Best Music of 2006: Top 100 Editors' Picks

See more editors' picks and customers' favorites in our Best of 2006 Store.


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-27. Other People's Lives
Other People's Lives
~ Ray Davies
4.1 out of 5 stars (95 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
V2 North America
February 21, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
As the leader of one the most vital and volatile bands of the British Invasion, Ray Davies may also have been one of the genre's most underappreciated, often playing second fiddle to the likes of Lennon, McCartney, and Jagger, but never failing to reignite... Read more

-26. Señor Smoke
Señor Smoke
~ Electric Six
4.1 out of 5 stars (22 customer reviews)
In Stock
Metropolis Records
February 7, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$11.28

Amazon.com
There are times when descriptive adjectives such as "dumb" are not meant in the least bit as negatives. In pop music, these tend to be some of the best times you can have, of course: big, dumb, fun times. Throwing garage rock, metal, and new wave riffs tog... Read more

-25. Fuzzy Warbles Collector's Album
Fuzzy Warbles Collector's Album
~ Andy Partridge
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Ape
November 7, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
When XTC stopped touring and became a studio-only entity, the finely jeweled arrangements that Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding had already favored took on incredible new breadth and depth. Since 2002, Partridge has been going through his own vast archive... Read more

-24. Drama
Drama
~ Bananarama
4.4 out of 5 stars (51 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
The Lab
May 16, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
Bananarama makes an enjoyable return to form with this hypnotic blend of dance floor-friendly hi-NRG and cool electronica. With their ninth studio album (their fourth as a duo with original members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin), the 'Nana's come back to ... Read more

-23. Me And My Gang
Me And My Gang
~ Rascal Flatts
4.4 out of 5 stars (250 customer reviews)
In Stock
Lyric Street
November 13, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$5.00

Amazon.com
This fourth effort from the soft-rock-masquerading-as-country band Rascal Flatts moved more than 721,000 copies its first week out, which let the female-friendly trio rub elbows with some mighty heady company. Only four other country artists (Garth Brooks,... Read more

-22. The Believer
The Believer
~ Rhett Miller
3.5 out of 5 stars (36 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Verve Forecast
February 28, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
With a title track inspired by the death of friend Elliot Smith, ... Read more

-21. Bring It Back
Bring It Back
~ Mates of State
4.1 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)
In Stock
Barsuk
March 20, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$9.41

Amazon.com
There are songs designed for listening, for dancing, and for singing in the shower--... Read more

-20. The Letting Go
The Letting Go
~ Bonnie Prince Billy
4.1 out of 5 stars (26 customer reviews)
In Stock
Drag City
September 19, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$16.26

Amazon.com
Having long recorded as Palace Music or Palace, the enigmatic, elusive Bonnie "Prince" Billy continues to confound musical expectations. His latest may well be his loveliest, a series of meditations and tone poems on love and mortality, with the autumnal s... Read more

-19. Ta-Dah
Ta-Dah
~ Scissor Sisters
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 customer reviews)
In Stock
Motown Records
September 26, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$10.99

Amazon.com
Since not liking the Scissor Sisters is tantamount to not liking fun, let's just assume that everyone already adores this band and go on from there, OK? The Sisters' hotly anticipated second full-length feel like a streamlined continuation of their debut. ... Read more

-18. Putting the Days to Bed
Putting the Days to Bed
~ The Long Winters
4.3 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)
In Stock
Barsuk
July 25, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$11.39

Amazon.com
On their third long player, Seattle's Long Winters are as literate as ever, but there's added power to their pop. In other words: more Nada Surf, less Death Cab for Cutie. Now a quartet after previous incarnations as a trio and two-keyboard player quintet ... Read more

-17. Subtitulo
Subtitulo
~ Josh Rouse
4.5 out of 5 stars (31 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Bedroom Classics
March 21, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
Josh Rouse is about as consistent an artist as they come. After 2003's apt-sounding ... Read more

-16. Both Sides of the Gun
Both Sides of the Gun
~ Ben Harper
4.0 out of 5 stars (65 customer reviews)
In Stock
Virgin
March 21, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$14.68

Amazon.com
Split onto two discs, these 18 songs could have fit on one. It's a testament to Harper's aesthetic sensibilities that it is so configured, thereby both avoiding the scourge of the overly long album and dividing the raw, pummeling rockers from the ballads. ... Read more

-15. You In Reverse
You In Reverse
~ Built To Spill
4.4 out of 5 stars (57 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Warner Bros.
April 11, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
It took Doug Martsch five years to complete this album so what's another two minutes? That's precisely how long it takes to sit through a nail-biting instrumental intro before the singer chimes in and you realize that, ... Read more

-14. Sno Angel Like You
Sno Angel Like You
~ Howe Gelb
4.4 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Thrill Jockey
March 21, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
On 'Sno Angel Like You, peripatetically wry songsmith Howe Gelb delves into another rack of dustblown songs that tug at the heart and head equally. For the first 23 seconds you might feel like you've heard this album before, as he languidly free rambles this choice lyric: "Make sure ... Read more

-13. This Hungry Life
This Hungry Life
~ Tanya Donelly
3.4 out of 5 stars (14 customer reviews)
Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Eleven Thirty
October 17, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$16.93

