Make sure to read my general disclaimer that this list represents just my own favorites of 2005 - not any critical judgements - so I won't be accused of being hypocritical, arrogant, or ethically-challenged (due to my august journalistic position about determing which bands merit music news coverage.)

2005 was another great music year and this list was nearly impossible to keep slim. You can see my definite pop leanings: I wasn't afraid to let a radio hit or mass popularity ruin a good tune. (Maybe that's the definition music maturity!) I probably listened to the pop stuff (and softy soft) more than the sonic accidents (and like 2004, I had a cheat. Clarkson's song technically was a 2004 release but I listened to it mostly in 2005. So did Blender, which named it the best song of the year. But the Arcade Fire for me actually was more of a January 2006 band - yes, I was chronically late - so maybe it could end up on next year's list!)

Yet so many songs in 2005 make for a tough mix! I'm not sure the whole of this mix holds together as well as 2004 just because there is so much to synethesize. I gave it a shot. I was tempted to lead off with the "Like-a-Rolling-Stone" length Iron & Wine 9 minute opus as the lead but then realized this would be more of a High Fidelty-type gambit and perhaps scare listeners away. So it's near the end, followed by one tune off My Morning Jacket's hailed "Z' which I never got into for some reason. But this one song "Gideon" made me think of the future so it seemed a fitting year-ender. Enjoy!

This mix is posted at Apple's iTunes music store or you can listen to 'me for free (once, I think) at Rhapsody (coming!)

Junior Kickstart The Go! Team Thunder, Lightning, Strike
British mash-ups of old soccer tunes....crazy fun and a rousing opener.
Lyla Oasis Don't Believe the Truth
There are tons of songs about girls named Ruby but none about Lila, until this tune (even thought they spelled it the Arabic way.) Close enough, and one for Lila!
Twin Killers Deerhoof The Runners Four
Sludgey pop with Japanese female singer adding the unlikely flavor.
E-Pro Beck Guero
Beck as the new Dylan? Is there anything he does that someone doesn't like?
The End Ryan Adams & the Cardinals Jacksonville City Nights
I'm a big defender - what does it matter how prolific he is if its all good? I did enjoy this disc the best of his 2005 three.
Window Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
Worth the wait. Not sure why she is not a megastar.
Since U Been Gone Kelly Clarkson Breakaway
A karoeke staple forevermore!
Gamble Everything For Love Ben Lee Awake is the New Sleep
Think like last year another Ben takes my favorite record award of 2005! The prize - an invaluable buy this link.
Politic Amagni Amadou & Mariam Dimanche a Bamako
Blind Malian couple sing western-ready African melodies.
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing Jack Johnson In Between Dreams
You know this list is uninfluenced by the critical consensus when such a piffle strum-a-long appears! But this definitely rated in terms of my overall listens.
The Mixture Ike Reilly Assassination Junkie Faithful
Two great singles off this record; this white boy rap fits better in this mix.
Cookie Jar Mark Mulcahy In Pursuit of Your Happiness
Yes, loved by Thom Yorke and myself - but I was there first, back at the El N Gee club (RIP) in New London in 1986!
Save Me a Saturday Night Neil Diamond 12 Songs
Rick Rubin tried to do for Diamond what he did for Johnny Cash and on some cuts, it worked.
Landed Ben Folds Songs for Silverman
Another one where I feel like I need to beg forgiveness. But try to stop singing along.
Video Aimee Mann The Forgotten Arm
Her release basically ignored but I attribute this to being too good...I fell for this whole concept album about a junkie couple.
Heard 'Em Say Kanye West Late Reigstration
My weakness for crossover rap again revealed.
The Trapeze Swinger Iron & Wine In Good Company (soundtrack)
Friend Heather turned us on to this one and from this song, we got all his back catalog. That meaningful.
Gideon My Morning Jacket Z
Hail the beards in 2006!