At least it didn’t take me until July this time, but the only reason I’ve gotten around to this year’s list so soon is because I just happened to be looking at last year’s list and I realized, “Hey, I haven’t made a new list yet!” So, here you go.
- 5. Field Music: Field Music
- This is what Gentle Giant might sound like if they appeared on the scene today. What’s amazing is how much nerdy intricacy these guys can cram into each song without coming across as pretentious, something first-wave prog rockers constantly struggled with (or, occasionally, as with Gentle Giant, embraced with tongue in cheek).
- 4. Beck: The Information
- As I said with 2005’s Guero, any Beck is good. When I first heard this I thought it was too reminiscent of things he’s done before, but now I’ve come to see it as a further refinement of his style. I don’t get the last track though… and I pride myself on getting weird-for-the-sake-of-weird stuff.
- 3. Keane: Under the Iron Sea
- I’m not sure the world really needs the next Coldplay yet, but here’s the next Coldplay. Great atmospheric yet melodic piano-driven pop-rock.
- 2. Donald Fagen: Morph the Cat
- Half a Dan is better than no Dan at all. The Fagen/Becker duo has given us a lot to relish in the new century, and that continues with this fantastic album, easily the best of Fagen’s outstanding (if very slowly emerging) solo trilogy.
- 1. The Decemberists: The Crane Wife
- I consider this to be the best album in nearly a decade, certainly on par with the likes of OK Computer. I was immediately blown away by this band upon hearing this album and within a couple of weeks, had bought everything they’ve released. Why are you still reading this? Buy the album! Now!
Here are some other great albums released in 2006 that didn’t make the cut:
Umphrey’s McGee: Safety in Numbers
Dave Douglas: Keystone
Tool: 10,000 Days
The Mars Volta: Amputechture
The Flaming Lips: At War with the Mystics
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium