Best 20 Albums, 2006

In the week since this blog has come up, I’ve learned a few things. One of them is that blogging is hard work. An academic post that I was hoping to post to kick start some discussion remains unfinished, though very much in the works. In the mean time, I give you my take on the Best 20 albums of 2006. I wish I could say there was a philosophical coherence to my approach to writing about music. At best I can say that I hope there are fragments here and elsewhere which might one day be reclaimed as a foundation.

All of these bands are on myspace, and many have posted the tracks I’ve listed as my favorites, so I hope you’ll follow the links and check out the music. Mix CDs may also be available on request for a limited basis.

20. Cold War KidsRobbers & Cowards [Best Track: “God, Make Up Your Mind”]

“God make up your mind / God make up your mind / Do you want to play fair / or should I take what’s mine?”

After struggling to argue the contrary, I confess: Pitchfork is right, this album is ideological. Lead singer Nathan Willett takes on the voices of robbers & cowards in the first person in order to expose his characters as such. The lyrics placed in the mouths of sinners are for the most part transparently thin rationalizations of transparent crimes which operate in the service of a transparently thin pleas for (religious) redemption. But like all good rock & roll, the Cold War Kids’ debt to these voices is unexhausted by the moral(izing) framework of the lyrics. Willett needs robbers & cowards to animate his crooning. That’s where the lurch, the stomp, the clang derive. And as the kids waiver between sympathy, scorn, and pleading, in a bluesy idiom filled with unexpected, inventive, almost apocalyptic interruptions, it’s their inability to make up their minds that ultimately makes up mine.

19. Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche [Best Track: “Dear Mr. Supercomputer”]

“1 2 3 4 5 6 7 / all computer’s go to heaven”

If you didn’t catch the 5/8 time signature in the title track to last year’s “Come On Feel the Illinoise!”, this time Sufjan’s got his backup singers, the Illinoisemakers, playing supercomputers and counting 7/8 time for you. It’s Sufjan’s musical sophistication that distinguishes his oeuvre from the sound-alikes that have followed in his wake. Here it’s the impeccable execution of what is usually a rather awkward rhythmic structure, complimented by a brilliant use of horns, chimes, winds, electronic elements and Illinoisemakers, that bring Mr. Supercomputer whirring and whizzing to life. While the tender, tenuous vocals end up mostly imitable, it’s their relation to the surrounding complexity that makes this album stunning, nearly but not quite as stunning as last year’s album, for which the songs of “The Avalanche,” in all their brilliance, are outtakes. The whole Illinois project even succeeds, perhaps because of the localness of its vision and the specificity of its historical detail, in filling me with something akin to civic pride: Sufjan Stevens, the John Phillip Sousa of our generation—but unlike the brash, hyper-masculine pomp of Sousa’s military marches, instead offering a pride of place that delights in the obscure, the trivial, indeed the insignificance of these places we call home.

18. VoxtrotMothers, Daughters, Sisters & Wives EP [Best Track: “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives”]

“I’m around, I’m around, I’m ok, I’m ok / I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m insane, I’m insane / We are, yeah, we are, we are / We are just sinking for something / With our hands, and our fists, muscles, skin, thumb, and bone / We never grew up, we were cut from the stone”

On the one hand, young and stupid, awkardly boyish, appealing to the charm of synth pop in a vain effort to recreate the softness & warmth of a nostalgic world of mothers, daughters, sisters & wives. On the other hand, a synth pop accelerated towards an impending loss, unable to conceal the pathos of its overgrown childhood, straining almost in vain to insulate itself from the adult self and the world into which it finds itself thrown.

17. Love is AllNine Times That Same Song [Best Track: “Busy Doing Nothing”]

“Five … movie marathons! Nine … times that same song! I can’t take it back to you, I’ve got a thousand things to do!”

Pretty much my life. Especially right now, writing this list…nine times that same song…Love Is All captures that kind of bottled up intense bored nervous energy that doesn’t really ever go anywhere. Partially the work of the interaction between the sax and the guitars (so also the Zuton’s “Zuton Fever”). Josephine Olausson’s ironic not-quite-singing voice, a la Art Brut’s Eddie Argos, adds pithy but ambivalent commentary on the day to day experience of the archival cultural we’re busy (even at this very moment) erecting around popular music. 4 or 5 more listens and this might have made it a bit higher on the list…

16. Gnarls BarkleySt. Elsewhere [Best Track: “Smiley Faces”]

“What went right? What went wrong? Was it the story or was it the song? Was it overnight or did it take you long? Was knowing your weakness what made you strong?”

