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Top 30 Downloads of 2006
2007-01-02 12:45
by Scott Long
Notes:
Scott Long is now blogging at NSFWsports.com.
Will Carroll can still be found at Baseball Prospectus.

To wrap up our year-end review of music, below are the Top 30 singles of 2006.

1. Crazy- Gnarls Barkley
A perfect single.

2. Chasing Cars- Snow Patrol
This just might be the best John Hughes movie song since the Furs "Love My Way". I can just imagine Molly Ringwald's 38 year-old heart breaking, while listening to this song.

3. When We Were Young- Killers
Never bought into the Killers hype, but when I first heard this song, I was ready to jump on board. Best Springsteen/U2 blend ever recorded. Unfortunately, the rest of Sam's Town is a big cut below.

4. Ain't No Other Man- Christina Aguilera
This song being number 4 just demonstrates how good the year was for singles. 5 years ago there was Britney, Mandy, Wila, Jessica, etc. The question was who would evolve past being just a teeny bop sensation? Well, there is no question anymore.

5. Steady as She Goes- Raconteurs
The best single of Jack White's career.

6. Stop, I'm Already Dead- Deadboy and Elephantmen
It's sad there is no place on radio for this hypnotic indie rock tune.

7. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree- K.T. Tungstall
Profile of this song was raised by American Idol's Katherine McPhee. Just proved how good a song it was, as the McRack is a pretty average singer. Tungstall's original reminds one of how good Melissa Etheridge debut release was.

8. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor- Artic Monkeys
Following in the British hipster tradition of the Bloc Party, the Futureheads, etc…..Dancefloor demonstrates why there is so much hype for this band.

9. I'm Not Ready to Make Nice- Dixie Chicks
With their big chance to have a rebirth in the country radio industry by giving their mea culpas, Natalie Maines gives the haters a big Johnny Cash finger.

10. Rise Up With Fists!!- Jenny Lewis
Another artist with country leanings that doesn't get a sniff on commercial radio, Jenny Lewis steps away from Rilo Kiley and croons like K.D. Lang with a chip on her shoulder.

11. Ready to Fall- Rise Against
Do you miss Bad Religion at their peak. Look no farther.

12. Mama's Room- Under the Influence of Giants***(see comments)
Funkiest song of the year just happened to be produced by some white boys from SoCal.

13. Save Room- John Legend
No sophomore jinx by Kanye West's greatest discovery.

14. Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake
While the album is overrated, this single was the best Prince-single of 2006.

15. Black Sweat- Prince
The second best Prince single of 2006.

16. Little Razorblade- Pink Spiders
Cars meet Redd Kross. Pure power pop candy.

17. Hot Girls in Good Moods- Butch Walker
While best known for his production work, Walker has put out some good Marc Bolan-influenced power pop. This one is his best since he was with Marvelous 3 (Sugar Buzz and Freak of the Week).

18. Tonight- The Fags
Hmm, wonder why this band has a hard time getting played on the radio. If you like early Cheap Trick...

19. Throw It Away- Juke Kartel
Rockstar Supernova contestant Toby Rand's band shows their Aussie roots. If you like early Hoodoo Gurus...

20. Crazy Bitch- Buckcherry
If Axl Rose would write a song half as good as this, Chinese Democracy would be hailed as an amazing comeback.

21. Assassin- Muse
Hard to pick just one song off of the best album of 2006, but this rocks harder than anything you will hear this year, melding synth grooves, stinging guitar licks, with Motley Crue drum fills.

22. Woman- Wolfmother* (Check comments for correction)
See Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Zeppelin. Put on your strobe light, grab the bong and put on your headphones.

23. Get Myself Into It- Rapture
Best alternative dance club download of 2006.

24. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is- Jet
While the overall album was a step down from their derivative, but excellent debut effort, this single has a great falsetto vocal and tasty chorus.

25. You Only Live Once- The Strokes
Just might be the best song of The Strokes career. The flipside of this single is a cover of Mercy Mercy Me, which is also well worth checking out.

26. Dani California- Red Hot Chili Peppers
While I was not as big of fan of Stadium Arcadium as most, this was the Peppers best single since Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

27. Call Me When You're Sober- Evanescence
Another group which didn't match their debut album, but the single was the best thing played on commercial alternative radio in 2006.

