Thursday, January 04, 2007

Safety In Speed: 2006 In Review


My car broke down on New Year's Day. And that was just the start of my misery in 2006. The specter of death and unrelenting chaos were constant companions. The apocalyptic cynicism of this P.O.S. song reflects my state of mind during much of the year. His startling Audition is #12 on the list below.

It wasn't all bad. Many of my highlights in 2006 were music-related. I took in almost 100 concerts, ranging from massive arena productions to small club shows. In between all those late nights I listened to thousands of hours of recorded music. These are my forty favorite new releases. The links are for regional artists.

In spite of my predilection for the genres, I uncovered very little new jazz, country and other roots-oriented musics that moved me. Instead, it was contemporary hip hop that resonated most. Hits by the likes of T.I. and E-40 felt fresh, genuine and relevant. My top twenty songs of the year, along with my twenty favorite shows, are listed here.

Even so, I most often found solace in the soothing, feminine brilliance of Cibelle, Cat Power and Juana Molina. They were among the women who helped me get through the year.

Here's to a fresh start in '07.

1. Juana Molina- Son
2. Cat Power- The Greatest
3. The Hold Steady- Boys and Girls In America
4. Ghostface Killah- Fishscale
5. Outkast- Idlewild
6. The Architects- Revenge
7. Gregory Hickman-Williams- Passages
8. Willie Nelson- You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker
9. Cibelle- The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves
10. Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Same I Am, That's What I'm Not 
11. Ornette Coleman- Sound Grammar
12. P.O.S.- Audition
13. Elvis Costello- My Flame Burns Blue
14. Flaming Lips- At War With the Mystics
15. Beyonce- B'Day
16. Centromatic- Fort Recovery
17. Johnny Cash- American 5: A Hundred Highways
18. Gomez- How We Operate
19. The New Tragedies- VanityVanity
20. Bob Dylan- Modern Times
21. Art Brut- Bang Bang Rock & Roll
22. Gary Sivils- Forever Took Too Long
23. Joan Osborne- Pretty Little Stranger
24. The New Amsterdams- Story Like a Scar 
25. Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood- Out Louder
26. Alan Jackson- Precious Memories
27. Roman Numerals- s/t
28. Isobel Campbell- Milkwhite Sheets
29. Antonio Carlos Jobim- Inedito
30. Brett Dennen- So Much More
31. Belle & Sebastian- The Life Pursuit
32. T.I.- King
33. Josh Ritter- The Animal Years
34. Los Lobos- The Town and the City
35. Tech N9ne- Everready
36. Yonder Mountain String Band- s/t
37. Catfish Haven- Please Come Back
38. The Changes- Today Is Tonight
39. Joseph Arthur- Nuclear Daydream
40. My Morning Jacket- Okonokos 


Anonymous said...

Josh Ritter's "Girl in The War" may be the perfect song.

Happy In Bag said...

I used that very song, NPH, as a benchmark for other recordings. Had I not heard it, I might looked more favorably on the likes of Dylan and Springsteen.

Unknown said...