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Our Writers Picks of 2005

Best Album: King's X - Ogre Tones
Best New Artist: Eisley
Best Record: Foo Fighters - The Last Song
Worst Record: Black Eyed Peas - My Humps

1. King's X - Ogre Tones
2. Traindodge - Under Black Sails
3. Frank Hart - Human Liturgy
4. Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
5. Eisley - Room Noises
6. Porcupine Tree - Deadwing
7. dUg Pinnick - Emotional Animal
8. Shooglenifty - Radical Mestizo
9. Stream of Passion - Embrace the Storm
10. Neal Morse - ?

Honorable Mention:
James LaBrie - Elements of Persuasion
Opeth - Ghost Reveries
Audioslave - Out of Exile 

Dan Singleton

My top 10 albums in no particular order- 

Sufjan Stevens- Illinois  (High critical acclaim, one of THE top albums of the year regardless of secular or CCM context.) 
Neal Morse- ? 
The Choir- O How the Mighty have Fallen
Over the Rhine- Drunkards Prayer
As I Lay Dying - Shadows are Security
The Afters - I Wish We All Could Win (Again a ton of secular acclaim and MTV play time.) 
Hello Kelly - The Modern Day Fades Away
John Davis- John Davis 
Eisley - Room Noises

And drum roll please the odd album of the year that few have heard of by a Jewish Reggae guy:

Matisyaho- Live at Stubbs (Music is rather spiritual and uplifting.)

Rob Blake 

Ten best of 2005:
1 -- Sufjan Stevens - Illiniois
2 -- The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday
3 -- Ladytron - Witching Hour
4 -- Starflyer 59 - Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
5 -- Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
6 -- Delirious? - The Mission Bell
7 -- Castanets - First Light's Freeze
8 -- The Choir - O How the Mighty Have Fallen
9 -- Headphones - Headphones
10 -- Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

Honorable Mentions:
Bleach - Farewell Old Friends
Joy Electric - The Ministry of Archers

Most Disappointing in 2005:
Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound

Most Anticipated in 2006:
Matt Death and The New Intellectuals - Death On Pacific
Joy Electric - The Memory of Alpha
The Listening - The Listening

Jonathan Avants 

Album of the Year: Glen Phillips, Winter Pays for Summer. I keep coming back
to this album over and over. It may not be his best collection of songs, but
every one of them hits me in a different way emotionally. Much like his
previous work with toad the wet sprocket's "fear", it portrays where I'm at
in my life right now. Glen's lyrics have always resonated with me, and this
disc is no exception.

2. King's X, Ogre Tones. Not quite up to the level of Gretchen Goes to
Nebraska, or their self-titled disc, but still the best thing they've done
in at least five years.

3. Mary Gauthier, Mercy Now. From my review at the Phantom Tollbooth: "Mercy
Now pulls no punches, gives no ground, and is unforgiving in the manner in
which it assails your conscience. Like a Steinbeck novel, it sees the beauty
in pain, offers no happy endings, and meets life face to face. Sometimes a
little reality can be a good thing."

4. Sara Groves, Add to the Beauty. One of the best CCM artists there is. She
just gets it.

5. Derek Webb, Mockingbird. No artist has grown on me more in the last three
years. Hard hitting lyrics that address the wrongs in the church without a
holier than thou attitude.

6. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Cold Roses. Lost Highway Records had a very
good year, quality-wise. My favorite of Adams' multiple 2005 releases.
"Magnolia Mountain" is a classic.

7. Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die? A somewhat darker album in tone,
but another disc that proves these are some of the most talented musicians

8. Hothouse Flowers, Into Your Heart. Comeback of the year. Hopefully it
won't be ten years until their next album. "Your Love Goes On" is an amazing

9. The Myriad, You Can't Trust a Ladder. Part Coldplay, part U2, part Bleu.
Best artist I had never heard before in 2005.

10. Riviera, At the End of the American Century... Indie kids from Chicago
who have a plethora of 70's influences. Think americana fused with the
Rolling Stones, fronted by George Harrison and Neil Young trading vocals.