At this particular moment of this particular song on St. Elsewhere, something fascinating happens to the fiction of address. The story of this album goes fairly straightforwardly—former Goodie Mob rapper/neo-soul artist Cee-Lo Green teams up with all-star DJ/producer Danger Mouse to drop the hit of the summer, “Crazy,” which emblematizes the sound (playful, jerky, funky, and over-all manic-depressive but smooth and impeccably produced) and the subject (a confessional album in which Cee-Lo finds exuberance by claiming his darkest demons) of an album that, despite significant critical acclaim, somehow got left off most year end lists. But in this particular line, the fiction of the address is inverted. Suddenly the story and the song which Cee-Lo is slinging make an appearance center stage. Cee-Lo, giving voice to Gnarls Barkley, rather than the reverse, is suddenly no longer speaking confessionally to the fictional figure he’s just seen walking around smiling, possessing the secret to a happiness that eludes him. No, suddenly Gnarls is asking us, the audience, ourselves, about the very joy his music and its faux-confessional narrative brings us. He asks us to endow him with the very exuberance he has given to us, to lend back to the stage the energy which has been leant to us so that it may be returned again to us intensified. Gnarls is revealed as spectacle, Cee-Lo (dressed, as he often is, as Richie Tenenbaum, or Darth Vader, or the Cowardly Lion) as a prop, a puppet, the vehicle of an illusion which reflects back upon the audience an idealized image of its own totality.

15. Be Your Own PetBe Your Own Pet [Best Track: Bicycle Bicycle You Are My Bicycle]

“Have fun, but be safe with it / Just kidding, fuck shit up!”

And from “Bunk Trunk Skunk” : “I’m an independent motherfucker / And I’m here to take your money / I’m wicked rad and I’m here / To steal away your virginity”

A bit juvenile? Yes. They can’t even drink legally. Live, they fit an hour long set into 20 epileptic minutes, then cover their faces in whipped cream, run through the crowd, collapse on stage with heat exhaustion and subsequently, more or less, explode. The appeal is hyperbolically juvenile, juvenile to the point of irony. They are indeed music industry brats (3 of 4 daddies are industry vets) but they play the brat to such excess that it ends up precocious…which, after all, is sort of deliciously bratty. So, for example, if I listen to this album because I’m pissed off at, say, my semi-functioning computer–BYOP gets violently angry over similarly trivial things (“Wanna get a cat/My boyfriend wants a dog/We got into a fight/I drowned him in the bog”)–what I’m really doing is laughing at myself for getting so pissed off, but luxuriating, at the same time, in that very mixture of self-mockery and rage.

Bonus points for calling Deerfield lame during their Lollapalozoa set.

14. SOUND TeamMovie Monster [Best Track: “Movie Monster”]

“We put our hands into the air / But we don’t need to be delivered / The old ways are gone but we don’t care / We’re still connected by gesture / Everyone already knows / The monster was mechanical / Just one of those awkward times / You shrug cause you guess so / Something you already know”

Movie Monster is an appropriate first-LP name for SOUND Team. I’m not entirely sure what the title track is about, but the image I get is of dilapidated drive-in movies open thirty years too long, the mechanical image projected on a screen that captivates and reorganizes the attention of a small town: not so much in the hey-day of the movies, when the spectacle still held, but in the contemporary moment, when everyone already knows that the monster is mechanical, all guy-wires and pullies. There’s still a nostalgia for birthday parties and photographs, but it isn’t overwhelming, and it isn’t something from which we need to be delivered. That’s why musically SOUND Team comes off as a sort of technified version of the Walkmen—those sort of force-fed laid back gritty vocals in which most of the intensity is swallowed but just enough escapes through the corners of the mouth. Here, those vocals, which are front and center for the Walkmen, get further drowned out by a mixture of luscious electronic textures and fuzzy guitars. SOUND Team keeps the monstrous mechanics sort of excessively in view, a sort of gleam like the light of the movie projector which only faintly reveals the outlines of rehabbed ‘57 Chevies, first kisses and buttered popcorn.

