the usagi incidents

20051229

Best of 2005: Music

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Best Album (English - Mainstream):
NINE INCH NAILS - WITH TEETH
KITAAA! Yes, after another five year hiatus, Trent Reznor is back. I loved this album SO much, though the Fragile still ranks up there as number one. One thing that's great about Reznor is that he isn't afraid to experiment, and there's lots of that on this album. The lyrics are more varied, as are the instruments. Pick this one up for sure.
RUNNER-UP:
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
I'm sad to say, for the most part, I liked the leaked version better than the final retail version - but at least this album got released. The fact that Sony actually listened to the fans and got this amazing album off the shelf should say something. My personal preferences about versions aside, Fiona Apple never ceases to amaze me with the material she comes up with. Here's hoping she tours Japan soon!


Best Album (English - Indies):
RILO KILEY - MORE ADVENTUROUS
This wasn't released in Japan til this year, so it counts as a 2005 release. :p Anyway, these guys have become one of my new favourite bands, and I can't believe I wasted so much time NOT listening to them. This isn't my favourite album from them (The Execution of All Things is), but it's still a very very good album. Go try them out - you won't be disappointed!
RUNNER-UP:
Orgy - Punk Statik Paranoia
I've loved Orgy since I was a wee lass of 14, and they're finally out with a new album after nearly a four year absence. They quit Reprise and instead moved to Jay Gordon's own D1 records, officially making this an indies release. This album is quite telling of the four years they spent on hiatus - the lyrics say it all. And even with all of the troubles the band and with the record companies, Orgy is back, better, and stronger than ever.

Best Movie Soundtrack (English):
MYSTERIOUS SKIN
It's a blend of early 80's folk, punk, and classical. The entire Mysterious Skin project has made it onto my best of 05 list already, and the OST for this is no exception. It's especially haunting after you've seen the movie and you know where all the music pieces go - I can't even listen to it anymore alone because it scares me a bit. Excellent stuff.
RUNNER-UP:
None. Even with the Geisha/Sayuri OST, Narnia, and Harry Potter, I wasn't impressed.

Best Solo Artist (English):
FIONA APPLE
Like you didn't see this coming. It was horrible the way Sony treated her, but she kept her dignity by not bashing them to hell and back and just waited patiently instead. Oh. And of course, her music's great too. :p
RUNNER-UP:
None.

Best Band (English)
RILO KILEY tied with NINE INCH NAILS
Just too hard to choose between them. :(

Best PV (English)
RILO KILEY - PORTIONS FOR FOXES
I still don't know what to make of this video, but it was really awesome to watch. Great scenery and atmosphere, but equally blended in with the band actively participating in it.

Best Song (English)
Nine Inch Nails: The Hand That Feeds
TIED WITH
Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes
Guh. Both rock so hard, I wet myself with glee.
RUNNER-UP:
None.





Best Album (Japanese - Mainstream):
M-FLO - Dope Space Nine
Yeah, I know. I can't believe it either. After all of my ranting and railing about how LISA should have left the group, they go and assemble some really fucking talented artists and make a great album. I loved it.
TIED WITH
Nakashima Mika - MUSIC
and
Rie Fu - Rie Fu
These, I think, are the three best mainstream albums of the year. Each track on each album is unique, and has a fresh sound. 2005 was a VERY good year for Japanese music, IMO.
RUNNER-UP:
Zwei - Z
As much as I wanted to make this best album of the year, pretty much all of their singles released this year were on the album with only four new songs to accompany it. Regardless, it's still a fabulous album, but I kind of wanted more new material than what was given after the singles on the CD.

Best Single (Japanese - Mainstream):
TOKYO JIHEN - SHURABA
This is perhaps their best single to date. I guess shuffling around the band members was for the best after all. New sound, new look, but same old Ringohime behind the curtain pulling the strings.
RUNNER-UP
Amano Tsukiko - Koe
This single has become one of my favourites from her, ever. She's got such an amazing, powerful voice and the lyrics made me cry.

