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Songs of the Year: Top 10 CDs of 2006

New music has never been easier to find, but as the listening public grows more fragmented, it's tougher than ever to locate anything resembling a consensus on a given year's best music. Consequently, the list that follows represents one obsessive listener's opinion and little more. This particular obsessive listener, Song of the Day editor and contributor Stephen Thompson, picked over thousands of albums in 2006 before settling on these 10 frequently overlooked favorites.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)