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Tunes we love Straight from the newsroom, some of our favorite downloads of 2006

The great Red Auerbach once said: "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

Auerbach, the basketball coaching legend who died in October, of course was not known for his commentary on music. But anyone who listens to music knows he spoke the truth. Music has the ability to reach one's soul -- let it in and you will be touched.

In sharing music, then, the joy or the pain of it, the anger or the energy -- whatever it is that moves you -- is passed along to be interpreted by another soul in its own unique way.

Too deep? Fine. Truth is, new technologies have made sharing music a blast, and we in the newsroom at The Buffalo News love to share. To borrow from iTunes, we offer today some "celebrity mixes" with the songs that we loved in 2006.

Like Red, we're certainly not all music experts, but we are passionate. Here are some tunes that moved us, and we hope will move you:

Adam Zyglis, Editorial Cartoonist

"Anna Molly," Incubus -- It's energizing, and a great running tune.

"B.Y.O.B.," System of a Down -- Wonderfully loud, angry and absurd. Taps into the inner revolutionary.

"You Owe Me an IOU," Hot Hot Heat -- Just plain fun fun fun.

"The Eraser," Thom Yorke -- Rhythmic and mesmorizing. Radiohead frontman at his best.

"Girl," Beck -- Great head-rocking tune. Makes me think of my soon-to-be wife.

***

Mark Gaughan, Sports Reporter

"I Am Mine," Pearl Jam -- Good new album. I met the guitarist Mike McCready this year. What a great guy.

"Interstate Love Song," Stone Temple Pilots -- A great guitar song, even if the lyrics are a little weak.

"My Sweet Lord," George Harrison -- This song makes you feel like you're walking through a Redwood forest at sunset.

"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," Santo Esmerelda -- The best cover of this old song from Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" Soundtrack.

"You're the First, the Last, My Everything," Barry White -- Barry White at his most upbeat.

***

Charles "Bud" Anzalone, editor of First Sunday magazine

"The Kill," 30 Seconds to Mars -- I like the intensity of this song.

"Tower of Song," Martha Wainwright -- Perfect blend of a singer surrendering to another artist's inspiration.

"Suddenly I See," KT Tunstall -- There is something irresistibly optimistic about this song.

"Emotion," Destiny's Child -- Proof even the Bee Gees can speak to people decades younger.

"The Last Polka," Ben Folds -- Hard to believe, but the energy of the live version is even more engaging than the studio cut.

***

Bruce Andriatch, Suburban Editor and columnist

"Dance the Night Away," Van Halen -- Best crank up the car radio song ever.

"It Only Takes a Minute," Tavares -- Best crank up the car radio disco song ever.

"I Write Sins Not Tragedies," Panic at the Disco -- A cautionary tale about gossip.

"Move Along," All-American Rejects -- The Rick Jeanneret Sabres playoff run version. Goosebumps.

"Put on your Sari, It's Time to Celebrate Diwali," Michael Scott and Dwight Schrutte. "The Office" rules!

***

Mary Kunz Goldman, Classical Music Critic and Buzz columnist

"Variations on a Theme by Haydn," from "Martha Argerich and Friends," Brahms -- Boisterous, high energy music making.

Puccini's "Vissi d'arte" from "Tosca," sung in a live recital by Maria Callas -- Callas has a raw quality that suits this anguished aria.

Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Alfred Brendel, piano -- You hear this piece performed badly and sped-up so often that you forget how beautiful and romantic it can be.

The "Jupiter" Symphony, George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra -- This Mozart symphony leaves me thrilled and awestruck.

Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9," Daniel Barenboim conducting the West Eastern Divan Orchestra -- Like Mozart's "Jupiter," this music makes everything bugging you seem little and insignificant.

***

Jeff Miers, Pop Music Critic

"The Saints Are Coming," U2 and Green Day -- A pop-punk nugget perfectly melding the approaches of both bands.

"Wolf Like Me," TV on the Radio -- Bizarre, bold, beautiful, Bowie-esque.

"How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?," Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band -- A timely slap in the face to the Bush administration.

"Mountain Side," Chris Whitley -- Sadly, this brilliant take on the Flaming Lips song came from Whitley's last recording before he succumbed to lung cancer.