13. BeirutGulag Orkestar [Best Track: “Postcards from Italy”]

No quote this time. The lyrics aren’t what’s doing it for me. But if Zach Condon, who’s only 20 and looks like he’s about 12, learns to write words as good as he writes noises, Beirut’s gonna have a classic on their hands about 3 albums down. The major innovation of this album (not unrelated to similar moves by Man Man, Devotchka, and others) is to bring in Eastern European instrumentation, melody, texture, and rhythm alongside a multi-instrumental lo-fi folk aesthetic. Like a postcard from Italy, and like its cover photo, this album feels dug up from the garbage bins of some Iron Curtain former socialist republic. I’m reminded of Walter Benjamin wandering through the dull and dusty corridors of the French arcades, sifting through discarded and out of date commodities, out of the fragments of which he will assemble his project.

12. Neko CaseFox Confessor Brings the Flood [Best Track: “Star Witness”]

“Hey pretty baby get high with me, we can go to my sister’s if we say we’ll watch the baby”

Much has already been said about this album here and here. Brandon says he would listen to Neko Case sing the phonebook, and Joe speaks of repose. The line quoted above is not the most powerful line in what is ultimately an awfully sad and awfully tender song about an accident which nearly ends with the words “don’t let him die.” The lines are, however, precisely a moment of repose between the slow-motion shattering of the first verse and the desperate, desolate wait for help to arrive in the third. The entire song is located somewhere a few years backward in the past, but the middle verse is a memory tucked within that memory, a guilty moment of compassion built on shared transgression (esp. since they say they’ll watch the baby) which can now exist only as nostalgia…indeed, which is nothing other than the comfort of nostalgia itself.

11. Man ManSix Demon Bag [Best Track: “Black Mission Goggles”]

“moon cut moon cuts tiny like eyelash / lonely cat nap whisper lonely cat nap whisper”

Man Man is what would happen if Beetlejuice was a front man. Lead singer Honus Honus, especially with a name like Honus Honus, isn’t too far off. As a characterization of the fiendish spirit of the album as a whole, the resemblance to the classic Keaton role is further foregrounded by the uncanny similarity between “Black Mission Goggles” and the original Beetlejuice theme, particularly the version from the animated TV show. Man Man tones down the over-bearing melodic lines, but keeps the dialogue in the vocal track between the cackling ghoulish bass part and the ghostly falsetto la-la-la’s. They also add a dizzying layer of carnivalesque percussion and, if you’re lucky enough to catch them live, streamers and war paint. Like the “ghostest with the mostest,” Man Man’s vulgar and bizarre side-show sound can border on menacing or even repulsive at first encounter. That reaction doesn’t go away at second, third, of even twentieth encounter, but this shouldn’t stop you from finding them compelling and even oddly endearing.

10. Grizzly BearYellow House [Best Track: “On a Neck, On a Spit”]

“You can’t come home again. / Each time it’s different. / And the yards around your feet fall away while you’re asleep.”

Grizzly Bear is what it might sound like to come home to an empty and abandoned house to find old pictures covered in cobwebs, floorboards creaking and crumbling with each step, darkened corners filled only with echoes. The sloth with which Grizzly Bear creeps reproduces that time lag, that gap between your memory of a place and the decayed form in which is returned to you.

9. Tapes ‘n TapesThe Loon [Best Track: “Insistor”]

“And when you rush I’ll call your name / Like Harvard Square holds all inane / And don’t you know I’ll be your badger”

Clell Tickle threatened to give me a Columbian necktie if I didn’t put this in the top 10. Also, “Insistor” is almost unbearably good. The high paced stop-go rhythm here makes me want to jump out of my skin.

8. Yeah Yeah YeahsShow Your Bones [Best Track: “Cheated Hearts”]

“Well sometimes / I think that I’m bigger / Than the sound / I think that I’m bigger / Than the sound / I think that I’m bigger / Than the sound / Well I think that I’m bigger / Than the sound”

The sound of Nick Zimmer’s destructive guitar work may be impossibly big, but as lead singer Karen O proved at this year’s Coachella, sometimes, briefly, she is, indeed, bigger. While I didn’t think this album lived up to the impossibly high standard of 2003’s debut, Fever to Tell, that’s hardly grounds for disappointment. Though Fever to Tell had a few moments of intimacy and introspection (notably, the single “Maps”), the album tended towards the opposite extreme of noise-laden sexually frustrated self-destruction. Show Your Bones seemed a moderate let down to critics, presumably because it strayed from either extreme, but the resulting album still scans as a particularly compelling attempt to negotiate the middle ground, as Karen O actively contemplates her relation to the sound. The line above works like a self-fulfilling prophecy—each time the sound grows louder, more violent, Karen O rises to meet it, moving from a tentative delusion of grandeur, to a faint suspicion, to a definitive claim, only to face once more the sound, which comes up afterwards, monstrous and immense, to deny her.

