CD of the year
1. Fundamental – Pet Shop Boys
While hardly a come-back – the Pet Shop Boys have been produced memorable music since their eighties debut – Fundamental is nevertheless a remarkable highlight in their career. Haunting, witty and insightful; it’s one of the finest examples of intelligent electro-pop you’ll find this year. Fundamental secures the band’s status as master music producers. There really is no-one else that sounds like the Pet Shop Boys.
2. Ta-Dah – Scissor Sisters
You may be surprised to learn that the overplayed Don’t Feel Like Dancin is not the best song on the treasure chest of 70’s-inspired pop sounds that is Ta-Dah. The world’s campest band offer us a choice serving of rock-pop-disco tracks that mix up the Bee Gees, Elton John, David Bowie, Abba and Fleetwood Mac. It takes true genius to create something so unique from such derivative sounds.
3. A Night on Earth – Crazy P
This little known troupe from the UK – originally called Crazy Penis – has been compared to early Massive Attack (before they got so dark). Their easy-on-the-ear cool electronica – touched by 70’s funk and boosted by seductive vocals – ensures that you’ll put this CD on repeat. Works equally well as audio wallpaper and for more attentive listening.
4. Loose – Nelly Furtado
While under threat of being overwhelmed by genius – but perhaps overexposed – album producer Timbaland, Nelly Furtado still comes through as a unique pop voice in Loose. Promiscuous and Maneater were signature songs for 2006, and the rest of this R&B, hip-hop influenced pop album certainly doesn’t disappoint.
5. Tiga – Sexor
Starting out as a remixer for artists such as Scissor Sisters and Depeche Mode, the rather gorgeous Montreal-based Tiga has come into his own as a singer and songwriter with the 80’s inspired electroclash sounds of Sexor. You Gonna Want Me was probably one of the hottest dance tracks of the year, and while his vocals aren’t particularly powerful, he does have one of sexiest (we could melt) sounding voices around.
In 2007 look out for: New albums by Norah Jones, Air ,The B-52s, Black Eyed Peas, Blur, Coldplay, The Cure, Gnarls Barkley, PJ Harvey, Annie Lennox, Massive Attack, Metallica, Moby, The Pixies, Portishead, Radiohead, R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Whitney Houston, Tori Amos, Britney Spears and Suzanne Vega.
Song of the year
1. Sorry – Madonna
She may be approaching fifty but our favourite pop-queen can still craft a world-class hit or two. We dare you not to tap your feet to this Stuart Price-produced dismissal of a repentant lover. A little Abba, a touch of Xanadu and a lot of gay-style diva attitude make Sorry our most enjoyable song of 2006.
2. You Gonna Want Me – Tiga
Listen to this song’s killer driving beat and you’ll believe it – featuring Scissor Sisters vocalist Jake Shears. “Some say boy you’re always teasin’, I think you best be leavin’, Why you gotta drive me crazy?” It’s all sexy and very gay.
3. My Love – Justin Timberlake
Oddly beautiful love song pumped up with Timbaland’s unique stuttering beats and sweetened with Justin’s boyish falsetto.
4. Promiscuous – Nelly Furtado
While some might prefer Maneater, we think that Promiscuous is way sexier, smarter and catchier. Go Nelly!
Movie of the year
1. Brokeback Mountain
(Released in the US in 2005, we only got to see this very Oscar nominated flick in 2006.) Apart from the sheer joy of watching Jake Gyllenhaal get fresh with Heath Ledger in cowboy getup, Ang Lee’s Brokeback is probably one of the most moving (unrequited) love stories in years. It’s gorgeously made – features artful performances – and is universally powerful. It missed winning Best Picture, but will remain a milestone in Hollywood and gay-themed moviemaking.
2. Children of Men
A harrowing journey into the near future, Alfonso CuarÃ³n’s Children of Men is a shattering indictment of man’s often self destructive nature. Dark, visceral and at times overwhelming, it’s what great speculative storytelling is all about.
3. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical genius came into full bloom with the expansive canvas of a feature film. Borat is not only the funniest film of 2006, it’s also one of the year’s smartest and most insightful offerings.
4. United 93
A harrowing, almost-documentary style, recreation of the last hours of the ill-fated flight which was hijacked during the 9/11 attacks. United 93 shows that filmmakers – in this case director Paul Greengrass – can create intensely emotional stories without resorting to cheat manipulative tricks.
5. V for Vendetta
Another dark take on the future, James McTeigue’s V for Vendetta is a poetic tale that demands that we remain vigilante against threats on our personal freedom. While written by Alan Moore years ago, the story of one man’s rebellion against authoritarianism was particularly relevant in 2006.
In 2007 look out for: Dreamgirls, Volver, Shortbus, The Queen, Marie Antoinette, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Spider-Man 3, Transformers the Movie, The Simpsons Movie, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At Worlds End. And don’t forget the Out in African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in March.
TV show of the year
1. Project Runway
Find out “who is in, and who is out!” Sadly, Project Runway’s second season was again tucked away on DSTV’s Series Channel. It deserved better. One of the most engaging reality shows on TV – in which a group of emerging designers compete to be selected to show their collection at New York Fashion Week – it becomes addictive viewing. It’s hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum and unsurprisingly features gay characters aplenty. Diva drama, tears, back-stabbing and surprising rag-trade talent are all on offer. We can’t wait for season three.
2. Desperate Housewives
While perhaps not as much of a pop-culture phenomenon as its first season, we found the second series of Desperate Housewives to be dramatically superior. The cast really came into its own with some superb comic – and at times tragic – performances.
3. Nip Tuck
Nip Tuck had grown impressively as a series. Challenging, stylish and often warped, it’s a unique and sexy television experience with a smattering of homoerotic undertones. The next season, continuing to chronicle the life of two rather sexy plastic surgeons and their complex relationships, promises even more homo-tinged storylines.
4. Battlestar Galactica
If Project Runway was hard to find among DSTV’s bouquet of channels, then the new Battlestar Galactica series was buried deep-undercover. It’s a real pity as this show – now in its third season in the U.S. – provides possibly the hardest hitting science fiction drama ever produced for television. Forget the campy eig