The Top 30 Rock Songs of 2006
Jan 1, 2007
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What a year its been for the rock world in 2006. Unlike what you may hear on your local radio station, this list below is where the quality of the music comes into play, and diversity is allowed to thrive. If you dont believe me, theres helpings of electronic, emo, metal, metalcore, adult alternative and one example of folk all contained in these thirty selections, so let me know if anyone finds them all. Seeing as I spent a long time compiling this, do me a favor and head over to whatever legal or illegal download method you use and check some of these funky pieces out: you might be surprised!
30. Shine On - Jet (Shine On)
Australias garage band arent getting any more original on their second album, but what they are doing is improving their ballads. Shine On speaks bearably through a more universal message than anything theyve done previously, and is easily the best moment on their disc.
29. Breath - Breaking Benjamin (Phobia)
Coming off a third mediocre album this year, Breaking Benjamin prove their singles are head and shoulders above the rest of their wishy-washy material... and most other rock bands on the radio. What The Diary of Jane didnt have in endearing melody or vocal chops, this thankfully does; working the loud/angsty verse down to soft bridge formula to a double B.
28. Zzyxz Rd. - Stone Sour (Come What(ever) May)
Gawd, Corey Taylor, I didnt know you had so much as a melodic streak in your body. After rocking derivatively (but admittedly with enjoyable macho) on Stone Sours sophomore release, and with Slipknot (without the enjoyable), Zzyxz Rd. closes the disc with a completely throwing piano number. Tell me I should stick around for you / Tell me I could have it all / Im still too tired to care and I gotta go home... If its nothing truly spectacular, it earns its place here because of the piano: a whole new level of diversity from the man in the mask!
27. Through the Fire & Flames - Dragonforce (Inhuman Rampage)
Normally I wouldnt recommend power metal on a year-end list for the usual reasons youve heard it once, youve heard it all, yknow. Dragonforce have, however, proved themselves to be that special exception, by unashamedly taking their art to the next accessible level. This very song is seven minutes long, and full of cheesy conventions, including at least a half dozen really fast solos. Now that takes guts.
26. Sweet Sacrifice - Evanescence (The Open Door)
There may only be a couple of muddy chords-blended-with-bass-notes in the whole thing, but Sweet Sacrifice warrants a mention here because its not afraid to rock out. Wake up to yourself, Amy Lee; concentrate on soaring over aggressive fare like this rather than worrying about your breakups (I know, I know, its tough) and dressing like Little Red Riding Hood in the video for Call Me When Youre Sober.
25. Rough Landing, Holly - Yellowcard (Lights & Sounds)
Another instance with one really solid single thrown on the back of a hodgepodge album, Yellowcards Rough Landing, Holly sees them developing their strength for catchy, nifty hooks and not concentrating so hard on trying to sound so frickin emotional. Please note: violin player, I blame you for this, although in this track you blend with the screeching guitar incredibly well.
24. The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars (A Beautiful Lie)
I dont know if I should direct my anger at The Kill itself or the public for grossly misunderstanding 30 Seconds to Mars this year. On the one hand, it isnt exactly convincing hearing a former actor rasping Come, break me down / Bury me, bury me, but Jared Leto can work up a storm. Theres much better cuts from their album, to be sure; but the video to this slowburning hit is one of the coolest to be seen this year, and its definitely earnest. Make sure you check out A Beautiful Lie.
23. Redneck - Lamb of God (Sacrament)
Have you ever thought, perhaps, that some musicians are just manufacturing their anger because they think its what the public wants to hear? Not Lamb of God. If theres one metal record above all to recommend in 2006, its this one. Preaching a tale of the double standards of record companies, it helps that it also hits like a jackhammer... and never lets up, complimented by frontman Randy Blythe growling in a rage. So what if it sounds like Pantera? ...They were never as direct as this.
22. Hate Me - Blue October (Foiled)
The only act to get two entries on the countdown, Blue October receive the honor with their hit single because theyve brought something very special to the mainstream radio this year. They were an indie band from Texas, before they unexpectedly blew up on the charts with easily the weirdest entry since The Verves Bittersweet Symphony. The song isnt even that catchy, but releasing anything about your mother in a positive light has greater honesty than 98% of todays dime-a-dozen groups.
21. Belief - John Mayer (Continuum)
The collection of laid-back tunes John Mayer presented to us this year was very pleasant. He doesnt just work with a guitar anymore, either; Belief, a war protest underlined by something that sounds remarkably close to quiet anger, is here because it seems just that much more upfront and less cheery than single Waiting on the World to Change.
20. Ass-Shaker - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (Dont You Fake It)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are nothing if not wildly adrenalized. Their debut is a spin I have a love/hate relationship with, but in this track I like crisp production, particularly on the percussion, I like the harmonies in the hook-heavy chorus (Shake it! Break it! Get off your feet!), and of course I like the energy, and thats all that needs to be said, as far as anyone else is concerned.