"Surrender," Electric Light Orchestra -- ELO's first-ever downloadable single took Jeff Lynne 30 years to finish. Beatlelike, symphonic pop with a twist.

***

Allen Wilson, Sports Reporter and columnist

"Star Ship," Waymon Tisdale -- His bass solos are as good as it gets.

"Get Down On It," Waymon Tisdale -- He does justice to Kool and the Gang.

"Heart Of Mine," Will Downing -- Anything from this jazz/R&B crooner is worth listening to.

"Put Me On," Will Downing -- Mellow sound puts you in a good mood.

"Forever, For Always, For Love," Lalah Hathaway -- This rendition of Luther Vandross' soulful ballad is one of many great cuts from the two-volume CD that celebrates his music.

***

Elizabeth Kahn, Assistant Managing Editor

"Hold On," Jet -- Jet slides gracefully from raw power to moving ballads to sounding like sarcastic brats. Rock lives -- and it's getting better all the time.

"World Container," The Tragically Hip -- Canada's best rock band is reborn with a rich piano-driven melody.

"Somebody More Like You," Nickel Creek -- These artists play rock, bluegrass, classical, alternative. It's been dubbed "Newgrass" -- but whatever it is, it makes me smile.

"Crave," Ike Reilly -- Ike comes to Buffalo now and then. Brilliant lyrics, important themes, songs with raw sexiness and a whole lot of fun.

"I Run For Life," Melissa Etheridge -- It's not just a song -- it's a cause. All her heart, her soul, her cancer-free passion are poured into this one.
***

Donn Esmonde, columnist

"Blue Orchid," White Stripes -- Blues-based rock with a punk sensibility blended through the weird Mixmaster of Jack White's fertile brain.
"Things Have Changed," Bob Dylan -- The voice of Methuseluh with the soul of a poet and a face carved from a mountainside.

"Entertain," Sleater-Kinney Band -- Girls can do a power trio, too -- with a different sensibility than the testosterone-fueled, man-jam, Marshall-toting, visceral assault prototyped by Cream.
"O'Sailor," Fiona Apple -- Ya gotta love a gal who wears her neuroses on her sleeveless dress.

"Trouble on the Line," Loretta Lynn -- From Patsy to Hank Sr. to George Jones, old country is the best country. Props to Jack White for a collaboration built on respect, love and recognition of a singular talent.

***

Jeff Simon, Arts Editor

"Etude in C-Sharp Minor Op. 2 No.1," Scriabin -- performed on an EMI Gemini twofer by the great British pianist John Ogdon. Scriabin is, without question, the most ecstatic of the late Romantics.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," Oliver Nelson: The Argo, Verve, Impulse Big Band Studio Sessions -- Some of the most exciting jazz ever to hit the Top 40. Take away "the Top 40" (and the very idea of it) and the excitement remains.

"Symphony No. 3," James Judd and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra -- A good case could be made for this Aaron Copeland piece as the greatest of all American symphonies.

"Lucille," Waylon Jennings -- Get this now -- Little Richard's orgiastic piano-pounding screamer reimagined as a quiet country torch song from the depths of a great country performer. Amazing, simply amazing.

Theme from "Cinema Paradiso," Ennio Morricone -- Maybe you've said sometime that there's no such thing as music that makes you cry. If so, listen to this.

***

Deidre Williams, reporter

"What a Wonderful World," Louis Armstrong -- It's all about the beauty of life in small, simple ways that many of us forget about as we go about our daily, busy lives. Play the song and view the world in the same way the songwriter does, and it might bring a tear or two to the eyes.

"Back in Black," AC/DC -- To borrow another song title, Back in Black is just bad to the bone (meaning it's a good thing)! I've always wanted a racy, red convertible with vanity license plates with that wording.

"Adagio for Strings," Samuel Barber -- One of the most beautiful and moving pieces ever composed. The string arrangement evokes powerful emotions every time I listen to it. They sound like they're speaking.

"The Christmas Song," Nat King Cole -- Nobody croons that song like Nat! It's not Christmastime until I hear hear Nat sing that song.

"I Can't Make You Love Me," Bonnie Raitt -- When Raitt sings this song, you can feel her pain. It's soulful, and Raitt's raspy, bluesy voice accentuates the pain.

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