I listened to a lot of music this year. I made lists. I pared those lists down to 20 songs. Below is installment #1 of the best of 2006, all in my humble opinion, of course. Your results may vary.

20 – “Handle With Care” – Jenny Lewis With the Watson Twins. This would be higher if it weren’t A) a cover (Traveling Wilburys) and B) an “all-star” track (Indie favs Ben Gibbard, Conner Oberst, and M. Ward all pitch-in on this track).
19 – “Talking in Code” – Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos. Loaded with 1970s, AM radio overtones.
18 – “Puzzles Like You” – Mojave 3. One of many power-pop tracks that pleased me this year. My definition of power-pop: 3:20 songs that you wish lasted forever.
17 – “LDN” – Lilly Allen. Apparently this song was the serious shit in the UK last summer. It was popular in at least one house in central Indiana as well.
16 – “Answers and Questions” – Earlimart. A summer afternoon’s daydream, airy and inviting.
15 – “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” – Camera Obscura. Another song that evokes other times, this has one foot placed in the 60s, the other in the 80s.
14 – “Goodbye” – Asobi Seksu. Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of the Go-Gos, circa 1983. If I was 12 and spent every day this summer at the pool, this is a song I would want to hear again and again.
13 – “Girl That Speaks No Words” – The Infadels. The soundtrack for many of my drives between Indy and Bloomington last spring. Had I been pulled over while listening to this song and driving 85, it would have been worth it.
12 – “Pushover” – The Long Winters. We’ve all been pushovers at some point. This song almost makes those moments when pride gets thrown out the window seem worth it.
11 – “You Made It” – DJ Shadow featuring Chris James. A fantastic track from an unexpected combination.