19. Land of Confusion - Disturbed (Ten Thousand Fists)
Yeah, Ten Thousand Fists came out last year, but it took until 2006 for its strongest political statement to get noticed: a revamped cover of an old Genesis pop song called Land of Confusion. Its no longer a fun charade of mainstream hookery suggesting something beneath the surface; the animated video, full of greedy politicians and street rebellion, confirms its a full-on attack, with jumpy power chords all the way. This is the world we live in...
18. Vicarious - Tool (10,000 Days)
Only Tool know if they wanted to be really fucking difficult on their latest album or if theyre running low on the creative juices. Vicarious is the most focused point of the disc, spouting ugly recitals of what youre likely on the news each night, packed with syrupy progressions in sound, and containing one of the most nihilistic choruses in recent memory (I need to watch things die! Vicariously I live while the whole world dies!) delivered by the mighty Maynard James Keenan. Analysis not required.
17. The Eraser - Thom Yorke (The Eraser)
Maybe this ones a little out of place. Its hard to find any one standout point in hindsight within Thom Yorkes solo effort The Eraser, particularly when you consider a new Radiohead albums due next year. He pushes his angelic, innocent voice capably on his own, contrasted by the iciness of the electronics behind him; but oboy, Radioheads next project better be mighty good after this.
16. Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs (Broken Boy Soldiers)
Its yet to be seen whether the Raconteurs will be a purely one-off project or a supergroup that never knows when to quit (much like Audioslave are becoming!). Predictions aside, theyve got a market as long as they continue to record tracks like Steady As She Goes. Impressively mindless and with a chanting march pace, its even better than some of The White Stripes best work although that prominent bassline still has some catching up to do to rank alongside Seven Nation Army.
15. Moth - Audioslave (Revelations)
Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine probably have more classics combined than you can rattle off the top of your head (Killing in the Name, Rusty Cage, The Day I Tried to Live, etc.), their supergroup were stuck in low gear until Moth, the last track on this years fairly average Revelations. Driving them into high ground with an explosive riff, its got all the power of a Black Hole Sun, and its one of the best songs with a political metaphor of 2006.
14. Sowing Season (Yeah) - Brand New (The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me)
Though this latest single by Brand New has yet to reach the level or airplay they attained a few years ago with The Quiet Things That No-One Ever Knows, it offers good voice to their excellent work of late innovating in the emo genre (The Devil & God... is stunning). Normally Id be skeptical about including a suicide note in a song, but its made to work so well in Sowing Season, from the quiet, glum verse that leads it in to the turbulent YEAH!s of the chorus.
13. Here It Goes Again - OK Go (Oh No)
If only for the internet smash of the year, a video of them carrying out a routine on treadmills in time with the songs bright texture, OK Go have earnt their place in 2006s musical moments.
12. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom & Suicide is Press Coverage - Panic! at the Disco (A Fever You Cant Sweat Out)
I think Im getting to the stage where I actually believe the masses have some intelligence (actually I take that back, because Nickelbacks album is still selling). Who wants to hear Good Charlotte or Simple Plan trying to mature a sound that wasnt that ground-breaking in the first place when Panic! at the Disco have the good sense not to take themselves seriously. They even play all their own instruments, so there.
11. Over My Head - The Fray (How to Save A Life)
This joyfully upbeat and listener-friendly pop-rock tune deserves all the success it got: its a spin that suits all moods. Seasoned with saccharine piano and Isaac Slades laid-back slurring, if inoffensiveness were a crime, the whole bunch of them would be rounded up and locked away. Luckily, its not, so we can all enjoy Over My Head ten thousand more times. A word to the wise, though... think carefully before buying their album.
10. The Crane Wife, Parts 1, 2 & 3 - The Decemberists (The Crane Wife)
No other group attempted a massive undertaking like this in the year 2006, so stuff it, Im going to include all three segments of The Decemberists Crane Wife here. Recounting a Japanese folk tale through breathy swooning and steel-string guitars (now thats what I call cultural relevance!), the title track runs for ten minutes in unabridged form, and though none of its parts have ever gotten any airplay anywhere, it builds dynamic spectacularly of its own guitar-vocals arrangement, reinforcing that - simpleness. is. effective.
9. As Daylight Dies - Killswitch Engage (As Daylight Dies)
Slickly produced and reliably melodic, Killswitch might now be closer to emocore than metal. However, thats no reason to think any less of their work, especially the title track off this years album: roaring, jagged riffage and powerfully panging singing with a social subtext is the formula made to order for this Boston quartet.
