National Public Viking

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lars's Favorite Singles of 2006

I am painfully out of touch with pop music, especially in the mainstream. Thus, compiling a list of 2006’s best songs is by no means a definitive take on the hooks and choruses that shook my moneymaker this past year. I spent the last two years delving into whimsy (as Christa called my tastes in the comments section) and music produced way before I was born, which does include some more single-worthy material.

Anyway, on with it! In no particular order or ranking, here are the songs that struck my fancy in 2006.

Eric Bachmann “Man O’War”
It was about time that Bachmann made a proper solo record (okay, I know, he released Short Careers under his name, but it’s an instrumental soundtrack), so it’s a shame that To The Races, depressingly recorded in a hotel room while living in a van, doesn’t quite live up to par with his Crooked Fingers releases. Nevertheless, this happens to be one of the best songs Bachmann’s written. The tenderness in his voice has always been endeared by his gravelly delivery, but he lets out all of his vulnerabilities here as he sings most of the song in his upper register – something that took me by surprise. The chorus itself is enough to make your heart leap up into your throat with a powerfully held note in desperation.
Listen to this song via NPR.org.

Hot Chip “And I Was A Boy From School”
As much as I am to loathe flamboyantly coy synth- and electro-pop, there are always one or two bands that end up writing my favorite singles. From the consistently good DFA production house is Hot Chip, a very British five-piece that may have out-Herbert-ed Herbert’s attempts at a commercial release this year (though it should be noted, Herbert’s Scale made my top 30 albums list, and not Hot Chip). “Boy From School” flips up the collar on your denim jacket with a galloping electro-beat and sweet, soft vocal taking a calming presence to the dance-alone-in-the-corner song.
Watch the video via Youtube.

Junior Boys “In the Morning”
I made fun of Phillip for liking Last Exit (I think I may have likened it to the Backstreet Boys) and may need to reconsider after this song. Yes, MORE COY SYNTH-POP. It’s relentlessly sexy, gorgeous and subtle textures that come in and out of the mix, and with an unexpected, sick breakdown in an otherwise laid-back dance tune. Love it.
Listen to this song via Myspace.

Beyoncé “Irreplaceable”
My love for Beyonce is no secret. There is absolutely no irony either. And the fact that she’s recorded an incredible song that isn’t a party-bumper floors me. It’s a chick-folk empowerment ballad. What?! Her delivery is endearing, an attribute I’d never regularly associate with Beyonce, and sincere.
Watch the video via Youtube

CSS “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above”
Brazilian party music that’s ultra-hip, ultra-hot, ultra-mindless fun. The album suffers from the constant repetition of all three, but I can’t deny this single. Dig the “Thriller” faux-theremin and the disco guitar riff, especially.
Watch the video via Youtube

The Pipettes “Pull Shapes”
The Pipettes are the living manifestation that anything can be repackaged and sold to hipsters as long as it has a new ‘tude. In this case, ‘60s girl-groups. I can’t lie, it’s fun music and perhaps modern escapism dressed up as rebellion. Music politics aside, though, “Pull Shapes” is hands down my favorite single of the year. The string arrangements are ridiculous Phil Spector fair, the girls have a little punky punch to their vocals, and not to mention, it’s just a great damn great dance song, especially since it sounds like a 33 sped up to 45 rpm. Oh, and they’re hot. Very hot.
Watch the video via Youtube

Kim Leakena & DJ Lux "Chang Sdap Bot Pleng Noe Neaq (I want to listen to pop music)"
Okay, this probably came out a few years ago, but when WFMU's Beware of Blog (see link on side-bar) put up some MP3s of this Cambodian electro hip-hop/pop singer this past summer, I started putting this song on every mix. The reactions were polarizing at parties: gleeful giggles and utter revulsion in response to Leakena's high-pitched, cartoon-y Khmer vocals that chirp and squeak. Amazing.
Download the song from WFMU.

3 Comments:

At 10:15 AM, Blogger christa t said...

have you heard "me myself and I" from dangerously in love? the video is awesome too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2B_oRWG7_A

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Lars said...

ohhhh, i like that a lot! the song and the video both. i had never heard that song (another reason i need to actually buy beyonce's albums). thanks, christa!

 
At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yay synth! i've been dancing to that CSS song alot lately!
-phlash

 

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