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The Almost Best of 2006

           

I spent the bulk of last month listening again to anything I heard last year that I thought might be a contender for the annual best-of list. Some things that I initially loved, and thought brilliant, have lost their bloom, while others have since grown more compelling. Still others that were instant favorites—e.g., the Cardigans’ Super Extra Gravity and Le Volume Courbe’s I Killed My Best Friend—were originally set to be included on the list … until I learned that they were released outside the U.S. prior to 2006. (That foreign v. domestic release issue is, by the way, the reason the Feist album Let It Die wasn’t included on the 2005 list). Finally, there were a number of releases last year by artists who had graced these best-of lists multiple times. Unfortunately, perhaps, some of those releases didn’t make the top list, while the remaining ones don’t even appear below. The exceptional length of both lists makes clear why I had such a hard time making choices.

At any rate, while you wait for the best-of list to appear, you can, as usual, scan the items that were under consideration but didn’t make the cut. Again, these discs all have something wonderful to offer, but not as consistently and inventively as those that will be represented on the best-of list (or the holiday compilation).

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