Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Pandarosa's Top 10 Albums of 2006

You know how on multiple choice test, you're told to read ALL of the answers before choosing which one is most correct?

"What was a cornamuse?"

A. Armor for the Elbow
B. A Hat
C. A Musical Instrument
D. A Tax

Well this year, I feel like the dunce who didn't do that. I'll admit it, there are some albums this year, albums that people have said are great albums, that have been popping up on peoples top 10 all over the place, that I just did not get around to listening to. There are some that I've only recently got around to listening to, solely for the sake of this column. I feel like I just picked some, at random, out of the slew available, and just listened to the ones I already knew about, or had heard a little of, or ones that had interesting covers etc etc etc. But the thing is, isn't that what we, the average listening public, normally do? I don't work at a record store, and I don't get paid to write this column. Barring those two professions, who listens to every single new album of the year? Who listens to music upon the basis of critiquing it? I mean, I work in the music industry. Every album on my list has been listened to critically, and with a discerning ear, but that's not why I bought the album. I'd like to think that instead, we, the average listening public, listen to music out of an inherent need, and because of that need, we don't seek music for music or the musician's sake, but rather, for our own. Music is for us, not the other way around; it is anthropomorphic, made by man, for man (or, possibly, by God, for man, but that's another topic altogether). In that respect, we shouldn't be out there, listening to albums just to critique that album or the band or what not. We should be listening to albums for ourselves, finding the ones that speak directly to us, or inspire us to produce art of out own. So forgive me for not combing through every new album of the year, for only adopting a scant few out of the thousands released. Have I more than likely missed out on an AMAZING album, one that might have changed my life? Probably. But that doesn't diminish how much I enjoyed these ten albums. And hey, there's always next year. By the by, a cornamuse was a musical instrument.


The first life changing album I've had the privilege of listening to in a long time. And I don't just mean to say that in the butterfly-effect-chaos-theory-every-action-has-a-reaction kind of way. Instead, I mean to say that this album has shaped the way I think about music, and life; Who knew such art could be produced so late in life? Who knew a rap/heavy metal producer was able to, time after time, milk such beautiful performances out of the godfather of honky-tonk? Who knew three chords could still sound so good?


I had to think hard about whether or not this album was released in 2006, but the decision to put the album on this list was really quite simple. Hands down, some of the most beautiful music made, either by Chan Marshall or any other artist this year.


Brilliantly crafted, Midlake's newest album is a surprising departure from: A.) their last album, and B.) modern indie music. It's an amazing album, reminiscent of classic rock and early 90's indie, and is made even better by a rumor I heard, that it was produced by a member of Fleetwood Mac? Please, correct me if I'm misled.


While some bands reinvent themselves by moving away from what they've already done, others seem to achieve the same effect while deepening themselves in the style they've already established. For Matt Ward of M. Ward, this album does exactly that.


So cool.


Not only thrilling to listen to, but thrilling to think about; Nigel Godrich and Thom Yorke made this on their laptops? Man, how awesome are computers! Also my pick for best album artwork of 2006


This is my "something completely different" pick. For you guys and gals out there who haven't yet heard some of her stuff, I highly recommend it. It is a bit poppy, yes. It is also enthralling, soulful, and surprising (she wrote all the songs herself! Take that rest-of-billboard-top-10!)


The most innovative album of 2006. Which, if you've followed any of Joanna Newsom's previous work, shouldn't come as a surprise. Even still, prepared as I might have been for this album, I could never have imagined such melodies and fluidity. I wish I had listened to it earlier, it might be higher on my list.


I was in denial for a long time: "I loved The Unicorns. Islands just won't be as good as they were. Sorry Islands, you're not making the list." But I had once of those Scrubs moments, you know, where I watch other people coming to terms with their own love for Islands, and realize that, deep down, I loved Islands too, and that I shouldn't take my Islands for granted. All Islands ever did was love me, right? It'll be tough, learning to love again, but in the end, I think we're all gunna be ok. Roll Credits.


I just got this album (Christmas gift, thanks to my brother Joseph) but it's already made it onto the top 10 of 2006. Why? Because it's heartening to hear an album like this, and to see a band like this start to pick up momentum and gain indie recognition. As a musician it gives me hope (cue cheesy music). I wanna be like Pete.

Check back soon to see my Top Album Artwork and Honorable Mentions of 2006. Until then, enjoy your new year.

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