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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)

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.

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.

Freedom Hangs Like Heaven

Last year's full-length release, Our Endless Numbered Days made Iron and Wine's Sam Beam a darling of the new-folk movement. This EP picks up where that album left off, with six delicate, dark woods songs. It originally appeared on All Songs Considered episode 76.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.