Top CDs for X-Mas
Josh Edds and Ian Cruz
2006; Pluto the planet impugned, Playstation 3 debut causes chaos and Chamillionaire is ridin’ dirty? Amidst the clutter and confusion, 2006 has released some of the tastiest and most succulent tunes by far. Numerous unheard-of artists were promoted to instant superstar status after their infectious singles, unceasingly refusing to die (“Crazy,” anyone?) Though their overplayed songs have been on a rapid rate towards ranking “astronomical” on the “annoyance scale,” the following bands have undeniably released the definite soundtrack for 2006:
The Decemberists–The Crane Wife
Big things happen for those who wait; at least it is the case for the indie/folk rock group, the Decemberists. For over four years, the underground quintet has eschewed the passé angst-filled lyrical content that through the favoring of a storytelling approach with lyrics that echo historical themes and figures. This year, however, marks a change as the Decemberists have left their independent labels to sign with Capitol Records for the 2006 production The Crane Wife. Based on a venerable Japanese folk tale, the album contains ten of the most hyper-literate and musically balanced songs ever produced by the Decemberists; a must-have album for anyone with an adoration for diversified music.
Cursive– Happy Hollow
Cellist Gretta Cohn’s departure after The Difference Between Houses and Homes in 2005 left a void in their music. Shortly after, Cursive’s Tim Kasher spoke about having a horn section in the band’s fifth album during a spring 2006 interview with Pitchfork Media. Many doubts circulated about the mesh of Cursive and horns, and many fans grew disconcerted as to the loss of a cellist. With the release of Happy Hollow, many of the doubts have been put to rest, showcasing some of their most prolific and intense material to date. Happy Hollow gracefully intertwines the new addition of a horn section with their idiosyncratic melodic guitars and walking bass lines; a great addition to any indie/rock lover’s collection.
Returning from their platinum-selling album Megalomaniac(2005), Incubus brings their might and power into their latest album, Light Grenades. Almost two years in the making, the new release is littered with in-your-face alternative rock and punk. Blending the earlier heavier sounds from the 1997 release, S.C.I.E.N.C.E and their more recent experimental, Megalomaniac, Light Grenades serves up a brassy attitude with purposeful music, proving that content is still valued in music, thus proving their dominance in the modern rock world.
Tenacious D–The Pick of Destiny
Five years; five long years have passed since the “D’s” premier self-titled album was released. It has been an exhausting absence, unceasingly hindering in the back of many “D-ciples” minds. Finally, Jack Black and Kyle Gass have blessed the world with their epic release of The Pick of Destiny. With the assistance of Meatloaf and the legendary Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Tenacious D dishes out some of the most devilishly tasty snacks for the many hungry fans. Though majority of the album includes a full-on electric rock ensemble, the “D’s” idiosyncratic behavior has not been hindered. Armed with an arsenal of rock-a-licious songs about being “metal,” to songs that draw you to question what mixture of drug paraphernalia was induced during the production, The Pick of Destiny is sure to melt some faces and crack smiles.
Chamillionaire–The Sound of Revenge
If your song is a victim to Weird Al Yankovich, you know you have done something big in the music world. The Sound of Revenge has gone double-platinum this year, and with high hopes, history will repeat next year with the release of Chamillionaire’s. It must be tough to be the man who recorded the infamous rap single, “Ridin’;” counting an endless amount of dollar bills can drain a man, you know. The man even invented a term for the ludicrously ludicrous sum of cash; yes, it sure is hard being Chamillionaire, that heavy “bling” can sure weigh a man down.
Gnarls Barkley–St. Elsewhere
“I think you’re crazy” if you are still infatuated with the numero uno song that echoed against the radio waves like a shriek in a cave this year. St. Elsewhere ought to be elsewhere, (in a trashcan perhaps?); instead, Gnarls Barkley continues to pound their infectious single “Crazy” into the minds of millions. The continual airplay generates a lingering question; when will it end?(!) Despite its gradual annoyance, St. Elsewhere might as well be titled, “The Soundtrack of ’06.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers–Stadium Arcadium
As Guitar Player magazine’s journalist Barry Cleveland theorizes, “those given to cosmic speculation might easily conclude that John Frusciante was born to play guitar in the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” Stadium Arcadium may as well be Frusciante’s sonic biography, as his watermark funk/blues style is evident on every track. Forgetting most of their extensive discography and using only experience, RHCP have produced their most energetic and musical record thus far. Stadium Arcadium seems to be the quintessential RHCP album; the album they were meant to make.
Brand New–The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me
As Brand New’s third studio album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is remarkably impressive compaired to its predecessor, Deja Entendu. Brand New’s latest release is nothing short of musically sophisticated and lyrically complex, coming from a band that began their career as a gang of juvenile pop punk showmen. Long-gone, so it seems, are the records emphasizing emotional theatre; nice to see you have grown up, gentlemen. Overall, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me will make a great addition to most any collection.
Beck– The Information