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Top Ten Of 2006

Woo, it's top ten time, slightly redone, with deions!
No Heroes

By far the most *** kicking release of the year, Converge drop their second guitarist but continue to be one of the most intense bands on the planet. From the brutal opening tracks, to the near ballad-y ?Grim Heart/Black Rose,? to the almost emocore "Lonewolves," this is arguably the most well rounded album Converge have yet to release.
2Tom Waits

Never hearing more than one or two songs by him, Orphans and its vast scope introduced me to pretty much every aspect I could imagine about Mr. Waits. While Bastards may be the best disc, none of the three are below fantastic, and there isn't a bad song of note on this sprawling album, while there are innumerable gems.
3The Decemberists
The Crane Wife

While I had enjoyed about half of Picaresque, I hadn't expected to enjoy The Crane Wife quite as much as I ended up. However, they've toned down the excess instruments and gone to a more streamlined, poppy sound that works magnificently for them. It also helps they have an extended track to match the heights of "The Mariner's Revenge Song" with "The Crane Wife 1 and 2"
4Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue

maudlin/Kayo Dot continue to grow with this release, which sees a larger shift away from their metal influences and into a more free form category. However, the songs are all still just as epic and gripping as ever; and right from the start you see how much more of a sustained kickass this is than its contemporaries.
5The Mars Volta

Amputechture may be 15 minutes too long, but all the stuff sans that 15 minutes is still amazing. While Omar may have gone overboard a little with the guitar effects, and Cedric the same with vocal effects, hey still haven?t surpassed their talent with their ambition and it ends up being one of the most enjoyable albums of the year. Plus, the bass solo on "Day of the Baphomets" is arguably one of the best of all time.
6Machinae Supremacy
Redeemer (Underground Edition)

Power Metal sort of died the moment it was created. I can only stand to hear the same complicated metal riffing so many times; luckily, I can hear the same cheesy video game synth line over and over again. Mixing in some strange Video Game touches to a mixture of power and progressive metal, MaSu show that repetitive music can still be different and entirely too interesting for its own good.
7John Mayer

John Mayer is just a hottie, plain and simple.
8Justin Timberlake

While it should technically be billed as an equal effort collaboration between J-Lake and Timbaland, FutureSex/LoveSounds ends up being great on either facet. Timbaland produces some of the most sublime beats of his career, often outclassing anything one of the prodigious hip "underground" producers could do. J-Lake, while still a horrible lyricist, can still deliver tons of excellent hooks, and while it isn't the "future," it certainly is an excellent conglomeration of many styles.
Define the Great Line

Underoath has sucked for years and years and years. Unfortunately, they stopped that trend with Define the Great Line, a metalcore/post hardcore mix that sees the band expanding into a slightly more epic bent with even more aggressive moments (the beginning of "You're Ever so Inviting" is by far the most intense Underoath have ever been). While Spencer may still be a terrible vocalist, he fits in well with the music, forming Define the Great Line into the surprise record of the year.
10My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade

As much as I don?t want it to, The Black Parade keeps on growing on me. Maybe its because its such an incredible ripoff, perhaps its because there?s only two weak tracks (?Cancer? and ?Disenchanted?), or maybe its because it?s the best pop punk album of the year. Yes, The Black Parade is still a pop punk album, not an arena rock ripoff like most want to label it; but its pop punk with lots of Queen influence. Except a little more outwardly homosexual.
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