Best PV (Japanese - Mainstream):
Zwei - Fake Face
Seriously their best PV to date. Loved the imagery. Just awesome stuff.
RUNNER-UP:
Tokyo Jihen - Shuraba
Like you had to ask. :p
HONOURABLE MENTION:
Utada Hikaru - PASSION
The singing backwards got on my nerves after awhile, but damn if the video itself wasn't fabulous. I want a dress like that!

Best Solo Artist (Japanese - Mainstream):
RIE FU
This girl is just amazing. She manages to put singles out pretty frequently, and all never sound the same.
RUNNER-UP:
None

Best Band (Japanese):
Zwei TIED WITH Tokyo Jihen
I just couldn't pick ok

Best Indies-to-Mainstream Breakout Artist (Japanese):
AMADORI
She's just released her first mainstream album, "CALLING!!", and it's already pretty popular in some circles. She made the transition from indies to major so seamlessly that it honestly shocked me. Her style hasn't changed, either. Still same ethereal lyrics with punchy rock sound.
RUNNER-UP:
None.

Best Album (Japanese - Indies):
Tsuchiya Anna - Taste My Beat
TIED WITH
Spangle Call Lilli Line - For Installation
and
Head Phones President - Vacancy
All are really really good albums that I can listen to for hours on end through each track and never get sick of them.
RUNNER-UP:
Salyu - Landmark
Salyu's album was pretty awesome, too, though there needed to be more decision time on what was going on the album and what wasn't. Not all of it blended together seamlessly, and that was a bit of a problem. That's what makes it a runner up. :/
MO'SOME TONEBENDER - ROCKIN' LUUUULA
Ringohime's contribution on this album just made it all the more fabulous. MO'SOME are totally underappriciated, but it's good to see that they're finally getting some attention for this album.

Best Band (Japanese - Indies):
HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT
Goddamn right. Anza is just a fucking amazing vocalist, and when you see her live, you really wonder if she's real or just a dream. I..have no words.
RUNNER-UP:
MO'SOME TONEBENDER
They've been around for awhile, but I never really noticed how great they were until this year. They need more exposure and more appriciation, really.

Best Solo Artist (Japanese - Indies):
Tsuchiya Anna
TIED WITH
Salyu
Both can make me gasp, dance, laugh, and cry within one sitting and listening of each album. I think that qualifies them well enough.
RUNNER-UP:
NONE.

Best Song (Japanese - Indies):
Suneohair - Waltz
Yeah, we all know it as "that Hachikuro song". But it really is a great song. Whenever I'm down, I listen to it and feel better, slightly.
RUNNER-UP:
None.

Best New Artist (Japanese - Indies):
Angela Aki
She's Japan's Fiona Apple. That's the only way to describe her, really. She's got such talent - I hope 2006 brings more of that talent out into the market. It's desperately needed.
RUNNER-UP:
None.

Best New Band (Japanese - Indies):
NAKANOMORI BAND
Ayako's got skillz, and the rest of the band does too. At first I didn't like them, but then they grew on me. I can't wait for their first album, which is dropping later in January.
RUNNER-UP:
None.

Best Single (Japanese - Indies):
Nakanomori Band - WHATEVER.
This song makes little to no sense, which is probably why I love it so much. That and the catchy riffs and ENGRISH used. OH YEAH.
TIED WITH:
Angela Aki - Home
I cried through the entire song. I am such a loser. :(

Best PV (Japanese - Indies):
Rumi feat. Ono - Gokuraku Toshi
I really loved the use of camera angles and Tokyo scenery here. And Rumi's flow didn't hurt either.

Best Soundtrack (Japanese):
Linda, Linda, Linda
TIED WITH
LOVELESS
James Iha working on Linda, Linda, Linda was the best thing to happen to that movie project. And of course, Loveless' music was perfect - Ethereal and soft and dreamy. Loved it.

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