This is proving to be a lot tougher than I thought since my listening this year has been all over the map. Few albums have spent extended time in my player and those that have came out in 2005, U2's How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb and McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.
Plus it seems that I actually bought a lot fewer albums this year. But, be that as it may, here are the ones that have jumped out at me a little.
- Hem's album Funnel Cloud has to be near the top of my list. I reviewed it here. It's beautiful and soothing - something I've needed with my schedule. And, truth be told, even though their previous album, Eveningland, is not a 2006 release I only discovered them this year thanks to Bethany and I took it with me on my ipod to India where I listened to it a few times.
- Say I Am You by the Weepies has been a lot of fun but it just sounds like a lightweight album and I can't really put it on the top of my list. But then again, it continues to stay in the car and get listened to.
- McCartney's latest classical album, Ecce Cor Meum, has had remarkable staying power in my car, usually a lousy place to listen to music with a wide dynamic range. But it has been there ever since I bought it and I really like it. (see my review)
- Sandra McCracken's two albums, The Builder and the Architect (see my review) and Gravity|Love (which I really liked in my review this year and still like) are wonderful. The first one also made to trip to India with me, and served as a wonderful reminder of what was still true even though I was on the other side of the world.
- And speaking of India, Anoushka Shankar's Rise is a great mix of traditional Indian sitar music and western ideas which makes it remarkably listenable for a Midwestern American like me. Way cool.
- Finally, though, the winner is probably - Jars of Clay's Good Monsters. It's a great album (here is what I wrote when it came out) and continues to surprise me. They rocked in concert this weekend at Calvin. It ranks with their very best stuff.