28. Leave the Pieces- The Wreckers
Michelle Branch leaves the pop world and puts out a quality commercial country album.

29. Boondocks- Little Big Town
The lyrics are a bit hokey, but the music and harmonies are really fun. Reminds me of a bluegrass, co-ed version of Firefall.

30. Girl in the War- Josh Ritter
Yes, alt. country still lives. The song Ryan Adams or Jeff Tweedy wishes they would have written in 2006.

Comments
2007-01-02 13:10:06
1.   Schteeve
Sam's Town is in my opinion head and shoulders better than Hot Fuss. And I strongly disagree that When You Were Young, is the best song on the record. The title cut, Read My Mind, and This River is Wild are standouts.

But since conversations like this always just boil down to differing opinions, I'll leave it at that.

2007-01-02 13:11:22
2.   Schteeve
Also, I think it's Wolfmother, rather than master, although maybe I'm wrong.
2007-01-02 13:57:55
3.   Suffering Bruin
#6 I heard just once in Los Angeles--103.1 FM.
The sound was shallow on the radio; it sounded much better on my MP3 player. It is also, IMHO, #1 on my list.
2007-01-02 14:16:42
4.   Scott Long
You are right Schteeve, though Wolfmaster weems like a pretty good metal band name as well. Call Sebastian Bach, we have a new SAVAGE ANIMAL.
2007-01-02 15:20:49
5.   Smed
Actually, I love "Yeah, Uh Huh..." by the Rapture better!
2007-01-02 16:11:01
6.   moodgy
I would have to agree that Sam's Town is a great record and that When You Were Young, although a great song, isn't the best song from the cd. Even Rolling Stone, the magazine that proclaimed When You Were Young as the "only" good song on the cd took it back by placing "Read My Mind" another single from Sam's Town in their top 100 singles for 2006 at #12, while placing When You Were Young at #34. In short, Sam's Town is a good cd, and it lives up to it's first single in every way....and more. Also, for all the flack this band is taking for this cd not being good, there are just as many critics and fans who are praising it! Most who jump on the band wagon of negativty haven't listend to the whole cd or admit to not even liking the Killers in the first place.
2007-01-02 18:22:32
7.   overkill94
I'll give this one a shot. In no particular order:

M Ward - To Go Home (excellent take on a forgotten Daniel Johnston song)
Neko Case - Hold on, Hold on (her vocals fit perfectly with this tune's mysterious aura)
The Walkmen - Another One Goes By (a song so beautiful it chokes me up a little bit every time I hear it)
The Walkmen - Louisiana (had to give these guys two tracks because both are such stand-outs)
The Killers - Read My Mind (overblown brauvara at its finest)
The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger (chant-along bridge will stick with you for days)
The Fratellis - Creeping Up the Backstairs (another great track off my favorite album of 2006)
Islands - Rough Gem (perfect little quirky power pop)
Muse - Starlight (just the right amount of kisch)
Mando Diao - The Wildfire (fun little rocker)
Wolfmother - Dimension (killer post-chorus riff and not as repetitive as "Woman")
Destroyer - Watercolours into the Ocean (light and breezy jazz-infused track with beautiful vocal melodies)
The Kooks - She Moves in Her Own Way (more sunny Brit-pop goodness)
Arctic Monkey - A Certain Romance ("...on the Dancefloor" is good for a radio hit, but I think this is their best)
Band of Horses - St. Augustine ("The Funeral" is their big hit, but this track is my fave of theirs)
The Strokes - You Only Live Once (I agree that this one of the best songs they've ever done)
Guillmots - Trains to Brazil (shimmering pop tune featuring excellent production and strong vocals)
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye (catchy-as-hell Smashing Pumpkins-worship)
Razorlight - In the Morning (that riff just gets into your head and won't let go)

2007-01-02 19:18:06
8.   Scott Long
Good list, Overkill. Razorlight would have been my number 31. Another song I liked which actually is emo was Face Down by Red Jump Suit Apparatus. They were the 2 songs that just fell out of my list.

Now let me say, how about something outside the Indie world? Only Muse and Wolfmother are out of that scene and they still are in the same world. Free your mind and your ass will follow.

