Best of 2006
Top 10 albums
1. Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere (Downtown)
After wowing the public with various production credits and the illegally-released Beatles mash-up The Grey Album, Danger Mouse (along with superfreak Cee-Lo) reinvents classic funk with an album that easily earned its label as ‘instant classic.’
2. Regina Spektor: Begin to Hope (Sire)
Regina has single-handedly undone all the damage that Tori Amos has done to the “girl with a piano” genre.
3. Pearl Jam: Pearl Jam (J)
More than 10 years after helping revolutionize the rock industry with Ten, Pearl Jam delivers their best album since, and along the way writes some of the best anti-war songs of the modern era.
4. Mastodon: Blood Mountain (Reprise)
Finally, someone brings back the fucking metal.
5. TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope)
Hands-down the best art-punk rock album named after a level from a Super Mario Bros. game ever.
6. Flaming Lips: At War with the Mystics (Warner Bros.)
Is it about the war? Beck? Time travel? Who knows and who cares, it sounds amazing.
7. Slayer: Christ Illusion (American)
Slayer does not like you and they let you know it with Christ Illusion, an album that is so anti-everything it’s pro-nothing.
8. Dresden Dolls: Yes, Virginia (Roadrunner)
Punk rock cabaret? I’m down with that.
9. The Killers: Sam’s Town (Interscope)
Las Vegas’ resident New Wave revivalists discover Bruce Springsteen and, surprisingly enough, avoid a sophomore slump.
10. Be Your Own Pet: Be Your Own Pet (Universal)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs on too much Ritalin. If lead singer Jemina Abegg learns to control that insane energy of hers, she might be the next Deborah Harry.
Top 10 songs no one heard
1. “Machine Gun,” DMC
After years of fighting alcohol abuse, emotional issues and severe vocal chord damage, one-half of the greatest rap duo of all-time released his debut solo record and it fell flat on its face. This scathing anti-war track was the standout from that criminally overlooked album. Why can’t political rap seem to make it to the mainstream anymore?
2. “Freya,” The Sword
Songs about dragons, wizards and evil sorcerers – this is the way metal should be. Music to listen to while playing Dungeons & Dragons.
3. “(Baby Baby) Can I Invade Your Country,” Sparks
Sparks have the dubious distinction of wallowing in near-obscurity for over 30 years. I guess the lack of pressure is the reason why they are still recording great songs like this.
4. “A.C.D.C ,” Joan Jett
Pushing 50 and still smoking hot, Jett once again showed that she can do a cover tune of an obscure ‘70s song like nobody’s business, adding a sexy bisexual feel to this forgotten song by Sweet.
5. “Sukkafish,” The Grates
These young Aussie punk-rockers may sound a little derivative of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but this down-home, country-sounding track sure was a surprise. These guys also get an honorable mention for the best album title of the year. (Sorry, that award goes to Yo La Tengo – Ed.)
6. “The Bar in the Back of the Basement,” Birdmonster
Unless you’re a hipster with an mp3 blog, you might have missed these guys. Does polk-funk exist? I guess so.
7. “What’s On Your Radio,” The Living End
These Aussie punk-rockers aren’t as young as the Grates and while they might not have the popularity in the States that they have in other countries, songs like this one prove they are more than disserving of it.
8. “Jagged,” Gary Numan
With this title track to his latest album, Gary Numan once again proved that there can be life after “Cars.”
9. “Mission Accomplished,” Disaster Strikes w/Jello Biafra
The first of two mediocre albums to benefit from a guest appearance by ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra…
10. “Dead End Streets,” Revolting Cocks
…and here’s the second. One of the very few good songs that Al Jorgenson managed to spread across two incredibly bland records in one year (one by Ministry, and this one by his collaborative side project).