Top 10 Albums of 2006

by Alex Hern

Because if NME say its time to do lists, it must be time to do lists.

So, I’m game…

1. CSS Cansei de Ser Sexy

Clearly the best album by the best new band of the year. Here’s what I had to say about “Let’s Make Love…”

“OK, I know. Brazilian Electro-Funk. It sounds like another one of those scenes made-up by the NME (anyone remember Grindie?), that no one actually listens to, let alone sees in real life. Well, I can’t vouch for the live following (it is in Brazil, after all), but I do know that Cansei de Ser Sexy (literally, Tired of Being Sexy) would be absolutly mind blowing if the place they came from was the Oracdian A Cappella Folk scene (and I can assure you; thats uncool). Lets Make Love… is a song for all occasions; its mellow enough to be background music, thanks to its funkay bassline (its a word! look it up), its interesting enough to be forground music, thanks to its witty lyrics, its beatsy enough to dance to (and I dare you not to), and its tuneful enough to sing. The only real problem is that now, its title is redundant. Why make love and listen to Death from Above, when you can do it to CSS?”

Boy, I really do have a love-hate thing with that mag…

2. Hot Chip The Warning

This is the album that should have won the Mercury Prize. Showing real growth from their first album, 2004’s Coming On Strong, Hot Chip revealed themselves to be one of the benchmarks of 2006. Going above and beyond the NME-created “scene” of new-rave, Hot Chip created an album that everyone loved, be it the hardened electro-heads, or the guitar-loving indie kids. And it may technically be two years old now, but Over and Over is the best song of the decade, so that doesn’t even matter.

3. The Pipettes We Are The Pipettes

Already becoming a band that people love to hate, the Pipettes really sounded different when they burst on the scene with Dirty Mind. And it wasn’t their fault that their schtick got stolen by the Sheila’s Wheels ads (foreigners: check youtube). But regardless of what you think of them now, look back to when you first got it, and tell me We Are The Pipettes wasn’t the best pop album never to chart.

4. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Its hard to believe it was so recent, but no one can argue that Arctic Monkeys are 2006’s breakthrough hit. Going to number 1 with their second ever single, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, they quickly followed up with this, the fastest selling debut album in British chart history. And then the backlash started… Looking back, they weren’t as good as everyone said they were, that much seems true. The instrumentation seems simplistic, and some of the witty lyrics are starting to grate a little. But as a memento of the day indie hit the mainstream, we could do a lot worse.

5. Guillemots Through the Windowpane

For a while, Guillemots seemed destined to be the next Coldplay, so universally loved was their first hit, Made-Up Lovesong #43 (a wonderfully structured ode to the beauty that someone in love will see absolutely everywhere). Strangely, and to the joy of selfish music lovers everywhere, they plateaued at a Mercury nomination, and you can still see them in concert pretty easily. This album shows them at their strongest, and is a worthy addition to any record collection.

The next five…

6. Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche
7. The Holloways – So This Is Great Britain?
8. Dirty Pretty Things – Waterloo to Anywhere
9. Lily Allen – Alright, Still
10. The White Stripes – Aluminium