Submitted by Andrew Osenga (solo artist; formerly of The Normals)
1. Paul Simon - Surprise
This was my favorite album of the year. The songs are amazing, the production is stunning and the parts and performances are brilliant. The sonic team of Brian Eno and Tchad Blake takes Paul out of the acoustic/folk sphere and allows him to breathe in a more spacious Peter Gabriel-esque world. And all the songs about kids and adoption lend a wonderful new perspective.
2. The Cardigans - Super Extra Gravity
This album isn't quite as good as their last record, "Long Gone Before Daylight" but it's a more upbeat rock record, which I was excited to hear. The strength of this band is in their arrangements. They play like a band more than any other I've maybe I've heard. Their playing is selfless, always playing for the good of the song and the vibe, even though they're fantastic musicians. And the songs are great, perfect driving tunes!
3. Andrew Peterson - The Far Country
I don't usually listen to albums I work on (I engineered this one and played all the electric guitars) because I only end up hearing all the things I wish I had done differently. The only thing I would do differently about this record, though, would be to make it a double album. It's too amazing to just be ten songs. Andrew's songs are beautiful and touching and he absolutly topped himself with this one. It was an honor to be a part of it.
4. Big Bang - Poetic Terrorism
These guys are a Swedish band that Josh Moore, our B3 player in Caedmon's, turned me onto. This record saved the acoustic guitar for me. I had written it off pretty much completely, but they use it in such a great way. This sounds like a 70's Tom Petty/America sort of record, but way more rock and roll. Catchy and a blast to listen to. And the bootleg videos I've seen of them live are invigorating.
5. Sixpence None the Richer - Divine Discontent
I realize this came out a few years ago, but it's just so good and when I looked at my iTunes, it's by far the most played album I have. Matt's songwriting is phenomenal and this album at once catchier and more beautiful than just about any other music that exists. This album is a testament to how great of a band they were and how talented and moving an artist Matt is.
For more information on this series, visit the Most Spun 2006 main page.