrigued to check some Adiemus stuff out, as I do like that kind of music a lot!
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Postby jszmiles » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:17 pm

jlo17 wrote:That Bee Gees one is amazing by nature. I'm intrigued to check some Adiemus stuff out, as I do like that kind of music a lot!
Heh Adiemus is classic chill-out music like Enigma, Enya, Vangelis...
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Postby Grybop » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:58 pm

Huge woo for Erasure, the Bee Gees and Roxette!
A little meh for the Darkness.
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Postby pepster » Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:42 pm

These are 3 excellent albums matthew :)

13. Roxette - The Pop Hits
12. Erasure - Hits! The Very Best Of Erasure
8. Bee Gees - Number Ones
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Postby matthew_dixon » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:30 pm

7. Rooster - Rooster
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At the back end of 2004, we were presented with a band being dubbed "the new Aerosmith". John got very excited. However, before too long we realised what we were actually being presented with was "the new Bon Jovi" and suddenly John lost interest. Not me though - this band have just gone from strength to strength over the past 15 months, releasing gem after gem from a pretty much flawless album. Containing four singles all of which made my top 40 of their respective years and some equally brilliant album highlights like opening track "Joyride", this album could be accused of all sounding roughly the same, but that's the sound of Rooster, I guess. Some incredibly beaeutiful and powerful rock songs here, even if the majority of them are firmly on the soft rock end of the genre.

Top 5 Tracks
1. Deep and Meaningless
2. Come Get Some
3. Staring At The Sun
4. Joyride
5. You're So Right For Me

6. Roxette - The Ballad Hits
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Whilst we've already visited Roxette in upbeat pop music mode, the side of Roxette that really touched me this year is their ballads. The album is full of songs about being crazy for someone who doesn't feel the same way, with songs of break-up mixed in with them. It's hardly the most enjoyable listen, but if you're feeling a bit down, then maybe listening to this album will give you some comfort, or maybe it just makes things worse, I'm not sure, but I've listened to it a lot since I bought it in summer anyway. The obvious highlight of the album is "It Must Have Been Love", a song which whenever I listen to it I think back to when it was out and living with an au-pair who was a huge Roxette fan and used it as a breakup song. It's a track which I've loved for years, but for my top tracks from this album, I've got to go on how much I've been wanting to listen to the tracks this year. My personal song from this album would have to be "Spending My Time" with its amazing chorus - "I'm spending my time watching the days go by. Feeling so small, I stare at the wall, hoping that you think of me to". Whilst I've not been in that situation TOO much over the course of the year, when I have, I've turned straight to this album and particular to that song.

Top 5 Tracks
1. Spending My Time
2. A Thing About You
3. Milk and Toast and Honey
4. Vulnerable
5. Queen of Rain
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Postby king_oxymoron » Wed Dec 14, 2005 5:43 pm

I'm quite interested in the Rooster album, singles were good! Woo for the Killers too. Don't think Everything Will Be Alright would be a good single, but Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine I agree on!
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Postby steophonic » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:16 pm

I'm glad you got round to purchasing The Killers album. I think I put it at number 2 last year in my chart behind Keane although that probably would have changed to a number one for them now.

Agreed on the excellent Rooster album too - I probably agree with you on the top 5 songs too!
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Postby matthew_dixon » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:19 pm

5. Amsterdam - The Journey
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Back in 2003, I saw the Bluetones live. They were supported by a band called Ricky who were fantastic. Anyway, I've bought everything Ricky have done since, including a double A sided single of "Stop Knocking The Walls Down" together with a track called "The Journey" by a band called Amsterdam.

For some reason I initially wasn't a huge fan, and waited to see how good second single "Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?" was. Suffice to say it was good enough to make me consider buying the album when it came out. Before it came out however, I was able to listen to one more track from the band on an HMV Playlist CD at a listening post - "You're A Phoney". Well, from that moment on, I realised that Amsterdam were a truly great band. I'd love to see them live if they ever came down this way - one of two bands like that in the top 5 - because this album is just full of truly great songs. Still, I guess it only really fits in nicely at No. 5 on my list, because there's been 5 truly stunning albums this year for me.

