Top Ten Songs of 2006

Again, totally subjective, bound to annoy, please, and provoke, here's my top 10 songs for 2006, chosen from a shortlist of about 2000 songs. Why did I choose to do 10? Because I like to hate myself after for not including a great song I should have.

Songs are in order of excellence, from top to bottom of the best.

1. Mission of Burma: 2wice

Okay, let’s get one thing straight. The Obliterati was great because of this song. Crashing in at several million de – cymbals, Conley matches Prescott's frenetic beats and Millers kickass guitar licks with cocksure delivery. And with a refrain like “You’ve got me dead to rights/I’m a liar”, who wants to argue about it?

2. Sunset Rubdown: They Took A Vote And Said No

This is why I turned to indie rock. Because a band would dare tap out the motion of their lyrics on a xylophone.

3. Regina Spektor: Fidelity

I was in an American Eagle store and this song came on. Everybody joined in – young punks, mothers waiting for young punks, smarty pantses, angry girlfriends/boyfriends waiting for smarty pantses, passers-by, everyone. We all agreed on one thing...there is a lot of ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-heart in this song.

4. Peter, Bjorn & John: Roll the Credits

This excellent Swedish trio concoct a song that’s larger than life here, complete with drone-like orchestral beats and repetitive hooks, but never boring.

5. Dirty Pretty Things: Doctors & Dealers

I maintain that Dirty Pretty Things are the natural successor to The Libertines, not Babyshambles. This song is the Libertinian aesthetic in reload, and Carl Barat shoves aside any doubts that he was, and still is, a musical force to reckon with.

6. Band of Horses: Weed Party

The crowning glory of an album that is the most consistently solid, track for track, released this year. I am still knocking myself on the head for not including this in my Top 10 albums of the year. Someone should send a copy to Coldplay. When Bridwell tell us that “parents are enforcing the law”, you picture a shambolic Jehovah’s Witness arguing for family values. Quaint.

7. Neko Case: Hold On, Hold On

“That echo chorus lied to me with its/Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on”

Sing that back to yourself (in any voice, since you can’t match Neko’s) and maybe you’ll understand why this song is on this list.

8. Morrissey: The Youngest Was The Most Loved

If music were software, this would be The Mozza’s update to “First of the Gang to Die”. It’s pure Moz, I am partial to it, no more no less.

9. Beth Orton: Conceived

One of the most melodious songs you’d hear this year. Beth sings with earnest yearning, and the music hearkens to her beautiful voice, content to just go along for the ride.

10. Uncut: Dark Horse

Wild guess: 99.9% of those who visit this blog probably haven’t heard of this Toronto band. Maybe you should, maybe not – but if you are looking for an excellent guitar rock song to love, here’s your pick.

Honorable mentions:

Bonnie “Prince” Billy “Wai”
Tom Waits “Bottom of the World”
The Thermals “Test Pattern”
Phoenix “Consolation Prizes”
Arctic Monkeys “Mardy Bum”
Joanna Newsom “Monkey & Bear”
Emily Haines “The Lottery”
M.Ward “Eyes on the Prize”
Belle & Sebastian “Dress Up In You”


Joanna Newsom's Playlist

Joanna Newsom recently guest deejay-ed an episode of NPR's All Song Considered where she provided some insights on her favorite recordings, the philosophy behind "Monkey & Bear", how she became a disciple of the harp, and her voice, amongst other things. The show is available for download on the NPR-ASC site, but as I hate Real Player, I thought I'll provide an mp3 version of the show for those who share my prejudices.

Note to reader: Feel free to accuse me of "hyping" Joanna Newsom. Hell, this blog might very well be turning into a JN fan site. Heller still, can't help it, she made a perplexingly beautiful album.

Listen to Joanna Newsom Co-Deejay NPR's All Songs Considered, Episode 126

Buy Joanna Newsom's music.

Limited bandwidth. Visit the Hype Machine to stream if you get a bandwidth maxed out message.


Jeff Buckley: Live at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island, May 19, 1995.


Top Ten Albums of 2006 (Till I Change My Mind)

So I was asked by Alessio of IndieForBunnies to contribute my top ten albums of 2006 for a yearly roundup of 2006 Top 100 chosen by the mp3 blogging community. I have always avoided making lists, because it's so hard to find criteria that works - I mean, is it sales? Can't be of course. Is it hype? A dangerous thing. Is it personal enjoyment? What if it wanes in 2007 and I am left with regrets? Is it musical content? Who am I to judge that? Is it novelty or some other objective impact on music in general? New is not always best, and can you really have objectivity in musical appreciation? Well, I still thought it would be a fun exercise to get involved, so I came up with the following list, which is bound to change before the end of the year because of my apparent inability to decide why I like these ones better than the over 500 I have listened to this year.

Top Ten Albums of 2006 (so far) (in order from 10 to 1, 1 being the best of the best)

10: Asobi Seksu "Citrus" tied with Canasta "We Were Set Up"
9: M.Ward "Post-War"
8: Xiu Xiu "The Air Force" tied with Agalloch "Ashes Against the Grain"
7: Sway "This is my Demo"
6: Califone "Roots and Crowns"
5: Ali Farka Toure "Savane"
4. Regina Spektor "Begin To Hope"
3. Joanna Newsom "Ys"
2. Centro-Matic "Fort Recovery"
1. Destroyer "Destroyer's Rubies"

That you'll appreciate my pain, this list is missing Band of Horses "Everything All The Time", Phoenix "It's Never Been Like That", The Hold Steady "Boys and Girls in America", Final Fantasy "He Poos Clouds", OOIOO "Taiga", Peter, Bjorn & John "Writer's Block, The Thermals "The Body, The Blood, The Machine, Birdmonster "No Midnight", Belle and Sebastian "Life Pursuit" and Yo La Tengo "I'm Not Afraid..." Oh Lord, what have I done?!

Anyway, some tracks to celebrate this list, one from each Top 10 band/artist.

New Years Asobi Seksu/An Apology Canasta
Eyes on the Prize M.Ward
Boy Soprano Xiu Xiu/Limbs Agalloch
Little Derek Sway
The Orchids Califone
Savane Ali Farka Toure
Samson Regina Spektor
Sawdust and Diamonds Joanna Newsom
Take A Rake Centro-Matic
Dangerous Woman Up To A Point Destroyer