Time is running out for us...

Okay, I know I said I was starting the wrap up with the Best Movies of 2006, right? Well, we rented a couple movies that we're going to watch over the course of today and tomorrow that I feel stand a legitimate chance of making the list. So I'm pushing that post back to tomorrow and gifting you all with the Best Albums of 2006 instead. Is the trade okay? Please say yes. Please?

Unlike last year, I've got a boatload of 2006 releases that I'd like to include. For this reason, I'm expanding it from a Top 5 list to a Top 10 list. I can't believe the sheer volume of music I picked up this year. And paring it down to ten was tough as well. I've still got an additional ten albums that I'm simply going to list as honorable mentions. Suffice it to say, it was a good year for music.

Oh yeah, and I don't tend to include live albums on my top lists of the year. Dunno why, I just don't. Besides, there's more than enough new studio releases to fill the list.

Well, here you go, regardless of if you preferred reading the movie list or not...

Thomyorketheeraser 1. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

You know, you hear that the lead singer of a hugely popular band is putting together a solo effort and you begin to sweat. "Ohmigod! What's wrong with the band? Are they breaking up? Why couldn't he just do this new music with the band???" Well, the reason why is because this album is pretty far removed from what you've come to expect of Radiohead. Simply out of a desire to have more of a focus on his voice and be a bit more experimental with electronics, Yorke graces us with this album that shot to the top of many charts around the world and a couple songs were featured in soundtracks for films such as The Prestige and A Scanner Darkly. It's a fantastic and mesmerizing album that I can listen to over and over again without becoming bored. That says a lot. Check out "Black Swan" and "Harrowdown Hill."

2. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
I think in any other year, this would have been the tops of my list. And, for a majority of this year, it was my favorite album. But, sorry PJers of the World, it got bumped to #2 and by no fault of their own. Thom Yorke was just that damn good an album. This, however, is easily the finest release by Pearl Jam since, I'd argue, Vitalogy, which was one of the best albums of the 90s, in my humble opinion. For this album, the Boys du Jam pull out all the stops and give us one helluva rocker. I only wish I had been able to see them on tour supporting it. Alas, tickets for concerts just cost way too damn much these days. From the get go, my personal fave was "World Wide Suicide," but I also recommend "Severed Hand" and "Gone."

3. Amos Lee - Supply and Demand
Katie and I have been freaks for Amos Lee since we saw him open for Norah Jones at the Chicago Theater a couple years ago. He was a fantastic entertainer both musically and personally. He got the crowd into his act more than I have ever seen an opener do in the past. And we have purchased every album of his since that time. And not a single one has let us down. It's hard to nail down genres with many musicians and Lee is one of them. All I can say is that it's really great acoustic guitar music that does a great job of helping you kick back and take a load off. Check out "Shout Out Loud" and "Supply & Demand."

4. Landon Pigg - LP
It's amazing how many up-and-coming artists can thank the iTunes Store for their breakthrough success. The folks at iTunes like to pick up on a new artist each week and feature them as a free single. Landon Pigg was one such artist in 2006 with "Sailed On." Hey, it was how I discovered him. Just some good Brit pop/rock spanning both the mellow and harder-edged arenas with catchy riffs and memorable lyrics. Well, I liked it. You might know "Can't Let Go" from the radio and it is good. But so are "Great Companion" and "Tinman."

5. KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
When I first saw her perform on, I believe, Late Night with David Letterman or The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (damn if I can remember which it was), I was enthralled. She was a one-woman act who looped her effects as she played them to build what amounted to a multi-piece band sound. It was fantastic. And, yes, while I know that pop radio picked up on her songs "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See" pretty heavily (practically to death), I still enjoy them immensely. But if you are tired of those two, check out "Other Side of the World" and "Miniature Disaster" instead.

6. G Love - Lemonade
It's kinda funny, but I've known of G Love for years. I had friends who listened to him as part of G Love and Special Sauce back in college. He was everywhere. But I never heard his music. Not one... that I'm aware of. This year, he's back in more ways than one. Collaborating with everyone from Jack Johnson to Tristan Prettyman, he's put together one heckuvan album here that I love and I am now very happy to call myself a fan. Download "Ride" and "Holla!"

7. The Killers - Sam's Town
This is probably one of the most critically anticipated albums of the year. Its release was heralded with all kinds of praise and yadda yadda yadda. I guess that's what happens when you're a nothing band from Las Vegas whose debut album Hot Fuss winds up going stratospheric on the power of three huge hit singles. So how does a band possibly reach that bar that they personally launched so high up that no one can seemingly grasp it? Well, it's tough to say the least. And I'm still not sure that this album will quite hit that mark, but it's still a good album. Just not quite as out-of-the-box great as the first. I'd recommend giving it a couple listens before passing final judgment, please. "While You Were Young" will be the song that is always played on the radio despite any other singles that come off the album much like "Mr. Brightside" was on Hot Fuss. Also check out "Bling (Confession of a King)" and "For Reasons Unknown."

8. The Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way
This was actually one of the top albums on my "most anticipated" list for the year. And it was worth the wait. The Chicks, in their first album since their in-concert anti-Bushie rant a few years back have smartly decided that they might need to broaden their appeal a bit since many of their old fanbase was turned off by their "un-American" attack. Bah! I say. Everyone has an opinion and we, as a country, support the right to have and share such opinions (even if the rant occurred in England). Anyway. Yes, this is still a country album, but with more of a crossover appeal than before. I highly recommend it. "Not Ready to Make Nice," "Voice Inside My Head," and "Taking the Long Way" are good starting points.

9. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning
I'm a junkie for Mark Knopfler, I'll admit it. I've been a fan of Dire Straits since I was a kid. I became fascinated just watching Knopfler finger pluck his electric guitar to perfection. And I've followed his solo career quite avidly. I own all his solo work and love every last bit of it. It has always had a bit of a crossover feel spanning both a lighter rock and harder country genres, so seeing him put out a full album's worth of collaboration with a well-known country artist such as Emmylou Harris was an inevitability. And I love it. The two voices blend together beautifully and the musicianship is spectacular as we Knopfler fans would expect. Try "This is Us" and "Red Staggerwing" on for size.

10. Eric Lindell - Change in the Weather
Once in a while, you make a mistake that turns out for the better. This was one such mistake. I was trying to download the free single of the week from iTunes from Lindell and accidentally clicked the "Buy Album" button instead. I was not happy. Instead of spending nothing, I waxed $10. Grrr... Thankfully, I've made the most of my money. Quite a bit, in all honesty. With a mix of blues and rock bringing life to this album, it's a thoroughly enjoyable album. Check out "Two-Bit Town," "Feel Like I Do," and "Sunny Daze."

Following is a list of honorable mentions. They're all still damn good, but just not quite good enough to edge their way on a Top 10. You should seriously give these a listen as well, though. In no particular order this time:

  • The Wreckers - Stand Still, Look Pretty
  • Matisyahu - Youth
  • Daughtry - Daughtry
  • Nas - Hip Hop is Dead
  • Guster - Ganging Up on the Sun
  • Jack Johnson - Sing-a-longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George
  • John Legend - Once Again
  • Dashboard Confessional - Dusk & Summer
  • Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
  • Christina Aguilera - Back to Basics

I hope you were able to find at least one album that could pique your curiosity. There's quite a variety of genres represented here. But that's just what I'm like when it comes to music, I listen to a little bit of everything.

I really need to consider signing up for that iTunes affiliate program. I could make some serious dough off all this potential linkage.

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I always enjoy taking some time to look back on the year as it is wrapping up and pick what I feel to be some of the best movies of the year. Last year, I did a top five movies....


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Kevin, are you trying to help bring the sexy back? LOL. I actually downloaded some JT after SNL and was surprisingly impressed....so yeah. Love The Wreckers too, but then again I always have had a thing for Michelle Branch.

Did you happen to see Pearl Jam on VH1 Storytellers this year? It is, without a doubt, one of the best Storytellers that I have seen. I love their music live and also love the fact that no matter how far they lean to the left (more like sag and droop), Eddie still urges people to just get informed and make a smart decision.

That Vedder....still making me swoon ;).


G. Love is still G. Love and Special Sauce. Why they dropped the Special Sauce part from their name I don't know. Probably some kind of marketing research from their record label.

I'm glad that you liked The Killers. It's one of my favorite albums as well. From what I have read, you and me might be the only two.


Whoops, why did I write your name and not mine for that last comment? I have no idea.


I'm definitely going to check out the music on this list... and blame you if I don't like anything. Happy New Year!

ms. sizzle

that's it. enough hemming and hawing- i'm going to download the new amos lee from itunes this instant. his first album was stellar.


I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with a kind of eclectic taste in music.


Ooh...I love new things to try out. And really, was there ANY doubt that you were bringing sexy back before now?


I'm going to take the liberty of qualifying one of your honorable mentions for you. Matisyahu's Youth has some good singles, but is not as good as Live at Stubbs or Shake Off the Dust...Arise, his two prior albums. His prior albums were "listen from beginning to end" albums. While Youth has some of his all-time best singles, it also has a few songs that, frankly, could have been done without. That being said, the best songs on it are King without a Crown, Jerusalem (my personal favorite), Indestructible, and, to a lesser extent, Youth, What I'm Fighting For and WP. The rest...eh...

Also, no mention of Taking Back Sunday's Louder Now (after the superfantastic Where You Want To Be...which I thought was easily one of the best albums of the year, even better than Hot Fuss)? For shame...


Hilly, oddly, I prefer The Wreckers to Michelle Branch's solo efforts. She's great at country. No, I didn't see that Storytellers. Wonder if I can download it?

Brandon, you trying to thief my identity here? Grrrr... ;-) I know more people who liked The Killers, but, as I said they shouldn't, they passed judgment after one listen. It takes far more.

Neil, you can blame me, but I'm not paying you back for any of it! ;-)

Sizzle, do it. Do it now. Worth every penny.

Dagny, and I have my buddy, Eric, to blame for it. He listens to an even wider variety than I do.

sandra, never any doubt. ;-)

BA, this is my first experience with Matisyahu and I grant you the right to qualify it considering you know him better than I do. "Taking Back Sunday"? Not familiar with them.


I love lists. I can't help it. That's the only reason I'm still subscribed to Cosmo. Uh, I mean... Hustler. ...Nevermind.

I'm actually offended that I haven't seen more of KT Tunstall on these "Best of" lists. Good call. Also good call on the Wreckers, which I love more than I admit in public.


Greg, The Wreckers definitely qualify as guilty pleasure. I think most people pick up on them simply because the two of them are just so darn cute. But if that's what it takes to get people to listen...

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