Tune In

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Tune In
By Brian Matthews

Any music fan with their own space in newsprint thinks they have superior taste.

Well, maybe not everyone…

But take one look in any year-end issue of a newsstand entertainment magazine and you’ll witness the pretentiousness first-hand in the form of “Best of” lists.

You know what I am talking about: A list by a reviewer or writer in which words like “brilliant,” “sonics,” and “British” are overused, and the average reader goes away confused as to whether they should purchase the mentioned album or buy a Hooked on Phonics workbook.

I bring this fad to attention in order to prepare you for the next few paragraphs. As 2007 begins, I take this opportunity to offer a music list of my own concerning 2006. But I strive for it to have none of the characteristics mentioned earlier. I don’t think my opinion is superior. In fact, it may very well be in-ferior. So I choose not to call the following a “Best Of” compilation of any kind. It is just a brief look at the albums and artists that I kept finding inside my three-disc changer and in my office stereo as the year progressed. If you think the following comments suck, then take it as a sign that you never want to go on a road trip with me. Take or leave the following for what it is: my opinion.

1.    K.T. Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope – I first heard K.T. in a performance on the Today show where she literally functioned as her own one-woman band. Since then, she’s become a household name of sorts, writing songs that are hard to not let get stuck in your head. Plus, she has served as the soundtrack to almost every major network television show in the last few months. K.T. is fresh and fun – like Sheryl Crow before she wrote that “Soak Up the Sun” song and just sounded like she was trying too hard.
2.    Gym Class Heroes – Cruel as School Children – I don’t like rap – unless it is performed by a group of misfit rock-band-wanna-bes who reference Teddy Ruxpin. Then it is just cool…
3.    Leigh Nash – Blue on Blue – Sixpence None the Richer started as an indie rock powerhouse with a female lead guitar player and ended with a song in a teen flick. Leigh Nash, the lead singer of that group, is still doing nicely, though. I dare you to listen to this album and try not to smile or pretend that you are in a Zach Braff movie.
4.    Augustana – All the Stars and Boulevards – I was supposed to get my first taste of Augustana on the opening bill of an Our Lady Peace concert two years ago. That show got cancelled, and now I am even more ticked about that turn of events than I was when I just thought I missed OLP. Augustana’s brand of sensitive college buddy rock is great to play loud and yell along with. It’s like the time that girl broke your heart and your roommate took you out for beer and pizza and you cried. You know what I’m talking about…

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