A new year has come, and the constant deluge of spam comments and pings has forced me to flee from my antique version of Movable Type into the Open and waiting arms of WordPress. I’ve known it was the right thing to do for some time, but I finally bit the bullet only a few weeks ago, feeling newly empowered and enlightened at the end of finals. I’m sure the newer versions of MT are great and all, but I think for something I am so fickle about updating, I can’t really justify spending any money on it. Plus the openness and the freeness of WordPress just gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.
I’m going to ease back into the process of blogging here by doing something of a cop-out post, but one I hope might still be interesting: Top New (to me) Tracks of 2006. Instead of just the best songs released this past year, I thought I’d throw in older things that I have only just recently discovered, too. So here, from the infinite wisdom of iTunes, are the ten most played tracks I added to my library in 2006:
1. Heartbeats by The Knife off Deep Cuts (2003) (20 spins)
This track needs little introduction, and I’m obviously coming way late to the party, but if you don’t know, now you know. Epic and irresistible.
2. Sheffield Shanty by Monkey Swallows The Universe off Jimmy Down the Well EP (2006) (15 spins)
This track is much more under the radar, but really just as irresistible. I’m not usually one for this kind of mope-folk, but it’s a testament to the excellence of the track that I just couldn’t stop listening to it.
3. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley off St. Elsewhere (2006) (14 spins)
No introduction necessary, but I would like to take a wee bit of credit for being up on this track from the very beginning. When I heard that Danger Mouse’s next project after Dangerdoom would be with Cee-Lo, I knew it would be excellent, but when I heard the first radio rip of Crazy, I went nuts. Magical postmodern gospel to accompany the Prayer of the Bobbing Heads.
4. Heartbeats by Jose González off Veneer (2003) (14 spins)
The song’s so good, it made the list twice. This is actually the first version I heard, in that Sony commercial with the bouncyballs. It’s also a testament to Matthew Perpetua’s point that the song is a new standard that can sustain wildly different versions.
5. Heaven Help Us All by Stevie Wonder off Signed, Sealed, and Delivered (1970) (14 spins)
The real reason for a list like this. It’s tragic that I’ve had hella Stevie in my collection for years but never had this track. As anthems of unity go, this beats Ebony & Ivory so bad it ain’t even funny.
6. Hey Girl by Curtis Vodka off Yeti Bounce (2006) (13 spins)
Any DJ who can make my list by remixing a Chris Brown track is a force to be reckoned with. It’s not that the original song is that bad, but it falls prey to the worst evils of modern R&B: anemic drums and completely uninspired verses. Thankfully, Mr. Vodka cuts both of them out in favor of an up-jumped boogie and looping the most excellent chorus.
7. Go Go Gadget Gospel by Gnarls Barkley off St. Elsewhere (2006) (12 spins)
No less fantastic than Crazy, but less smooth and a metric ton more funky. Having these two on the list also shows that fabulous bias towards items added earlier in the year.
8. Breathe Me (Mylo Remix) by Sia (2004) (12 spins)
Not the manliest of tracks, but I love me some Mylo. Plus as the song from the final montage of Six Feet Under it’s got that goodness wrapped up in it.
9. Sing Me Spanish Techno by The New Pornographers off Twin Cinema (2005) (11 spins)
I think it says a lot about a track when you don’t really care for a band but you love one song this much. It seems like the track is then more clearly an excellent piece of musicianship and not just another riff on a style you particularly enjoy. So yeah, don’t buy the album, but getting this track for 99 cents will be the best deal you see.
10. A Sunday Mystery by Aceyalone off Magnificent City (2006) (10 spins)
RJD2 on the boards making a beautiful little noise. This one probably makes the list because it’s short and starts with A, but I have no qualms about it.