Friday, December 29, 2006

Top Ten Albums of 2006 and Other Shit

(Bringing blacks and whites together, the MLK Jr. of this rap shit.)

Music is becoming so fragmented and niche-oriented that it's increasingly harder music critics, let alone the average listener (and where is the line between those two?) to agree on anything.

This year's collection of Top Albums lists shows exactly how random shit has become. You could pretty much make an argument for whatever album you liked as the best of 2006. Looking at Pitchfork's list, it seemed like that's exactly what they did.
There are only three albums on here I can co-sign and I can't stand "Silent Shout."

Pitchfork's Top Ten of 2006

10. Scott Walker - The Drift
9. Boris - Pink
8. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
7. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
6. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
5. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
3. Joanna Newsom - Ys
2. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
1. The Knife - Silent Shout

Pitchfork's Out of Wedlock Brother, Stylus Magazine posted their list, which was a step-up from Pitchfork with 5 good albums.

Stylus Mag's Top 10 of 2006

10. Joanna Newsom -Ys
9. Junior Boys- So This Is Goodbye
8. Lil Wayne/DJ Drama - Dedication 2
7. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
6. Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles
5. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
4. TV On the Radio
3. The Knife - The Silent Shout
2. Hot Chip - The Warning
1. Ghostface - Fishscale

Blah to them both.

Start Snitching's Musical Observations of 2006

  • It seems like the white hipster obsession with the Clipse and Lil Wayne could not be stopped. Sadly with more albums coming from them in 2007, it seems like this fetish will continue well into 2007.
  • Glitchy, unlistenable electronic art-rock is en vogue. If you can listen to someone scratching a chalkboard and looping sounds of plane crashing backwards for 47 minutes you are deep.
  • Mixtapes are now on equal footing with albums.
  • Reggaeton is dead. Thank the lord.
  • Grime is dead. Thank the lord.
  • Everyone has seemingly turned against the Arctic Monkeys. Thank the lord yet again.
  • Thom Yorke needs Radiohead.
  • If your album flopped, you should blame it on the market and not your wack-ass album.
  • Kool Keith is over.
  • Get shot ain't what it used to be. Ask Proof, Obie Trice, Cam'ron and Beanie Sigel, who all got shot. Forgot already? So did everyone else.
  • Ghostface needs to start getting put on those greatest rappers of all-time lists.

Here's the Start Snitching guide to Top 10 Albums of 2006.

10. Cat Power - The Greatest

Chan Marshall is the hottest recovering alcoholic in all of indie-rock. Leaving behind her baggage and typical sound, Ms. Power got some soul and recorded her album in Memphis with Al Green's old backing band while exorcising some old demons.
If she's needs a sponsor, I can help.

9. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls In America

The lead singer has the voice of a bleated goat. If you can get over that, then you'll be able to appreciate lyrics that chronicle the drug-fueled self-destruction of small-town America with the same passion that Bruce Springsteen chronicled hope and small-town escape 30 years ago. Overdosing has never been more fun.

8. Hot Chip - The Warning

Now here's an electronic record that actually deserved the praise it got. Rather than slamming a bunch of keys on their laptop, this band actually made fully structured songs that a human could vibe to, with enough atmosphere and subtle influences to keep you dissecting the album, even after repeated listens.

7. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

In a parallel universe, Sonic Youth gets their own iPod instead of U2 and the entire 80 GB hard drive is filled with John Cage's 639 year long piece, "As Slow as Possible."
Shitty modern rock bands would pay tribute to them on MTV Icons, instead of honoring Aerosmith and Metallica, and Kim Gordon would stare down from her throne with bored disdain.

But back here in reality, Sonic Youth is still grinding away in its 3rd decade of existence, doing their best to keep the guitar relevant with their most melody-focused album, in a year when shitty unfocused electronic music won all the accolades.

6. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

Yea I picked Gnarls Barkley as my number 2.
And what?
I've heard people call this album a gimmick record and then praise MF Doom in the same breath.
That is called hypocrisy.

Gnarls is just catching backlash for getting (way too much) radio play, selling a million and getting that platinum plaque.
The production is some of the best of the year and most artists wish they could have pop melodies this strong.

5. TV on the Radio

A black indie rock band!
Dense, intensely lyrical, rhythmic art-rock by a band that's 80% Negro.
If they could just get on BET somehow, I'd be a happy man.

