Favorite Album of 2005 that I Didn’t Get Until 2006
Flipsyde “We the People” Why I wasted six months before buying this album I’ll never know. The exact type of rapping/ singing blend I tend to like (think Chronic Future). Sassy and smart and stylistically diverse. Love it.
Favorite Songs: “US History” (great fucking song, dudes) “Trumpets” “Flipsyde”
Favorite Albums of 2006
1. Gnarls Barkley “St. Elsewhere” Band of the year, album of the year, and song of the year. These guys blew everyone else away. Not only are they great musicians, but they are all about having FUN with it: unrelentingly HAPPY and never shy about showing it.
Favorite Songs: “Crazy” Of course!! It was THE song of 2006! “Smiley Faces” “Just a Thought”
2. Gomez “How We Operate” If I had bought this on LP, I would have worn out the grooves. Didn’t know them before this album. Love the contrast between the vocals tempo and the harmonies/background. Love the melodies.
Favorite Songs: “All Too Much” “How We Operate” “Hamoa Beach” “See the World” “Cry on Demand”
3. Golden Smog “Another Fine Day” This was a constant listen all summer long. Much more straight “rock” than most of the stuff I listened to this year.
Favorite Songs: “Long Time Ago” “Cure for This” “Strangers”
4. Hilltop Hoods “The Hard Road” Australian rap; probably my favorite purchase from the trip. No noticeable hos or bitches or guns or what you might expect if you listen to much American rap. Using the genre to different effect. Politically aware. Literate (Oscar Wilde shoutout, anyone?). Great beats. Unusual backdrops.
Favorite Songs: “Recapturing the Vibe” “The Hard Road” “Conversation from a Speakeasy” “Breathe”
5. Rosanne Cash “Black Cadillac” Dedicated to her mom, dad and stepmom, all dead in the past few years. Spent so much time listening to Johnny Cash in the past few years, I couldn’t NOT check this out. So glad I did. Beautiful and elegiac. Bought early in the year, but never set aside.
Favorite Songs: “I Was Watching You” “God Is in the Roses” “The World Unseen” “Like Fugitives”
6. Band of Horses “Everything All the Time” Recommended to me by Paul in our ongoing exchanges before they really broke out. These guys just don’t sound quite like anyone else. “The Funeral” is certainly one of the best songs of the year, although I find I generally listen to this as a whole album, only rarely breaking it down. Plaintive yet soaring melodies.
Favorite Songs: “The Funeral” “The Great Salt Lake” ‘I Go in the Barn Because I Like the” “Monsters”
7. My Chemical Romance “The Black Parade” The most recent purchase on this list. This album is a crazy combination of mindboggling array of influences…Yet unlike other derivative bands, to my ears they have a very distinctive sound of their own that stands out above all that.
Favorite Songs: Wow, hard to pick out individual tracks here, I almost always listen to this as a full album… maybe “Mama” or “Cancer”. Or ALL OF THEM!! 🙂
8. The Long Winters “Putting the Days to Bed” Didn’t love their previous release, wasn’t even going to buy this, but it turned out to be one of the albums I listened to the most! Melodius and musically diverse. Totally singalongable. Literate. Intellectually pleasing.
Favorite Songs: “Fire Island, AK” “Teaspoon” “Honest” (perhaps the best ‘advice’ song ever) “Clouds”
9. Cat Power “The Greatest” Lush and stately. Has a very dignified, old school, jazz standard feel to it. One of those rare albums that is just SO RIGHT ON that you can barely catch your breath while you’re listening to it.
Favorite Songs: “Willie” “Where Is My Love”
10. Bishop Allen “June” You could argue that I listened to Bishop Allen more (and more consistently throughout the year) than any other band this year, since they put out an EP EVERY MONTH. Poppy, goofy and fun. Definitely quirky; definitely talented.
Favorite Songs: “The Same Fire” “Number 39”
Weepies “Say I Am You”. — “The World Spins Madly On” is one of the best songs of the year. Love it. Also like Deb Talan’s solo stuff, but not quite as much.
Joseph Arthur “Nuclear Daydream” — Beautiful. Heartbreaking.
Scissor Sisters “Ta Dah” — Just as danceable as their first.
Damien Rice “9” — More of the same from “O”. But he does it so well.
Beck “The Information” — Definitely the funnest thing I saw live this year. Can’t listen without thinking about the puppets!
Imelda De La Cruz “Noise Noise Noise” — She’s a friend of a friend. This is the best album you’re not listening to (or haven’t heard about)! Maybe you should go buy it! Ran into her in Whole Foods the other night with aforementioned friend. Could not stop myself from blurting out “I LOVE YOUR ALBUM”. As a (former) proud New Yorker, this is something I would NEVER do to someone famous. But I figured she’s low key enough still (at this point) that I could embarrass myself.
The Audreys “Between Last Night and Us” — Alt country from Australia.
She Will Have Her Way — An entire album of Crowded House covers!! What’s better than that. Fave: Renee Geyer’s version of “Into Temptation”.
Snow Patrol “Eyes Open” — Anthems you can’t get out of your head.
Keane “Under the Iron Sea” — Pretty. — Very pretty.