7. DestroyerDestroyer’s Rubies [Best Track: “European Oils”]

“I / made a tomb for all the incompatible selves I could take and I / brought bells to the wake and you…”

Destroyer, aka Dan Bejar, is, to me, the Mallarmé of indie rock, constantly laboring to acknowledge the artifice of his poetic voice in the spectacle of its disappearance, struggling consciously against the expressive romanticism of the singer-songwriter tradition while trying to disguise the personal consciousness of that struggle. Destroyer is a mask that Bejar dons to erase himself—Bejar is both subject and object of the verb “destroy,” the destroyer and the one to be destroyed. Whatever emotion resides in his voice is ironized by the smugness of his lyrical plays; the vagueness of the little personal narratives and memories transforms them instantly into literary references to be recycled and alluded to in other songs. The luscious arrangements which distinguish Rubies among previous Destroyer efforts nearly succeed in smoothing over all emotion in the singer’s voice, but Bejar does manage to sneak through, not as a single voice, but as a composite of incompatible selves echoing over each other in layers of his characteristic ragged la-la-la’s.

6. The KnifeSilent Shout [Best Track: “Silent Shout”]

“I caught a glimpse now it haunts me”

The Knife cultivate their mystique carefully, which is to say, they never quite appear. They wear quite beautiful and elaborate masks; the sound, too, hides. Silent Shout begins with something like the echo of a heartbeat, looped, layered atop dissolving snares and underneath an ectoplasmic pulse that gives something like life to the husk of a voice. In fact there are two voices, vaguely male and female without seeming to inhabit any body. Despite the ghostliness there is something indisputably living, biological, at work here, a ghost in the machine often lacking in electronic music.

5. The DecemberistsThe Crane Wife [Best Track: “The Island: Come & See/The Landlord’s Daughter/You’ll Not Feel The Drowning”]

“In the lowlands, nestled in the heat / A briar cradle rocks it’s babe to sleep / Its contents watched by Sycorax / And patagon in parallax / A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep /Come and see / Come and see”

The Decemberists are no longer “on notice”: with the help of Henry Kissinger, Stephen Colbert has settled his dispute with the rival green-screeners and taken them off of his list, but they remain on mine. With their fourth LP release, the Decemberists are starting to look like indie rock veterans these days, but The Crane Wife is their major label debut, and rather than take that as an excuse to dumb down what Colbert aptly termed their “hyper-literate prog rock,” they’ve taken advantage of the studio resources to put out something even more sophisticated. Don’t worry, these songs are still accessible, since Colin Meloy and crew still thrive on the strength of their hooks. But The Crane Wife compliments its shorter tracks with two three-part song cycles—one the title track, the other, the track I’ve included here as my favorite of the album, “The Island,” a selective three-act retelling of The Tempest. Any of the three movements of this track could stand alone as testaments to the irresistible catchiness of the Decemberists’ catalogue, but together they provide a microcosm of everything the Decemberists do well: from the ominous, mythology-rich scene-setting of “Come & See,” to the proggy, “Yes”-style organ work of “The Landlord’s Daughter,” to the mischevous not-quite-lullaby of the “You’ll Not Feel the Drowning” (“go to sleep now, you little uglies / go to sleep now, you little fools”), the Decemberists amazingly continue to improve on their already finely tuned craft.

4. TV on the RadioReturn to Cookie Mountain [Best Track: “Hours (El-P Remix)”]

“You walk around, know you are beautiful, aimless and alive, broken and defined / walk around, know you are future youth, summon to the sky”

TVOTR’s visionary blending of post-punk electronics and atony with doo-wop vocals and harmony prophecizes a post-apocalyptic subject that only barely still resembles the human: the lightning charred body, the fragment, the terrorized ghost. “Hours” summons that otherworldly voice in a call to sacrifice the broken body of modernity to an infinitely deferred but always immanent mobilization of future youth. The irresistible entropy of “Wolf Like Me” belongs alongside “Hours” among the best tracks of 2007.

3. Sunset RubdownShut Up I am Dreaming [Best Track: “Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings”]

“He wants to tell you stories / Stories of boys who stomped their feet saying, / ‘Shut – shut up I am dreaming of places /Where lovers have wings.'”