2007-01-02 23:59:15
9.   overkill94
8 Haha, it's just so hard for me to be objective about songs that I hear so often on the radio that I become tired of them. "Crazy" is a perfect example of that - a song that I loved at first, but now can hardly listen to since it was so overplayed.

As far as trying to get me to put someone like Justin Timberlake or Christina Aguilera on my list, however, I just don't see it happening. Hip-hop/R&B/rap/country have just never been my thing.

Oh yeah, and "Guillmots" should be "Guillemots" - I don't want people trying to download the song and missing out just because it was misspelled.

2007-01-03 00:31:35
10.   overkill94
Just to explain myself a bit better, I'm gonna go ahead and give my opinions on our humble host's own list:

1. Crazy- Gnarls Barkley -- Like I said before, it's a great song but I can barely listen to it anymore

2. Chasing Cars -- Good song, but not quite great

3. When We Were Young- Killers -- Very good song, I just thought "Read My Mind" was better

4. Ain't No Other Man- Christina Aguilera -- I've heard it here and there at bars or something, but this type of music has no effect on me

5. Steady as She Goes- Raconteurs -- I was really excited to hear this band since The White Stripes and Brendan Benson are two of my favorites, but I found this song a bit too simple and its follow-up single ("Level") even worse. One of these days I'll check out the whole album just to make sure though.

6. Stop, I'm Already Dead- Deadboy and Elephantmen -- just listened to a sound clip and I also have heard it on indie 103.1 like Suffering Bruin; pretty good song

7. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree- K.T. Tungstall -- decent tune, but nothing special as far as I'm concerned

8. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor- Artic Monkeys -- good song, but a bit too repetitive; others on the album are a lot better IMO

9. I'm Not Ready to Make Nice- Dixie Chicks -- I've heard great things about the album, but I really can't stand country

10. Rise Up With Fists!!- Jenny Lewis -- recently downloaded this album and it sounds pretty good

11. Ready to Fall- Rise Against -- just listened to a sound clip and this type of punk isn't really my cup of tea

12. Mama's Room- Under the Influence of Gods -- couldn't even find a sound clip on allmusic.com

13. Save Room- John Legend -- like I said, not much of an R&B guy

14. Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake -- I hear this every time I go out and it's okay, but not something I would listen to on my own

15. Black Sweat- Prince -- never been a Prince fan, and the sound clip I'm hearing of this won't change that

16. Little Razorblade- Pink Spiders -- not bad, but seemed way too processed and formulaic to be great

17. Hot Girls in Good Moods- Butch Walker -- I've heard this song somewhere (commercial? movie?); either way, it's pretty good - very T-Rexish

18. Tonight- The Fags -- Sounds pretty good, I'd have to hear more to give a fair review

19. Throw It Away- Juke Kartel -- didn't watch the show and allmusic didn't have him listed

20. Crazy Bitch- Buckcherry -- eh, too cock-rocky, I liked what I heard from their debut better

21. Assassin- Muse -- excellent track

22. Woman- Wolfmother* (Check comments for correction) -- excellent track as well, I just liked "Dimension" better

23. Get Myself Into It- Rapture -- pretty good for what it is, but not really my thing

24. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is- Jet -- decent, but I'm not a big fan of these guys in general

25. You Only Live Once- The Strokes -- it's on my list, so of course I love it

26. Dani California- Red Hot Chili Peppers -- eh, seemed like they mailed this one in, though I like the other two singles off the album ("Snow" and "Tell Me Baby")

27. Call Me When You're Sober- Evanescence -- I reeeeeally don't like Evanescence

28. Leave the Pieces- The Wreckers -- sound clip doesn't inspire me to check it out any further

29. Boondocks- Little Big Town -- seems this came out in 2005...and it's waaay too country for me

30. Girl in the War- Josh Ritter -- pretty interesting sound, might have to check him out further

2007-01-03 01:09:26
11.   Underbruin
Like the list, gives me some new stuff to check out. Quick note: #12, Mama's Room, the artist is actually Under the Influence of Giants. Perhaps that's why overkill was having a hard time finding the song?
2007-01-03 09:36:13
12.   Scott Long
Thanks Underbruin. I listed them right in the top albums, but made them sound like a christian rock group here. On posts like this with so many different names, my not having an editor is always an issue.

