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.