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Music 2006


I did a detour in 2006 with the music I listened to. For some reason I did a lot of backfilling of my music catalog: Finally got CDs of albums that I had long ago, finally scratched an itch on a group that I always wanted to try out, or filled in on some bands that I liked. For that reason there isn’t a whole lot of new stuff that I listened to this year so this list, unfortunately won’t be a list of groovy tunes.

Also the new stuff that I did buy was mostly from long-established artists. Including guys who have been releasing stuff for 50 years (Johnny Cash); 45 years (Bob Dylan); 40 years (Neil Young); and 20 years (Yo La Tengo). There two relatively new acts on my list: My Chemical Romance and Death Cab for Cutie. So with that, here’s my best of a very short 2006 list.

Johnny Cash – A Hundred Highways. I already posted about this album here. But I was actually surprised at how good this was. As someone who has written 3000 words on the meaning of the American Recordings sessions, I had to get this album. I wasn’t expecting much, figuring it was Cashing in on anything recorded by the Man in Black. But this album is solid. Great songs, great stories. A must for any Johnny Cash fan.

Bob Dylan – Modern Times. I’ve really been interested in Dylan’s output lately, he’s really come back from some of that unlistenable stuff that was released in the late 70’s to early 90’s. This album is just as good as Time out of Mind, while not coming close to the brilliance of Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks. The song Workingman Blues #2 has to be one of my favorite songs this year.

Neil Young – Living with War. I also posted earlier about this album too. This album is incindiary (You Almost Famous fans will get the reference). Probably one of the most political albums put out by a mainstream artist in 35 years. But this album rocks too. Finally, even though Neil pulls no punches on GWB, you lefty liberals aren’t spared either. This album was originally released after just a couple of days of recording. Apparently, a remixed, cleaned up version is or has been released too.

Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid of You and Will Beat Your Ass. Stupid title, great CD. The first song just rocks. The rest of the album has a variety of styles and moods – some I like, some I could do without. It’s amazing how many different kind of songs this band can record. If you wanted to know what the big deal is about Yo La Tengo, this album will give you a pretty good taste.

My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade. Goth rock for the teeny bopper set. This would be my guilty pleasure for the year. Rock and Roll in all its mascara and dyed hair glory. It’s like a bag of potato chips, you know it’s bad for you but you just can’t put the damn bag down.

Death Cab For Cutie – Plans. I’m pretty sure this was released in 2006, apologies if it wasn’t. I posted about one song from this album and continue to get comments. Very sensitive young men singing about love lost and found and the stress of being alive in such a complicated age. Great music if you just want to “chill out.?

Besides those albums from 2006, here are some other musical highlights from this year:

Guided by Voices
. I went big for GbV this year. Great band, great songs. It’s a shame more people didn’t get this band when they were around.

Wire. I picked up Wire’s first three albums. Wire along with The Velvet Underground are one of those bands that you can hear in a hundred other bands. It’s amazing how many riffs from these albums you still hear today in so called “new? bands.

Kiss Alive. One of my first albums and my first concert (December 2, 1977). I’ve been searching for this CD (cheap) for years.

Talking Heads - 77 and More Songs about Buildings and Food. I listened to these albums all the time in 1981-1983. Don’t know what took me so long to pick them up on CD.

Finally what’s the deal with the Black Eye Peas and Fergie? They have released probably two of the dumbest songs I ever heard this year: My Humps and Fergilicious. What’s next ? A song about the fact they like to eat peas on a knife? Stupid Stupid music from a musically talented band (although I’m guessing it’s Fergie’s Humps that got her a recording contract).

What turned you on musically this year?

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