4. Lily Allen - Alright, Still

You wouldn't be wrong for thinking "pikey/chav" when you hear the name Lily Allen.
She is a white girl who makes songs about getting into fights on the line of night clubs.
Social distnctions aside, anyone who digs this deep into the crates to find the classic reggae, ska, blues and dub samples on display here and then overlays them with pop music this subversive is going to make the list.

2 & 3. Ghostface - Fishscale/More Fish

His album scraps are killing most people in the game.
A thrown together project that his label pitched to him ended up being fire and he sounds hungrier than most new cats in the game.
What more is there to say?

No one raps with the intensity, urgency or the creativity of Ghostface.
If you would have told anyone in 1994 that Ghostface would be the most relevant, respected and commercially viable rapper from the Wu-Tang clan you would have quite possibly been slapped.
It's not that he wasn't good. He just wasn't in the forefront like that.

But more than 10 odd years later he put together an MVP performance and people still sit up to hear that new Ghostface.
Remember who started that coke rap kiddies.
A kilo is a thousand grams.

1. M. Ward- Post-War

M. Ward's dusty lo-fi record is based on what he claims is an examination of how a society obsessed with and destroyed by war moves on.
Fortunately there isn't one whiny ass protest song on this record to undermine M. Ward's trademark hazy sound or intimate vocals.
Post War takes the slacker aesthetic of Pavement and gives it enough political context to sneak right under the ambivalence of our lazy ass generation.


10 Songs I Played Too Damn Much in 2006

10. Scissor Sisters - Don't Feel Like Dancing
9. Nelly Furtado - No Hay Igual
8. Cham - Ghetto Story
7. Cat Power - The Greatest
6. The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars - Soda Soap
5. T.I. - What You Know
4. Johnny Cash - God's Gonna Cut You Down
3. Be Your Own Pet- Bicycle, Bicycle, You're My Bicycle
2. Easy Dub All Stars - Lucky (Radiohead Cover)
1. M. Ward- Right in the Head

Top Ten Albums of 2007 (I'm Psychic Like That)

10. Raekwon - Built For Cuban Linx 2
9. Bloc Party
8. The Shins
7. Radiohead
6. MIA
5. Madvillain 2
4. Modest Mouse
3. The Go! Team
2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
1. MF Doom/Ghostface - Swift and Changeable

That's it for music in 2006.
Stay tuned for the Top Coons of the year.


  1. Im almost surprised I didnt see Breathe Me on your most played, so it goes...

  2. what you mean kool keith is over? what happened to him?

  3. People need to start using tag names or something.
    This anonymous stuff is killing me.

    - Breathe Me still gets rotation but it was from 2005 so I left it off.

    - Did you hear the two albums Keith dropped this year?
    Dr. Nogatco and Return of Dr. Octagon?

    Pure trash.
    Keith needs to pass the schizo-rapper crown to MF Doom.

  4. Sometimes Blogger doesn't let you choose the "other" identity. I've commented here before, but since I don't have a Blogger account it won't let me be something other than "anonymous". Yes, I think that's annoying too.

    Anyway, Kool Keith jumped the shark with that god-awful "Matthew" album. While what precious little I heard from his albums this year wasn't terrible, it also wasn't enough to inspire me to buy/download them. All the fanboys who were all over KK's dick in 1997 are MF Doom fanboys now. Maybe going the mixtape route will salvage his career. If it worked for the Clipse...

    Also, I don't think reggaeton's going anywhere. Around my way, that's all I hear. Maybe the folks who don't speak Spanish will stop caring, but a genre that's been around since the early 90's isn't going to die just because of that. For the record, I could take it or leave it. There are a few artists I like, but most of it just makes me think, "El General did this so much better in 1991".

  5. Great post. Co-sign the relief that grime and reggaeton seem to have passed (at least for now).

    Like the 2007 look-ahead. Two records from Doom will be nice. And while I don't love Madvillain like everyone else (I think I've heard other Madlib beats that I prefer), it's still a standout record.

  6. I guess Blogger can be a little glitchy, I may try to put a new commenting system up here.

    - No Hay Igual is fire. I like that better than "Promiscuous."

    - MF Doom is one of the most fun rappers out right now. After taking off 2006 I expect big things from him in 2007.

  7. Stylus "Pitchfork's Out of Wedlock Brother" =Perhaps one of the 10 Finest Lines written all year. Like the Top 10 List though, I'm not feeling that Gnarls and the TV on the Radio (who I feel way more in concept than in execution). That Top 10 List for 07 looks like its gonna make you look like a prophet come 12 months from now. Nice work.

  8. I like how the Twin Cities are small town America to you. Didn't your time in the midbest teach you anything?