NOTES: these were my rankings at the end of 2006; opinions have changed a bit since then and I will do an updated version of this list at some point (I've already cheated a bit because my original list only ranked the top 40; the rest were all "bubbling under"). My change in opinions would be the reason a higher-rated album may show below another.
I’ve been saying all year it was a lame year for albums, but in retrospect it was a good one, especially when you think of it in terms of sheer tonnage. Nothing absolutely blew me away, but a truckload, or at least a humvee-load, of decent-to-pretty-great records came out this year.
Most of my fave new bands of last 5 years or so put out good-to-great records that were nonetheless slight disappointments compared to the masterpieces they released just prior – Drive-By Truckers, Mastadon, ISIS, Volta, Strokes
Another great year for metal. The youth of America have woken up and realized that Nu- and Rap-metal have the substance of are thankfully in retreat. All hail the old school (maiden, celtic frost) and the really creative younger extreme metal world (ISIS, Satyricon, Cult of Luna, Agalloch, Giant Squid, Mastadon)At different times, any of the top 7 on the list could be the #1, just as the 5 or 6 after those are pretty interchangeable, the 6 or 7 after that, and so on.