Year In Review: 2006 - Music

Top 10 - Music

1. Matisyahu - Youth - Album of the year? I can see where some might disagree, but Matis's particular style just speaks volumes to me. Reggae has always been a genre that I enjoyed, but Matisyahu explores it with nice slivers of hip-hop and rock peppered along the way. Standout track: "Late Night in Zion"

2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere - The return of soul at the hands of Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo is easily one of the most unique albums in years. There's not one song to skip on this entire release. Standout track: "Storm Coming"

3. The Decemberists - Crane Wife - Not quite as catchy as the other Decemberists albums, this release changes things up by becoming deeper, richer, and a plain beautiful release. Standout track: "The Crane Wife 1 and 2"

4. Tom Waits - Orphans - It's three entire albums of new, rare, and other tracks that span the entire musical career of Tom Waits. Not for everyone, but this served as my primer to the entire experience. However, no track is yet to claim my preference. Waits' growl is as good on Bawlers, as it is on Brawlers, as it is on Bastards.

5. Joanna Newsome - Ys - Joanna Newsome created an album composed of herself, her professional harp playing skills, and five songs that measured over 50 minutes in length. She also enjoys dressing up in medieval garb. I could listen to this disc everyday until I died, and I'd never be tired of the soundscapes, or the charming lyrics. Her occasional squeak is one of the best parts. Standout track: "Monkey & Bear"

6. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor - Jay Z is particularly good at signing lyricists to his record company that are better than he ever was, or will be. Lupe Fiasco is such a person, and his music consistently delivers. He could be considered the second iteration of Kanye West, or "rap for white people," but I like to think he's just a rapper that's more like me. Less hard, and more heart. Standout track: "The Instrumental"

7. K-os - Atlantis (Hymns for Disco) - Atlantis is almost difficult to explain. It's an album that serves up a beautiful mix of reggae, acoustic guitar, and soft-spoken lyrics. It's meant to bring about this positive feeling, but I can't help but find my self chilling into an absolute mellow state when listening. Standout track: "highway 7"

8. Lyrics Born - Same Shit, Different Day (2005) - The only album that slipped onto this list from 2005, Lyrics Born is a recent discovery. He is an Asian-American/Italian rapper with a voice strangely reminiscient of Tone Loc. Except for of course the fact that he's good, and his lyrical talents can shatter bones and melt faces. This is no joke. Standout track: "Do That There"

9. Knife - Silent Shout - Hmm... Silent Shout by Knife was Pitchfork's album of the year, and I can definitely see why. It's an exploration of awkward pop music, with ample lyrics, but it's the beats that make this album standout. Think background music for an album performed by the Blue Man Group. Definitely unique. Standout track: "From Off to On"

10. Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me - I'd call this the only "rock" album to make my list, and it's outrageous because I'm a damned rocker. In a year littered with rock music letdowns, an "emo" band is the only delivery of pure rock goodness that I can come up with. Even amidst all the crying, Brand New takes the time to melt some fools with solid riffs and even better lyrics. Standout track: "Deguasser"

Honorable Mentions -

Cat Power - The Greatest
Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
Nas - Hip Hop is Dead
Yusuf Islam - An Other Cup
Wolfmother - Wolfmother
Subtle - For Hero:For Fool

Dissapointments in 2006 -

...and there were so many. Rock just decided to take a break this year, as albums from NIN, and TOOL, my two favorite rock groups, both were less what could be expected from their respective 10 and 5 year waiting periods. Lucero also delivered an album that was a departure from their previous catalog, and as such, pretty much a waste of time.

Looking forward to in (early) 2007 -

I'm not sure yet what we'll be expecting from the musical 2007, but within the coming months releases from Air, and Arcade Fire at least blips on the radar. Bright Eyes apparently has something scheduled for the coming months, and a new Modest Mouse album is peeking somewhere over the horizon, and that is something to be anticipated.


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