Spencer Krug lives in two worlds. One of them is Montreal. The other one is on a distant shore, or high in the mountains, or maybe in Spain, where the men are called horsemen. In one of the worlds, there’s a kid, and he’s big, and he’s dumb, and he’s … kind of scared, and he’s too old to be there, sitting outside of a stadium after soccer practice, and he’s just looking for a ride. The real world has left him waiting, stuck, unsure of himself. And so he withdraws into the dream-space of epic narratives and crayola cover art and minor key contrapuntal keyboard and glockenspiel, accompanied by the Carrie Mercer-style shaky guitar that kicks in around the 3 minute mark. In this world, Krug is a hero (at least, early in the morning), and in the world of music, these days, he’s also sort of my hero. 2006 is undoubtedly, for me, the year of Spencer Krug. After discovering Wolf Parade in late 2005, I’ve seen both Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown twice this year, once with Krug also taking his part in Frog Eyes (or, to quote a girl impatient for Wolf Parade to take the stage, “those frog people”), and I’m crossing my fingers that his latest project, Swan Lake (see below) will show up on the bill for this Coachella 2007. Sunset Rubdown has all of the energy of Wolf Parade, but replaces some of the rhythmic precision with fainter shadings and imprecision garbly pandemonium that can be off-putting on a first listen, but will reward your patience if you give them a chance.

2. Swan LakeBeast Moans

Swan Lake is:

  • Dan Bejar, AKA Destroyer (see above), also of the New Pornographers
  • Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes, also involved in Destroyer’s highly recommended 2005 Notorious Lightning and Other Works EP
  • Spencer Krug, also of Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown (see above) and occassionally Frog Eyes

Following the trails of these three musicians leads us to at least 10 outstanding Montreal-based outfits past and present that have caught my attention in the past year (we could follow the New Pornographers lead, for example, directly to Neko Case, above, who is also a member; or we could follow Sunset Rubdown’s Jordan Robson-Cramer to Magic Weapon, or Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner to the now defunct Atlas Strategic). Given the numerous other scope-worthy Montreal-affiliated acts that helped to define what I love best about the 2005-2006 music scene (Arcade Fire, Malajube, Final Fantasy, Tokyo Police Club), Swan Lake gains a certain amount of ground merely by being representative of the moment.

The colloborative effort brings together Mercer’s shaky guitar and guttural not-quite singing with Krug’s dissonant keyboard arrangements, virulent rhythms and slightly more melodic vocals; as well as Bejar’s maddening la-la’s and lulling alliterative lyrics. The project is characterized first and foremost by its humility. Mercer, Krug, and Bejar take turns songwriting, singing, and faintly shading each others’ vocals, at times in the form of a whispered echo, at times as entropic counterpoint, at times as noisy interruption. The results are subtly layered compositions in which, despite the virtuosity of the performers, dark, otherworldly arrangement stands out over individual voices. This is definitely music to listen to with headphones on—there’s so much going on under the surface that it’s sometimes overwhelming. Krug’s tracks are definitely the best, and Bejar’s can occasionally be irritating (especially in “The Freedom,” which nonetheless has some brilliant moments), however the degree of parity between each artist’s contribution makes it impossible to single out one track as the pinnacle. The album is strongest as a loose-fitting whole held together only by the civility, virtuosity, and mutual respect of its authors.

1. Joanna NewsomYs [Best Track: “Emily”]

“I promised you I‘d set them to verse so I’d always remember / that the meteorite is a source of the light and the meteor’s just what we see / and the meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee”

Nothing I could possibly say about this album or this track could possibly reproduce the enchantment of seeing Joanna Newsom live, seeing her sneak out on stage to roaring applause, giggle, and sit down at her harp, casting almost instantly a spell to silence the crowd. Newsom embodies anachrony. Her voice is best described either as childlike or as elderly. Her cover art stubbornly baroque, her lyrics allegorical but ripe with blithe wordplay and alliteration, her arrangements sweeping but attentive to ornamental detail, she sounds contemporary and timeless playing the harp in 2007: timeless, not in that she belongs to all times, but in that she belongs to no time. While I’m told “Emily” is about Newsom’s sister, who studies astronomy, I read the imagery of wind chimes, shooting stars, and skipped stones “tucked under forever” in this piece as a reflection by Newsom on her own craft, on the evanescent moments of emergence and erasure of harp string, harpist, and each plucked note pulled from and returned to the ether, the dawning awareness of the difference between the sprout and the bean, between the light and the source of the light, and the stone devoid of fire that bears that light and outlives it.