Raconteurs “Broken Boy Soldiers” — Can Jack White make a bad album? Loving Brendan Benson more here than on his solo stuff.
The Fray “How to Save a Life” — Sometimes cheesy radio ballads really ARE good songs.
Favorite Songs from 2006 (or mostly?) NOT on Any of the Above-Mentioned Albums
“Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” Paolo Nuttini
Sad. Melancholy. As you might expect. Me being me. And all.
“Reason to Mourn” Ben Harper
Almost makes me cry. Every time.
“Multiply” Jamie Lidell
Overall he’s not my usual type. But this is a crowdpleaser.
“It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” sung by Terrence Howard in the movie
You would not believe the grin I get on my face when I’m listening to this. As well as “Whoop That Trick”. Loved the movie, love the songs.
“Halo” Bethany Joy Lenz
Sung as Haley James on that horror show “One Tree Hill”. The best thing that’s ever come out of that show is this song.
“Weight of the World” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
This is more than I wanted, take me out of the dark… Time will change, still the world remains the same…
“Bad Day” Daniel Powter
Overplayed. Because it was good!
“Faith” Shawn Mullens
Haven’t listened to him in years. When he’s on, he’s on.
“Emily Kane” Art Brut
We all wish there was a song like this out there about us, don’t we.
“Skeleton Key” Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos
Love lovelovelove LOVE this song. Thank you, Silvia!
“Fidelity” Regina Spektor
“We All Lose One Another” Jason Collett
Go ahead. TRY not to sing along to the chorus.
“Listen” and “Letter to the World” Dead Heart Bloom
Listen as I write you a song… Here’s my goodbye to the world…
“Since I Left You” The Avalanches
Another Australia purchase. Rest of the album is too electronica pour moi. But this song is great.
“Fancy Lover” The Whitlams
New stuff from Australians I learned about previously from a Brit (Hi Michele!)
“Tant Pis Pour Toi” Nous Non Plus
En francais! Bien sur!
“Boston”, “Stars and Boulevards” and “Coffee and Cigarettes” Augustana
My cousin would call this “WB music” [i.e. Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, etc.]. Yup. And I still like it.
“Hoquiam” and “Denton, TX” Damien Jurado
Set the player on repeat, you’ll want to listen to these again.
“You’re the Kind of Trouble (I Could Get Into)” Solomon Burke
Soul singer goes country, complete with sassy country lyrics!
“Happiness” Grant Lee Buffalo
More of my usual melancholy, despite its title.
“Home” Barenaked Ladies
Stuck in the middle of the road, for better or worse we compromise…
“Unspoken Love” The Electric Farm
You can fight it. But what’s the use.
New (to me) Artists (that I liked) This Year
Strays Don’t Sleep — I try not to pay tooooo close attention to the lyrics, as some are a little, shall we say, Republican sounding. But I saw these guys open for Josh Rouse and they have a cool sound. Two vocalists, interesting voices/contrasts.
Ben Kweller — Ben Kweller is toooo much fun. Has a real Peter Frampton ’70s look to him although he’s all of…what? 17? He was one of my favorite Lollapalooza discoveries. Very catchy songs.
Memphis — Part of the whole Broken Social Scene / Stars / Metric / Emily Haines crowd. Soft and pleasing. Thoughtful. And perhaps less melancholy than is my norm in this type of sound.
Submarines — Recommended by Sunday Undies Jen. Have seen them described as a “happy” boy/girl Stars-like band. A real “relationship” album. Haven’t listened enough for them to make the top 10/runners up. But like what I hear.
Covers I Loved This Year
Gnarls Barkley covering the Violent Femmes’ “Gone Daddy Gone.”
James Blunt covers of Crowded House’s “Fall At Your Feet” and the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”
The Magic Numbers singing Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and The Smiths “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out.”
Joseph Arthur also singing “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out.”
Boy Least Likely To rocking out to George Michael’s “Faith. Saw this in concert!
Matt the Electrician‘s version of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.” Heard live!
Multiple covers of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” by The Raconteurs (awesome, live!), Kanye West (OK, live at lolla), Nelly Furtado (slow but cool) and Ray LaMontagne (OK). As discussed, THE song of 2006!
Ben Folds singing Dr. Dre’s(? Snoop’s?) “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” There are a lot of great covers by Ben Folds out there.
Joshua Radin covering Yaz’s “Only You.” Man, I love this song. Still.
Albums I liked…And Then Got Over
Sometimes seeing someone live changes how you feel about them, for better or, as in these cases, for worse.
Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins “Rabbit Fur Coat” — This is a pretty rockin’, albeit very short, album. Then I saw her in concert. And she was all bible-banging / gospel-y / standing-on-the banks-of-the-Jordan prayin’ and I don’t think I listened to it a single time after that. Ah well. Not everyone needs to be experienced live. I’m sure I’ll still check out her next efforts.
KT Tunstall “Eye to the Telescope” — I liked this album a lot when it came out. I still think “Suddenly I See” is a great song. But in concert she was really…awkward? And at some point I lost interest; the album just dropped off my radar the rest of the year.
Corinne Bailey Rae (self-titled) — It’s amazing to see that huge voice coming out of a stick-thin body. But the songs are too much the same to keep me interested. Same tempo, same sounds. Throughout.