Friday, December 22, 2006

My Top Ten Records of 2006

1. The Ark – State of the Ark

The album that I listened to the most this year. A glam-rock masterpiece that would have sounded just as great in 1976 as it does in 2006. “One of Us is Gunna Die Young” is the type of anthem that should have been huge. Oh well. They're huge in their native Sweden, but it seems America isn't ready for a bi-sexual rock and roll savior.

At least not just yet.

2. Scissor Sisters – Ta-Dah

They avoided the sophomore slump and made their first proper album. Love is in the air on their minds as the Scissors dance, rock, roll, and wield a serious falsetto track for track on this superb second offering. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” should be the new “Love Shack” at weddings from now on, and in an alternate universe, it probably is.

Closing track "Everyobody Wants the Same Thing" is a proper summation of everything the Scissor Sisters are, and something we all need to live in 2007.

3. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat

I could never get into Jenny’s proper band, Rilo Kiley, but one listen to the gorgeous “Rabbit Fur Coat” and I was hooked. Lewis writes insightful alt-country tales of men and woman damaged by life but with the will to push on. Pretty, thought provoking, and also super catchy. Rilo who?

4. Morrissey – Ringleader of the Tormentors

Morrissey finds joy in sex! Maybe now people can stop asking if the Smiths are going to get back together and realize that Morrissey has been releasing killer Smiths records for years, under his own name. 2004’s “You Are the Quarry” was the return to form and “Ringleader” might be his best record yet. I could not stop listening to this since I got it. It has all the trademark wit you expect with Moz, but this time the guitars have serious muscle, no doubt thanks to veteran producer/legend Tony Visconti. If you didn’t like Morrissey before this won’t change your mind, but if you’re a fan, more ammunition to prove the latter their morons.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Show Your Bones

“Show Your Bones” is exactly the record I wanted the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s to make after their full length debut “Fever to Tell.” Organic, emotional, and reigned in JUST enough, “Bones” is a tour-de-force of what rock music can and should be in the future. I think in ten years this will be considered a classic, and in twenty won’t sound a touch dated.

6. Goldfrapp – Supernature

This really came out in 2005, but not here in the states until this year. Goldfrapp simply made the best electro-dance record in years, writing good songs around their catchy blips and bleeps. “Number 1” is an absolute revelation and if “Oh La La” doesn’t bring you to your feet they don’t work properly.

7. Lily Allen – Alright, Still

My favorite pop record of the year. Young Lily’s voice and perspective are 100% London, and she bounces through reggae-lite super catchy tune after tune on the most consistently enjoyable record of the year. She somehow manages to ride the line of being too cute, bitchy, sexy, and cloying without ever dipping to far in either direction. Lyrically she’ll make you laugh, but her melodies will be bouncing through your head from days to come.

8. Junior Boys – So This is Goodbye

It was the Junior Boys that really brought sexy back this year to me. One of the hands down sexiest records about things ending ever, this electro wet dream is the perfect record for late-late at night or early-early in the morning. It’s not a singles record, more a serious mood piece. That’s not to say the songs aren’t great though.

9. The Killers – Sam’s Town

It’s easy to make fun of and write off The Killers. Singer Brandon Flowers wears his ambitions on his sleeve and for whatever reason, we just can’t stand when someone is trying to do something great, and lets us know about it. But because of all the hype, first listens to “Sam’s Town” were done with a heavy ear. Was it “the best record of the last twenty years” as he said? It’s didn’t really blow me away… how dare he say something like that?! That was until I found myself listening to it over and over again, and digging not only the hook on top of hook powerhouse, but lyrically… it’s rather beautiful. Maybe a little over-serious, but I dig it anyhow.

10. Dixie Chicks – Taking the Long Way

Controversial country hasn’t been around in ages and thank you Dixie Chicks for bringing it back. Their best album to date is a mostly quiet affair and while publicly they are all spitfire and public uproar, the songs tell a tale of woman confused by the world and where they are in it. Catchy, beautiful, strong… this is the new Dixie Chicks. They may have lost a couple fans, but I think they gained a few... and became important songwriters in the process.


As I compiled this list I realized it was not possible to simply call it the “Best of 2006.” I simply have not heard everything this year (can anyone really?) and like any kind of art… things fall to personal taste. While I consider myself a pretty open-minded guy when it comes to music, will give just about anything a listen… there are certain types of music I do not gravitate to, or even listen to. Country is a big genre that I pay little attention to, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like SOME of it… as you can see I really loved the Dixie Chicks record, and would say that Jenny Lewis had the country record of the year, though she is not considered country at all.

So as the year comes to a close and I feel the need to put some finality on the music that effected ME this year it’s really something I’ve been sharing with you all along via this blog. Sure, it’s obvious that I tend to post and write about stuff that I really like, so maybe, despite my open mind, this blog is a little one-note. But if you are a reader, consistently… it’s because your tastes line up with mine a little, or you’re a friend and just being nice. ;)

As we look to 2007 I hope to discover more great music, pass it on, and brighten our lives a little… if possible. I really welcome your comments and suggestions. I was introduced to some great stuff that people sent me or just mentioned to me, and that’s what this is all about… because with this new information age it’s WE who CAST MUSIC. We can share much easier now, and while this troubles the labels, it spreads music to the people it’s for… all of us.

Here is to a Happy New Year, I’ll see you in 2007!


1 comment:

Josh said...

MP3's are great... but they are so hard to wrap and put under a tree.