Monday, December 25, 2006

Didn't I Do This Already?
I get it now; I was supposed to explain myself...
Now that I have seen how everyone else does it, I am going to give it another go. Is that kosher? Or am I breaking all the blogger rules? If so, then I guess stop reading and banish me from your bookmarks now, because I am going for it. I'm also this time putting up some songs to go with, mostly the obscurer.

If you are still reading, here are my favorite albums of 2006:

1. The Kooks--Inside In/Inside Out
Irrepressible exuberant sheer fun. They are here atop the list as a vote for pleasure. Catchy beyond belief, with a romantic joy that hits all the notes spot on for what I want in a pop song.



She Moves in Her Own Way (Live)

2. Rainer Maria--Catastrophe Keeps Us Together

Their last best album. Packed full of yearning and danger and a remarkably consistently excellent selection of great songs and their most developed jolie laide harmonies.



Catastrophe (Live)

3. Calhoun--Calhoun
This is my token "nobody else has heard this and it's great album." If it's cliched to do, I don't care. This is my personal effort to bring to your attention great songwriting and a band with a depth and complexity that is truly worth seeking out.

What Makes Your Black Heart Sing

4. Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton--Knives Don't Have Your Back
Magnificently menacing. Continuing down the eerie and haunting path she had drawn with Metric, Emily Haines and a horde of talented cohorts have made a burningly fantastic piano record that is disturbing, but electric.

The Lottery

5. Sambassadeur--Coastal Affairs
A jangly jumpy jumble of pop that alternates between soothing and teeth-rattling, sometimes simultaneously.

Between the Lines

6. Lily Allen--Alright, Still
Again pop from a new place, a new voice, that is fun and sloppy and ambitious.



Everything's Just Wonderful (Live)

7.
Arctic Monkeys--Whatever People Say I am, That's What I Am Not
Working it hard. "Mardy Bum" contains the most startling phrasing of a line of the whole year.

Mardy Bum

8. Gnarls Barkley--St. Elsewhere
Popular and rightly so. So many people are sick of the single, but really it is an astonishingly great song--that's why everybody has covered it. Smartly retro and note perfect throughout. Each single just made it seem even smarter.

9.
Hem--Funnel Cloud
The quietest record here. Thoughtful and, in a way, soaring. Pretty and sad, defined by the negative space and scenic desolation of the words and music.



Not California (Live)

10. TV on the Radio-Return to Cookie Mountain
Love them or hate them, nobody else is going out on that limb. "Dry Drunk Emperor," which I have deliberately not checked if it is from this year, is the only "political" song I've heard in many years with any substance.

Dry Drunk Emperor

11. Hello Saferide--Introducing
I feel like she's the Lily Allen of Scandinavian Pop. Saying complex things in a simple way that startles and charms.

The Quiz

12. Fionn Regan--End of History
Solid and introspective with something to say, quietly and in the just right tone. Maybe just as quiet as Hem, oops...

Blackwater Child

13. Fibes, Oh Fibes--Emotional

This year's Scissor Sisters. Joyously retro explosions of cheery Swedish chocolate that I first heard at Lost In Your Inbox.

Can't Be So

14.
The Fratellis--Costello Music
Somewhere someone went off on how The Fratellis are going to last and The Kooks and Arctic Monkeys aren't which is a fairly silly debate. They are quite consistent, but to me less surprising. Polished, but still punchy and fun.



For the Girls (Live)

15. The Feeling--Twelve Stops and Home

Pure pop, like The Thrills pumped up on Mentos.

Sewn

16. Scissor Sisters--Ta-Dah!
I was initially left a little flat by Ta-Dah! but it slowly grew on me. The world needs them.

17. Sol Seppy--The Bells of 1 2
A great introduction from Rachel at Untitled. Here again yearning reigns as the supreme emotion.



Wonderland

18. Kate Havnevik--Melankton
Somewhere at the other end of the Scandinavian pop scale, Kate Havnevik has a super-smooth ear for tight harmonies and bombast.

19. The Oohlas--Best Stop Pop
Good good good, but I almost forget why I like them. Though I know they are startlingly consistent.

20.
Maria Mena--Apparently Unaffected
The rawest and most embarrassingly sincere of my selections. I have moments of recoil from her earnest confessionals, but there is something about the way that she wills the difficulty of her vocal style over the edge that slays me.

21.
Joan As Policewoman--Real Life
I don't quite know what to make of her still. I'm amazingly pleased she isn't Sheryl Crow.

22.
Morningwood--Morningwood
Quite hated and, not to throw stones, there is something uncomfortable about the criticism. Maybe it's unintended, but it often sounds like some people are saying "she's too big to try to act that sexy." I hope I'm wrong about that. I think there is something aggressively winningly defiant about them. It doesn't hurt that they are so darn tunefully poppy as well.

Addendum:
Josh Ritter--The Animal Years
I just forgot, sorry. Some great songwriting, though even in the same song, he can mix a great line like "Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder," with a bunch of mush like "her eyes are like champagne. They sparkle, bubble over, and in the morning all you got is rain" which is just silly.

The Weepies--Say I Am You
Thought they were last year. But when you want some keenly observed bliss, both happy and sad, that is impeccably romantically crafted, this is it.

2 comments:

will bacaj said...

i agree with parts of this list that other people seem to disregard (kooks, arctic monkeys), but no yeah yeah yeahs? and although i love the kooks energy and catchy lyrics, gnarls cd is one which people will look back on and say "this cd changed music because they dared to do what no one had done and made it into a hit". -will

ps. the only reason most people dont put arctic monkeys higher is because they didnt enjoy any mainstream success in the states due to faggots in black holdin tv and radio

fb said...

What you said is not okay. I don't imagine that you said it with the intention of being horribly offensive, but it was--especially in the context of trying to talk about music, which is one of the ways that people try to understand each other and transcend bigotry.

If you want to apologize and start over, I will respond to what you had to say about the music.