Top 25 songs 2006, 15 to 6

My love/hate relationship with the list continues. Here's 15 through 6:

15. Steady As She Goes • The Raconteurs (Broken Boy Soldiers)
I think indie rock will be remembered by two singles this year. Number 9 on my list, and this little number by the Raconteurs. Jack White's cynical pop song about the fears of a long term relationship (how's that second marriage going?) is helped by the full band sound and Brendan Benson's calming backing vocals. This single was also boosted by having an hilarious video featuring Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman).

14. 9 to 5 • Lady Sovereign (Public Warning)
"Love Me Or Hate Me" is the perfect Lady Sov single, but it's songs like this one that explain why she's the number one UK Grime import. Lazy rhymes with unexpected twists, lyrics about the mundane life of an office job (which I guess she's read about?) and production with so many bleeps and background asides, you have to listen to it 10 times to catch them all.

13. Pharrell • Best Friend (In My Mind)
I think I expected too much from Pharrell. I was sort of hoping for the Prince for this generation, but he's not there yet. Right now, he's maybe the Jamiroquai. While "In My Mind" has flashes of brilliance, it's not really the classic I was hoping for. This song is an early highlight, Pharrell opens up a little lyrically and the cymbal crashing chorus punctuates the feeling of the song perfectly.

12. Nausea • Beck (The Information)
Step one: Beck reaches into his bag of Beck tricks and makes one of his upbeat Beck singles. It contains most of the usual Beckisms and a one word chorus. Nice try, Beck, but I've heard it before. Step two: The song stays in your head for months. Curse you, Beck! You've done it again!

11. At Last I Am Born • Morrissey (Ringleader of the Tormentors)
Morrissey wins the "Best Closer Award" this year with this finale from "Ringleader of the Tormentors." He continues to mix up his dramatic/dark humor dynamic to create yet another classic. Sample lyric: "I once thought that time accentuates despair/But now I don’t actually care."

10. Oh My God • Jay-Z (Kingdom Come)
While reviews for Jay-Z's comeback appear mixed, I think that it's an overall success. While there were some clunkers ("Hollywood" and "30 Something" come to mind), the return has mostly great songs, like this one which has Just Blaze using a sample of "Whipping Post" to great effect and Jay-Z attacking the song like he never left. Which, technically, he didn't.

9. Crazy • Gnarls Barkley (St. Elsewhere)
When a quirky song comes out by a couple of outcasts, and becomes a hot hit that you end up hearing on radio for the rest of the year, it's a rare and impressive feat. Seriously, listen to this song! The production is pretty dark and the lead singer has raspy chipmunk voice and is talking about being insane. I love it, but how did this get so popular?!

8. Smile • Lily Allen (Alright Still)
Lily Allen made one of the debuts of the year in 2006, and while we Yanks have to wait for the CD to come out in January, this song was available on iTunes for a little while. Think Nellie McKay only less loungy and more pop. A bright, happy song about seeing an ex-boyfriend squirm. Lovely.

7. Kick, Push • Lupe Fiasco (Food & Liquor)
Another amazing debut from 2006. I don't even skateboard, but this song makes me wish I did.

6. Tangled • Black Heart Procession (The Spell)
This is my choice for for "Opener of the Year." This song perfectly sums up the mood and atmosphere that's carried out through the "The Spell," the latest (and possibly best?) CD by the Black Heart Procession. You can feel yourself spiraling downward, clausterphobic and haunted. And it feels so good.

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