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Best Albums Of 2006

December 1st, 2006

It’s that time of year already… prepare to be bombarded with year-end Best Of lists galore. Not one to be left out, here’s my crack at putting together a Best Albums list. Below are what I believe to be the overall 10 best albums (LPs) of 2006. My criteria for determining this list is totally random and subjective, so take it for what it’s worth. Here they are, in reverse order.

10. Morrissey: Ringleader of the Tormentors

Now in his late 40s, Morrissey continues to make music that’s relevant and worth listening to. This CD came out of nowhere and without much fanfare (in the States, at least). RotT is Morrissey’s 8th solo album. No worries… requisite self-loathing deprecation and guilt still remain. A great follow-up to the acclaimed You Are the Quarry… yet another step forward for the Moz. Yes, I am a Morrissey fanboy.
9. Silversun Pickups: Carnavas

Straight-ahead rock reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins (it’s near impossible to avoid the comparisons). Well Thought Out Twinkles, Little Lover’s So Polite, and Lazy Eye are the standout tracks. The rest of the album is pretty good, as well… no track skipping required.
8. Beirut: Gulag Orkestar

Beirut’s debut is destined to be on everyone’s Best Of list this year. The orchestration on this album is beautiful and the vibe is purposefully Eastern European (a la Korki Butchek). Postcards From Italy and Scenic World are the most lively and accessible tracks on the album. Although some songs can tend to sound similar, it’s an intimate and exquisite listening experience all around.
7. Tilly And The Wall: Bottoms of Barrels

Tap-dancing pop music at its finest. Not as consistent as their debut (Wild Like Children), but still undeniably enjoyable and packed with indie pop anthems.
6. The Hidden Cameras: Awoo

‘Gay church folk music’, indeed. Previous efforts may have produced more memorable (and often perverse) songs; however, this album shows more of frontman Joel Gibb’s tender side, as well as a more refined sound. Good all the way through, with the exception of Lollipop… too Barenaked Ladies-esque for my liking. You’ll either love or hate the title track.
5. Band of Horses: Everything All the Time

I’m not totally in love with this album, but after repeated listenings I can’t deny that it’s damn good. Not overly exciting, but ethereal melodies abound. I change my mind… I am in love with this album.
4. Mates Of State: Bring It Back

I’d be hard-pressed to find a band/artist that I enjoy more thoroughly than Mates Of State… their music is so fun and catchy. Surprisingly, Kori and Jason’s cutesiness actually doesn’t make me want to vomit; come to think of it, it makes me want to do the opposite of vomit (figuratively speaking).
3. Islands: Return to the Sea

A unique pop album. The sound is familiar, but the album is unmistakably ambitious and experimental and draws from numerous eclectic influences. It would’ve been better off without track #6 (Where There’s A Will There’s A Whalebone)… the rapping is painfully cheesy. The rest of the album more than makes up for it, though.
2. Asobi Seksu: Citrus

Asobi Seksu play moving and beautifully orchestrated noise. Don’t discredit them as just another shoegaze band, though; they have definite pop appeal. Vocals are purposefully subdued and only add to the musical ambience. For me, this album is the modern day equivalent of a heavily distorted Chopin nocturne on crack.
1. Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton: Knives Don’t Have Your Back

Emily Haines’ first solo effort is a poignant and understated departure from Metric’s synth-rock sound. Haines crafts complex and stirring melodies primarily with the accompaniment of a piano. This melancholic journey is inifinitely memorable and haunting; Haines wears her vulnerability on her sleeve on this very personal recording. It’s beautifully composed and performed, but don’t expect a feel good album.

Honorable Mentions / Sentimental Favorites (in no particular order)

The Dears: Gang Of Losers

Puffy AmiYumi: Splurge

CSS: Cansei De Ser Sexy

Camera Obscura: Let’s Get Out Of This Country

Say Hi To Your Mom: Impeccable Blahs

Stay tuned for more year-end lists / favorites.

Posted by Oliver Filed in Lists, Reviews