songs of 2006
So I told you our "Songs of 2006" list would be at least marginally more interesting than our top albums list. It's absolutely absurd to attempt to rank your top songs, especially after maybe the top 10 or so, but we've done it anyway. Because we continue to firmly maintain that lists are fun, even when they involve countless hours of nitpicking and flip-flopping. Again, Garrison Reid's list is also included right after mine.
gorilla vs. bear's favorite songs of 2006:
30. Oh No! Oh My! Walk in the Park mp3
29. Benoit Pioulard Palimend mp3
28. Voxtrot Soft and Warm
27. Birdmonster Spaceman
26. Sufjan Stevens Sister Winter mp3
25. Swan Lake All Fires mp3
24. The Blow Parentheses
23. Ghostland Observatory Piano Man
22. Alela Diane Pieces of String mp3
21. Clipse New World feat. Pharrell
20. Ratatat Wildcat mp3
19. Tacks, The Boy Disaster Paris
18. Sound Team TV Torso
17. CSS Let's Make Love and Listen Death from Above mp3
16. Grizzly Bear Knife mp3
Along with maybe the Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear is one of the only current bands who come anywhere near approaching what the Beach Boys were able to do with harmonies on Pet Sounds. And this song is a perfect example. Absolutely gorgeous.
15. Dirty Projectors Two Young Sheeps mp3
I think I mentioned earlier this year that this song reminds me of the score to some low-budget '70s educational filmstrip, and I mean that as the highest possible compliment. One of the best uses of call-and-response I've ever heard. "Say 'say yeah!"
14. Beach House Master of None mp3
Beach House came out of nowhere this year and became my favorite "fall" record. This song in particular will keep you warm as winter sets in. Seeing Beach House perform this live, in a courtyard on a chilly autumn evening, was one of my favorite musical memories of the year.
13. Band of Horses The Funeral mp3
One of the first songs I fell in love with this year, and a good example of how seeing a song performed live can remind you what you loved about it in the first place. Ben Bridwell's fragile voice turns into a something else on this song, soaring high above anything else the band has done. Goosebump-inducing, and endlessly replayable.
12. St. Vincent Paris is Burning mp3
Released exclusively on the European tour-only Paris is Burning EP, this incredible apocolyptic love-letter merely hints at the immense talent of Ms. Annie Clark.
11. White Denim Let's Talk About It mp3
This song still kicks my ass every time I hear it. Simple and raw, yet utterly infectious and powerful. This is dedicated to that dude from the comments yesterday that said I don't like "rock music".
10. Ghostface Killah Whip You With a Strap mp3
There are so many great goddamned songs on this record, that I even kind of surprised myself with this choice. Something about J Dilla's production here, coupled with some rare, relatively straightforward lyrics from Ghost, that I just can't get over.
9. Liars The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack
You could argue that of all the great songs on Drum's Not Dead, this is the least representative of the Liars explosive energy (no primal drumming?) But it's without question one of the most subtly powerful songs of the year.
8. Destroyer Painter in Your Pocket mp3
It pained me to leave Destroyer's Rubies off my albums list, it really did. But where much of the album sort of faded in my eyes as the year passed, due maybe in part to me overplaying it (my bad), this song remains.
7. T.I. What You Know
T.I.'s confident, breezy (or is it lazy?) flow effortlessly rides DJ Toomp's thunderous synth-driven beat to create the most epic, and the best, hip-hop single of the year.
6. TV On The Radio Wolf Like Me mp3
Yeah, I left The Return to Cookie Mountain off my top albums list. What? It's a technically awe-inspiring album that, in the end, left me slightly cold. But this song was undeniable.
5. Sparrow House When I Am Gone mp3
My number one most played song of 2006, according to iTunes. All of the timelessness of Nico's "These Days," Elliott Smith, or early Simon & Garfunkel. Wes Anderson, I well expect this to be prominently featured in your next film.
4. Joanna Newsom Monkey and Bear
Remember those Disney story-book LPs you used to listen to as a kid? The orchestration and structure of this song remind me of that, only more macabre, because I'm pretty sure Ursula dies at the end. And Joanna's amazingly unique phrasing is on prime display here. Also, I've sent several unanswered emails to Joanna to see if I could use this as the gorilla vs. bear theme song (get at me, girl, you've got my number!)
3. The Knife We Share Our Mother's Health
Again, so many great songs on Silent Shout, but this one is up there with "Heartbeats" as one of the best songs the Swedish brother-sister duo has ever written. This song reinforces what I find so amazing about the Knife, which is their ability to craft songs that are so icy and mechanical, yet simultaneously so emotive and alive. And oh yeah, danceable.
