As I sit down to write my first KQED "music obsession" blog I should be thinking, "Yay! I've found yet another place to share my musical power with the people." Instead, what is typing its way into the keyboard is more like "Eesh!" My first assignment: A "Best Of" for 2006. I don't do "Best of," or "Desert Island Discs" or anything relating to music that requires me to numerically obligate myself to something that I can't change my mind about at a moment's notice. Take the last dinner party where someone who I would never get into a musical chit chat with said, "Hey Dennis, you're the musicologist -- what albums would you bring to a desert island?" This resulted in me having to explain that I'd rather talk about the sports. And I don't know shite about sports!
What is wrong with me that I can't commit? In relationships I'm rock and roll solid. Reliable, romantic, a "go to the end of the earth" for the one woman I'm interested in kinda guy. However, when it comes to music I am definitely always up for a one-night stand -- willing to go for the next big thing and then reject it the second I get bored. Full disclosure here: Record companies send me what I guess-timate as over 1,000 CDs a year, so it's easy to be keen on many things at once.
Anyhow, against my better judgment (literally) in alphabetical order is the music that I will be playing on the radio as my faves of the year.
Art Brut -- "Formed A Band" is hilarious. Much of the rest of their Bang Bang Rock & Roll album is of a similar note and yet, every year needs it's own version of The Tubes.
Beck -- The Information -- I saw Beck perform "Nausea" on Lettermen and it was the most kinetic two and a half minutes I have ever seen on that show. Beck rules. That is all.
Lindsey Buckingham -- Under The Skin is one of the most personal, and independent albums of the year. Really. Buckingham told me without being smug that only HE could get away with getting Warner Brothers to release it.
Gnarls Barkley -- "Crazy" -- I played "Crazy" the very same second it was released in England and in less than a couple of weeks it had become the highest selling download ever. In the U.S. it became the song of the summer and I never got tired of hearing it.
Hot Chip -- "Over and Over" -- Play this song right after Gnarls Barkley and you'll feel "like a monkey with a miniature cymbal!"
Jonny Lives -- Get Steady -- I loved Southside Johnny in the 70s; I love Jonny Lives in the 00s!
The Juliana Theory -- "This Is a Love Song... for the Loveless" -- Loud, powerful and soulfully melodic.
The Kooks -- Inside In/ Inside Out -- Triple platinum in England. Not out of their teens. Even the Fab Four didn't do that! Nice chaps too.
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan -- Ballad Of The Broken Seas -- Ingenue meets infamous addict. (Go ahead, compare them to Serge and Jane, isn't that the point?)
The Living End -- State of Emergency -- When I saw The Living End at South by Southwest they didn't have a U.S. record deal. Now they do. They rock on record and seeing them live is like a bowling ball heading right for your ears.
The Magic Numbers -- "Love Me Like You" -- The most melodic family since the Partridges. They were real, weren't they?
The Raconteurs -- "Steady As She Goes" -- I wanted to play it on the radio so bad, I sat on my living room floor with wires connected from my computer to a CD recorder. It was that good.
Rainer Maria -- Catastrophe Keeps Us Together -- When Caithlin De Marrais sings, "I'm ready to move to Minnesota," her voice melts me.
P.F. Sloan -- Sailover -- Imagine if you ended up stocking sunglasses at the Thrifty Drugstore because you wrote a protest song. Survivor story of the year.
The Ark -- State of The Ark -- "One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young" is not by The Sweet. I mean it.
The Subways -- Young For Eternity -- The bass guitarist had every guy at South by Southwest ready to commit adultery. 'Nuff said.
TeddyBears w/Iggy Pop -- "Punkrocker" -- Caesars offshoot makes what I think is one of the two best songs of the year. Yes, I said it. Now leave me alone.
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs -- Under The Covers -- Power Pop will never die if these two have their way, and they did with me.
We Are Scientists -- With Love and Squalor -- "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" See Art Brut above -- with more depth.
Well, there you go. Many of the above could actually make it as entries into the songs I could listen to over and over again for the rest of my life. Just don't ask me to bring them to a desert island though -- I'd be too fearful the vinyl would get warped.