Here are two NeXt reviewers' picks for the 10 best albums of 2006. Both attend Williamsville North High School.
>Jason Silverstein's list:
1. The Blood Brothers, Young Machetes: This incredible fifth disc from hardcore band the Blood Brothers is the year's best because it sounds totally different from anything else released this year. Young Machetes is filled with surprises, sometimes insane, sometimes enjoyably outrageous, sometimes surprisingly emotional, but always astonishing.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium: This 28-song double album could very well be the best work the band has ever done. "Stadium Arcadium" plays like a greatest hits compilation, covering every style of music they've ever dabbled with, for an outstanding career introspective.
3. The Strokes, First Impressions of Earth: The Strokes sound like a totally different band here, finally proving their dedication and serious craftsmanship.
4. Mushroomhead, Savior Sorrow: This is the band's darkest, most melodic, and most emotional work to date.
5. Thom Yorke, The Eraser: Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke breaks off from his group with this odd, almost entirely electronic solo album, that doesn't so much present actual songs as a digital, free-wheeling experiment that works incredibly well.
6. People In Planes: As Far As The Eye Can See: Combining the raw energy of the garage band revival with the experiment of fellow Brit band Radiohead, People In Planes proves to be the year's best new artist in this spectacular debut.
7. Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam: Pearl Jam returns to the public eye with some of their most tender, angriest, and some of their most focused work, all on one high-energy record.
8. Wolfmother, Wolfmother: What these Australian '70s revivalists lack in originality they make up for in loud, nostalgic fun on this hard-hitting debut.
9. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere: The debut from Cee-Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse appears to be rap at face value, but is actually an enjoyable and catchy party album/classic R&B homage that appeals to all musical tastes.
10. Beck, The Information: Beck provides even quirkier yet oddly enjoyable experimental music on his 10th album, with a DIY cover with stickers and a DVD of music videos for all 15 songs.
>Mari Rogers' top 10:
1. Rise Against, The Suffering and the Witness: Faintly reminiscent of the Offspring, this band is sure to get into your bloodstream with this album of beautiful, catchy punk rock tunes.
2. The Creepshow, Sell Your Soul: This up-and-coming Canadian psychobilly/punk band, with female singer Hellcat, offers easy-on-the-ears music for anyone who likes swinging, good time tunes.
3. Tokio Hotel, Schrei So Laut du Kannst (Scream as Loud as You Can): This German rock band, with members all younger than 20, amazes from the first track in this debut album. It's in German, but an English CD is in the works .
4. Christina Aguilera, Back to Basics: This jazzy, funky, somewhat alternative CD is all the more amazing considering it comes from one of the pop queens of our generation. Here, Aguilera takes inspiration from former musical eras and spins them into something new and electrifying.
5. Lady Sovereign, Public Warning: At 21, Lady Sovereign is the first non-American female to appear on the Def Jam label. This is a fantastic collection of music complete with witty, provoking lyrics that has appeal even to those who aren't fans of rap/hip-hop.
5. Thom Yorke, The Eraser: Yorke breaks away from the norm with his album "The Eraser"; his sound is evocative and almost haunting.
6. Muse, Black Holes and Revelations: This English band has come up with another world-chart-topping CD, a good mix of newer music and classic Muse.
8. Be Your Own Pet, Be Your Own Pet: Be Your Own Pet, with lead singer Jemina Pearl Aberg, offers a fast-paced CD that's fun to dance around to.
9. Justin Timberlake, Futuresex/Lovesounds: The former 'N Sync member comes through with some pretty good songs, including "Sexyback," which stayed in my head for the longest time.
10. Evanescence, The Open Door: Ami Lee's vocals are as interesting and haunting as ever.
>Year's Worst Album:
Paris Hilton, Paris: Jason labeled it an "abomination." Mari observes: "Was the CD original? No. Was it fun to listen to anyway? No. Was it memorable? No."