Amazon.com
From hearty bellowing to subtle and smoky crooning, this pint-sized founding member of Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Belly sure can ... Read more

-12. Citrus
Citrus
~ Asobi Seksu
4.2 out of 5 stars (23 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
FRIENDLY FIRE RECORDINGS
October 26, 2010
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
It's hard to not like a good-looking, female-fronted, Brooklyn-based band whose name translates loosely as "playful sex." The obvious vocal comparisons are to shoegazers and goths of twelve to thirty years ago—Siouxsie, Spirea X, Lush, Kate Bush, and the C... Read more

-11. The Animal Years
The Animal Years
~ Josh Ritter
4.3 out of 5 stars (52 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
V2 Records
April 11, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
It can be a dangerous proposition when an artist decides to challenge himself. Ambition means precious little without the talent to back it up. Idaho's Josh Ritter needn't worry: he's willed himself to great heights on ... Read more

-10. From This Moment On
From This Moment On
~ Diana Krall
4.3 out of 5 stars (153 customer reviews)
In Stock
Verve
September 19, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$12.69

Amazon.com
This album appears in the footsteps of 2004's The Girl in the Other Room but doesn't sound like a follow-up. Whereas The Girl saw the pianist-singer abandon the Great American Songbook for more personal pastures, From This Moment On sees her working out on standards done in traditional arrangements. ... Read more

-9. Game Theory
Game Theory
~ The Roots
4.4 out of 5 stars (103 customer reviews)
In Stock
Def Jam
August 29, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$8.68

Amazon.com
Despite their signing to Def Jam, on Game Theory the Roots head in a direction opposite from all the trendy, commercial formulas that the label has pioneered. This is as intensely a "Roots album" as anything they've put out, the rightful sequel to their brilliant, creative Phrenology (unlike their ... Read more

-8. All This Time
All This Time
~ Heartless Bastards
4.1 out of 5 stars (19 customer reviews)
In Stock
Fat Possum
August 8, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$11.02

Amazon.com
A gentle line-drawing marks the cover of the Hearless Bastards' sophomore album, ... Read more

-7. Half The Perfect World
Half The Perfect World
~ Madeleine Peyroux
4.4 out of 5 stars (130 customer reviews)
In Stock
Rounder
September 12, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$8.80

Amazon.com
Smokey-voiced chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux's third CD is a lovely collection of after-hours ruminations and should confirm her rise to fame. Credit producer Larry Klein for doing a bang-up job with the album's sound: the elegant, pared-down arrangements are... Read more

-6. Prototypes
Prototypes
~ Prototypes
4.4 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
In Stock
Minty Fresh
June 6, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$5.32

Amazon.com
What's this: a mutant, synth-heavy, dance pop trio led by a hot new-wave chick who sings in French? Umm, it's a bit early for the electroclash revival, isn't it? Thankfully, it is ... Read more

-5. The River in Reverse
The River in Reverse
~ Elvis Costello
3.9 out of 5 stars (57 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Verve Forecast
June 6, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
Some inspired music has arrived in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (mainly on New Orleans-themed benefit albums), but nothing as audaciously ambitious as this cross-generational collaboration between Crescent City mainstay Allen Toussaint and former British ... Read more

-4. Introducing Robin McKelle
Introducing Robin McKelle
~ Robin McKelle
4.0 out of 5 stars (27 customer reviews)
In Stock
Cheap Lullaby Records
August 4, 2009
Audio CD

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Price:$12.98

Amazon.com
Robin McKelle is being promoted as a '40s-style jazz singer, but though she does pluck tunes from the era on this enjoyable debut, her full-frontal approach is steeped in the brassy big band sounds of the late '50s and early '60s. A bicoastal stylist who d... Read more

-3. Union Street
Union Street
~ Erasure
3.8 out of 5 stars (40 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Mute U.S.
April 18, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
Erasure with dobro, mandolin, and steel guitar? Believe it. ... Read more

-2. Citation
Citation
~ Scott Miller
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sugar Hill
March 14, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$10.08

Amazon.com
The third solo album by the former V-Roys frontman combines the storytelling of a Tennessee troubadour with the reckless soul of a diehard rocker. It's been a long time since even Bruce Springsteen has recorded an anthem as Springsteenesque as the opening "Freedom's a Stranger," with a hard-twanging cover ... Read more

-1. Blood Mountain
Blood Mountain
~ Mastodon
4.4 out of 5 stars (183 customer reviews)
In Stock
Reprise
September 12, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$10.69

Amazon.com
You could have passed it off as a fluke. Remission was an awesome album, helping revitalize metal and bringing the band much deserved notice. Leviathan was a gigantic leap, perhaps the most ambitious metal album in years. But could it keep going? People were concerned–-side glances were given, hand ... Read more

0. Boneclouds
Boneclouds
~ Mason Jennings
4.2 out of 5 stars (21 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Sony Legacy
May 16, 2006
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
After four independent label releases, Mason Jennings became one of the first signings to the major subsidiary label of Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. His naturally articulated, mid-range vocals bring to me the equally inviting Donovan, especially on "Some Sa... Read more

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