Friday, December 23, 2005

Year end roundups...

Well, it’s getting close to the end of the year, and I saw on another blog someone do some year end stuff like Album of the Year, etc. So, blatantly ripping off the idea, I thought it’d be cool to try to come up with some lists of my own. There’ll be lists of stuff I discovered this year (not necessary released this year, but most probably so), and judged the best by me. There very well could have been better that I missed or still have on my list of things to review, but I’ll only be listing things I’ve seen or heard.

Here goes, with Music Roundup first. I’ll be back later with a Movies Roundup post…

Song of the Year:


When I First Came Here – Dwight Yoakam
One’s a Couple – Lee Ann Womack
Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do – Dierks Bentley
Better Life – Keith Urban
Something’s Broken – Tim McGraw
Tumblin’ Down – Allison Moorer
Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley / Alison Krauss
Monday Morning Church – Alan Jackson
Killin’ The Pain – David Lee Murphy
I Just Got Back From Hell – Gary Allan

Man, what a hard category to narrow down to 5. I could have easily done a list of 20. So I went with 10 instead. “One’s a Couple” is a great country tune with a twist on the words I wished I had thought of. “When I First Came Here” was practically on all my playlists this year as Dwight came back with great new music. “Something’s Broken” was my theme song of the past Spring, and you can’t go wrong with anything from Allison Moorer as I discovered she made a video for “Tumblin’ Down” thanks to Winamp and no thanks to CMT. “Better Life” will make you feel good and feel like moving and “Lot of Leavin’” had a classic Waylon Jennings sound that was nice to hear on the radio again. Anybody who knows me knows I am a huge fan of the song “Whiskey Lullaby,” and it was good to hear a well written song like that make it to heavy radio rotation, even if it was a sad and dark tale. “Monday Morning Church” is classic, sad country from one of the mainstays of country music. “Killin’ The Pain” was welcome new music from David Lee Murphy that had a lot I could identify with written in it.

Well, it was a close, close call, but we finally get to -- And the Winner is:
I Just Got Back From Hell – Gary Allan

This song wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it hit home with me. It hits you like an emotional fist to the soul. I know why he wrote it, and I identify with it on a totally different level, but that’s what great music is. It crosses lines and situations, it makes you feel something, makes you think, and makes you want to hear it again.

Album of the Year:


Tough All Over – Gary Allan
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw
Blame The Vain – Dwight Yoakam
There’s More Where That Came From – Lee Ann Womack
Be Here – Keith Urban

All of these contain excellent music and it was another close one, especially between Blame the Vain and Tough All Over, which were probably my two most played albums this year. And the Winner is: Tough All Over – Gary Allan

Again, I have to give the nod to Gary Allan. You can tell he poured his heart and soul into the making of this album and the music and words make you feel where he’s coming from. This is what country music is, and the kind of music that should be getting radio rotation if there was any justice.

Music Video of the Year:


I May Hate Myself in the Morning – Lee Ann Womack
Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley / Alison Krauss
Like We Never Loved At All – Faith Hill / Tim McGraw
Monday Morning Church – Alan Jackson
Goodbye Time – Blake Shelton

Some good songs and videos here. “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” was Womack’s return to country music and the video plays it straightforward showing the story of the song, but that’s usually what works best. “Goodbye Time” was a scenic video that captured the resignation of the song’s voice in the desolation of the landscapes. “Monday Morning Church” really worked showing the heartbreak of permanently losing the one you love and questioning everything in the process. “Live We Never Loved At All” shows how to do a video with quick cuts that can still tell quite the story and not disorient the viewer. The video plays out the story of the song, and the end leaves you wondering where it will go as the window is left open between the two characters. And that brings us to –

And The Winner Is: Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley / Alison Krauss.
What a song, and what a video. Tells the story straight up, but the end is what makes it. They took a dark song and ended the video on a note of hope with only the little girl seeing the ghosts of the troubled lovers reuniting on the other side and showing he still loved her regardless of what had happened. I liked how all the cynical older folk walked away at the end of the funeral, but it was only the innocent child that looked back and saw the truth.

Well, that covers most of the music, but here’s some others that got left out:

Honorable Mentions:

Dirty Laundry – Lisa Marie Presley. She Rocks. ‘Nuff said.
Keep Your Distance – Patty Loveless. Classic voice and a good toetapper.
Georgia Rain – Trisha Yearwood. Another comeback with a great country tune.
Kill Myself – Tim McGraw. Takes guts to cut a track about that, but he pulls it off.
Devils & Dust – Bruce Springsteen. He knows how to craft a tune.
Not So Tough – Ilse Delange. Discovered this artist in a round about way, but she’s good.

The Duel – Allison Moorer. Good writing, good music, good voice.
Johnny Cash at San Quentin (Reissue) – the liner notes are worth it alone, but hearing Cash in complete command of the concert behind prison walls and the reaction to the first time singing of San Quentin is amazing. In the words of June, “John held these men in suspense, they were mesmerized, hypnotized and spell bound and so were we. San Quentin was their song and Johnny Cash was theirs, and they decided not to riot that day. He held them by a thread, and we were saved by that thread. He sang San Quentin one more time, and we claimed it, same as he.”

You Do Your Thing – Montgomery Gentry. Makes you think. Isn’t there enough room on this planet for people to believe what they want without killing each other over it?
Better Life – Keith Urban. Either version of the video really shows what a talented guitar player he is.
Intentional Heartache – Dwight Yoakam. Just a fun, rocking song and video.
White Flag – Dido. Cool song and video.

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