Well, it's time to reveal my top 6 albums of 2006. These are the 6 cds I enjoyed the most this year and the 6 albums I think you should check out for yourselves. Let's begin.
My number 6 album this year is The Black Keys with Magic Potion. This album is full of gut-bucket, swamp blues rock. The album features drums and guitar and a whole lot of power. The guitar sound is perfect for this style of music and the riffs are very tasty. Just check out track 4, Just a Little Heat, for the best riff of 2006. The Black Keys will force you to love the blues with this album, your power to resist is futile.
My number 5 album could be looked at as my country album of the year, if it were actually a country album, it's Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins with Rabbit Fur Coat. By country I don't mean the "country" music you hear on today's radio, but old fashioned 70's style country mixed with some rock. Jenny Lewis sounds like a woman on a spiritual journey on this album, her lyrics tell her story and The Watson Twins, Kentucky born and bred, back her up with the best harmony vocals in the business. Even if you are not a country fan or a folk fan, I believe this album will break through your prejudices against those types of music like it did mine. If nothing else, go to iTunes and get the cover of The Traveling Wilburys' Handle with Care. It's the best cover of the year.
Now let's get back to the rock with my number 4 pick with Wolfmother's self titled debut. I bought their EP a year or so ago and knew that this band was going to be special when they released a full length album. Wolfmother are old school. They are not exactly metal, but they bring it in some songs. They remind me more of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, Black Sabbath all rolled into a three piece band from Australia. All the songs hit you right in the face. Their lyrics harken back to Ronnie James Dio circa Rainbow, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you haven't heard these guys and are a rock fan, go buy this cd immediately.
At number 3 we have more rock with Tool's 10,000 Days. If you do not know about Tool, then this would be a perfect record to introduce them to you. Tool are what some call prog rock or sometimes math rock because of the extremely long songs and the crazy time changes that sometimes occur in these songs. I just think they are one of the top 3 rock outfits in the game today. 10,000 Days has everything Tool is known for, sludgy, heavy guitars, a tight rhythm section and a lead singer who doesn't lead the band so much as use his voice as just another instrument in the music. The songs range from our obsessions with reality TV to lead singer Maynard James Keenan's mother's passing. Tool's music can be both beautiful and profane all at the same time, but it is always good.
At number 2 we have My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade. I have to tell you I am a sucker for a huge, over the top, rock opera concept album and The Black Parade delivers. I must admit that it seems at some times to be a little too over the top, but rock music is supposed to be big and brash. I am not exactly sure what musical genre My Chemical Romance would fit into, but this album has music that sounds inspired by Queen, T-Rex, Broadway show tunes, and punk music. Every song flows effortlessly into the next. From hard charging riff rockers to somber piano ballads, I think this is THE rock record of the year.
What is number 1? I'm sure you can guess, I didn't buy into the hype, I just think this is the biggest "holy crap, this is so good" album of the year. It's Gnarls Barkley with St. Elsewhere. As far as I am concerned no other album could be as groundbreaking but still palatable to the masses. When I first sat down and listened to this cd the whole way through, I immediately listened to it again after I finished. It is amazing the sounds and styles that are all blended into this album. We have hip-hop, soul, R&B, and rock and anything else you can think of to list. What may be the most amazing thing is that Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo got this right on their first try. I can only imagine what the follow-up will bring. I know you have heard Crazy and are probably tired of it, although it is the best song of the year, but don't let that stop you for enjoying the rest of the album. If there is only one cd you by this year, make this the one.
That's it. I know I am sure I missed some of your favorites and I am sure I missed some that I will buy later and realize I should have included them on the list, but these 12 are as good as you will find for the year 2006. On to 2007, happy new year to all!!