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Kevin Forest Moreau's Top 10 Albums of 2005

1. My Morning Jacket: Z (ATO/RCA)
Taking more than one abrupt left turn, My Morning Jacket records what is, paradoxically, its defining moment to date, a watershed album that perfectly exemplifies its adventurous spirit.
 
2. Idlewild: Warnings/Promises (Capitol)
Stately, anthemic ballads and snarling rockers from Scotland's most likely entry in the "next U2" sweepstakes. The push and pull between punk-ish stomp and stadium ambition makes for some intriguing moments.
3. Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope)
A dense headphones album of thick, bottom-heavy guitar tones, woolly mammoth grooves, insinuating melodies and -- more importantly -- memorable songs.
 
4. Martha Wainwright: Martha Wainwright (Zoe)
Lush and harrowing, often at the same time, painting vivid lyrical pictures with stirring melodies, Wainwright proves she's not just riding her famous family's coattails.
5. Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine (Sony)
Apple's mercurial public persona is belied by the easy confidence she displays on her (slightly overlong) third album. The ostentatious flourishes of the title track aside, Machine is a winning bit of well-executed art-pop.
 
6. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart (Interscope)
This uneven effort makes the cut less for its whole than for its parts: occasional flashes of fist-pumping prog-rock grandeur.
7. Kanye West: Late Registration (Roc-a-Fella)
West's braggadocio, however earned, and his penchant for shooting off at the mouth can be grating, but when he hits the mark, you can almost forgive him.
 
8. Fall Out Boy: From Under the Cork Tree (Island)
Fall Out Boy's second full-length effort winningly synthesizes elements of punk-pop and what some call "emo" into a hyperactive tangle of self-aware quips, smartly executed time changes and random blasts of pop-cultural trivia.
9. Spoon: Gimme Fiction (Merge)
This gradually bracing record is exultant but rarely showy, subtly confident in its efficacious melodies.
 
10. Neil Diamond: 12 Songs (Sony)
A couple of moments falter, but overall 12 Songs shows a side of this rightfully celebrated songwriter too rarely seen these days.
 
Notable near misses:
 
Top 10 Songs of 2005
 
  1. "Sugar We're Goin Down" Fall Out Boy (From Under the Cork Tree)
  2. "Another Girl, Another Planet" Blink-182 (Greatest Hits)
  3. "Gideon" My Morning Jacket (Z)
  4. "Disconnected" Idlewild (Warnings/Promises)
  5. "Gold Digger" Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (Late Registration)
  6. "Tangled Up in Plaid" Queens of the Stone Age (Lullabies to Paralyze)
  7. "Precious" Depeche Mode (Playing the Angel)
  8. "Remedy" Seether (Karma and Effect)
  9. "Landed" Ben Folds (Songs for Silverman)
  10. "Come a Little Closer" Dierks Bentley (Modern Day Drifter)

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