Album of the year Here it is. The final countdown: the 40 albums of 2006 that I consider my favorites, listed in reverse order, counting down to No. 1. (With a podcast of selections from the top 10).
Several from my mid-year list of the top 11 are still in the hunt, although some of them have shuffled spots to make room for newer, better stuff. The second half of 2006 saw the release of some pretty good music. Will The Life Pursuit, by Belle and Sebastian, still top the list? Or will they have been dethroned by another, more excellent work? Have a look. Keep in mind that this list, like all the others on the Internet, is subjective -- the likes and tastes of one music fan. Feel free to disagree with my picks, and to sound off in the comments below.
Also, I'm too tired, not to mention too sick, to link to all these albums. It's just too much effort at the moment.
40. Kudu - Death of the Party. Danceable electrofunk. (Not that I dance much.)
39. The French Kicks - Two Thousand. They aren't really French, but they do kick.
38. Yusuf - An Other Cup. After 28 years, the Cat is back.
37. Scanners - Violence Is Golden. Nice blend of mostly dark, moody postpunk.
36. The John Doe Thing - For the Best of Us. An old punk still has some of it.
35. The Be Good Tanyas - Hello Love. Don't tell my brother, but I do like some country.
34. Swan Lake - Beast Moans. One of the better side projects of the year.
33. The Fondas - Runaway Bombshell. Garage rock from Motown.
32. Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners - Sev7en. Another old punk who still has it.
31. The Lemonheads - The Lemonheads. They're back.
30. Hard Fi - Stars of CCTV. Decent Britpop along the lines of Franz Ferdinand, et. al.
29. The Buzzcocks - Flat Pack Philosophy. More old punks.
28. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche. A pit stop on his 50-state tour. Only 48 states to go.
27. Frida Hyvonen - Until Death Comes. Lovely voice, from Sweden.
26. Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals Starvation League - The Longest Meow. Bobby Jr. and a bunch of his friends record in an old church in a single day, using some of Bobby Sr.'s old reel-to-reel tape.
25. The Beatles - Love. Does this really count? The so-called "fifth Beatle," George Martin, and his son play around with holy scripture, remixing a bunch of Fab Four stuff.
24. Prototypes - Prototypes. Electropunk from Paris. The French are our friends again!
23. The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics. Another strong outing by the Lips.
22. Wolfmother - Wolfmother. Wolfmother takes you back in time to the '70s with Led Zepp-inspired heavy rock.
21. Mission of Burma - The Obliterati. One of the best postpunk returns with a majestic comeback.
20. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country. Beautiful vocals, shimmery pop from Scotland.
19. The Futureheads - News and Tributes. Tributes, indeed -- to the Clash, Big Country, U2 and more influences.
18. Bob Dylan - Modern Times. No. 1 on a lot of lists, but not so great IMHO. Still, it's Bob Dylan.
17. The Bottle Rockets - Zoysia. Fine southern rock with a political message.
16. The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes. Retro girl group. Amazing sound, prettier than the Pussycat Dolls.
15. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. Long title, good tunes.
14. Paul Simon - Surprise. I think I've said enough about this.
13. Macon Greyson - Translate. Great rock, discovered too late.
12. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers. Jack White's side project was almost as good as the hype.
11. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. One of the sweetest voices around.
10. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller. Just good, solid pop that makes me feel happy.
9. Drive By Truckers - A Blessing and a Curse. Mostly a blessing. The Truckers' best yet.
8. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways. What can I say? Even in death, Johnny Cash is the man.
7. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Making fun of the art and music world, and laughing all the way to the bank.
6. The Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Believe the hype.
5. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America. Infectious rock and roll. Plus, I don't think he sounds a bit like the Boss.
4. Asobi Seksu - Citrus. Stellar in any language.
3. Cat Power - The Greatest. Lovely, soulful white woman blues. The Memphis sound lives.
2. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit. Oh, no! B&S have been dethroned!
1. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon. This one just kept growing on me. A weird mix of sounds and songs, but in the end, it works. At least for me.