Even though it’s Jan. 4, everyone is still winding up ’05 with their “best of” lists, which seem to be going on and on and on. I considered doing a compendium of all these lists, coming up with the most common 10 amongst them. But that’s way too much work. I have, however, read all of them and if I were to have compiled something, the list would probably have included Sleater-Kinney (I’m still not hearing it), MIA, My Morning Jacket (an album that gets better and better), Kanye West (accepted by the indie elite), The Hold Steady (I haven’t heard a lick from this), Beck (which actually made my list), Antony and the Johnsons (Try as I might, I can’t get over the Tiny Tim thing), New Pornographers (more retro pop), The White Stripes (pure novelty)…
And, of course, Bright Eyes. But one of the more talked-about surprises around town was how the Wide Awake not only didn’t make it onto the coveted top-10 from Pitchfork (easily the most important online music ‘zine in the indie universe), but also how no Saddle Creek releases were mentioned on their list, either. Was it an oversight? Unlikely. Pitchfork, along with most of the above-ground press, threw bouquets at Wide Awake when it was released last January along with Digital Ash. Back then it seemed ambitious to the point of bravado for Oberst to release two full-lengths simultaneously — and it was. A year later and Bright Eyes seems to have been pushed off Pitchfork‘s cool-kids’ bus along with the rest of the Creekers, replaced by Wolf Parade (good, but Arcade Fire did it better), LCD Soundsystem (very 2002, guys), Sufjan Stevens (who deserves the coveted back seat with the rest of the rowdies) and the usual clutter of obscurities (Cam’ron, anyone?).
In some ways, it feels like Bright Eyes is being treated (by some) with the same disdain meted out to bands that have bolted to major labels. Death Cab for Cutie comes to mind (though DCFC’s latest album does sound like it was pasteurized for radio play by order of the Suits in Charge). Say what you will about his music, Oberst has never sold out despite the fact that his popularity and visibility continue to be on the rise.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be posting the second-to-last “year-end” related piece on my site — this week’s column, which lays down a suggestion for all of us in ’06.
One suggestion that’s sure to please in ’06 is entering the drawing to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2005 Compilation CD. Just lift your weary fingers and type an e-mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and mailing address and you’ll be dropped into the hat. Tracks include songs by Of Montreal, Eagle*Seagull, Iron & Wine, Mercy Rule, Teenage Fanclub, Okkervil River, Sufjan Stevens, Maria Taylor, Orenda Fink and more. Details and track order are right here. Enter right now! Deadline is January 16.
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