2006 was a massive year for almost every genre of music.  Pop artists like Justin Timberlake and Rihanna reinvented the genre, while the rise of indie rock hit emerged in earnest with bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Snow Patrol.  With so much amazing music hitting store shelves just a decade ago, these 10 albums represent the best of the best for what 2006 had to offer.

  1. Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing

Artists: Keith Urban

Genre: Country

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Already well into his career, country artist Keith Urban was no stranger to charting on the billboard.  However, his fifth studio album, Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing showed the world Urban’s talent.  Singles like “Everybody” and “I Told You so” were top 10 hits on the Billboard country charts.  The IRAA certified the album double platinum.

  1. A Girl Like Me

Artist: Rihanna

Genre: Pop/Reggae

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Before she became the pop culture icon she is today, Rihanna was just bursting onto the scene back in 2006.  Her sophomore effort, A Girl Like Me, managed to misstep the common pitfalls of a second album as it delivered catchy hooks and a myriad of musical styles.  Producers Evan Rodgers and Carl Sturken helped create hits like “S.O.S” which soared to the top of the Billboard Top 100, and helped to solidify Rihanna’s place as a pop music icon.  

  1. Return to Cookie Mountain

Artists: TV on the Radio

Genre: Electronic

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To say that TOTR hit it big with their sophomore album would be a massive understatement.  Return to Cookie Mountain proved to everyone that this New York electronic group had just the right blend of sleek production and meaningful lyrics to reinvent the genre entirely.  Singles like “Wolf Like Me” and “Province” dominated electronic charts for the year.  The album also had the support of industry icon David Bowie, who became an avid fan of the group with its first album.  Outlets like Rolling Stone, Slant, and Stylus Magazine all ranked the album in the top ten for best album of 2006.    

  1. Eyes Open

Artist: Snow Patrol

Genre: Alternative

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Irish alternative rock group Snow Patrol was relatively unknown to anyone outside the U.K. until the release of their fourth studio album, Eyes Open.  If not for singles like “Chasing Cars” and “You’re All I Have” the album wouldn’t have done as well as it did.  However, those two singles, coupled with an already enormous following in the U.K. helped ensure that Eyes Open would become a mainstay of alternative charts.  In fact, “Chasing Cars” still plays today, whether on the radio or at a high school talent show.  

  1. Rather Ripped

Artist: Sonic Youth

Genre: Rock/Punk

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If any band could be considered the grandfather of punk rock music, Sonic Youth would fit the bill.  Having already established themselves as a supreme magical force three decades prior, their 2006 release Rather Ripped delivered a cleaner, more tame sound for a new generation.  Focusing on themes of infidelity and sexual frustration, Rather Ripped offered listeners a more relatable collection of songs that received both critical and commercial success.  The album opened at No. 76 on the Billboard Top 200 charts and marked the end of Sonic Youth’s contract with Geffen records.     

  1. Future Sex/Love Sounds

Artist: Justin Timberlake

Genre: Pop

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Still trying to shake his boy band persona from his time with NSYNC, Justin Timberlake debuted his sophomore solo effort, Future Sex/Love Sounds under the careful guidance of his longtime colleague, Timberland.  The producer’s influence resonates throughout the entire record as each song offers harmonious mixes of pop, R&B and funk music.  One of the most notable singles from the album, “SexyBack” inspired a new generation of pop stars and took the world by storm.  Furthermore, the album received several Grammy nominations and went multi-platinum.

  1. 3121

Artist: Prince

Genre: Funk/Rock

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It goes without saying that Prince was one of the greatest musical artists to come out of the 20th century. While the late artist’s career dipped at the turn of the century, Prince managed to make an astounding comeback with his 31st studio album 3121.  Heavily influenced by his earlier works, Prince created a record that appealed to both old fans and new with his signature brand of multilayered instrumentals and catchy hooks.  Hits like “Black Sweat” and “Fury” helped the album peak at No.1 on the Billboard Top 200.  

  1. Continuum

Artist: John Mayer

Genre: singer/songwriter, soft rock

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The late 90’s and early 2000’s turned out enormously well for musician John Mayer.  This success is no better symbolized than by his third album, Continuum.  Leaving behind his pop rock roots for a more soulful and bluesy sound, Mayer crafted a record that appealed to a wide audience.  The album sold over three million copies around the world and received critical praise upon its release, as well as the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.  

  1. Show Your Bones

Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Genre: Alternative/Indie Rock

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With the start of the 2000’s came a new sub genre of music called indie rock.  This noticeably small movement grew and evolved with the help of several key bands; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were one of them.  The New York-based outfit spearheaded the genre into the spotlight with their first record, Fever to Tell.  For their second album, the group looked to reinvent themselves and what their music could say, and thus Show Your Bones was born.  The album takes everything from their previous endeavor and flips it on its head, focusing not on fast and rough garage rock, but rather on a richer, more acoustic sound.  The album debuted at No.11 on the Billboard Top 200 in the U.S., and U.K.-based BPI certified the album gold.

1. Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Genre: Alternative/Indie Rock 

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Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not is the best album of 2006 not so much because of its overwhelming success, but rather because of what it helped create.  Much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Arctic Monkeys helped establish the indie rock scene in the early 2000’s.  However, it was because of this debut record that the genre still exists.  Everything from the songs’ intertwining narrative to the high tempo musical style and Alex Turner’s witty lyrics are all staples of the genre to this day.  Whatever People Say… went quintuple platinum in the U.K. and appears on my entertainment outlets lists of the greatest albums of all time.  This impact of the Arctic Monkey’s debut cannot be understated, and that’s why it’s number one.  

The 2000’s offered consumers an abundance of fantastic music that redefined several genres.  It goes without saying that these 10 albums stood the test of time, and represents some of the best music offered from that decade.

By Carston Carasella

Hey, my name's Carston, and I'm a second year staffer at BoonePubs. My motto is fake it 'till you make it, and I love the movie Big Trouble in Little China. I'd love to travel to Minorca because that's where my ancestors are from. Some of my hobbies include working at the always wonderful Panera Bread, and writing. My hidden talent is that I can play guitar, and I wishfully hope to one day become mayor of Portland.

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