Entry: Erika's Top 8 Albums of 2006 (Musically challenged) Dec 1, 2006

Well, we all know I'm fairly musically challenged and tend to listen to "old" music. So, here's what I could muster up. My top 8 albums of 2006:

Belle & Sebastian: The Life Pursuit
Yes, my all-time favorite (should have gone to NYC with Matt) has come out with yet another smash album, their 7th full-length album. The Life Pursuit has a sound building on 2003 Dear Catastrophe Waitress album bur further delving into the sound of pop retro and moving further from their folk with which they made their name. Not to mention, Murdoch's lyrics are at turns witty, insightful, assertive, and sardonic. I only hope this group keeps on going (and makes another trip to Wisconsin!)

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins: Rabbit Fur Coat
For her first solo album from Rilo Kiley, this has been a total hit! With two performances at the Pabst Theater this year [I only made it to the first] Jenny is on a roll. Like most of these other artists, her ability to storytell is fascinating. Her tracks are easy strumming and likeable melodies, a great variation of vintage country and pop. The back-up Twins are incredible.

Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Case has an astonishing collection of rich eccentric lyrics that leave the songs as a whole up to interpretation. I’ve never been much of a country fan, but her work hardly qualifies as country music. A most outstanding live performance, she blew us away with her appearance at the Pabst Theater. I would love to see Case again and await another beautifully written album, hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.

Tilly and the Wall: Bottoms of Barrels
Their second album and also produced by Team Love (think Jenny Lewis), is a collection of bright, big-hearted melodies that are always in movement. To me, it’s like a sing-a-long. I love how they three sing and shout together in such perfect childlike fashion. Wonderful pop music-- perfect for singing and dancing and forgetting your troubles and feeling an absolute connection with your inner child.

m.ward: Post-War
As Toronto Life said, “M. Ward is making folk music cool for a new generation of listeners.” I can’t help but completely agree. The album has some beautiful, catchy songs that you can’t help but to tap your feet and wiggle your head to [while sitting at a desk at work].

Rainer Maria: Catastrophe Keeps Us Together
Who doesn’t love a trio of Wisconites making it big? Rainer Maria’s new album Catastrophe keeps getting better and better. With its poetic lyrics and resounding metaphors, you can’t help but want to sing along.

Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere
I really did LOVE the single “Crazy.” Love it the instant I heard it on the radio. An eclectic mix of funk, pop, rock, and hip hop [creating a style of music unique as it is reminiscent] these tracks totally make you move! “Does that make me crazy?”

India.Arie: Testimony: Vol. 1 Life & Relationship
Like a true woman, India Arie gives us another album that gives her earnest expressions of self-righteousness. Set to comforting folk-tinged R&B, I can’t wait to hear her next volumes. Her upbeat attitude makes you wonder why you can’t live the same easy, unrestricted life.


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