The Best Music Of 2006 (Yes, 2006.)

We’re within spitting distance of Memorial Day and summertime, so hey — why not a post recapping my favorite music of 2006? (Shut up — I’ve been busy with Sports Gone South.) Anyway, we did this in 2004 and 2005, so here’s the latest version:

Song of the Year: “Dani California,” Red Hot Chili Peppers — Yes, it sounds exactly like Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane.” So what — the roaring chorus and the Hendrixian outro solo make this the best “Snow Peppers” (as my boy calls them) song since “Suck My Kiss.”

CD of the Year: “Stadium Arcadium,” Red Hot Chili Peppers — Hey, a twofer! The Peppers’ CD was overlong, yes, but man — every single one of these songs sounded at once new and completely familiar, and I mean that in a good way. They tuned into something primal on this one…this is the Platonic ideal of a Chili Peppers record.

Late to the Party Award (for the song I discovered after the rest of the world): “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” Fall Out Boy — Yes, I seriously jammed on Fall Out Boy this year. No, I’m not a fifteen-year-old girl. Yes, I’m very, very sorry. But the beats and the rhymes were so dope…

“Gravity’s Gone,” Drive-By Truckers: Subpar (for them) CD, but this all-timer of a song, which includes the best lyric of the year: “She woke up sunny-side down and I was still thinking I was too proud to flip her over.”

“World Wide Suicide,” Pearl Jam: You want an award for mid-career revival, you’ve got to look to Pearl Jam. After nearly a decade of meandering albums, they turned out a self-titled blast of rock that was a worthy companion to their early-90s high-water mark.

“Old Dan Tucker,” Bruce Springsteen: The Boss got no end of grief for his decision to turn to a 15-piece folk band for his most recent CD, but man, if this song doesn’t get you moving, you’re an idiot. Sorry.

“When You Were Young,” The Killers: Springsteen’s self-styled heirs had a bit of trouble matching his verbal dexterity–what the hell does it mean to be “burning down the highway skyline on the back of a hurricane,” anyway? But it was fun rock, even if it wasn’t as great as the band seemed to think it was.

“White Unicorn,” Wolfmother: ROOOOOOCK! These guys brought back Deep Purple/Zeppelin arena rock without irony, and damn, did it sound good. A bit like eating warmed-over pizza, but that’s usually still pretty good.

“This Is How I Disappear,” My Chemical Romance: Wow. For an emo band, these guys damn near tore heads off with this song.

“Idlewild Blue,” Outkast: I don’t know what the hell they were doing with that whole “Idlewild” project, but this funk/flapper mashup was one of the smoothest tunes of the year.

“The Man,” Pete Yorn & the Dixie Chicks: Great slice of beautiful/creepy alt-country.

“I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” Arctic Monkeys: These Brits sound so damn snotty you want to beat them on general principles, but they can write a hell of a tune.

“High School Never Ends,” Bowling For Soup: See Fall Out Boy above. Again, I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. It’s my hair-metal roots. Big guitars get me every time.

“Rise,” Eddie Van Halen: Like here. This was a soundtrack to a porn movie, for chrissakes, and I still dug it.

“Cosmopolitan,” Nine Black Alps: Where the hell did this song come from? More snotty punk with chainsaw guitars, but damn good.

“Fragments,” The Who: Kind of a legacy vote here for one of my favorite bands from high school. This is okay, I guess, but outside of the slick production, the cascading keyboard notes are straight outta 1973.

“James River Blues,” Old Crow Medicine Show: Neo-Appalachian folk that name-checks some of my old haunts. Like Springsteen above, a little goes a long way…but that little works damn fine.

Okay, that’s probably enough for now…there were some other notables, like U2’s “Window To The Skies,” Beck’s “Nausea,” Kasey Chambers’ “The Rain,” Vaux’s “Are You With Me?”, and Jimmy Buffett’s “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” but this ought to serve. Please don’t hate me.


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