It’s nearly impossible to categorize an entire year’s worth of music into one category, genre, feeling, or even into one solitary entry such as this. The reason it’s impossible to do this is because there simply is just too much music [from all genres] being released throughout the year to make any sort of cohesive collective entry. Because of that, I often stick music suggestions in with the regular entries throughout the year so that you all don’t have to really wait for the end of the year to hear what I’ve been listening to. You can sort of keep up with new music as I get into them.

And if you’re one of the lucky few who I regularly trade music with (that would be: Yelena, Melanie, Joyce, Pam, Connie, & Jenn), then you’ll already recognize some (or maybe all) of the selections I’m about to make for this list.

This list is the best of the best music of 2006–according to me. It’s music that got me through tough times, made me smile, made me reminisce, got me thinking; music that made me question things I was doing, made me question people around me; music that made me dance, jump around, and just sing out loud. This past year surely was a great rollercoaster ride of musical tastes, from pop to rock to hippity-hop-hop-hop, 2006 was what I would call a very diverse year in terms of my listening habits. I gave lots of listening time both to artists that fell straight through my musical tastes and those that made music under genres I normally cling to. This was the year that I was introduced to music blogs (thanks Yelena!). I went through a lot of “nobodies” and an equal share of “veterans” of the industry.

All in all, here’s a memorable list of music for 2006…

THE ‘SONG OF THE YEAR’ AWARD
the go team
The Go! Team – Huddle Formation [website]

If being the #1 track for the entire year straight on my Last.fm page means anything, then you’ll know that I really really really love this song. This is the same song that I wrote about earlier in the year and said that it could probably lift me out of any depressed state in a matter of seconds. It’s awesome. The band is awesome too.

THE ‘BAND OF THE YEAR’ AWARD
mute math
Mute Math [website] [myspace]

It’s always hard to choose a band to win the “band of the year” award, but Mute Math truly deserve it. They’ve totally made a name and sound for themselves through some intense guerrilla marketing and word-of-mouth, and their total success is just a testament to how talented they are as musicians. I can’t quite name a band that has ever gotten me so excited to see their shows, but Mute Math certainly has. I went to three of their concerts in the past year alone. It’s just plain good rock and roll to my ears!

THE ‘DAMN I’M A SLOW-POKE FOR NOT HEARING THIS BEFORE’ AWARD
muse - absolution
Muse – Absolution [website]

I’ll admit, Muse’s Absolution album came out in 2004 but I had never actually listened to it until this past year. It was a sort of chance mistake too. I had nothing to do one night and so I just browsed some random artists that I had heard of but never got into. Turns out, Muse was one of them, and I fell in love with their sound (on this album). I had always heard them being compared to Radiohead but I never really liked Radiohead so I thought that I would never like Muse. WRONG! Heh, I guess it’s always better late than never, right?
Note: I don’t like Muse’s latest album, Black Holes and Revelations. Weird, I know.

THE ‘NEXT BAND I WANT TO SEE IN CONCERT’ AWARD
all-american rejects - move along
All-American Rejects [website]

They sound good. They rock hard. They sound good. Oh, did I mention they sound good? The All-American Rejects wins this year’s award for the band that I’ve always had in my collection, but never really got into until now. Who knows why that is, but I just know that they make some friggin’ catchy tunes with great hooks. And it’s not just their Move Along album that’s good. They debut album is excellent as well. If you don’t like them, maybe it’s because you were like me and didn’t give them enough time to grow on you.

THE ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF MUSIC IT IS BUT IT’S GOOD’ AWARD
mat kearney
Mat Kearney [website]

Does he rap? Or does he rock? Or does he just talk? It’s not easy to say but I’d guess that people don’t really care much about it. It seemed like Mat Kearney couldn’t be avoided this year. He had appearances on top late night TV shows as well as features on prominent music channels. His music was also featured on various TV shows like One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy. Anyway, I first heard him back in 2004 at Creation Festival EAST and I thought he was pretty good then. Now, I just think he’s awesome. Great music all around and not to mention some uplifting and encouraging lyrics too!

THE ‘ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR’ AWARD
snow patrol - eyes open
Snow Patrol – Eyes Open [website]

Snow Patrol really got me this year. They’re previous album, Final Straw was good, but I never loved it, despite having it for 2 years now. This year, Snow Patrol released Eyes Open and immediately from hearing the first song, I could tell that this was going to be a good album. So good were they that their single “Chasing Cars” was selected to be played on several hit TV shows this year. PS: “Headlights On Dark Roads” is an awesome song to drive to. :)

EXTRA BONUS FOR ME: This CD reminds me of the awesome summer of 2006! WHEE!

THE ‘I FEEL LIKE A SUPER-HERO WHEN I LISTEN TO THIS SONG’ AWARD
the pink spiders
The Pink Spiders – Little Razorblade [website]

Last year, I concluded that when listening to Somebody Told Me by The Killers, I always feel like I have super-powers. Well, this year, I am proud to say that Little Razorblade by The Pink Spiders has also been added to this very short list of songs that make me feel powerful (for whatever reason). I don’t quite know what type of song makes me feel this way, but I bet it has something to do with awesome melodies and raging guitar licks. Or something. I don’t know man. These songs just have that effect on me.

THE ‘POP PRINCESS(ES)’ AWARD
the veronicas
The Veronicas – The Secret Life Of… [website]

My goodness…I think it may be possible for music to be more catchy than Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway album. My gosh…did I waste away lots of precious moments of silence listening to The Veronicas. Pop music is so brainless to me that it’s become something very fun to listen to. I love brainless fun!

THE ‘RAP/HIP-HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR’ AWARD
Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor [website]

I like hip-hop that sounds like this. Something chill with good beats. That’s what this is.

OTHER ALBUMS WORTH MENTIONING:

  • KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope
  • Thirteen Senses – The Invitation
  • Athlete – Tourist
  • Augustana – All The Stars And Boulevards
  • Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae

Thanks to everyone who suggested some of the above artists to me. They made 2006 more musical in every sense of the word.

Finally, keep up with my listening habits by visiting my Last.fm page. Not all of the tracks I listen to get listed, but about 90% of them do. So that’s your best bet if you really want to see what’s hot with me in terms of tunes for any particular week or period. :)

I want you all to comment on this post. Now.

Cheers! And here’s to another great year in music. Hello 2007!