I am so tired of all the year-end lists.
First, all the radios agree with all the TVs and all the TVs agree with all the magazines and then lists are made, tirelessly, by teams of geeks crunching numbers and ratings and seeing what goes where and when and how.
My list, has no science to it- every album is listened to, and then re-listened to, and then listened to again. Each song is painstakingly pored over, lyrics sheets read and re-read, and scores are tallied.
And you get, for the second year (first year on Blogger.com, might I add?) the Jimmy Mac's Musicologist Year In Music, 2006. Without further ado, here's my favorite records of the past 12 months, starting at the bottom:
25. Cursive- Happy Hollow (Saddle Creek) rating: 68
Okay, there's this idea that the universe was created by this big huge explosion, possibly called The Big Bang, that supports a scientific view of creationism and leaves that whole story of Genesis (the Bible Genesis, not the Phil Collins' one...) a huge fictionalized lie against humanity, and Cursive's Tim Kasher is pissed. So he writes this semi-rock opera, which actually plays like 2 separate albums. The first half fucking rocks. The second half, doesn't quite rock like the first half but provides a coherency to finish the story off. I like that a few bands out there still do "concept" records, even if I think the subject is somewhat trite, it's music that rocks and music that rocks is still pretty cool. I'm glad these guys decided to not be so freaking emo anymore. Hey, i had an emo music phase. We all did, right? Fave Track: Bad Sects
24. Lady Sovereign- Public Warning (DefJam) rating:69
grime [grahym] –noun 1. dirt, soot, or other filthy matter, esp. adhering to or embedded in a surface. –verb (used with object) 2. to cover with dirt; make very dirty; soil. Last year's big-breakthrough, M.I.A., introduced it to the mainstream last year, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal failed to break through with it- if you're unfamiliar with the hip-hop subgenre known as "grime", it's that 2-step breakbeat style of drum and bass from London. An appreciator of all things British, I fell for Sov after the third song, Random. Stylistically, Public Warning lends a nod to M.I.A., and the self-proclaimed "littlest midget in the game" reminds you that "Smokin' kills and so do my lyrics, If you're poppin' pills then trust ur not wiv it, Cus I got da skills, And I'm over da limit, Dishin' lyrics like meals every second every minute". Too bad that DefJam CEO Sean Carter's (otherwise known as Jay-Z) own album wasn't this good. Make way for the S-O-V! Fave Track: Love Or Hate Me
23. Margot And The Nuclear So And So's- The Dust Of Retreat (Artemis) rating: 71
I'm going to call these guys (and gals) The Decemberists, Jr. But please, this a huge complement, so don't anyone get offended. It's just that if Colin Meloy & Co. were from The East Village, they'd be Margot And The ... man, another thing, what's with that name? How can such a good band have such a crappy name? So I went to good old Wikipedia, because they know everything, and found out that they got their name from Gwyneth Paltrow's character from The Royal Tenenbaums and the rest is about how W pronounces the word "nuclear". So there. But this is an actual album, like the recording of a set or series of concepts similarly themed, set to music and chords. I wish more people made albums like this one. Fave Track: Skeleton Key
22. Amy Millan- Honey From The Tombs (Arts&Crafts) rating: 72
Canadian songstress from one of my favorite bands, Stars, thought it would be a good idea to release a country album. Best idea she ever had. Although it's not completely draped in a western motif, it has its straightforward rockers and lovely heart-felt ballads, but for argument's sake, it's pretty country-ized. Like country-fried steak. Wrapped in canadian bacon. Damn, I'm hungry... For songs about losin' lovers, skinny boys, Thoreau and whiskey. Fave Track: Blue In Yr Eye
21. Forward, Russia!- Give Me A Wall (Co-Op/Mute) rating: 73
Dance-punk may have hit its peak last year with Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and the departure of both Death From Above 1979 and Test Icicles may have signaled its end, but hold on a moment- here comes Forward, Russia! and their own artsy brand of danceable hard rock from Leeds, UK. I have this theory: if the Brits love it, it should go over big here, right? Not always the case. But it seems to be the case with me. Heavy and guitar driven, bashy drums, synth-grooves, all-over-the-place one minute, tight and perfected the next... Funky, post-rock, genre-bending screamcore. Fave Track: Nineteen
Stay tuned for the next Blog: #s 16 through 20