04 January 2007

What Mattered in 2006

It has taken far longer than reasonable, but I have prepared a handful of year-end lists. I figured it best to break them into chunks...hopefully I can deliver one a day for the next week.

These lists simply reflect the things that mattered to me in 2006. Some of the albums, songs, movies, books, etc. that you'll find here were released in years other than 2006. Cut me some slack. I'm slow on the uptake and sometimes it takes me an extra year (or two or three or seven) to catch on to something already deemed "amazing" by the general public.

So, with that uninspiring disclaimer in mind, let's get started.

Albums that Mattered (2006)

Everything All The Time - Band of Horses
Why it mattered:
The Funeral, The Great Salt Lake, Monsters. Most albums would kill to boast one of the three. Also, it always feels good to have an album on the shelf that gets better as the volume increases.

Silent Alarm - Bloc Party
Why it mattered:
I've already spilled the details. Read more here. I guess (sometimes) being on the tail end of the buzz curve feels kind of good. It's the ├╝ber-hipster stance of "I liked them after it was cool to like them." Yes, I am a complete nerd.

Songs For Chistmas, Vol. I-V - Sufjan Stevens
Why it mattered:
This may be the one Christmas collection that's actually listenable outside of the accepted Nov. 15 - Jan. 1 timeframe. Sister Winter still knocks my socks off.

Alligator - The National
Why it mattered:
Because it may have been my 2005 Album of the Year and just never slowed down. Quietly proving to be one of those albums that could be listened to 500+ times without losing any lustre.

St. Elsewhere - Gnarls Barkley
Why it mattered:
I don't listen to hip-hop. I don't listen to soul. I don't listen to R&B. And, still, this brainy mash-up of all three is probably the most startling, intriguing and exploding-in-your-eardrums LP I've heard in years. And with a lead-off track title like Go-Go Gadget Gospel, you simply can't avoid hopping in with both feet.

Sam's Town - The Killers
Why it mattered:
Even though it got slaughtered by most critics, I choose to believe the best about this album. I choose to believe that the bombastic, exaggerated, melodramatic choices made by Brandon Flowers and the boys were intentionally postmodern. I choose to believe that (as stated by Kyality), Sam's Town might just be rock 'n' roll's 2006 answer to Andy Warhol and Baz Luhrmann. Plus, my folks live 7 miles up the road (Boulder Highway, to be exact) from the Sam's Town casino. Want to understand this album? Go drive Boulder Highway. Seriously.

Bring Me The Workhorse - My Brightest Diamond
Why it mattered:
Vocals that make you wish your dreams were soundtracked by Shara Worden. That, and the realization that Sufjan's #1 Illinoisemaker has a whole lot more up her sleeve than the shimmering harmonies I still love.

Gimme Fiction - Spoon
Why it mattered:
Another 2005 album that kept on giving in 2006. I once read an interview in which Britt Daniel referred to Spoon as a "tambourine band." I wanted to disagree. I wanted to say that they're so much more than that. But then, just one minute and 17 seconds into I Turn My Camera On, the tambourine kicks in. And I'm dancing in the kitchen while Luke spins in bizarre non-circles and Owen giggles until half-chewed fruit puffs fall from his mouth. Then, I know Britt was right. So wonderfully, wonderfully right.

Next up... Books that Mattered (2006). You just can't wait. You might not even sleep. Just pick up some Tylenol PM and count the sheep. Anticipation's a killer.


kyality said...

Complete with album art too? Now that's what I call truly ambitious. I just picked up that Spoon album over the Christmas break with (another) 25 free track spree on eMusic—now I'm all the more excited to listen.

Sherpa said...

Sams Town? Sams Town?

Other than that blip, nice list.