Top 50 Songs of 2006 (50-46)
Skirting the edges of 'too much information' from start to finish, Cam'ron's confessional ode to his Irritable Bowel Syndrome, although it doesn't sound particularly essential, actually turned out to be one of the most entertainingly dumb songs of the year. It was an odd 2006 for Cam'ron; his film, Killa Season was derided by everyone who saw it and he also announced his strange move into PSAs in the shape of a DVD to be released next year, warning parents about the dangers of internet-based child molesters and sexual predators. While he seems to live in a fantasy world, his one big moment of 'realness', 'I.B.S.' was hardly taken seriously.
Personally, I think he has to be given kudos for at least attempting some frank soul-searching, even if it did turn some people's stomachs. 'I.B.S.' is mainly memorable, however, for some endearingly clunky rhymes ("Regurgitating. Green, yellow, burgundy, boom!/What came my urgency soon? The emergency room", and, "I can't enjoy a movie dinner/My son growin' up, I'm lookin' like the movie, Thinner", being two of my favourites) and purely for its uniqueness.
First of all, I know I'm cheating a little including this, seeing as it originally surfaced last year on the Nice And Nicely Done album, but it's just too damn good. A soaring, swooping indie-rock lament that has a mandolin driving the melody further skyward as the song progresses, it's bettered by none in The Spinto Band's canon and also may see them labelled one-song wonders (if, indeed, no-one has given them the tag already).
A measure of 'Oh Mandy''s brilliance is that it already feels like an indie club staple; a sonic lift to sugar the pill of having sticky black shit all over your new Converse. It almost seems that that's the purpose it was put here to serve.
48. Jeffrey & Jack Lewis - Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror (Rough Trade)
A scathing attack on Brooklyn hipsters, embedded within gentle Bonnie 'Prince' Billy-like Appalachian folk, topped off with Jeff Lewis' cracked, fragile, childlike vocals, 'Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror' was possibly the most unassuming piece of musical satire of 2006, but it was one that, if you could keep up with Lewis' hurried delivery, rewarded with each listen. No-one likes a smartarse, but Lewis bats away any accusations of cockily turning up his nose at the Williamsburgers by virtue of the sheer wit of the lyrics and casting himself as the victim who winds up on the receiving end of a swift, train-track bumming from an Oldham doppelganger.
Essentially though, this is a treatise on Lewis' recurrent theme of whether all this music stuff is really worth the hassle. If the end product of such questioning is being fucked by Will Oldham, or his lookalike, even, then you'd have to say that it's not. Then again, we would have been denied this scabrous delight if that was the case.
47. Nelly Furtado - Maneater (Polydor)
At the start of the year, if you would have told me that a Nelly Furtado song would make my list of songs of the year, I'd have looked at you quizzically before calling for the men in white coats. That was before I heard the one-two punch of 'Maneater' and 'Promiscuous' though. Eventually overshadowed by Timbaland's work with Timberlake, the two songs were a breath of fresh air in an increasingly formulaic pop arena.
Then came the message board chatter of "Which one do you prefer?". 'Promiscuous' is certainly a slinky little number, but it's the giddy, tribal rhythms of 'Maneater' that came out top for me. The buzzy, whirling synths take on an almost supernatural air in the extended coda that led to 'Maneater' pissing on most radio fare from a great height in 2006.
46. Basement Jaxx feat. Robyn - Hey U (XL)
Thank heaven for Basement Jaxx! Just when I thought that Robyn was destined to never be able to get arrested in the UK, Felix and Simon go and give her a starring role on their new album. Then Crazy Itch Radio went on to become Jaxx' least commercially successful album to date. No matter though, as it spurred Robyn's people to raise her profile in the UK (Robyn gets a release in March).
The boys also invented a new subgenre here, klezmer house. The gypsy vibe of 'Hey U' is something that I can't really see catching on (imagine clubs all over the country, packed with people appropriating Borat's way of "disco dancing"!), but it certainly sounded like nothing else released this year.