Monday, January 22, 2007

The obligatory year-end post

I can never use the word 'obligatory' without the phrase 'obligatory Hendrix perm' popping into my head. Hmm... And btw, this was a list I typed out and even saved a draft for, before the New Year's came in. But then, yes, you guessed right, procrastination kicked in. And the fact that I am not good with formatting posts with pictures, didn't help either.

This post was triggered off by a mail on an online music forum that I'm part of. One that asked us members, so unfairly, to list out ten favourite albums of 2006 and, horror of horrors, ten favourite songs!!

I wouldn't want to even risk offending the music gods up above - so I will skip the favourite songs part. But hey, the fav albums are not too difficult. Well okay, it's kind of difficult, but not too much. Also, please don't send me anthrax-filled envelopes or explode-in-your-face emails (technology sure has advanced, you know), for not including your favourites. For instance, I believe Bob Dylan's Modern Times and the Who's Endless Wire are two fine albums. But unfortunately since I haven't heard them yet, I have to skip them.

I don't know if it's just me, or if 2006 really has been a fantastic year as far as music goes. What especially made it great for old fogeys like me was that there were a whole lot of 'old' bands coming out with kickass albums.

So anyway, without any further ado, here goes (drum rolls):

My ten favourite albums from year 2006!! (Mind you, these are in no particular order. I couldn't possibly subject my teensy-weensy collection of grey matter to that much stress.)

Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death
This has very rapidly grown to be one of my favourite Maiden albums of all time, I kid you not. I 'know' this album definitely more than I do Brave New World or Dance Of Death, and probably more than some classic albums like Powerslave. On first listen, there is the umistakable Maiden sound. Yet, there are very distinct prog elements peppering up this album. And I am not just talking about the length of the songs - most of them hover in the 9-10 minute range.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All The Roadrunning
Confession: I have never really heard enough of Emmylou Harris to call myself a fan of hers. So this album was, in a way, an introduction to Harris, for me. And what an introduction! Mark Knopfler, on the other hand, I've been a great fan of, for more than a few years. This album gets together two fantabulous voices, beautiful harmonies, nice guitaring.

Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam
The 8th studio album from the Seattle boys. It took me a while to get used to Binaural. And Riot Act? Let’s just say that I’m still trying to figure it out. Which is part of the reason why this eponymous album came across as fantastic! Somehow, soundwise, this seemed to hark back to their superduper debut, Ten. So what if that horrendous blue-and-yellow cover with a completely screwed-up font sucks.

Joe Satriani – Super Colossal
You know, there are some artists, albums by whom you can pick up blindly. And rarely would you be disappointed. Joe Satriani is one such guy, for me. There hasn’t been a single Satch album I’ve been disappointed with. My absolute favourite off this record would have to be Ten Words, something he apparently wrote on the night of 9/11. And then there is Crowd Chant, a readymade stadium rocker – listen to it, you will know what I mean.

Tom Petty – Highway Companion
Yet another confession: I haven’t heard too many Tom Petty albums. There is the Greatest Hits compilation and there is Wildflowers. That’s all. Yet, I just picked Highway Companion up on a whim. And whoa, it blew me away. Completely. Yes, the sound is essential Tom Petty – so some might feel nothing’s changed. But what does it for me are his lyrics and arrangements. Brillianto.

David Gilmour – On An Island
What do I say? As a guitarist friend of mine had once mentioned about Gilmour and his music, ‘You can get Gilmour’s guitar notes right, but you just can’t get his feel.’ And that is truly no exaggeration. Gilmour was one of the earliest reasons I fell in love with guitar-based rock, and this album just reinforces that.

G3 – Live In Tokyo
Some more guitarists :D This time, it’s Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and John Petrucci. I am kinda torn between this one and the first G3 album with Eric Johnson. The second one was good, but nowhere near the best, in my opinion. (Perhaps because of Malmsteen’s presence?) So Petrucci makes sure it’s is a killer this time around. How I wish I could see these three guys jam together... sigh… Till then, I guess I’ll just have to be content with spinning this CD.

JJ Cale and Eric Clapton – The Road To Escondido
No points for guessing that this is another guitar-based album. And as with the other collab album on this list, I haven’t heard too much by one of the artists – in this case, JJ Cale. I mean, yes, there is Cocaine and Tulsa Time and other stuff off his Greatest Hits compilation. But that’s about it. This is probably the last of my purchases on this list, so still taking it in, and it’s sure growing on me. (Also, as an aside, maybe I should do a post on collab albums.)

Audioslave – Revelations
I do know that a lot of people might disagree, but I think this is the best Audioslave album, better than the first one. I have, in the recent past, also rediscovered Chris Cornell and his godawesome vocals. He’s easily one of the best rock vocalists around, IMHO. And there is Tom Morello and his singing/squeaking/wailing guitar. Revelations has a lot more funk, a lot more spunk, when compared to their earlier albums.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
Two CDs with 14 songs apiece. Whatever were they thinking? Just how did they ever imagine they could pull off a stunt like that? Come on, quality is bound to drop with quantity and all that jazz, right? Wrong. RHCP did pull it off. Even after repeated listenings, I haven't been able to find a single weak song on either CD. Heck, I have two copies of the album - they sound funktastic on both! (Okie, lame one, I am sorry :P)


Blogger Kunal Sen said...

hey there...
i just re-uploaded the album onto it should work.
i read your blog and its really really very interesting! im good friends with Thermal and a Quarter, and this demo album would not be complete without the performances of Bruce and Rzhude... so hope you like it! and btw, how did u know about 'The Deep Ends'??? :)

11:58 PM  
Blogger Ibanov, Sir Rekaf said...

Ya I know this comment is a whole year late, but what the heck. Great list.

Totally agree with the Audioslave verdict. And the Maiden one.

About Pearl Jam & RHCP, well, a ten-year age gap counts for a lot.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Bobin said...

@Kunal: Thanks for that - couldn't open that link either. Came to know of Deep Ends when I was searching for some TAAQ stuff online.

@Ibanov: Thanks man! And it reminds me that 2007 is drawing to a close now. And hey, didn't quite get your comment about the 'ten-year' age gap. I am assuming you are talking about the age gap between us. What's that got to do with PJ and RHCP?

6:52 PM  

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