Month: December 2005

The top five of ‘05

1. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak Don’t let their clean-shaven makeovers fool you: Nashville’s Kings of Leon are still as southern as a bucket of chicken grease. But on the band’s second album, there’s a touch of city boy sophistication beneath singer-guitarist Caleb Followill’s twangy yelp and down-home colloquialisms — which, of course, means he’s just bohemian enough to be bothered by his own hormones. As if the Freudian artwork doesn’t make it obvious enough, Aha Shake Heartbreak is all about sexual frustration — something three brothers (plus one cousin) raised by an evangelical minister are certain to know a lot about. Luckily, the clan is able to channel that combustible angst into every fuzz-covered guitar riff and dirty-sweet hook, creating the tightest, sweatiest and most astonishingly overlooked rock record of the year. 2. Kanye West: Late Registration Sure, Kanye West has an ego problem — who in hip-hop doesn’t? — but at least he actually cares about justifying his. Late Registration is the work of an artist obsessed with earning the respect of every man, woman and music critic on earth. And he damn near succeeds, producing one of the most universally appealing pop albums in years. West does it all: socio-political rants for those who like their rap conscious (“Crack Music,” “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”); self-congratulatory boasts for those who like their rap shallow (“We Major,”...

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