The Year in Music: 2006

“Hip hop is dead,” proclaimed Nas on his 2006 album of the same name. But in truth, it was quite the opposite.


Only at its mid-point, 2016 has already demonstrated how much incredible music can come out in the span of a year. And over that same period we’ve been able to celebrate the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 year anniversaries of some of our still cherished albums from years past. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking back at specific years in music celebrating decade anniversaries (1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006) by sharing our definitive playlist for each. Each playlist – a carefully curated mix of approximately 100 hits, singles and album cuts we’ve found worthy of inclusion – gives you a historical snapshot of a 12-month window in popular music. For the sake of historical coherence, these do not necessarily reflect the top charts of the year, but rather the official release dates. Bring on the nostalgia!

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“Hip hop is dead,” proclaimed Nas on his 2006 album of the same name. But truth to be told, it was quite the opposite.

2006 was an exceptionally good year for hip-hop, which included full-lengths from JAY Z (the “comeback album,” Kingdom Come), T.I., The-Game, Young Jeezy and the debut album from Rick Ross, just to name a few of the big shots. Then there’s tragic circumstances around J Dilla’s brilliant Donuts, released just three days before his untimely death, and critically-hailed masterpieces from The Roots and Clipse proving that hip-hop was far from losing steam.

Sophomore pop albums from Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna are all worth noting in the pop realm, as are a bunch of time-typical indie rock, often marked with an electro-tinged dance-punk vibe (The Futureheads, CSS, The Bravery, Hot Chip, Be Your Own Pet and many more).

On this playlist you can enjoy over 8 hours of music released in 2006 – from the biggest sellers to underground favorites, and of course major albums from the likes of My Chemical Romance, Muse, Mastodon, Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse and many more.

Ten years down the road it almost seems like an eternity ago, but 2006 was also an era when the music industry was down on its knees, struggling with illegal downloading and file sharing, and the very year when streaming services introduced us to a new era of listening.

Best-Selling Album: High School Musical Soundtrack
Longest No. 1 Single: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter
Grammy – Album of the Year: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb by U2
Grammy – Song of the Year: “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2
Groups Formed: Bingo Players, Bon Iver, Cage The Elephant, Haim, Lady Antebellum, LMFAO
Groups Disbanded: Black Sabbath, Fear Factory, Fugees
Deaths: Elton Dean, J Dilla, Vince Welnick, Syd Barrett
Top-Grossing Film: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
World Leaders: George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Historical Benchmarks:
– Saddam Hussein held on trial for genocide and found guilty for crimes against humanity
– NASA launches the New Horizons probe with the primary mission of studying Pluto
– North Korea carries out first test of a nuclear weapon, becoming the world’s 9th Nuclear Power
– Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy
– Nintendo releases the Wii in North America
– Google purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock
Best-Selling Book: For One More Day by Mitch Albom
TIME’s Person of the Year: You


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