More fun and dancing ...
Mark Henning, "Kartoffelzuppe Smackdown" (from "Curveball EP")
It's minimalist, but unpredictable. "Busy" minimalism, I love it. The amazing thing about this mad scientist shit is that he likely fabricated this craziness using little more than quick edits, pitch bending, and a few filter tweaks.
Depeche Mode, "The Darkest Star (Holden Remix)"
This is easily the best thing I've ever heard from Holden, adding glitch-funk gravitas to DM's stately album closer. Time to add a bonus track to the recent DM remix collection.
They beat Coldplay to the punch with that piano lick, and come to think of it, the whole song is a Coldplay track waiting to happen, complete with delusions of grandeur and a video featuring the band playing on an aircraft carrier amidst blinding lights. Unfortunately for this theoretical insult, the song is sublimely epic and totally irresistible. Somehow, Muse pulled it off.
Ricardo Villalobos, "Fizheuer Zieheuer"
The 40-minute gimmick is largely responsible for instantly earning it an iconic status, but excise your favourite ten minute chunk and try pretending that it wasn't one of your fave singles this year.
For me, Placebo are the ultimate "I don't think much of their albums , but I'd buy a greatest hits compilation in a second" band. This song easily ranks with their best -- fierce, propulsive, steamrolling.
Nelly Furtado, "Maneater"
The better of her two inescapable singles by a whisker, "Maneater" cemented her transformation from precious ethno-folk curiousity into sexpot club diva. This is the only CanCon on my best-of lists this year, and a quick peek at other year-end lists shows that I'm not the only one who can state that. I always get a kick out of being overseas and hearing Canadian artists all over the radio. A couple of years ago, Avril was that radio/TV staple. This year, Nelly owned Canada.
Rhythm and Sound, "See Mi Yah (Hallucinator Remix)"
This appeared on the third (and best of the set of four) SMY remix EP, which featured Vainqueur and Hallucinator returning from the dead and spitting out a pair of windswept, atmospheric cave-dub masterpieces. But the Hallucinator track outdid them all, beating Vainqueur at his own game and effectively delivering on the promise of the long-awaited Scion and Tikiman collaboration (techno's own "Chinese Democracy"?).
Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, "Mighty Girl"
Read any undeserved LCD Soundsystem review on any given day and apply the exact same descriptions and superlatives to Lindstrom and Prins Thomas' best stuff. Rollicking Italo-disco, handbag house, 70's funk, it's all here.
Mogwai, "Friend of the Night"
On an album mostly devoted to paying homage to their favourite metal bands, the best track (and their finest single since Mogwai Fear Satan) was a loud/soft homage to their own earlier work. That anodyne/explosive/melodic combination they were aiming for on "Happy Songs For Happy People"? They perfected it here, topping every track on that album with room to spare. It's hard to imagine where they could, or where they would want to go with that style after this.
It's hard to find the words to describe this one, so in all honesty: it's everything I could have expected from music in 2006. One of those exceedingly rare, 100% perfect, wouldn't change a single solitary second type of track. This is it, this is shoegaze metal, in all its dense, angry, fist-pumping, sludgy, doom-mongering glory. Many bands have tried to hone this sound, but only Jesu have succeeded to this degree. It feels like the last song on earth, the track that will be playing when the ground splits open and we all drown in searing pits of lava. I hope so, anyway.