Friday, February 05, 2010

Best of 2009: albums

1. Metric: Fantasies - Hooks that aim for the rafters, female vocalist, big synths and stadium beats. Yep, this is firmly in the center of my wheelhouse.
2. fun. - Aim and Ignite - Catchy as hell Queen and ELO-inspired indie pop that's heavy on the theatrics and strings? How could I not love this? Their "The Gambler" (certainly not the Kenny Rogers tune) - about the singer's father's marriage, family, and illness as told through his mom's point of view - is like the first ten misty-eyed minutes of Up in song form.
3. Lily Allen: It's Not Me, It's You - I absolutely loved her debut, but feared that she would flame out when she made a follow up. But by using only one producer throughout, she's made a cohesive, highly enjoyable second album.
4. Anya Marina: Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II - On this album Anya tweaks her twee folky image by adding a bit of rock 'n roll grit. And it works.
5. Codeine Velvet Club: Codeine Velvet Club - This Fratellis side project is a throwback to sixties orchestral pop and a mighty fine one at that.
6. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion - Want a description? Read virtually every other Best of 2009 list's #1 spot.
7. Art Brut: Art Brut vs. Satan - I don't think there's any real "artistic growth" on their third album, but who cares? Art Brut speaks for the everybloke.
8. A Camp: Colonia - The former lead singer of the Cardigans (Love me! Love me!) produced an album that's full of one of my weaknesses: the combination of sugary melodies and dark lyrics. It's like an audio Reese's cup!
9. Mos Def: The Ecstatic - While Mos Def was out in Hollywood, his hip-hop career floundered and his music pretty much…sucked. But in 2009 the great wordsmith put out his best album in years. Here's hoping that he continues to put as much work into his music that he does in his acting. And how about a full length Black Star reunion while you're at it?
10. Dead Man's Bones: Dead Man's Bones - Ryan Gosling + spooky songs + a children's choir = a fun disc not just for Halloween.

Excluded from consideration were EPs, Christmas music, compilations, stand-up/spoken word discs, and albums that I feel that I didn't listen to enough to give an informed evaluation. If there is any interest, I will post the rankings of albums 11-35 in the comments section (just ask!).

Best 2008 Album I Discovered in 2009:
Miniature Tigers: Tell It To The Volcano - What if Brian Wilson fronted an indie pop band and had a fixation on animals and tribal cultures rather than innocence and Americana? It'd sound like this.

Most Unnecessary Album:
Spinal Tap: Back From the Dead - Look, I loves me some Spinal Tap, but very little new was brought to these (mostly) re-recordings of their past songs. The best thing about this album is the accompanying DVD featuring an in-character commentary about the album.

Most Unnecessary Album, Remix Division:
Johnny Cash: Remixed - Yeah, this one didn't need to be made.

Biggest Disappointment:
Jarvis Cocker: Further Complications - I used to think that Jarvis Cocker could do no wrong. It turns out that it's Big Anthem Jarvis Cocker that's always excellent. Rockin' Out Jarvis Cocker is the one that has problems knocking it out of the park.

Other Disappointments:
Tinted Windows: Tinted Windows
Clem Snide: Hungry Bird

Best Reggae Album:
Major Lazer: Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do - Reggae beamed in from the year 2380. It's also the only reggae album I listened to.

Most Improved:
Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn: Break Up

Sophomore Slump:
Lady Sovereign: Jigsaw - Hey, wha' happened? Her debut was a lot of cheeky fun. Her second album...not so much.

Best Reissue:
The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Note: I have yet to pick up any of the Beatles remasters. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know.

Best cover songs:
The Oak Ridge Boys: "Seven Nation Army"
Taken By Trees: "My Boys"
Discovery: "I Want You Back"
Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn: "I Am The Cosmos"


Mehrdad1 said...

Thank you, as always. Not just for this list, but for ALL the lists that you've posted! :)

Micah said...

Hey, thanks, man. I really wanted to concentrate the '09 lists into one week, but real life got in the way. Once there's a bit of distance - say, March or so - I hope to do some decade lists.

Just for you, here are the rest of the albums:

11. Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
12. John Wesley Harding - Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
13. Little Boots - Hands
14. Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light
15. Say Anything - Say Anything
16. God Help the Girl - God Help the Girl
17. Passion Pit - Manners
18. Weezer - Raditude
19. Discovery - LP
20. Eels - Hombre Lobo
21. Telekinesis - Telekinesis!
22. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson - Break Up
23. Matt & Kim - Grand
24. Eminem - Relapse
25. Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People…Lazers Do
26. Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
27. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
28. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
29. The Bird and the Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
30. Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
31. Annie - Don't Stop
32. Clem Snide - Hungry Bird
33. Spinal Tap - Back from the Dead
34. Johnny Cash - Remixed
35. Lady Sovereign - Jigsaw