Top 5 tracks
1. You're A Phoney
2. Takin' On The World
3. The Journey
4. Joe's Kiss
5. Nostalgia

4. Ludovico Einaudi - Stanze
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Wasn't sure whether to include this album or not, but I guess it does deserve a place in this list. My parents have had a copy for a few years now, but at the start of this year, in my bid to put some much needed classical music into my collection, this was the first album I turned to straight away. Ludovico Einaudi might be a composer that few people on here are familiar with, however his chilled classical works are truly sublime. Put this album on and lie down in a darkened room, and you'll be able to think all your cares away in the deepest thought imagineable. Last Christmas I had an incredibly long conversation with my mother in such a situation (as she wasn't that well over New Year) and we really set the world to rights.

The album all flows into one truly marvellous unified piece, and whilst there's different themes in different works on the album, the album as a whole is just simply a fantastic work. Cecilia Chailly who performs the work on the harp puts the most phenomenal expression into it with such perfectly timed paused for reflection in between the beautiful relaxing notes.

Top 5 Tracks (rather meaningless as this album works as a single package but here goes)
1. Notte
2. Moto
3. Cadenza
4. Respiro
5. Vega

3. Farrah - Me Too
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I have never been sent an album to review that is quite as phenomenal as "Me Too" by Farrah. (Well, aside from the Mark Joseph one that I already owned two copies of, but still). What I mean is that my work reviewing albums for UKMIX introduced me to this band, a band that deserved to be truly massive this year, but for some reason have never made it. The only single "Tongue Tied" only seemed to get released via amazon.co.uk and therefore failed to chart entirely, despite it getting enough airplay for a predicted top 40 hit.

The album just has so many different styles on it, opening up with some really fun punk numbers, but then going on into ballads through the middle before returning to some more upbeat stuff at the end.
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Looking at some of the tracks

Tongue Tied / Daytime TV - Two great punk tracks to open up on. Tongue Tied made it as the single, but "Daytime TV" with its humourous take on the world of MTV, Richard and Judy and Jerry Springer and those who sit in all day every day watching them would have been just as great a choice.

He Gives An Inch is a very nice track, with the "She's got him wrapped around her finger now" being a really anthemic bit. Then, it suddenly goes all emotional

Listening to The One That Got Away and This Is My Life was at times difficult to do without crying, they're such emotional songs, and when I got to Hopelessly Devoted, singing along to "What can I say? What can I do? What can I say cause I'm hopelessly devoted to you!" was at times a really rather painful experience, particularly on those occasions when I was feeling a bit down. First and Last continues the same theme but brings you up a bit, before It's Different For Girls - a track I find a lot of truth in - you can never work out the opposite sex, and what you think might be one thing for you is totally different for them.

As for the last four tracks, well things get a lot happier again, with The Last Word being a top notch pop-punk track whilst High and Low is so irreverent and light-hearted, it makes the Beautiful South's lightest moments sound like Radiohead.

Anyway... from all that lot... how on EARTH do I find a top 5 tracks in order? Here goes

Top 5 Tracks
1. Hopelessly Devoted
2. It's Different For Girls
3. First and Last
4. Daytime TV
5. Tongue Tied

When one of my top 14 singles of the year ranks in at a mere 5th, you know how great the other four tracks must be!

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Postby Cornholio » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:34 pm

Much alternative stuff there Matthew... I must say a wooo for Roxette, Adiemus and Killers. The rest of the Top 10 albums, are albums that I did not like this year... xox.
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Postby matthew_dixon » Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:58 pm

2. The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The World... Ever

ImageIt might have one of those incredibly corny "The Best ... Album In The World Ever" titles, but I have to say that this is one of the finest titled albums you could wish for. Anyone who is wishing to start a classical music collection with one package, there's really two routes you can go down - either find something full of really big orchestral works and some of the grandest pieces of music ever written, or alternatively go down the relaxing route with a package like this. There's just track after track of truly phenomenal classical music spread across four CDs.

