Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Best Of 2006

I am a little late on this, but I wanted to post my Best Of 2006 playlist, which I prefer to my Best Of 2006 album list. I had a hard time coming up with 10 albums I thought were great last year, but there were 90 songs I loved. I feel better about 2006 looking at this list than I do the album list.

1. Midlake, "Roscoe"
2. The Decemberists, "O Valencia"
3. Band Of Horses, "Wicked Gil"
4. Bruce Springsteen, O Mary Don't You Weep"
5. The Clipse, "Mr. Me Too"
6. Sonic Youth, "Reena"
7. Loose Fur, "The Ruling Class"
8. Blueheels, "Reason To Cry"
9. Ghostface Killah, "Jelllyfish"
10. Mew, "The Zookeeper's Boy"
11. Michael Runion, "Red Pony"
12. Camera Obscura, "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken"
13. Girl Talk, "Smash Your Head"
14. The Secret Machines, "Alone, Jealous, And Stoned"
15. Film School, "Deep Lake"
16. M. Ward, "Chinese Translation"
17. The Raconteurs, "Steady, As She Goes"
18. The Wandering Sons, "In The Spring"
19. Phoenix, "Consolation Prizes"
20. Arctic Monkeys, "Fake Tales Of San Francisco"
21. The Life And Times, "I Know You Are"
22. Ray LaMontagne, "Three More Days"
23. The Snowbirds, "Grips"
24. Cold War Kids, "We Used To Vacation"
25. Eagles Of Death Metal, "I Like To Move In The Night"
26. Van Hunt, "At The End Of The Slow Dance"
27. National Eye, "Silver Agers"
28. Cursive, "Big Bang"
29. The Robins, "Shake Shake"
30. Across Tundras, "Ramblin' In The Shadows"
31. Elf Power, "Come Lie Down With Me"
32. Sean Lennon, "Would I Be The One"
33. The Rapture, "Get Myself Into It"
34. Wilderness, "The Blood Is On The Wall"
35. Bob Dylan, "When The Deal Goes Down"
36. KT Tunstall, "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree"
37. Built To Spill, "Goin' Against Your Mind"
38. Los Lobos, "The Road To Gila Bend"
39. Justin Timberlake, "My Love"
40. Robert Pollard, "Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)"
41. Neko Case, "Hold On, Hold On"
42. The Roots, "In The Music"
43. Goldfrapp, "Oh La La"
44. Herbert, "Someting Isn't Right"
45. Destroyer, "Your Blood"
46. Govt. Mule, "So Weak, So Strong"
47. Hellogoodbye, "Here (In Your Arms)"
48. Belle & Sebastian, "White Collar Boy"
49. White Whale, "Nine Good Fingers"
50. She Wants Revenge, "These Days"
51. 7L & Esoteric, "Everywhere"
52. Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, "The Sharpest Thorn"
53. Tobias Froberg, "So I"
54. Jet, "Bring It On Back"
55. Great Lakes, "Precious And Reckless"
56. Muse, "Take A Bow"
57. Mylo, "In My Arms"
58. The Goodnight Loving, "Smoke And Mirrors"
59. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Gold Lions"
60. The Championship, "Hurricane"
61. The Mountain Goats, "In Corolla"
62. Sam Roberts, "With A Bullet"
63. The Battles, "Omega Man"
64. Todd Snider, "You Got Away With It"
65. Birdmonster, "Ice Age"
66. Asobi Seksu, "Thursday"
67. Tapes n' Tapes, "Just Drums"
68. Gnarls Barkley, "The Last Time"
69. The Hold Steady, "First Night"
70. The Sword, "Freya"
71. Hard-Fi, "Cash Machine"
72. The Dears, "Hate Then Love"
73. Willy Porter, "Set Yourself Free"
74. Slayer, "Flesh Storm"
75. Wolfmother, "Apple Tree"
76. The Coup, "Tiffany Hall"
77. Neil Young, "After The Garden"
78. Cat Power, "The Greatest"
79. The Black Keys, "Have Mercy On Me"
80. Oh No! Oh My!, "A Pirate's Anthem"
81. Thom Yorke, "Black Swan"
82. Cheap Trick, "If It Takes A Lifetime"
83. The Long Winters, "Clouds"
84. Jim Noir, "How To Be So Real"
85. Pete Yorn, "The Man"
86. Robert Pollard, "U.S. Mustard Company"
87. Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins, "Rise Up With Fists!!"
88. Chamillionaire, "Ridin'"
89. The Scarring Party, "Eye"

A tangent about Band Of Horses

Describing a band by listing a bunch of other bands is about the laziest thing a music writer can do. It’s also one of the more helpful, because it’s how most regular people describe music. And it’s an underappreciated skill—being able to spot the right old band(s) a new band is ripping off requires a wide and deep knowledge of music. Otherwise you end up comparing everything to the Velvet Underground and Neil Young.

Band Of Horses is often compared to Neil Young. It also is compared to Built To Spill, Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, and The Shins. If you know any of these bands, you probably have an idea of what Band Of Horses sounds like. Unfortunately, it’s not the right idea. Because Band Of Horses sounds almost exactly like My Morning Jacket crossed with Supertramp and Jane’s Addiction. The first few times I heard the Band Of Horses record, Everything All The Time, I was convinced I was actually listening to Okonokos, the My Morning Jacket live album. Then I realized that, no, the singer sounds too much like the singer from Supertramp during the verses and Perry Farrell during the soaring choruses. And My Morning Jacket sounds more like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and, um, Neil Young. Obviously, we are talking completely different influences here

This isn’t a matter of different people hearing different things on the same record. Critics who compare Band Of Horses to Neil Young or Flaming Lips are simply wrong, and obviously don’t have a suitably extensive classic rock record collection. This isn’t hard to prove. The Supertramp song “Dreamer” is in a new computer commercial. DVR it and play side by side with “Wicked Gil,” the best song off Everything All The Time, and tell me the Band Of Horses singer is more influenced by Wayne Coyne. (Who, let’s by frank, cannot sing a lick anymore.)

The drums and guitars on “Wicked Gil” are My Morning Jacketesque, the vocals are Supertrampesque, and the chorus is Perry Farrellesque. Since I like the bands that compose Band Of Horses, I like Band Of Horses, too. This is not a backhanded compliment. I can’t think of any artist that can’t be broken down into a handy formula comprised of other artists.

The Beatles=Motown+girl groups+Chuck Berry (Add Bob Dylan after Rubber Soul)

Bob Dylan=Woody Guthrie+Hank Williams+Robert Johnson+The Rolling Stones+Allen Ginsberg

The Velvet Underground=The Beatles+’60s Brill Building pop+Andy Warhol

Led Zeppelin=Muddy Waters+Howlin’ Wolf+Yardbirds+Cream

The Clash=Sex Pistols+Elvis Presley+Bob Marley

U2=The Clash+The Who+Preachy era John Lennon

The Replacements=The Beatles+The Rolling Stones+The Ramones+the Midwest

Nirvana=The Pixies+The Bealtes+Black Sabbath

Radiohead=Pink Floyd+The Smiths+Brian Eno+David Bowie

You get the idea. It’s not that some artists create something completely new and original while other, lesser artists merely reconfigure their influences and pass it off as their own. Every artist reconfigures, some are just less obvious about it. Being less obvious doesn’t make you better. Being better makes you better.