8. Hole in the Earth - The Deftones (Saturday Night Wrist)
Nothing in this world could possibly express how much I love this unbelievably promising tune, or how much I despise the disposable work put out by The Deftones these last few months. The former is undoubtedly one of their strongest singles yet, blessed with a hard-hitting bridge and light chorus, while Chino Morenos voice is less and less like an off-key dog and more in his comfortable range. All in all, its an excellent radio-rock cut, which is why its a shame he couldnt keep up the pace for the ultra-repetitive latter, Saturday Night Wrist.
7. Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade)
WELL CARRY OOOON!
My Chemical Romance have given that phrase life and almost too much rotation this year. Regardless, Welcome to the Black Parade is carrying on remarkably well on its own, a five-minute plus power ballad that vents Queen, the Smashing Pumpkins, AFI and Green Day all at the same time. What with its urgent, heart-on-sleeve message, its easily the best pop-punk single of the past 12 months, and the album its extracted from, seeing the band trying radically new things, isnt half bad, itself.
6. You Make Me Smile - Blue October (Foiled)
Its so hard to pick out any one song by Blue October for use here, because all of them sound so different to each other... and they all hold up as individuals. For the sake of convenience, lets nominate the relatively radio-embracing opener You Make Me Smile. Its a smooth, intimate lighter-waver, complete with lead singer Justin Furstenfelds Bono-esque fervor.
5. Sleeping Giant - Mastodon (Blood Mountain)
I feel bad for not pledging my undying allegiance to the Mastodon fan club after hearing Blood Mountain, hailed as the metal release of the year, because theyre technically without fault. However, their album spends a little too much time showing this off through ungracefully-long tracklengths rather than putting it where its needed most: Im talking about exemplary displays like this. It starts with some bleak acoustic technicalities, and ruthlessly progresses. Its such a viable gem, capped with Troy Sanders fantastical descriptions of god-knows-what, that even those who usually stay far away from metal in any shape or form will find themselves impressed.
4. Anna Molly - Incubus (Light Grenades)
As My Chemical Romance above win the award for a stereotyped band sprouting an arty outgrowth to their sound, Incubus first album in three years is the best ex-nu-metal disc to hit stores in a long time. And nothing leads off Light Grenades better than this catchy-to-hell single, which I cant see myself ever getting tired of: again packed with influences but with enough zip to keep it from sounding like a ham-handed imitation, Brandon Boyd owns the score with his pristine, likable voice.
3. Storm - Theatre of Tragedy (Storm)
Oh, what a year its been for female-fronted hard-rock; Theatre of Tragedy come out much better in the wash with their sixth studio album than Evanescence, despite losing their former lead singer. I only uncovered the Norwegians this year, but theyve already proved to me that they have much of a future in my record player, this being the latest step in their continuing evolution. For the rest of you, Storm is a hauntingly beautiful, industrial pop-goth outing that uses a piano much better than Amy Lee. Listen to it now.
2. Im So Sick - Flyleaf (Flyleaf)
Flyleaf round off the second female-fronted act in the top five; unlike Theatre of Tragedy, however, theyve actually had a degree of success here. Im So Sick is the number two song of the year not because theyre the new Beatles or because its better than some of the more melodic options on Flyleafs debut, but because Lacey Mosley really has the voice of a banshee. Never have I heard any frontwoman scream yes, scream - like she does in the opening moments of Im So Sick, and the sludgy guitar exhaust reinforces her compassion. I will break / Into your thoughts / With whats written on my heart / I will BREAK! Kinda makes you wish shed do it more.
And now, for the number one rock song of 2K6...
Lips of An Angel, Hinder
Just kidding. A dishonorable mention also goes to every Nickelback song this year for sounding exactly the same as every other one. Go figure.
The real deal...
1. In Regards to Myself - Underoath (Define the Great Line)
Strictly speaking, its not the best rock song to come out in 2006, but Underoath have, in a twist of fate, impressed me more than any other band this year, and little more than this very opener. This is the sound of a band refusing to fit into their genre, and expanding their music without dragging the floor (hello, the Mars Volta!) Continuous chaos reigns in the number... which fits the redemption-seeking lyrics; Its not too late to come clean, get it off your chest... Theres gotta be some stable ground left to walk on... Pull yourself together, delivered with fiery coherence by screamer Spencer Chamberlain and grunter Aaron Gillespie. It writhes its way through several different transitions and a handful of metallic riffs in just over three minutes dont forget the crushing percussion! Its determinedly a difficult tune, and hard to get to be sure. But when you get it hoo boy, its rewarding.
Here ends the Top 30 Rock Songs for 2006. Thank you for reading or glancing through, whichever applies. May 2007 be full of happiness for you and loaded with awesome rocking just waiting to be let out!
To quote every radio presenter in the nation; this is Black Star 40, signing out.
An entry into Demon & Drew's Year-End Write-Off - Always fun
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