Looking Through Time: 2006 Albums
The CommRadio arts & entertainment department revisits some of the best and most influential albums from 2006.
Taylor Swift – “Taylor Swift”
The debut album of arguably the most groundbreaking artist of the 21st century isn’t necessarily special by any means. However, it did begin an entire legacy of innovation and transformation in the music industry.
“Taylor Swift” is the product of years of childhood daydreaming and songwriting from the time Swift was at least 12 years old. The debut single on the album, which is also the somber album opener, “Tim McGraw,” immediately set the country singer apart from everyone in her genre. It’s rare for many artists to write their own music, but for a budding artist like Swift, who was only 16 at the time of its release, “Tim McGraw” was an impressive feat.
Swift came into the industry with her heart on her sleeve and hasn’t changed a bit since then. She was applauded for reaching into the depths of her personal life to create an album so intimate. It wasn’t like anything anyone had ever seen before, and it would become the model Swift would use for her entire genre-bending career.
A few particular standouts of Swift’s debut include “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which became Swift’s first top-20 hit, and “Our Song,” which became the singer’s first No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. This would make Swift the youngest country artist to independently write and perform a charting song.
While “Taylor Swift” certainly isn’t comparable to Swift’s later feats of excellence, it was a glimpse into what would become a musical powerhouse. She would prove just two years later in 2008 with her second album “Fearless” that she was a force to be reckoned with in an Album of the Year win. And it was “Taylor Swift” that started it all. —Jade Campos
Amy Winehouse – “Back to Black”
One of the most innovative albums ever released by a female artist, Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” is a masterpiece that still impresses to this day.
Blending a range of influences such as 1960s pop and soul with modern R&B, Winehouse crafted what would become a cathartic testament to the guilt, regret and jealousy she experienced after separating from her boyfriend.
Opening with the catchy “Rehab,” Winehouse immediately invites the listener into her personal sphere by unapologetically hanging to dry her history of drug addiction.
Winehouse keeps up the energy with the up-beat “You Know I’m No Good” and the flashy “Me & Mr. Jones.”
There is not a single dull moment on the record. The album builds and then hits a massive crescendo with the record’s title song.
The second half of the record then slows things down and hits the listener with a series of captivating, relaxed grooves.
Tracks such as the reflective “Love Is a Losing Game” and the tragically underrated “He Can Only Hold Her” successfully keep the listener’s attention until the satisfying close of the record, featuring the culminating song “Addicted.”
“Back to Black” generated five singles and sold over 16 million copies worldwide.
Unfortunately the second and final studio album released by the late Winehouse, this refreshing record solidified her impact on music forever. —Scott Perdue
Daughty – “Daughtry”
While many “American Idol” stars fall flat outside of the TV show, Chris Daughtry was one of the lucky musicians to find success. He formed the band Daughtry after coming in fourth place on the fifth season of the popular singing competition.
Daughtry’s debut self-titled album rose to the top of the Billboard 200 and became the first “American Idol” album to stay in the top 100 for 116 weeks.
“Daughtry” was certified platinum in 2007 and won an American Music Award for “Favorite Pop-Rock Album.”
This album has a balanced mix of heavy rock instrumentals, powerhouse vocals and catchy lyrics. It features some of Daughtry’s biggest hits of all time.
“It’s Not Over” comes out strong as the first track with impressive pipes from Daughtry as well as an electrifying guitar riff. This song introduces Daughtry’s undeniable talent and his band’s unique rock sound.
“Home” is a slower song with heartfelt lyrics that captured the hearts of fans. This is still one of the most well-known songs by Daughtry because its message about finding a place to belong is truly timeless.
Chris Daughtry’s ability to belt out big notes while maintaining the soulful tone in his voice is extraordinary and a main highlight of all of Daughtry’s music.
“Daughtry” was significant to the band as their first successful record, but it was also significant to fans of rock music. The rock sound wasn’t too heavy for Top 40 listeners to enjoy, but it wasn’t too mainstream to lose the interest of more unique rock radio stations.
“Daughtry” will go down in history as one of the first successful rock albums to come out of “American Idol” and serve as proof that musicians don’t have to win a reality television show to achieve their dreams. —Courtney Benedetto
My Chemical Romance – “The Black Parade”
My Chemical Romance’s iconic rock opera “The Black Parade” truly made waves in the music scene when it was released in October 2006. The album tells the story of a dying character’s life, death and reflections.
“The Black Parade,” My Chemical Romance’s third album, helped the group establish a distinct sound. Categorized under genres such as rock, punk, pop and alternative, they began to fit into a category that today is known as “emo” or “scene.”
The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Arguably the album’s most well-known song, “Welcome to the Black Parade,” peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100.
“The Black Parade” features 14 tracks on the standard edition, four of which were singles. After the success of “Welcome to the Black Parade,” the band released “Famous Last Words,” “I Don’t Love You” and “Teenagers” as singles in early 2007.
Many fans identify with the lyrics and music that My Chemical Romance put out with “The Black Parade.” The group appreciated their position as role models and wanted their music to be a safe place, which is explained in their lyrics
Though this album has aged a bit, many My Chemical Romance fans are still anxiously awaiting more music from the memorable group after they initially broke up in 2013. —Sarah Simpson
Arctic Monkeys – “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”
Few modern rock bands possess the same charm of the Arctic Monkeys. With their smoothened indie-punk style and distinctly British vocals, the Arctic Monkeys are quite easy to pick out of the large crowd of today’s alt rock acts.
While 2013’s “AM” is the Arctic Monkeys’ most popular album, bearing undeniably catchy singles like “R U Mine?” and “Do I Wanna Know,” the group’s debut album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” may be their best work.
Before taking on the falsetto, melodic vocalizations and slick indie stylings of later albums, Arctic Monkeys went for a straightforward post-punk approach and achieved immediate success. “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” remains the fastest-selling debut album by any band, netting 360,000 copies in its first week and going six-times platinum in the United Kingdom.
It’s not hard to see why. “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” is jam-packed with fun, rocking melodies and clever lyrics, making for some truly ear-catching tunes. The entire thing is worth exploring, but the opening trio of “The View from the Afternoon,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “Fake Tales of San Francisco” and the closing trio of “When the Sun Goes Down,” “From the Ritz to the Rubble” and “A Certain Romance” are the highlights. Those six tracks make up the perfect sampler platter for anyone looking to test the waters of the Arctic Monkeys’ discography. —DJ Bauer
Jade Campos is a junior majoring in print/digital journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Scott Perdue is a senior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtney Benedetto is a freshman majoring in print/digital journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Sarah Simpson is a junior majoring in film-video. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DJ Bauer is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Junior / Print/Digital Journalism
Senior / Secondary Education
Scott Perdue is a student studying secondary education at Penn State University. He is passionate about voice and conversation mediums. He believes that music and film are an important form of communication and enjoys constructively criticizing an artist’s work.
Senior / Film-Video
Freshman / Print/Digital Journalism