C0ming soon: 30 can’t-miss singles of 2006, and a post on irony…

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~ by Matt on January 19, 2007.

9 Responses to “Best 20 Albums, 2006”

  1. “One of them is that blogging is hard work. An academic post that I was hoping to post to kick start some discussion remains unfinished, though very much in the works.”

    Actually, you just need to start blogging about three months before you post anything. That way, you have the appropriate backlog of half-written posts — a combination stray idea and half-completed thought file — to be able to post on a regular basis.

  2. Also, I just don’t understand the Newsom. It sounds so precious — no, precocious — no, precious is better — it sounds so something or other which prevents me from listening to it. Like a David Eggers which doesn’t stop calling attention to itself long enough to develop into one of the two things it could become: mid-period Beckett or bland, clever Updike.

  3. Scott, I think preciousness is certainly the danger for a female harpist, but (and this is something I meant to mention above) one of the things I like best about Newsom is that, despite some very sweet, airy moments, the music is really quite dynamic. She can be violent (the end of Monkey and Bear where Bear’s teeth are finally bared) or sharp-as-a-tack witty (“I killed my dinner with karate / Kick ’em in the face, taste the body / Shallow work is the work that i do” from the “Book of Right On”), and often times she’s the first to reveal preciousness as artifice (as in the “little white dove, made with love, made with love, made with glue and a glove and some pliers,” in Sawdust & Diamonds). Her rhythms are also remarkably compelling, and that’s sort of the very thing that keeps these songs modern. So, to each his own, but if you given her a real attentive listen, I would say give her another chance.

    Good advice re: starting a blog, if, albeit, too late. I do have a few things in the works, so stay tuned.

  4. Damn it Scott, you should have told me that too. And Matt, these were a delight. I nearly fell out of my chair when you called Bejar “the Mallarme of indie rock,” and I think you make a pretty amusing case for it. The Newsom review is haunting and lovely.

  5. Will this make my Stephen Colbert stocks on trendio rise? http://www.trendio.com/word.php?language=en&wordid=791

  6. Rob, tell me more about this trendio…I checked out the site and was a bit confused about how stock prices were set

    uncomplicatedly, of course the Bejar comparison was hyperbolic. Bejar clearly does not compare with Mallarmé either in terms of the complexity of his wordplay or the quality of his poetic self-reflection, but the gesture is at least vaguely in the same direction. I’m fascinated by the afterlife of the singer-songwriter tradition…perhaps a subject for another post…

  7. You make a good case for the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs by stating that the 2006 album did not live up to the 2003 debut, but that, “the resulting album still scans as a particularly compelling attempt to negotiate the middle ground.” I nod my head to this statement and in reading the rest of this blog I for the most part nod my head to your other statements.

    However, I find it difficult to cope with, that you mention 2006 (music) without mentioning Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins.
    I can see how putting Jenny Lewis on the 2006 list can be a point of contention for one –not implicating you in any way unless this is in fact the case– who might not have liked Rilo Kiley. Although I’m not a fan of Rilo Kiley per se, Jenny Lewis is a legitimate vocalist who has successfully honed folk vocals in her 2006 album (Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins- labeled as alternative genre). Lyrically the album is intelligent through songs The Big Guns, Born Secular, and Happy. The best lyrical component in all three songs is the use of anaphora not only to thematically emphasize the songs themselves, but also in listening to these reiterations the lyrics surrounding them become all the more prevalent. The Watson Twins aren’t too shabby on guitar either.

    Regards,
    Cristina Saavedra

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Cristina. Actually, I love Jenny Lewis, and I think the reason her solo album didn’t make my list is that I like her much better with Rilo Kiley. “The Execution of All Things” is one of my favorite albums, but “Rabbit Furcoat” didn’t work for me, especially the title track. I admit that I haven’t listened to it all that closely, though. For the record, Blake’s side project, The Elected, doesn’t work so well for me either. I’d just as soon stick with Jenny and Blake together.

  9. […] Sunset Rubdown is currently my favorite. I may not like Random Spirit Lover quite as much as my #3 album of 2006, but it’s still a hell of an album. While not as flawless as its predecessor, Random Spirit […]

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