Keeping up my young but enthusiastic tradition of an annual compilation of what I’ve been listening to over the last year, I hereby present Radio Sunpig 2006. As usual, not all of the tracks were released this year, but 2006 was when I heard them first.
My main goal in putting together the compilation was to create a CD-sized mix that would sound great in a particular order, so the tracks here aren’t necessarily my favourite songs from any given album. There are even some artists that don’t feature at all because I couldn’t find the right space for them. I’ll try to make sure they’re represented when I do my favourite albums of the year in the next day or two. (Update: now available at 2006 in review: music.)
(Also, I’m not nearly as happy with the CD cover I made this year. What you see below is the third iteration, after I decided to fall back on some design elements that have worked out well enough on the site already.)
- Black Star – 8th Light (Astronomy)
Black Star was a collaboration between Mos Def and Talib Kweli on the mic, and DJ Hi-Tek. Just like with Ash’s “Orpheus” last year, I knew this was going to be the first track of Radio Sunpig this year. The cool beats and smooth grooves set the tone for a compilation that is (relatively) laid back.
- Gomez – See The World
A gorgeous song about seizing the day, and loving life. It never (well, rarely) fails to lift me out of a grumpy mood.
- The New Pornographers – These Are The Fables
I tend to fall in love with the voice of one female vocalist each year, and this time round it’s Neko Case. This is perhaps not my favourite song of hers, but it’s a deliciously intriguing track nevertheless.
- Barenaked Ladies – Take It Back
The Barenaked Ladies were back on top form this year with their album Barenaked Ladies Are Me. This track shows them blending politics with a sweet sing-along melody. Think of all the lives saved by plastic knives, indeed.
- L.E.O – Ya Had Me Goin’
L.E.O. is a project by Bleu, and is a kind of tribute to the musical influences of Jeff Lynne and E.L.O. The rest of the album (Alpacas Orgling) is so-so, but this track is right up there with the best Jeff Lynne ever made.
- Belle And Sebastian – For The Price of a Cup Of Tea
For me, this song will forever be associated with cleaning our bathroom. Don’t ask.
- Boysetsfire – Requiem
This is Alex’s favourite song right now. He loves the superb rock drum opening. So do I. This is one of the more mainstream tracks from the album The Misery Index: Notes From The Plague Years, and although I love their more hard-core offerings, this is probably going to see more long-term play in the years to come.
- Jay-Z and Linkin Park – Encore/Numb
Heard this for the first time on the soundtrack of Miami Vice, and loved it straight away. They’ve taken the best bits of both original tracks and mashed them together with a subtle and slightly menacing keyboard line.
- The White Stripes – As Ugly As I Seem
Guitar. Bongos. Jack White’s vocals. Don’t understand what the song is about, but it’s great to listen to anyway.
- Frou Frou – Hear Me Out
Frou Frou was a collaboration between Imogen Heap and producer Guy Sigsworth. This is a fine example of the sweet electronic pop they made together.
- Tragically Hip – Nautical Disaster
Alan dosed me up on the Hip this year, but not soon enough for me to catch them on their UK tour. Bastard.
- Supergrass – Coffee In the Pot
- The Flaming Lips – The W.A.N.D
I love it when the Flaming Lips go totally over the top with a track, but still manage to keep it all together: tumbling drum loops, burning guitars, vocal distortions and nonsensical mystic-rock lyrics. Awesome.
- Ghostface Killah (feat. Ne-Yo) – Back Like That
I’m highly ambivalent about this track. One the one hand, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard this year, with stunningly vivid, evocative, and emotional lyrics. On the other hand, those lyrics are written from the perspective of Ghostface’s gangsta persona, and are profoundly violent and misogynistic. I have a hard time loving the song while disapproving of its actual content.
- Muse – Map Of The Problematique
I like it when Muse rock hard. This is one of the overlooked tracks on their album Black Holes and Revelations, but one of my favourites.
- Fischerspooner – Get Confused
I almost overlooked this one because it’s from one of the first albums I listened to this year. Still love it, though.
- The New Pornographers – Use It
I came by the New Pornographers relatively late in the year–just a week before putting together this compilation, in fact–and the fact that this is the second song of theirs on here says volumes about how much I love their album Twin Cinemas. However, after further listening, there are several other tracks that I now prefer to this one. Still, it’s a terrific power-pop stomping tune, though, and I’m not disappointed at all with its place in the mix here.
- Barenaked Ladies – Another Spin
I don’t normally like Kevin Hearn‘s vocals on BNL songs, but they are much stronger than normal here–to the point where this has become one of my favourite tracks of the album. (It’s only on the “deluxe” extended edition though.)