Monday, December 18, 2006

Top 13 Songs of 2006 (ranked!) (13-6)

Well Pitchfork listed their top "tracks" today with little in terms of surprise. Maybe I was just more in tune with weekly releases this year, but barely anything on their list was foreign to me. And where are all of the remixes? They maybe put a handful on there at most, which terribly underrepresents some great artists this year. They did make me aware of a Michael Mayer/Superpitcher mega-producer team-up that I didn't know happened, and turns out is badass. Other than that, "eh." I've decided to go ahead and pick and rank my favorite 13 songs of the year though, because the list 2 posts ago is awful long, and although I like all of the songs on there, some deserve special attention. And it's 13 because I went down the aforementioned list and that's how many I thought deserved to be in the top 10. A lot of these bands put out multiple excellent singles and remixes, so the decision was quite tough, but I'm not including any duplicates of artists, for the sake of...whatever, Pete i guess. Here's 13-6; Top 5 forthcoming...

13. Nelly Furtado - Maneater
I played the original Hall & Oates song off of the Runaway Bride soundtrack on the final installment of Kyle and I's radio a joke. So, I expected this to be equally ridiculous. I downloaded the album "Loose" soon after it was leaked, but never really listened to it and ended up deleting it. "Promiscuous" found it's way into my head via Verizon Wireless commercials, which made me end up disliking the thing altogether, and this was before I even realized it was the new Furtado song. Months go by and I get into Radioslave's remixes pretty heavily and download the mix of no. 13 here and liked it quite a bit. Then I hear the real song in the mall and think, "Goddamn it, you mean I had this song on my computer like 6 months ago and got rid of it?! I feel like a fool." Y'all can have your "My Love," but this is my Timbaland fueled chart-topper of choice.

12. Ratatat - Wildcat
My only previous experience with feline roars as pop elements was on the Chemical Brothers "It Began In Afrika," which was an alright track at the time, but "Wildcat" makes you appreciate the tenacity of those growls a little bit more. It's so prominent here, being the title and all and the beast itself being on the cover of "Classics" that it kinda had to sound like this or be an utter failure. This is also an achievement for Ratatat in that the song isn't slow or upbeat, but meanders in the middle and touches on both. More people need to remix this and other Ratatat tracks, and how bout getting some renowned people to do it. I want a club banger from this!

11. Junior Boys - In the Morning
I couldn't stop listening to this when I first got it, and then when I was going to see JBs live, and after I bought the CD from their concert. I've come to appreciate more great songs on the album, but my favorite track has never fluctuated. The selling point for me was the high-pitched synth squeals that highlight the chorus later in the track. It's hard to believe after loving Last Exit that Junior Boys could sound so different and still so good, making music that's almost dancefloor material instead of music for sleepytime/winter.

10. Van She - Kelly
Most people seem to like this song, or Van She in general, because of their combo of 80s-referencing synths and guitars and French house stylings. I fall into this category as well, but I really like this song in particular because it just feels so sad and desperate. "Kelly" makes my heart ache and yet I want to dance it at the same time. It's a horribly confusing emotion, but incredibly unique.

9. Sunset Rubdown - Shut up I am dreaming of places where lovers have wings
I did not expect to like anything on the entire Sunset Rubdown album. As a Wolf Parade fan, I was blindly loyal to that original group and thus by default opposed to off-shoots. Besides, I like the other singer better, even though I've come to realize that Krug is a far better lyricist. I'm a big fan of epic album closers, and with no release from M83 this year "Shut up..." takes the prize (Boris' "(when we're gone)" in close second). This song is another lovesick anthem, but thankfully not whiny. Sometimes bands save the best for last I guess.

8. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
Wow, picking just one song to put on this list from the groups excellent debut LP is quite the task for me. Every single they released seemed to get better and better, and then when the album finally hit, there was a whole new slew of great songs to gleefully cue up one after the other. "Pull Shapes" is simply the most well-rounded , well-composed, and catchiest (though that's hard to evaluate one against another) of the Pipettes' releases. Just remember, it's "pip-ettes," not "pipe-ettes." These girls may have travelled forward in time from the 60's, but they're still more "pep rally" than "science fair."

7. Herbert - Movers and Shakers
As others have noted, Herbert's political over/undertones are incredibly subtle, to the degree that really only Herbert knows what they are. Maybe that's part of the reason why "Movers and Shakers" appeals to me; it's a little more obvious. Not to go into a full-on analysis, but it's inherent in the songs title what is being talked about here: those who control the world and those who control the dancefloor. It's the crux of what the whole album is about for me. I love art that can be appreciated for what it is, but then offers a rewarding experience to those who choose to dig in deep and really figure it out. I think my album selections reflect this more so than my singles selections.

6. Hot Chip - Boy From School (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework)
This was the year that Hot Chip just exploded over everything; in a good way, like when a cake explodes. "Boy From School" was my surprise favorite track on the pre-Warning EP2, and I was glad to see it get a remastering of sorts on the final album cut. Even more pleased was I to hear what Erol Alkan had done with the track. Before this point I never really cared for Erol's remixes, they just seemed so boring and repetitive, but here (actually, this whole year) he steps out of his shell a little bit and while keeping the track length at the usual distance (an asset here), he expounds upon the beauty of the original's craft. The result ends up rivaling anything Asobi Seksu put out this year for the title of "prettiest song." Fred Falke's take on "Colours" is also amazing, but he'll be appearing elsewhere...

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