2. Peter Bjorn & John Young Folks mp3
This would be an extremely good song without the presence of Victoria Bergsman, but her detached yet heartbreaking vocal turn elevates it to "instant classic" status. I've yet to meet one person who doesn't like this song.
1. Midlake Roscoe mp3
I called this my favorite song of 2006 back in January, and I'm sticking with it. I rediscovered a lot of '70s
Garrison Reid's List of 30
- The Album Leaf Wishful Thinking
- Band of Horses The First Song
- Birdmonster The Bar in the Back of the Basement
- Cat Power Living Proof
- Alela Diane Pieces of String
- Ghostface Killah Be Easy
- Emily Haines A Maid Needs A Maid
- Oh No! Oh My! I Love You All The Time
- Spank Rock Coke & Wet
- Sunset Rubdown They Took A Vote And Said No
20. Thom Yorke The Clock
19. Joanna Newsom Sawdust & Diamonds
18. Midlake Young Bride
17. Camera Obscura If Looks Could Kill
16. Peter and the Wolf The Bonsai Tree
15. J. Tillman My Waking Days
14. Catfish Haven Crazy For Leaving
13. TV on The Radio I Was a Lover
12. Sound Team Back In Town
11. The Futureheads Back To The Sea
10. Man Man Ice Dogs
I've been meaning to write iTunes to reclassify Man Man as soul. Peeling back the chaotic yet truly innovative outer skins of Man Man, the listener will find they've exposed some of the strongest melodies and hooks currently being written. If they were given the chance to play this song on national television, they would be the biggest band in America.
9. Sparrow House When I Am Gone
This song (and the entire Falls EP) turned out being exactly what I had hoped the Midlake record would be. What Trials of Van Occupanther was for the distant spring season, Sparrow House's Falls is for the corresponding season. Just like Chris, this song has one of the top iTunes play counts -- try putting it on and listening once. It's harder than you'd think.
8. The Raconteurs Blue Veins
Somehow in 2006, Jack White and team made a song containing every element I love about classic rock. Initially this song was a skip track. I didn't appreciate how easily one could pinpoint the song's obvious influences (most notice is Led Zeppelin). But after a few listens, you realize that it isn't wrong of them to borrow from the best. It's simply reproducing that which we (20 somethings) wish we could experience.
7. Ratatat Wildcat
It seems simple and nearly calculated but it's so fresh and clever. Maybe it's the calculated simplicity that is what makes it seem also fresh and clever. AND this would for sure be the theme song for my embarrassingly weak, more adorable/geeky than threatening, white-boy gang.
6. Grizzly Bear Plans
The production of this record should become legendary -- equally gigantic and confounding as Stonehenge or the Pyramids. What I love about this record, as well as the John Vanderslice 2-track record (#8 of 2006), is the active element of the room/studio/space. The space is as present as vocals. After many listens, I think it's their most engaging instrument. If Chris hadn't outlawed it, I probably would have put another Grizzly Bear track on this list.
5. Peter Bjorn and John Young Folks
The second I heard the maracas, I knew it would be a top track of the year. Then there was the bassline and then the whistling and then the male vocal/female vocal relationship dialog. It's nearly scientific.
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Turn Into
This record is so lopsided or it would have easily been my top record of the year. Honestly, the last 3 tracks of this record are better than 50% of 2006's complete records. This song ends in a glorious campfire manner. YYYs use of the acoustic guitar on the record's last tracks gave me a renewed faith in the overly theatrical band.
3. The Knife Marble House
In April Silent Shout was the only album in my car for about 2 months and somehow I never bored of it. The synthscape of "Marble House" develops into a cocoon for one of the record's more emotional tracks. It's has the drive present on most of Silent Shout's tracks without being dancy or abrasive.
2. The Long Winters Hindsight
Lyrically, this song is the song I've wanted to write. In just over four minutes, Roderick explains the universal passion for the hard way, long roads and hopeless underdogs.
1. Voxtrot Soft & Warm
If I had to have an Artist of the Year, it would be Voxtrot. My late introduction to Raised by Wolves combined with the addictive Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives and adding to that, seeing a half dozen of their live performances has equalled something close to a musical obsession. This song holds lyrical gems ("I'd leave you for the person you used to be") that carry amazingly accurate sentiment. This song is often the first that I share with people wanting to know what I listen to.