2006 Recap: Top 10s Are Fun

Albums Of The Year: 2006

Having not been able to stop listening to 'The Flying Club Cup', and knowing that it'll more than likely be on my end of year honors list, I figured I'd do a recap of last year's top albums.

Here they are (in order):

10. ISLANDS- 'Return To The Sea'

This album is a total gem- any band that can make a chirpy feel-good pop song about conflict diamonds deserves credit.
There are at least four standout tracks on 'Return To The Sea', ranging in style from recorder led pop, to dark rap-rock, to the downright unclassifiable.

Where There's A Will There's A Whalebone

9. Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'

Saw what you will about the Arctic Monkeys, the fact that this album is packed to the brim with smart, catchy & edgy pop songs is undeniable. This record stayed in my stereo for months after it came out.


The View From The Afternoon

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- 'Show Your Bones'

I'm truly a shameless pop whore. My criterion for good music include pop-sensibilities as an essential. Yeah Yeah Yeahs took the character and visceral energy of their debut and to this added the pop that I so love. 'Show Your Bones' was the result, and damn was it good.


Cheated Hearts

7. Final Fantasy- He Poos Clouds

Apart from having the album name of the year, 'He Poos Clouds' has a handful of beautiful and disturbing tracks (each based on one of the different schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons- nerds rock!). On this (his second album) Owen Pallett wrote each piece for a string quartet, resulting in a deeper, fuller album that it's predecessor 'Has A Good Home'.


This Lamb Sells Condos

6. Fujiya & Miyagi- 'Transparent Things'

This genre-bending album from the Brighton three-piece is the best electro-funk-indie-chillout-dance album I've ever heard.
Enough said.



5. Cansei De Ser Sexy- 'CSS'

Every once in a while an album comes along that is destined to become a staple of parties everywhere (Thriller, As Heard On Radio, Danse Macabre, Crossroad..), CSS is such an album.
It's as dancy as it is rocky, and it has eleven tracks of non-stop wholesome goodness- no fast forwarding needed.


Off The Hook

4. Red Hot Chili Peppers- 'Stadium Arcadium'

It's often said about this album, but this is a band on the top of their game. To produce an (almost) flawless two disc album at this stage in their career says only one thing: the Chilis are in this for the long haul. This collection has nods to their earlier 'funky monk' stage (Animal Bar, Storm In A Teacup), the standout hit singles the band have become known for (Dani California, Tell Me Baby) and a handful of songs on which the band digress from the formula to tread relatively new ground. For me, it was this latter category which proved most rewarding. Tracks like '21st Century' and 'Strip My Mind' promise a lot from what I hope will be a very long future for the Chili Peppers.
As long as they don't get Navarro back.


Strip My Mind

3. TV On The Radio- 'Return To Cookie Mountain'

To hear an album full of as many original ideas as 'Cookie Mountain' is a rare and precious thing. From the arrangement to the production, TVOTR have painted a wild and vivid picture that sucks you in from the get-go. It's hard to pick a highlight, as different songs seem to resonate with different moods, but as a lead single and a first plunge into the world of TVOTR you could do much worse than the thumping, howling 'Wolf Like Me'.


Wolf Like Me

2. Joanna Newsom- 'Ys'

'Ys' could be a folk opus; it could be a classical suite; it could be an epic poem. It is certainly unique, and it is certainly a overpowering masterpiece. These five tracks are woven tight with layer upon intricate layer of strings composed by the legendary Van Dyke Parks, held together by Newsom's precise plucking of harp strings, and a voice so much more mature than on her previous effort. I can honestly see this album being studied in years to come, or being sought out on vinyl and played with the reverence that's right now reserved for the likes of 'Dark Side'. An absolute classic.



1. Cursive- 'Happy Hollow'

With 'Happy Hollow' Cursive have delivered everything that you could possibly want in an album. The concept allows for Tim Kasher's lyrics to explore small town ignorances and hypocrisies through the most cutting and insightful compositions of his career. Reading these words alone sent shivers down my spine, only to be repeated tenfold when they were put to music. From the first passionately urgent chord, Cursive have the listener is in the palm of their hand. Personally, I must admit I wondered where the band would go after the departure of Cellist Gretta Cohn. She had without a doubt contributed to the dynamic of the fantastic 'The Ugly Organ' and I worried about hole she would leave. Fortunately that hole has been plugged with passion, Wizard Of Oz fueled dementia, distortion and a messed-up brass section. Oh, and when this record rocks it fucking rocks. If you don't already own this, get on it.


Dorothy At Forty

Notable Mentions:

Knife: 'Silent Shout'; Broken Social Scene: 'Broken Social Scene'....more? Probably....

Click here for 2007 albums of the year list

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