11. Over the Rhine, Drunkard's Prayer
12. Bill Mallonee, Friendly Fire
13. dUg Pinnick, Emotional Animal
14. Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman
15. Matt Patrick, Time Flies (probably would be higher if released earlier)
16. Shaun Groves, White Flag
17. Dick Prall, Fizzlebuzzie
18. Jason Gay, The Better Part of Me
19. Neil Young, Prairie Wind
20. Todd Agnew, Reflection of Something

Brian A. Smith

Top 10 albums of 2005 (Greg Adams)

1. The Listening The Listening LP / The Blackstones The Legend of Simon Peter (tie)
2. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Howl
3. The Violet Burning The Loudest Sound In My Heart
4. Glen Phillips Winter Pays For Summer
5. Eisley Room Noises
6. Mae The Everglow
7. Starflyer 59 Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
8. Coldplay X&Y
9. Heaphones S/T
10. Weezer Make Believe

Top reissues of 2005:
1. LSU Dogfish Jones (Retroactive Records)
2. Starflyer 59 Silver [Extended Edition] (Tooth & Nail)

Top Music DVDs of 2005:
1. U2 Vertigo 2005 // Live from Chicago
2. The Violet Burning The Loudest Sound In My Heart
3. Bleach Visual portion of their 2-disc greatest hits set (Man, Iím gonna
miss those guys!)
4. Violent Femmes Permanent Record: Live & Otherwise

Greg Adams

My top 11 (actually 12) albums for 2005 (not in any order):

    * Over the Rhine - "Drunkard's Prayer" 
    * Bill Mallonee - "Friendly Fire"/"Hit And Run"
    * Bruce Springsteen - "Devils & Dust"
    * Black 47 - "Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes" 
    * Son Volt - "Okemah and the Melody of Riot" 
    * King's X - "Ogre Tones"
    * Charlie Sexton - "Cruel and Gentle Things" 
    * Neil Young - "Prairie Wind"
    * Nanci Griffith - "Hearts In Mind"
    * Kate Campbell - "Blues and Lamentations"
    * Stryper - "Reborn"

Honorable mention:

    * Blue Rodeo - "Are You Ready?"
    * Great Big Sea - "The Hard and the Easy"
    * Cowboy Junkies - "Early 21st Century Blues"
    * David Gray - "Life In Slow Motion"
    * Glen Phillips - "Winter Pays For Summer"
    * Doug Pinnick - "Emotional Animal"
    * The Proclaimers - "Restless Soul"
    * Nickel Creek - "Why Should The Fire Die?"

Chris Barlow 

Top 10 Albums

1. Neal Morse - ?
2. John Davis - John Davis (John also gets the award for best Christmas song for his contribution to Happy Christmas, Vol 4)
3. The Listening - The Listening LP
4. The Mighty Jeremiahs - The Mighty Jeremiahs
5. Dream Theater - Octavarium
6. Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret
7. Thousand Foot Krutch - The Art of Breaking
8. David Crowder Band - A Collision
9. Demon Hunter - The Tryptych
10.  The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute

Best Box Set:  Tales of the Ramones

Best Reissues:  Starflyer 59 Silver/Gold, The Move - Message from the Country, The Syn - Original Syn

Best Christmas CD:  Happy Christmas Volume 4

Best Concert Video:  Jimi Hendrix @ Woodstock, Yellow Matter Custard

Biggest Hyped Group/CD of '05:  Coldplay - X & Y 

Barry Nothstine

Ginny Owens "Long Way Home"
Chris Rice "Amusing"
Audio A "Until My Heart Caves In"
Superchick "Beauty From Pain"
Shane and Shane "An Evening With Shane & Shane"
Third Day "Wherever You Are"
Jars Of Clay "Redemption Songs"
Casting Crowns "Lifesong"
Shaun Groves "White Flag"
Derek Webb "Mockingbird"

Honorable Mention (In no particular order):
Sarah Brendel "Sarah Brendel" New Artist to Watch
Joy Williams "Genesis"
David Crowder Band "A Collision"
Reuben Morgan "World Through Your Eyes"
Paul Colman "Let It Go" 

Independent Artists to Watch:
Carolyn Arends
Tara Leigh Cobble 
Kendall Payne 

Burton Wray 


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