I hope you haven’t been holding your breath for this! It has been another year of good music, and another year where I’m really not ready to produce a “Top of the Year” list in December and it takes until January. I made a late-year push to catch up on a great deal of music that I missed earlier on, but fell short in getting familiar with most of those releases. So I have assembled a Top 5 that I’m pretty sure of, 10 other top records that I really don’t know how to rank, and a local list. Enjoy!
1. Ghostface Killah, “More Fish”
A wide variety of critics have placed Ghostface’s first album of 2006, Fishscale, in their year-end lists. I don’t agree with that assessment, however, as I have a handful of “rap nerd” quibbles with that album, and there’s some songs I just don’t like. I did like the album, however, so when this sequel came out, I was ready to love it. And love it I do! After a short skit rings in 2007, Ghost starts ripping the old Eric B & Rakim “Juice (Know the Ledge)” beat to pieces, and doesn’t really let up. Though this definitely feels like a Theodore Unit album at times, the contributions from folks like Trife and Shawn Wigs don’t let their mentor down. The beats provided set a fine backdrop for the varied subject matter, especially in the case of “You Know I’m No Good,” Mark Ronson’s sultry funk bomb which also features vocals from Amy Winehouse. There are many ways to define quality, and what exactly an “album of the year” is. For me in 2006, More Fish came out at exactly the right time (right after that Nas album LET ME DOWN) and hit me where I live. Thanks, Ghost!
2. The Lindsay, “Dragged Out”
In a year where Columbus put out an ungodly pile of solid recordings, this one stood above the rest. Dragged Out is an instant Columbus classic that begs for hours of repeated listens. Here’s what I said upon its release.
3. Eagles of Death Metal, “Death By Sexy”
Sometimes you just have to throw up your devil horns and rock out. Josh Homme, Jesse Hughes, and their cast of characters put together a nonstop headbanger that helped get me through the year. Yes, it’s cheesy, but what’s wrong with that?
MP3: I Want You So Hard
4. The Blue Van, “Dear Independence”
I got around to their 2005 album The Art of Rolling much too late to consider for last year’s list, but this year’s album from the Danish rockers builds even more on their promise as harbingers of tuneful rock with real soul. There are plenty of snazzy uptempo rockers on this plate, but ballad-ish “Don’t Leave Me Blue,” which oozes heartachy soul all over the place, takes the cake as the best song here and one of my favorite songs of 2006.
5. SSM, “SSM”
These Detroit boys’ debut on Alive Records is a bit on the confusing side, as there’s some garage, some electronics, some songs about alien love, and other wackiness. Overall, however, they are mainly concerned with rocking out however they see fit. I would often listen to this one a few times in a row without even noticing. Strangely addictive.
My “Other 10” and “Local 10” after the jump.