The best three songs of 2006 so far, per FBO's limited ear-scope, are sung by women.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Cheated Hearts'
Second LP by the NYC trio is a step above their first. Unlike the White Stripes' self-destructive tendency to keep the pared-down drums/guitar set-up with minimal/no overdubs on record, the Yeahs fill out their drum/guitar set-up with little extras to make listening to the album a bit less hollow. Singer Karen O looks like the child of Joey Ramone and Chrissie Hynde, and she effortlessly offers new hooks with her stand-out clipped voice. 'I think I'm bigger than the sound,' she calls out. Yes.
The Pipettes, 'Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me'
Again, the UK's pop industry remains miles ahead of the USA's. This poppy singles-oriented band of three rather dorky women conjures up Vandellas and other fun synchronized finger-pointing musicians of the early 60s. This song, here-and-gone in 2:11, mixes a B-52s/Kate Pierson soaring chorus with a sassy interjection by the verse singer.
Cat Power, 'Willie'
Some critics are after Cat for her latest album, The Greatest, but the FBO considers it her best. Best is 'Willie,' with its elusive lyric story and faintly syncopated vocal delivery that seems informed by rap via Stephen Malkmus. Unlike some indie kings -- like Malkmus -- Cat is figuring out how to stay relevant in her late 30s. Maybe that's what talent is. We also like 'Living Proof,' and if you can understand its implications towards religious tensions -- as implied by the video where Cat in a jumpsuit holding a crucifix races against women in hijabs -- please let us know.
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