10 Best Albums Of 2006
For those of you whose long-term memory doesn’t extend past what you watched on TV last Sunday, we present to you the 10 best albums of 2006. Think of it either as a reminder of what you were listening to that year or as a guide to what you should tell people you were listening to if you want to be cool. As it turns out, it was a pretty decent year for music.
- “The Devil and God Are Raging inside Me” by Brand New. Listen to Brand New’s first album, a thoroughly pop punk affair, and you most likely won’t be able to tell it’s the same band that created this, their third album. It’s dark, complex, and really, really good. It’s also our pick for best album of 2006.
- “Happy Hollow” by Cursive. Most of Tim Kasher’s albums, whether with The Good Life, Cursive, or solo, are about failed relationships. This one breaks the mold a bit by giving a fictional and scathing account of small-town life. As such, it stands out from the rest of Kasher’s catalog and proves he has ambitions beyond generally being a sad sack.
- “The Crane Wife” by The Decemberists. With “The Crane Wife,” The Decemberists made the leap from an indie label to the majors. You’d think they would be more pop-oriented after the switch, but if anything, they have become more ambitious. “The Crane Wife” was their first proper concept album, but don’t let that scare you. It is still entirely accessible, and it’s also one of the best albums of 2006.
- “St. Elsewhere” by Gnarls Barkley. Danger Mouse? Check. Cee Lo Green? Check. They might not have been household names when this album was released, but they certainly are now. “Crazy” was one of the hit singles of 2006, and the rest of the album is just as good.
- “Game Theory” by The Roots. The Roots took a turn for the dark with “Game Theory.” Throwing aside the pop aesthetic of their prior two albums, they went for angrier, more intense tunes with this album. The result? It was their most energetic album in years and easily the best rap album of the year.
- “The Body, The Blood, The Machine” by The Thermals. Forget “American Idiot,” this album by Portland indie rockers The Thermals is the perfect musical indictment of the George W. Bush era. It’s angry, political, and it rocks hard. It may not have torn up the charts, but this was definitely one of the best albums of 2006.
- “Boys and Girls in America” by The Hold Steady. The Hold Steady have been making albums for years, but with “Boys and Girls in America,” they started becoming more well-known in indie rock circles. With songs like the intensely catchy “Chips Ahoy!,” this album was the best Springsteen album that Springsteen was never involved with.
- “A City by the Light Divided” by Thursday. Unlike Brand New, Thursday were no strangers to uncompromisingly bleak rock music by the time 2006 came around. Their second album on major label Island Records was just as dark and loud as their previous efforts, but this time had a bit more polish to it.
- “The Eraser” by Thom Yorke. While Yorke’s solo album may not have been as memorable as his efforts with Radiohead, it had its own quiet charm to it. It was considerably more personal than Radiohead’s albums, for one thing, and still had plenty of catchy hooks in it. Thankfully, though, it did not single the end of his day job.
- “Night Ripper” by Girl Talk. Girl Talk helped put mash-ups on the map with his frenetic and dizzying inclusion of more samples than a person could possibly catch in a single listen. Although there’s not a second of music on this album that wasn’t sampled from somewhere else, the amazing way in which Girl Talk put them all together made this one of the best albums of 2006.