Why might you say have I chosen this album as the best album of the year? It may seem an odd choice particularly after listening to the title track, which certainly is a strange opening to the album. However, after you've passed that hurdle, every song on the album is like gold, particularly is this love? and Over and Over Again (lost and found). For some people it may take a while for this album to reach its true potential but in my opinion its musical and lyrical content is stunning. Particularly on The Skin of My Yellow Teeth: "I won't pretend to understand the movement of the wind or the waves out in the ocean or how like the hours I change softly slowly, plainly, blindly," which in my opinion is about self-awareness and how you should take life one step at a time and not over-think or over-analyse the pressures that life puts you under.
Key Tracks: Over And Over Again (Lost And Found), The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth, Is This Love?, Heavy Metal, In This Home On Ice
2. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Chronicles of A Bohemian Teenager
I have chosen this as my second favourite album of 2006. Once again, like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah not the biggest hit album. However, in this album a range of emotions and feelings are examined. This is best illustrated in Call Me Ishmael:
"It's one of those times that I,
Can't seem to find the words or thoughts,
these hazy eyes, the perfect partner to my weary mind,"
Other songs like Whitewash is Brainwash, whilst the song itself can seem tedious if heard too many times has an amazing lyrical content, covering concepts such the idea we are all brainwashed by consumerism and programmes like big brother.
Key Tracks: The Chronicles of A Bohemian Teenager (Part Two.), War Of The Worlds, Whitewash is Brainwash, Call Me Ishmael, The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager (Part One.)
3. Belle and Sebastian- The Life Pursuit
Belle and Sebastian are one of the greatest underrated British acts around. All their songs, whilst sickly sweet cover a lot of aspects of human life and existence. This is illustrated in songs like White Collared Boy, which is about a straight laced guy falling for a wild girl: "she said you aint ugly you can kiss me if you like" is one of the great lyrics. Other songs like To Be Myself Completely is about saying goodbye to a loved one and leaving them.
Key Tracks: Another Sunny Day, The Blues Are Still Blue, Song For Sunshine, Funny Little Frog, To Be Myself Completely
4. The Kooks - Inside In Inside out
This is an amazing catchy feel good album and one of the only true successful British acts this year. Match Box is a great song, as is Naïve. She Moves In Her Own Way is also a great feel-good song and See The World has a strong punk-pop appeal to it. The Kooks have great potential for the future if they can keep up with the standard set by their memorable debut.
See The World, Eddie's Gun, She Moves In Her Own Way, Match Box, Naïve, Jackie Big Tits
5. The Killers - Sam's Town
In all honesty I did not expect to like this album as much as I have. Despite releasing a stellar debut with great songs like Mr Brightside (one of my favourite songs of all time) and All These Things That I've Done I personally came to the conclusion that their second album would be a dud like the Franz Ferdinand, Hot Hot Heat and The Futureheads second albums. I was also pessimistic of the fact that the album was heavily influenced by Bruce Springsteen, which doesn't personally interest me. However, upon listening to the album I was blown away immediately with the opening song Sam's Town. Other songs such as Read My Mind are great and I feel that with this particular band there has been definite evolution from their previous album unlike some of the others mentioned earlier.
Key Tracks: Sam's Town, Bling (Confessions Of A King), Read My Mind, Bones, My List
6. Razorlight - Razorlight
This is another band alongside The Killers that have particularly excelled on the release of their second album. I first listened to this album upon returning from my summer trip to India eagerly anticipating their performance at V Festival one week later. I had already heard the single In The Morning, which I saw as a strong debut single. Upon listening to the album I was immediately blown away by America, although the song has been devilishly overplayed now. I also loved the final track Los Angeles Waltz, which summed up my mindset at the time to a certain extent.
Key Tracks: Hold On, America, Pop Song 2006, Los Angeles Waltz.
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Show Your Bones
Despite not having a song on the album as good as Maps, this is still an amazing album, which can be left on repeat for hours on end and will still not get boring. Gold Lion is a great song as is Honeybears. However, my personal highlight is Dudley, which has a top-notch melody and lyrics when asking the rhetorical question: "can love really steer us?"
Key Tracks: Gold Lion, Honeybears, Cheated Hearts, Dudley, Turn Into
8.Muse- Black Holes And Revelations
When reviewing this album its hard to talk about it without mentioning Knights of Cydonia, an amazingly powerful song, which has a killer riff that will literally blow you away every time you hear it. Starlight is another exceptional song and was going through my head all through my trip to India this summer. For some reason the lyrics "Our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations" applied to me as we travelled up into the mountain ranges of the Himalayas even if I was intensely sick at the time. Moving on… Exo-Politics is another one of my personal highlights in the album. The song begins with a likeable guitar riff, before Matt Bellamy enters singing about "Zetas" UFO folklore, classic Bellamy. Next comes the chorus, which is a strong and powerful one: "I'm waiting patiently, and I'll wait for the sign," presumably something to do with UFOs.
