Flashback: Where Were You In May 2006?

Top 10 Albums Released 10 Years Ago This Month


10. Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam

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It’s interesting that for at least three artists on this list, their May 2006 album represented some variation of “returning with a harder sound”. Maybe we were all getting a little soft back then. Anyway, this album, also known as the Avocado album, had Pearl Jam cranking their politics and their volume to 11 again.


9. Gomez – How We Operate

I had a discussion about music the other day and was a little taken aback when a friend called Gomez a “boy band”. Granted they get a bit precious every now and then, but I think they’ve got the musical bonafides and have done some really fine work. In my book this is one of the great tracks of the ‘00s.


8. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

Navel-gazing goes downtown. There’s no denying the massive popularity of Snow Patrol’s breakout album. At more than 6 million albums sold worldwide, it was the 15th best-selling album of the 2000s. Today the band owns a chain of cheese shops in Ireland, or something like that.


7. Paul Simon – Surprise

What made this album stand out was Simon’s collaboration with producer/genius Brian Eno, an unlikely partnership that turned out splendidly. They even co-wrote a couple of numbers like this one, evidence of what can happen when you plunk two disparate musical pioneers in a studio together.


6. Hot Chip – The Warning

The second album from the British indie electro pop outfit. These guys brought a Rock attitude to electronic dance music and came up with something pretty distinctive, adding a bit more oomph and a little more edge compared to their first album.


5. Tool – 10,000 Days

It’s amazing how many huge records dropped this month. The “thinking person’s metal band” laid this churning pile of misanthropy onto an unsuspecting public, who ate it up in droves, sending it platinum. A powerful, virtuosic, humorless piece of work.


4. Wolfmother – Wolfmother

These guys hit the scene like a breath of fresh air 10 years ago and then poof, they were gone again. They occupied the opposite end of the fun spectrum from Tool, reminding all of us that Rock is not rocket science and is sometimes best served with a wink.


3. Dixie Chicks – Taking The Long Way

The Dixie Chicks are too good to be ghettoized in New Country. This massive, double platinum Grammy Album of the Year was vindication for their courageous stands on principle. These women have balls and talent and vision, like all great Rockers do.


2. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium

A comeback album of sorts for the sock boys, punching up the noise after the sleepy By The Way, and bringing a wider variety of sound to the table. This double-platinum behemoth was John Frusciante’s last album with the band, and he made a memorable exit, abandoning his usual measured style on the guitar for some real wild, jaw-dropping stuff.


1. Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers

I called it album of the year in 2006, and I honestly think it belongs somewhere among the long list of all-time greats. Brendan Benson and Jack White bring two different perspectives on 1960s power pop traditions, and together they don’t mimic but they reinvent those traditions, 21st century style. Even though it was a knock-off side project, they sounded like a real band, generous and unified. This album still delights, and it still kicks ass.


Other Albums Released In May 2006 Include:

Neil Young, Living With War / Ministry, Rio Grande Blood / Phoenix, It’s Never Been Like That / Hoobastank, Every Man For Himself / Vetiver, To Find Me Gone / Def Leppard, Yeah!


Photo: The Raconteurs; credit – By yoowan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yoowan/2669463588/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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