Overkill, I appreciate your review of my review. Shows a can-do attitude and go-getter mentality. This will look good on your permanent record. It helps make up for your resistance to musical change. Seriously, though, thanks for your very involved comment.

2007-01-03 12:15:17
13.   chris in illinois
Ummmm.....I'm kind of embarrassed to even post on this thread as my once 'up-to-the-moment' music acumen is dead on the vine.

I have heard of at least some of the bands/singers mentioned (I did buy Purple Rain from iTunes the other day...). I have not ever heard of 13 of the 30 acts mentioned...my three little ones occupy a lot of my time these days.

I thought the Pepper's Dani California was pretty cool---I liked the video, especially the misfits homage.

The Raconteurs album left me a bit wanting, but so did the last Stripes album (Elephant was a lot to live up to for me).

I honestly thought the Arctic Monkeys were called the Snow Monkeys---I guess there must be a band out there called the Arctic Patrol.

I probably enjoyed the Flaming Lips album this year as much as any other....I did like Grant Lee Phillips 80's album, anyone who covers the Church is OK by me...speaking of the Church, their new album was excellent as usual...

This says a lot about me, but the album that I bought this year that I've enjoyed listening to more than any other is Black Sabbath's Greatest Hits 1970-78 with the Ministry version of 'Supernaut' subbed in for kicks. It's like musical comfort food.

Of course I'll have to check out the new Neko Case album, that girl can sing.

2007-01-03 14:33:59
14.   overkill94
12 I have a hard enough time keeping up with all the indie rock bands making albums every year, I couldn't even imagine trying to expand my horizons anymore.

I have a pretty extensive heavy metal CD collection, but those have pretty much been relegated to gym music at this point. I bought so many CDs in a 5 or 6 year period that I still haven't even listened to some that I own. Such is the life of the obsessive personality.

2007-01-03 15:49:06
15.   Suffering Bruin
Lordy but I do love this conversation (and I do so appreciate Mr. Scott for referring emusic.com) so I'd like to contribute a burning question:

Joanna Newsom and "Ys."

We would be hard-pressed, would we not, to find an album with higher praise from critics. The question is this: is it any good? Is it something that we are supposed to like because of all the great reviews? Yeah, I know, we should think for ourselves but I fear that I haven't liked Joanna Newsom because I haven't yet taken the time to "really listen" to the music (I haven't) and I seriously don't want to dismiss her out of hand like my students tend to dismiss Shakespeare ("we don't understand... it's boring...etc.").

So I'll open up a can of worms here. This woman might have the most critically acclaimed album of 2006 but I have yet to find a fan other than what I've read or heard in a review. Anybody think she's worth the time?

2007-01-03 16:46:58
16.   Humma Kavula
15 I'm in the same boat. I want to like; do not like based on initial impression; have not given a fair chance to learn to like. I think you're asking an entirely fair question, and I also wonder if someone can give me a new way of looking at Newsom.

IMHO, she is not as accessible as some other freak folk artists as, say, Devendra Banhart, which is saying something.

If I get only one 2006 download, it is Neko Case's "Star Witness," but the best song I heard this year for the first time is Willy Mason's 2004 entry "Oxygen." I'd never heard it before, and it was my loss.

2007-01-03 17:48:41
17.   overkill94
15 My only exposure is the song "Cosmia" that I downloaded recently. What I'm wondering is what the heck's up with her voice - is that on purpose? I doubt it would be an album I'd ever enjoy much.
2007-01-03 20:07:31
18.   Suffering Bruin
16 Thanks for that. I think the boat I'm in has a few passengers. IIRC, Scott said in one of the year-end lists that he doesn't get what the big deal is with Newsom and I assume he gave it a pretty good listen.

17 Yep, it's by design. Check out pitchforkmedia.com which as a glowing review and an interview with Newsom, if you're at all interested.

2007-01-04 08:44:03
19.   CraigB
Two songs of the moment that are trapped in my brain:

- "Country Girl" by Primal Scream.
This is the latest attempt at blues-rock and this is probably the only cut on the disc that actually works.

and

- "Valerie" by The Zutons
Dig the saxaphone.

2007-01-04 11:36:36
20.   Benjamin Kabak
Scott, I love it. Putting Crazy Bitch on this list makes yours my favorite top singles list of the season. Buckcherry's three albums are always underrated. It's just great, cocky rock n roll.

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