Key Tracks: Starlight, Map Of The Problematique, Exo-Politics, Knights of Cydonia
9. Mystery Jets- Making Dens
"You can do anything you like as long as it makes sense." This is the main riff of the first track following the Intro You Can't Fool Me Dennis and Mystery Jets have done exactly that. That track is a great track and the tempo and quality remains with the following tracks Purple Prose, Soluble In Air and The Boy Who Ran Away. Soluble In Air applies a number of metaphors to the feeling of being in love to great effect. Other top songs include the chant zoo time, zoo time, zoo time, zoo time, zoo time, which is
Key Tracks: You Can't Fool Me Dennis, Soluble In Air, Zoo Time, Making Dens
10. Hot Chip- The Warning
In my opinion the biggest electronic act this year, hot chips songs are both catchy and easy to dance to and have also cornered the indie market. Over and Over is a great song about repetition and monotony but the song isn't like that at all but instead one of the biggest songs this year. Other songs like So Glad To See You are calm and relaxing and when you listen to it put you in a mellow and tranquil mood.
Key Tracks: Boy From School, Over And Over, Colours, Look After Me, The Warning, So Glad To See You
11. The Strokes- First Impressions Of Earth
Although not receiving the strongest of reviews this is my favourite Strokes album to date. The opener You Only Live Once is a top quality opening song and the proceeding singles Juicebox and Heart In A Cage are also great hits. The highlight of the album however is Razorblade which is a cool and crazy song.
Key Tracks: You Only Live Once, Razorblade, On The Other Side, Vision Of Division, Ize Of The World
12. Keane- Under The Iron Sea
Certainly better than their debut album and although it hasn't appeared to have mass success in comparison to its contemporaries this year e.g. snow patrol, the killers, the zutons it is an amazing album with a certainly darker mood to the band's previous works. Some of the songs appear intensely deep including A Bad Dream, Nothing In My Way and Atlantic which is about the fear of being alone at old age: "I don't wanna be old and sleep alone an empty house is not a home."
Key Tracks: Atlantic, Nothing In My Way, A Bad Dream, Crystal Ball, Broken Toy
13. Placebo – Meds
This is a great concept album tackling the issue of drugs. I think the video for A Song To Say Goodbye is particularly emotional and is what attracted me to the band in the first place. In the video a man is being looked after by a child and everything is being run for the grown man, even the driving. Other songs on the album like Drag are great and is about trying but failing to keep up with other people around you in regards to achieving your potential in life.
Key Tracks: Meds, Infra Red, Follow The Cops Back Home, Drag, Post Blue A Song To Say Goodbye
14. Mogwai- Mr Beast
A delight to listen to and certainly one of the greatest post rock albums ever to be written if superceded only by Sigur Ros's Takk and ( ). My favourite song on the album is Friend Of The Night, which is an extremely passionate song and I would recommend to anyone who has taken the time out to read this.
Key Tracks: Auto Rock, Glasgow Mega Snake, Friend Of The Night
15. Lupe Fiasco- Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
The strongest rap album this year, with this album Lupe can be compared to Kanye West in both lyrical content and production. Unlike other rappers, Lupe is not rapping about gun toting etc but instead tackles serious issues such as in American Terrorist. The song begins with the statement: "The ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr," and the song moves on to criticise American culture and the concepts of consumerism and democracy.
Key Tracks: Kick Push, Sunshine, Hurt Me Soul, American Terrorist, Kick Push II
16. Kasabian- Empire
Kasabian's new album is certainly an improvement on the first one, which after a few listens got boring quickly and was relatively lacklustre. However this album is highly recommended, particularly the debut single Empire, which has an incredibly catchy hook. British legion is also another great song on the album and is different to most of Kasabian's other work.
Key Tracks: Empire, Shoot The Runner, British Legion
17. Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere
This is a great collaboration album between two legends, Cee-Lo Green formally of the Goodie Mob and DJ DangerMouse, renowned for the production of the Gorillaz second album and The Grey Album, a fusion of Jay-Z's Black Album and The Beatles White Album. Many issues on the album are tackled including suicide in Just A Thought. Another obvious highlight is the no.1 single Crazy and recent single Who Cares?
Key Tracks: Crazy, Smiley Faces, Just A Thought, Who Cares?
18. The Raconteurs- Broken Boy Soldiers
Being not the biggest fan of the White Stripes I didn't see much hope in me liking this new supergroup that Jack White had formed. However, this is totally different from the White Stripes. Whether this being a good or a bad thing is your own opinion however Steady As She Goes is a great song as is Call It A Day, which is a quiet and slow but a first-class all round song
Key Tracks: Steady As She Goes, Hands, Broken Boy Soldier, Call It A Day
19. Larrikin Love- The Freedom Spark
Larrikin love is a highly under-rated band like Mystery Jets. Happy as Annie is a super song, with a jerky rhythm on various instruments such as banjos and fiddles. Another great song on the album is On Sussex Downs and although this album has been more of an underground success, Larrikin Love are an exciting new band and I would highly recommend them.
Key Tracks: Happy As Annie, On Sussex Downs, Edwould, Six Queens
20. The Long Blondes- Somebody To Drive Me Home
The Long Blondes have written a series of top songs and their debut is certainly a record they should not be ashamed off. Both giddy stratospheres and separated by motorways are super songs even if you notice that the A14 and the A1 are not actually motorways. Fulwood Babylon the B-side for Weekend Without Makeup although not being on the album itself certainly deserves a mention as I feel it should have made the album. This is illustrated in the lyrics: "don't be a sycophant and don't try to hold my hand if you don't plan on being around five minutes later."
Key Tracks: Separated By Motorways, Once And Never Again, Another Weekend Without Make Up, Giddy Stratospheres, Fulwood Babylon
Albums not reviewed:
Albums I'm Looking Forward To In 2007:
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Good the bad and the queen