Top 25 songs 2006, Top 5

Here are the top 5 songs of 2006, hand-selected by me. It was a tough call, but I'm mostly satisfied by this final lineup:

5. White Collar Boy • Belle & Sebastian (The Life Pursuit)
B&S continue their evolution from mid-9os masters of sad, 60s style indie pop to mid-00s masters of indie Thin Lizzy style pop-rock. It's amazing that Stuart Murdoch has led B&S for over 10 years now, especially in a genre of music whose critics generally don't reward people who stick around. This song, with fuzz bass, great lyrics and delivery by Murdoch and sunny feeling overall, proves they're not going anywhere.

4. Insistor • Tapes 'n' Tapes (The Loon)
Debut of the year. This band manages to take the best parts of Pavement and the Pixies and reinvents them for this indie rock suite. In a year that may favor "freak folk" and the "techno/electro experimental" movements, Tapes 'n' Tapes proved there's still some life in indie rock.

3. Lolita • Prince (3121)
Prince has still got it. His knack for writing catchy singles continues on his second decent "comeback" album in two years. This one throws a twist into the (surprisingly) often used "young girl" temptation song: He actually has no problem resisting it. This has got to be the hottest song about monogamy ever.

2. Ghostface Killah • 9 Milli Bros. (Fishscale)
I'm not really into the drug rap craze that seems to have the rest of the critical world in recent years. It appears that you have to be a street hustler rapping about your tough life to have a well-received album these days. It's surprisingly small-minded from people who are supposedly more open-minded and adventurous about music. That said, I really liked Ghostface's "Fishscale" this year. Ghost takes these raps to whole different levels using creative, theatric words and imagery and spending more time discussing the downside of the life. This is my personal favorite of the bunch though. It's a concise Wu-Tang reunion, that in 4 minutes, gives all nine members plus sometimes member Cappadonna (including a hair-raising, quick rhyme from beyond by ODB) time to take a verse over a celebratory MF Doom production. It's never boring and always feels over way too soon.

1. Black Swan • Thom Yorke (The Eraser)
This is really a vote for all the songs on Thom Yorke's debut solo CD. It's honestly too difficult to choose one song to represent the group. Critics generally set their sights way too high on this one too; they should've accepted it for what it was: a simple, modest, but nonetheless powerful collection from someone who always moves forward with his music. This song is a great example, one of the more accessible tracks, with an upbeat bassline offset by Yorke's fragile voice/lyrics. However, from the opener (The Eraser) to the stunning closer (Cymbal Rush), the album is consistently good and at 41 minutes, one of 2006's most concise statements. Definitely one of the best CDs of the year.

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