- Summer 2006 is here to bring pop thrills, long song titles, and a hit so awesome, I included it twice.
In homage to the late Lloyd Bentsen, I say this to the summer of 2006: I lived through 2005. 2005 brought me many great songs. You, sir, are no 2005.
To be fair, 2006 has not been without its musical charms – from the Arctic Monkeys record I’ve been playing to death to the Be Your Own Pet show I saw last month. But on the whole this year has simply not measured up to the embarrassment of riches that was 2005. Putting together Summer 2005 a year ago, the challenge was figuring out which awesome songs I would have to cut to fit the mix onto an 80-minute CD. This year, I still had more candidates than slots, but the challenge was figuring out which songs were decent enough to qualify.
Luckily, I had plenty of time: I had a first complete draft of the disc together last month, in time for our Sweden trip. Four weeks and a few tweaks later, it’s done.
My annual Summer compilation – now in its 10th year! – imagines a world where pop songs, hip-hop hits, indie-pop tunes, Hot Topic emo-schlock and the occasional country song are all equal in the eyes of God and the Top 40. But Summer is only as good as the songs floating through the ether that year. Over at Billboard magazine, chart-watchers are buzzing about a return to centrist pop in 2006, thanks to the democratizing influence of iTunes. As my friends all know, I live and die for centrist pop, but when said pop takes the form of James Blunt or “Bad Day,” I’ll gladly go back to the world where Fitty and Gwen duked it out.
As a music year, 2006 hasn’t been awful, just kind of meh. I’d say it compares most closely with 1998: plenty of amusing records on the radio (in ‘98: “Gone ’til November,” “Are You That Somebody?” “Doo-Wop (That Thing),” “Ray of Light,” “One Week”), but with a general sense of in-between-ness – a feeling that we’ve left one pop mini-era behind and are awaiting the advent of the next one.
There is one big difference between 1998 and 2006: this year has produced one true stunner, a single for the ages. It towers head, shoulders and torso over this year’s musical landscape – so much so, that I had to include it twice.