Amongst the interesting stories of note is the story of an organist who played the piece that opens this package up - "Sheep May Safely Graze" by JS Bach as an introit piece before a wedding. Little did he know the groom was actually a butcher! Sheep may safely graze indeed... well until he decides he wants to make lamb chops out of them! :lol:

Anyway, there's a bit of everything on this package ranging from medieval chants through tudor choral works, several pieces of JS Bach, classical works from the likes of Mozart, epic pieces of Beethoven, a phenomenal array of 19th century music from all sorts of phenomenal composers and some more modern works from the film and musical scores of John Williams, Howard Shore and Andrew Lloyd Webber - plus Karl Jenkins and John Rutter.

Quite frankly, it's pretty much impossible to come up with a "top 5 tracks" or anything that simple, so here's a top 25 in some vague sort of order. They're all amazing though! Felt like putting "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" top as it's advent, and it's such a great advent work!

1. J.S. Bach - Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
2. Satie - Gymnopedie No. 1 (Lent et douloureux)
3. Grieg - Morning (from Peer Gynt)
4. Debussy - Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)
5. Williams - Schindler's List Theme
6. Faure - Pavane
7. Pachelbel - Canon in D
8. J.S. Bach - Sheep May Safely Graze
9. Elgar - Nimrod
10. Beethoven - "Moonlight" Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor: I. Adagio sostenuto
11. J.S. Bach - Zion Hort die Wachter Singen (Sleepers Wake)
12. Satie - Gnossienne No. 1
13. Beethoven - "Pathetique" Sonata Op 13: II Adagio Cantabile
14. Lloyd Webber - Pie Jesu
15. Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on "Greensleeves"
16. Puccini - O Mio Babbino Caro
17. Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "From The New World": II. Largo (opening)
18. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor: II. Adagio Sustenuto
19. Rodrigo - Concierto de Aranjuez: II Adagio (opening)
20. Vivaldi - Guitar Concerto in D
21. Albinoni - Adagio in G Minor
22. Jenkins - Agnus Dei
23. Prizeman - Voca Me
24. J.S. Bach - Air "On The G String"
25. Morricone - Gabriel's Oboe
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Postby Grybop » Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:35 pm

Woo for... Erik Satie!
Gymnopedie #1 is an excellent piece of music.
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Postby matthew_dixon » Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:26 pm

1. James Blunt - Back To Bedlam
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Back in January, a guy called Adam Robson urged me to check out a new singer called James Blunt who had an album out called "Back To Bedlam". I had a listen to clips of the album's tracks in my local Virgin Megastore, and quite frankly, I couldn't see the fuss at all. All it was was a rather bland pop-rock album with little of note to recommend it. Now, quite how I thought that about what is now very safely my favourite and most played album of the whole year by miles, I'll never know!

Every single track on this album has single potential, they're all truly fantastic tracks, and for the album that in the new year will result in my first ever album survivor, this album must be truly fantastic. It deserves every last bit of success it's had and more besides, for being the album that has been the soundtrack to the entire second half of my year. "You're Beautiful" has been the track I've played most on the album - not least because I only bought the album just before going on holiday with my parents, and my mum is a massive fan of the song. However, "Goodbye My Lover" and the truly phenomenal "No Bravery" are also up there at the same truly phenomenal standard. All in all, this is exactly how a brilliant pop album should be, and you'll have to wait and see if one of the two remaining singles from it makes it to be my No. 1 song of the year. 8-)

My top 10 tracks
1. You're Beautiful
2. No Bravery
3. Goodbye My Lover
4. So Long Jimmy
5. High
6. Wisemen
7. Tears and Rain
8. Billy
9. Out Of My Mind
10. Cry
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Postby king_oxymoron » Wed Dec 21, 2005 3:39 pm

I feel honoured to have a namecheck - such an incredible album, this one! Good choice!
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Postby S4BUK » Wed Dec 21, 2005 3:49 pm

Woo go Athlete, Killers and Rooster - all fabulous albums. Blunty's is probably my favourite album of 2005 also, so WOO!
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Postby steophonic » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:21 pm

Fantastic choice as a number one. I have played that album soooooo many times this year and still love it.
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