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Top 30 Songs of 2006

Date December 6, 2006

This is my first attempt at an end of the year songs list. As a measure I’ve selected songs that I think I’ll still be playing and replaying after the year, but as a rule I didn’t choose more than one song per artist. It’s kindof crazy to try to rank songs at a certain point, but after some toiling I came up with a definitive 30, that I’m happy with. A selection of them are available for download and they are labeled as such. Make sure to click read more… for my top ten. Thanks for visiting!

30. Camera Obscura – Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken
29. Snowden – Anti-Anti MP3
28. Regina Spector – Fidelity
27. Eric Bachmann – Carrboro Woman MP3
26. Destroyer – European Oils
25. Danielson – Ship the Magestic Suffix MP3
24. Ben Kweller – Penny on the Train Track
23. Devotchka – Til The End of Time
22. Islands – Swans (Life After Death)
21. Phoenix – Consolation Prizes MP3

20. Page France – Antarctica (My Beloved Home) MP3
19. CSS – Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above MP3
18. Birdmonster – Spaceman
17. Mates of State – Beautiful Dreamer
16. Shearwater – Seventy-four, Seventy-five MP3
15. Headlights – Put Us Back Together MP3
14. Hot Chip – Boy From School
13. The Pipettes – Pull Shapes
12. Midlake – Roscoe MP3
11. Anathallo – Hanaskajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash) MP3

10. Arizona – Some Kind of Chill MP3

This falsetto voice and folk/country undertones in this song remind me of After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young. It is effortlessly gorgeous and has a guitar solo that hit’s you in just the right spot.

9. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Overplayed, Yes. Still amazing though, definitely. Don’t deny it.

8. The Format – Dog Problems MP3

One of the biggest surprises of the year is how a pop punk band can write a song that’s this complex structurally and is also one of the most gorgeous and heartbreaking of the year. I love the heavy instrumentation (strings! trumpets!), and dramatic tempo changes.

7. Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye MP3

The explosion of sound that occurs at 2:46 here is one of the best moments in a 2006 song. It’s even better live with the band extending the final guitar part for minutes beyond what the studio version gives you.

6. Belle & Sebastian – Dress Up In You MP3

Every song on this album is great but if I had to pick one, It’d be this back-to-the-basics B&S track. Stuart’s storytelling is in top form and the trumpet solo in the middle of the song is beyond words.

5. Sunset Rubdown – Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings MP3

This track is both catchy and absolutely chilling at the same time. “Oceans never listen to us anyway” is a line that repeats over and over in my head. The song has an unpredictable and chaotic quality that I love.

4. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife 1 & 2

This song signifies everything I like about the Decemberists. Amazing lyrically and musically. The buildup at 2:20 with the swirly organ and triumphant drums is wonderful and the ending of the song is nothing short of epic. Favorite live song of the year too.

3. Joanna Newsom – Sawdust & Diamonds

This is the most sparse and beautiful song on Joanna Newsom’s much celebrated album and there’s something about the song that invokes me to listen and relisten to it to catch every nuance of the vocal performance.

2. Sufjan Stevens – Pittsfield MP3

This is the most emotional and powerful song that I’ve heard this year. The song is incredibly personal and musically it matches Sufjan’s best ballads. The falsetto on the line “I’m not afraid of you.. anymore” leading into a grand finale of voices, trumpets, and cymbals gives me goosebumps every time.

1. Band of Horses – The Funeral MP3

There’s so many things I like about this song, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s easily the most beautiful and haunting song of the year, but it also rocks in a way that no other song I’ve heard does. The way the guitars, the vocals, and the drums mix together is something so perfect that it’s indescribable. The defining moment of the song is obviously at 4:34 and I would venture to say it’s the best eight seconds of music that I’ve heard this year.

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24 Responses to “Top 30 Songs of 2006”

  1. Charlie said:

    Some great picks on there and a few that will be appearing on my lists as well. No matter how hard I try though and no matter how many people recommend them, I just can’t get into Band of Horses. I think maybe I’m broken.

  2. Matt said:

    Charlie – I can understand where you’re coming from. I really like “The Funeral,” but nothing else they put out impresses me too much. It’s all just like It Still Moves-era MMJ. The only reason “The Funeral” is so good is because of the emotion that its got. Kinda like Arcade Fire.

  3. Northwest Music News, Lists today » Sound On The Sound said:

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  4. Chris said:


  5. Chad said:

    great list…’the funeral’ will definitely be in my top five songs of this year, whenever i get around to making it.

    are you going to do a top ten or twenty records post too? or is this the extent of your lists this year?

  6. taylor said:

    I have at least two more lists after this one…

  7. Toria’s Air Fare Review and Air Travel Comments » Blog Archive » said:

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  8. Helga said:

    love seeing Band of Horses there at the top. The Funeral is also my favorite song of the year… can’t say I agree with you though that the rest of their stuff isn’t that special… Bass Song by that band is also a pretty good song… :)

  9. taylor said:

    I didn’t say that I don’t thank the rest of their stuff isn’t special, I just limited myself to one song per artist on the list. If not “The Great Salt Lake” would have made the list…

  10. Helga said:

    (oh, no I was disagreeing with the guys at the top with that bit… 😛 )

  11. Sau said:

    Whoa, whoa, time out. No Rainer Maria? Not even as a honoree mention in light of their breaking up? =(

  12. Matt 2 said:


    This is the music genome project, as per our earlier conversation. it was broken when i went to it, so maybe try it some other time. Even if it doesn’t flood you with new and previously unheard of music, at the very least it is an interesting diversion.

  13. Boyhowdy said:

    Ha! Put Gnarls Barkley on my own top ten…feel free to stop in for the mp3s. http://mediakit.blogspot.com

  14. mae said:

    argh. I can’t listen to Pittsfield, i just hear 1′ and it breaks…
    but i’m already crazy about this song… really

  15. Tom said:

    i dont understand why any song by Ratatat isnt on there!!!

  16. kevin said:

    i will have to say that anathallo will be a bit higher on my list, and the funeral sounds good, but it doesn’t seem to hit as hard as it could. with that said, this year’s music is definitely a step up from the past 10 to 15 years of music history though. creativity = good!

  17. CK said:

    I like this list better than any others I’ve seen this year, esp with Pittsfield on there — it gives me the chills. I’d argue for Man O’War instead of Carborro Woman, though, but both are equally excellent and deserve a spot (saw your one tune per band rule).

  18. wayne said:

    Shut Up I am Dreaming of Places where lovers have wings- song of the year
    like that you mentioned some kind of chill and lazy eye

  19. sophie said:

    you don’t know music even if your ife depends on it get a life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous said:

    no offense, but some of these songs are sucky and weired

  21. Dan said:

    Hey. I thought I was the only one who kept singing “oceans never listen…” over and over again in my head!

  22. frank said:

    glad my chem. rom. isn’t on the list

  23. Linnea said:

    to anonymous:
    you’re a pretentious twit

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