Best Songs: 2005 (So Far)

Halfway through the year and the songs are strong. Newer artists like Bright Eyes and Flotation Toy Warning are pushing the boundaries of new-folk or acoustic art rock, while veterans like Bruce Springsteen return to their roots. Before the summer slips by and fall accelerates into winter, we offer this show as a chance to catch up on the great sounds of 2005 (so far).

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Best Songs: 2005 (So Far)

Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

Easy/Lucky/Free

  • Artist: Bright Eyes
  • Album: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
  • Song: Easy/Lucky/Free

This song originally appeared in our preview of 2005 releases. It's from the album Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, one of two new CDs from Nebraska's experimental folk artists. Bright Eyes later debuted as All Songs Considered's first performer in this year's new live concert series.

Listen to Bright Eyes, live in concert.

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Song
Easy/Lucky/Free
Album
Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Artist
Bright Eyes
Label
Saddle Creek

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Transistor Radio

Sweethearts on Parade

  • Artist: M. Ward
  • Album: Transistor Radio
  • Song: Sweethearts on Parade

Also from the 2005 music preview, this is the follow-up to M. Ward's beautifully haunting 2004 release Transfiguration of Vincent.

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Song
Sweethearts on Parade
Album
Transistor Radio
Artist
M. Ward
Label
Merge

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Picaresque

The Infanta

  • Artist: The Decemberists
  • Album: Picaresque
  • Song: The Infanta

The Decemberists are a five-piece Portland band that crafts whimsical story songs steeped in history. The band's name comes from the Decembrists, Russian revolutionaries who led an unsuccessful uprising against the czar in 1825. This was originally featured on Episode 78.

Listen to The Decemberists, live in concert.

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Song
The Infanta
Album
Picaresque
Artist
The Decemberists
Label
Kill Rock Stars

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Devils and Dust

Maria's Bed

  • Artist: Bruce Springsteen
  • Album: Devils & Dust
  • Song: Maria's Bed

Bruce Springsteen released this beautifully-crafted collection of mostly acoustic songs in April. Recorded without the E Street Band, Springsteen returns to a sound reminiscent of his earliest work.

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Song
Maria's Bed
Album
Devils and Dust
Artist
Bruce Springsteen
Label
Columbia

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Iron Flowers

Bohemian Rhapsody

  • Artist: Grey DeLisle
  • Album: Iron Flowers
  • Song: Bohemian Rhapsody

Grey DeLisle was the voice of Daphne in a direct-to-DVD cartoon movie of Scooby-Doo. She's also a singer with a haunting voice on this inventive cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." It originally appeared on All Songs Considered episode 84.

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Song
Bohemian Rhapsody
Album
Iron Flowers
Artist
Grey DeLisle

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Gimme Fiction

I Turn My Camera On

  • Artist: Spoon
  • Album: Gimme Fiction [Bonus CD]
  • Song: I Turn My Camera On

Spoon first formed in Austin, Texas in 1994. On their fifth and arguably best CD, the band takes a creative leap with an artfully crafted collection of ambitious pop.

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Song
I Turn My Camera On
Album
Gimme Fiction
Artist
Spoon
Label
Merge

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Come On Feel the Illinoise

John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

  • Artist: Sufjan Stevens
  • Album: Illinois
  • Song: John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Before becoming a favorite among art pop fans, Sufjan Stevens was first featured on All Songs Considered's Open Mic. This CD, due out in July, is part of an ambitious series of albums Stevens is composing on all 50 U.S. states.

Listen to and Download a song Sufjan Stevens wrote and recorded exclusively for NPR as part of an All Things Considered feature looking at the way he writes about places he's never visited.

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Song
John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Album
Come On Feel the Illinoise
Artist
Sufjan Stevens
Label
Asthmatic Kitty

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Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck

Fire Engine on Fire Pt. 1

  • Artist: Flotation Toy Warning
  • Album: Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck
  • Song: Fire Engine on Fire Pt. 1

The music is as mysterious as the group's history. The band, which clearly likes a good tale, claims frontman Donald Drusky was a former test pilot who met drummer Don LeCannes at the unveiling of his latest invention: some sort of instrument called a stair horn. LeCannes introduced Dusky to a rival inventor, Magnesi Rich, who was "translating Chinese wind shapes" with Benedict Maidsaver and Victoria Vest. The five met for dinner and, as the story goes, "discovered a common interest in astrophonics" and decided to form a band!

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Song
Fire Engine on Fire Pt. 1
Album
Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck
Artist
Flotation Toy Warning
Label
Misra

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Everything Ends: Music from the HBO Original Series Six Feet Under, Vol. 2

Cold Wind

  • Artist: Original TV Soundtrack
  • Album: Six Feet Under, Vol. 2: Everything Ends
  • Song: Cold Wind

Arcade Fire wrote this new single specifically for the HBO TV show "Six Feet Under." It appears on this new collection along with several other new songs written for the show by artists like Jem and Interpol.

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Song
Cold Wind
Album
Everything Ends: Music from the HBO Original Series Six Feet Under, Vol. 2
Artist
The Arcade Fire
Label
Astralwerks

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