Monday, January 01, 2007

The Best of 2006

Happy New Year!
On top of the wonderful performances of Fergie and the like (from what I understand, she’s Fergalicious), I now invite you to read my Best of the Year review. Sure, Buck Fifty has his worst of lists, so now read my best of lists…

Album of the Year
This was a tough year to pick just one, because there were so many great albums that I absolutely loved. So, no matter what Sharon says, I have chosen 3. That’s right…this year is a three-way tie for album of the year. And they are:

Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere: You know what? I don’t even care that everyone and their mother is picking this album for album of the year. I don’t care that they have magazine covers everywhere, or that they had a song plastered all over the radio for months on end. I don’t care about any of that. Sometimes a great album is a great album even if it has been plastered everywhere and has been overexposed. I absolutely love this album. Pretty much anything Danger Mouse touches at this point is sheer gold. He just has an ear for great music. And it’s nice for Cee-Lo to finally get some recognition among the general public…everyone loves a little crazy.

The Roots Game Theory: Hands down the best hip-hop group on the planet. Sure, everyone knows ?uestlove…he has the most recognizable afro this side of Nate X. But people tend to forget about the wicked bass lines of Hub, or the intelligent, well-placed rhymes of Black Thought (quite possibly the best MC currently working). They don’t steal headlines like 50 Cent…they just make great music. This is their best album to date…and that’s really saying something.

TV On the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain: Odd. Creative. Catchy. All of these words describe TV On the Radio and their outstanding new album. They’re finally getting out there (cover of Spin, playing on Letterman, etc.), and that’s absolutely mind-blowing to me. They’re not really all that “accessible”, but it’s wonderful that greatness can be recognized no matter how strange they appear to be. If, in fact, Radiohead killed rock n’ roll with the release of Kid A (they had to in order to save themselves, apparently), then TV On the Radio has revived it with this album. Seriously, have you ever heard guitars sound like that? (Shut up, My Bloody Valentine)

And, of course, some honorable mentions:

Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways: It’s not just because it’s a posthumous release…it actually is a great album. Full of beautiful, heartbreaking songs. If you don’t love this album, I’m pretty sure you don’t have a soul.

The Killers Sam’s Town: I don’t care what you say…I like it.

AnathalloFloating World: One of these days, Anathallo will get their break. They’re one of the most creative and energetic bands I’ve ever seen. Keep it up, fellas…you’re almost there.

Margot & The Nuclear So & SosThe Dust of Retreat: I’ll be forever perplexed why this album isn’t tearing up the college charts. Catchy, tricked-out folk music…it’s better than you think it is.

Thom Yorke The Eraser: Would I still like this album if it was released by anyone else? Yeah, probably. Great beats and Thom’s amazing (yet slightly strange) voice made this album amazing (no matter what anyone else tells you).

Ryan Adams – Wait…you mean he didn’t release an album this year? OK, I’m confused…

Box Set of the Year:

Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards: You knew this would win. Of course you did. It’s full of new and unreleased Tom Waits songs/stories, not to mention it has some amazing pictures. There is absolutely nothing not to love about this set.

Compilation of the Year:

The Beatles Love: Sounds like a made-up category, right? Well…it kind of is, except it’s worth it (also, I make this stuff up, so I can do whatever I want). An amazing collection of Beatles songs as reimagined by George and Giles Martin. Here’s the amazing thing about this: it had to be absolutely perfect. If it wasn’t the entire world would riot, George Martin or no. But they really came through. From the time that the drum solo from “The End” kicks right into “Get Back”, you know the entire album will work. Plus, the sound quality is astounding. It was quite a task, but it was worth it. Bravo fellas.

EP of the Year
(I’ll make this disclaimer: I just ordered the new EP from Gary Murray, which may end up making this list. But, seeing as how it didn’t come before the year ended, it didn’t really have a chance. Sorry Gary.)

MapSan Francisco in the 90s: These guys have been making great pop music for years, and now, with the release of the single “Breakfast at Ikea” getting played on NPR, it looks like people may start to sit up and take notice of this incredible band.

Honorable mention goes to The Hojos for their EP entitled Demo. Its four songs of pure rock energy. If you haven’t heard The Hojos, you really need to fix that soon.

That’s it…my end of the year list. Did I forget to mention something? It’s quite possible that I did…it is fairly late. Leave me a comment or something. Oh yeah…if you’re looking a great “Worst Of” list, check out Matthew’s movie list here…I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


John said...

the killers are worthless. HA!

Kelly said...

Wow, quite impressive work Dusty! Unfortunately I see the Justin Timberlake album didn't even get an honorable mention! hehe.

Fosterface said...

I assumed Thom Yorke would be on that list, but I do admire your gutsiness in putting the Killers on there, not to mention 2 hip hop albums taking the 3 spots available for number 1. Or were it numbers 1? Number ones?

Well done for being able to enjoy bands in spite of their imagemaking. My own cringe interferes a bit too much.

Matthew said...

My list totally pwns your list.

In mathmatical terms, it would look like this:

My list>Your list

Sharon said...

see, the thing about have 3 # 1's (that's how it's done, ben) is, when ya list 'em like this, there's still an album in the 1st slot. and rightfully so - i fully support the fact that gnarles barkley is listed first, cuz it's the best one there!
also, i must fight with this john who so falsely appraises the value of the killers... i would extend the sentiment of disdain about their lastest album (sorry dust, i know you wish it were not so), but to say they are worthless is to fail to recognize that the previous album was a pretty piece of work, and always fun to listen to, especially when driving!!