Friday, December 15, 2006

Top Five Albums of 2006

1) TV On The Radio
Return to Cookie Mountain

TVotR achieves the nearly impossible: Deliver an impeccable sophomore album, one that addresses the promises of their debut and supercedes them on a number of levels. Every single element on this album, from Sitek’s production, Adebimpe’s lyrics, to his and Malone’s delivery of same is exemplary. Their collective work has thrown down the gauntlet that previous masters (Wilco, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, etc.) must pay heed to in their future works. Not enough superlatives could be heaped on this album; as challenging and innovative as Desperate Youth, yet more encompassing and leaves one thankful for the return of passion to music.

2) Honeycut
The Day I Turned to Glass
Quannum Projects

This CD from San Francisco’s Honeycut lands neatly beside Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, Air's Moon Safari and Portishead’s Dummy in terms of groove-filled and sensuous debut albums. Like Sitek, producer RV interweaves his various influences with his own predilections, and achieves a singular aural effect. Admirably, no two songs sound alike on the album, and yet nothing is jarring; you end up letting it wash over you. "Butter Room," a luscious number along the lines of Zero 7, is followed by a killer two note sax intro which yields into ABC-esque synthpop ("Dysfunctional"), which is left behind for a song based on a bass riff Tricky would be proud of ("Dark Days, White Lines"). Worth seeking out.

3) The Dresden Dolls
Yes, Virginia...
Roadrunner Records

Another impressive sophomore effort. Much has been said about this duo’s cabaret-punk sound, and not much at all of their ingenious usage of cabaret as a storytelling device. The story told within Yes, Virginia’s nimble 55 minutes is every bit as compassionate, bloody, and empowering as Mitchell and Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. "Sing," coming, as it does, at the end of one hell of an emotional story, is quite possibly the most moving song of the year.

4) Pigeon John
...And the Summertime Pool Party
Quannum Projects

It would be surprising if, by the time summer in 2007 ends, you were not familiar with at least one song on this album. Pigeon John bravely chooses the road less traveled these days, and establishes himself as the inheritor to the goofy wise-ass gadfly persona largely left alone since the days of the Native Tongues family. The man name checks everything and everyone from Wu Tang to Phil Collins, in the process of delivering some of the sunniest hip hop of the last few years. The production, which skews more Jazzy Jeff than Prince Paul, remains bouncy throughout, and is confident enough to successfully reference REM on "As We Know It."

5) Gnarls Barkley
St. Elsewhere
Downtown Records

Though currently experiencing the inevitable backlash after a monumentally successful single, the fact remains that Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse’s first collaboration is an invigorating mash up of hip hop, gospel and 60s soul. Yes, "Crazy" has been overplayed, and the world did not exactly need a Violent Femmes cover (as fun as it is), but that doesn’t mean the rest of the album suffers as a result. It’s possible that lightning will not strike twice with these guys, however St. Elsewhere stands as a successful experiment not seen since Gorillaz' first album.

--the beige one, 500 words.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Numbers 6 - 10:

6) Thom Yorke, The Eraser
7) Two Ton Boa, Parasiticide
8) Celebration, Celebration
9) Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics
10) Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards

4:25 PM  

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