As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 2006!
TV on the Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
A fuzzy affair that would be so easy to square off as post-punk were it not for Tunde Adebimpe’s gospel shouting. If the guitar and drums are the mangy, wild animal — all teeth and claws — Adebimpe reminds us how beautifully this thing can howl at the moon. For the year, it was an alt dance track that was a little more vicious than the others.
J Dilla – “Time: The Donut of the Heart”
J Dilla had been ill since 2003. His production credits slowed considerably through 2004, and in 2005, he toured Europe playing from a wheelchair. Donuts was released on February 7, 2006, three days before his lupus would kill him. The album represents a clearinghouse of the best beats and ideas he had left in the vault — 31 tracks that clock in at just over 43 minutes total — recorded largely with a portable studio while he was in the hospital. Donuts is Jay Dee’s will and testament, handing off the last of his estate to a new generation. Drake and his friends The Roots have already flashed their inheritance.
Justin Timberlake – “My Love”
A standout R&B track from one of the few talents to outlast their boyband. Producer Timbaland comes through with his ubiquitous club sound, though that synth treads pretty far into trance territory. Justin shows, like on a number of occasions, that he can beatbox, but behind all that stuttering, staccato stuff you can hear an operatic voice caterwauling in the distance — a clue that despite any pronouncements of crunk or southern hip hop, this belongs to the tradition of the love ballad.
Liars – “It Fit When I Was a Kid”
This murky drum and organ anthem betrays Liars dance-punk beginnings. Instead, we find them in the middle of some unholy ritual that’s sure to involve daggers and pentagrams and the sacrifice of a baby something-or-other. To this day I’m not quite sure what “We will leave you in the woods/ Tell your friends you slipped/ Down the Lumen Tree” means exactly, but it’s handily the most sinister sounding thing I’ve ever heard.
Destroyer – “European Oils”
Bask in the boozy grandiloquence of one of Canada’s premier
lyricists poets. For those that weren’t already turned on to Destroyer, 2006′s Destroyer’s Rubies was a particularly flamboyant introduction to one of the most loveable dandies in the game. Also, the lyric “She needs to feel at peace with her father, the fucking maniac…” is the only line I know that forces me knee-jerk into a gnarly air guitar. I’m powerless to that shit.