Mid Year 2006: Top 16 AlbumsJun 13, 2006 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line The Very Best 16 Albums of 2006.
Well, were about half way through another year and this one certainly hasnt let down musically. Below are what I consider the best sixteen releases thus far, and Id recommend giving each and every one of these albums at least one listen. I admittedly am missing several albums many might champion due to the fact that I havent heard them yet. These unjustly left off albums include: The Fiery Furnaces Bitter Tea, Pearl Jams self titled release (although Im quite sure I wont find that to be any better than three stars), The Strokes First Impressions of Earth, and Neko Cases Fox Confessor Brings the Flood among many others.
16. Born Again in the U.S.A.- Loose Fur
This side project consisting of Wilcos Jeff Tweedy and Glen Koetche along with Jim ORourke, of Sonic Youth credentials, create a semi-provocative romp through Tweedys alt-country musings. The melodies, along with the half-hearted lyrical slap at Christianity, fall short too often for Born Again to be great, although it merits a listen based on its bright spots.
15. At War With The Mystics - The Flaming Lips
I tend to prefer this near return to a more standard rock and roll sound, more often than not songs are driven by guitars, bass, and drums, than the fruity pop-fest of The Soft Bulletin. At the same time, Mystics is very inconsistent in its texture and determination to provide worthwhile music.
14. Just Like the Fambly Cat Grandaddy
This is my introduction to the Grandaddy catalogue, which is somewhat disillusioning considering this is the bands swan song. Fambly Cat is an atmospheric chill-out, in the same vein as Yo La Tengos I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One.
13. Ten Silver Drops - The Secret Machines
It pains me to even have this album on this list knowing what the Machines were capable of. While Ten Silver Drops is by no means awful, it just cant compare to Now Here is Nowhere. Many might argue Drops is superior due to its lush harmonies and fuller sound, but its predecessor will always be this bands pinnacle of space-meets-forceful rock.
12. Show Your Bones Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I missed out on the Fever to Tell hype train so Karen O and company certainly entered Bones with a clean slate. They definitely have their moments of unbridled catchiness, see Gold Lion or Way Out, but by the latter half of the album it becomes redundant.
11. Love Travels at Illegal Speeds Graham Coxon
The guitarist of Blur fame releases this return to Britpop roots, and ends up with a sound not so far removed from a mid-90s British Green Day. Nearly every song here could be considered a summer anthem unless of course Coxons showing his softer side with a drawn out acoustic number.
10. Fishscale Ghostface Killah
The Wu Tang Clan members solo album which, while occasionally outstanding in its production and rhythms, resorts too often to clichéd gangsta rap to be considered anything more than better than your average hip-hop album. Its a shame because songs like Whip You With a Strap and The Champ show Ghostface knows better.
9. Whatever People Say I Am, Thats What Im Not - Arctic Monkeys
The thick layer of hype is hard to see through, but if you listen to this album avoiding the greatest album of our generation tags youll be very satisfied. Arctic Monkeys without a doubt have a special knack for angular riffs and mind-infiltrating melodies. If theyre able to avoid the self-implosion all the hype could lead to, and find a way to dodge songs that sound eerily similar to one another, these guys could be on many best of lists for years to come.
8. St. Elsewhere - Gnarls Barkley
An eclectic blend of hip-hop, R&B, and soul makes Gnarls Barkley one of the more interesting acts of 2006.
7. Destroyers Rubies - Destroyer
Dan Bejar, of the New Pornographers, uses this solo effort to indulge a little in lush, often grandiose arrangements. The musicianship here is brilliant and Bejars highly intellectualized lyrics are, at their very worst, thought-provoking.
6. Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs
Jack Whites collaboration with power pop maestro Brendan Benson doesnt rewrite any rules of rock, but it certainly is an enjoyable tablet of palatability. In fact, The Raconteurs effort is so consistently strong if White were to abandon his White Stripes cause and focus entirely on this new project actually now that I think about it, Id rather just have him continue with both bands. The more music we have from White, the better.
5. The Loon - Tapes n Tapes
The debut from this freewheeling indie upstart, which may have actually been released in 2005, borrow heavily from some of Pavements best traits while differentiating themselves enough to be considered original. Theyre like the New Originals.
4. Shut Up I Am Dreaming - Sunset Rubdown
Spencer Krugs solo release, fresh off the heels of Wolf Parades Apologies to the Queen Mary (the best album of 2005), focuses mightily on Krugs Frog Eyes influence. Its no surprise Krug picked up some of Casey Mercers vocal tics considering he played keyboards on The Golden River, and they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In my opinion, the melodies from Sunset Rubdown are a tad easier to pick out than Frog Eyes, and I wonder if Krug has already usurped his master.
3. You in Reverse Built to Spill
Alright, I admit ranking this album this high might be slightly influenced by my current infatuation with Built to Spills 90s resume, but I can say semi-confidently that
this album would be up here no matter my biases.
2. Skeleton - Figurines
If you took Modest Mouse and meshed em all up with Built to Spill, youd probably get this Danish indie rock troupe. Of course somewhere in that mixing all the penchant for elongated jamming and classic rock style soloing would be lost, leaving you entirely with the bare pop and catchiness found in abundance on Skeleton.
1. Stadium Arcadium - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
The naysayers of my number one album in 2006 so far leave me with a sick feeling deep in my stomach. It might be the batch of taquitos I just ate, but Im assuming it has something to do with the fact that the Chili Peppers have blessed us with two discs of outstanding tracks. Granted there are some blotches, as so often happens with two freakin hours of music, and the songs can seem a tidbit derivative. Although it upsets me that some may this double disc as such, I really dont have much problem understanding it. Regardless, I see Stadium Arcadium as the definitive Chili Peppers career statement, with them combining all of whats made them great over the years. If you at any time have enjoyed the sounds of Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik or Californication I highly recommend purchasing this album. And believe me when I say I dont recommend actually paying for music without serious conviction.
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