Yes, I make lists. Sort of. What of it?
(Too bad this is a smiley-free zone.)
2005 was a good year for music. I discovered some older artists who were new to me and found I liked plenty of the new kids on the block too. (No, not them!)
I always liked the blues but tended to focus more on blues-influenced rockers like the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, George Thorogood, Wet Willie, the Allman Brothers and Led Zep. I'd listen to some B.B. King and Albert King and Johnny Winter now and then but it wasn't until last year that I spent time going to the source. This year I discovered Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Bobby Blue Bland and a host of others.
The simplicity and emotion of the blues speaks to me. It's just pure storytelling, set to music.
As for the current crop of folks, I like a lot of them: Green Day, Coldplay, The Killers, KT Tunstall, 3 Doors Down, Martha Wainwright, Low Millions and a bunch more I forget.
Song of the year is a tough call. Leading contenders are The Arcade Fire's Rebellion (Lies), KT Tunstall's Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, Green Day's Holiday and the Goo Goo Dolls' Better Days.
But (fusses with envelope) the winner is:
The Killers' All These Things That I Have Done!
This is a multi-layered song that risks a lot - it plays fast and loose with traditional structure while somehow maintaining a toe-tapping (okay, headbanging) beat. It's hynoptic but not in the way trance music is. It's simply a terrific song by a band that I think has a good shot of become one of the all time greats.
Up and coming band: The Arcade Fire (and not because they're Canucks). These folks are good.
A shortish list because I didn't read tons this year.
I enjoyed Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Robin Hobb's Fool's Fate was a satisfying conclusion to her Tawny Man trilogy. Victoria Strauss' The Burning Land was excellent - truly engrossing. It was runner up to my favourite book this year...(drum roll)....
Reading Dan Simmons' Ilium was a pure pleasure. It's a wild blend of history, fantasy and SF that defies a capsule description. You'll just have to pick it up if you like an entertaining writer whose talent is as boundless as his imagination. (And who doesn't?)
I didn't see a single movie in 2005. Nope, not a one. Not in the theatre. Not on tv. Not via a rental.
HAY! I never claimed to be normal. Oh wait. Yes I have. Often.
Okay. I was fibbing.
I don't watch much tv either, except for Six Feet Under (season #4 up here now), Monk and the Trailer Park Boys.
The latter is hands-down the funniest, most bent, most offensive show I've ever seen. It was bumped from American cable tv. A bit too raw for their tastes I guess. Although there's no nudity or sexual content (beyond innuendo), there is drug (pot) use and a distinct disdain for most societal mores. If it doesn't play where you live, and a near constant stream of expletives isn't going to give you the vapours, try renting a few episodes. They're on DVD now.
There's my cultural highlights of 2005. I'd love to hear about a few of yours.