Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009: The Year in Numbers (Posts 5)

So I wasn’t entirely sure what list to do next, but I felt that I needed something good today, so I've compiled a list of my favorite albums of 2009. I intended on saving it for close to last, but why not put the best post in the middle? Live a little.

To my surprise, this was a great year for music. Usually, I find myself so disappointed with most of the new releases, but I have to say, I was thoroughly happy with most everything. Yes, some albums were overrated, but that doesn’t really detract from what was fantastic. In fact, there was so much that I loved, that I had to extend my list to twenty albums, rather than the usual ten or fifteen.

It was far too difficult to pick a definite number one, so it’s still pending. Just think of my top five as interchangeable for now; it depends on my mood.

And here we go…

20. The Bachelor - Patrick Wolf: I had really high expectations for this. The first half is great, then it just gets weird and I end up turning it off. So, not that it was a bad effort, I believe that P-Wolf put his whole heart into it, it just drags on after the fifth song.

19. The Fame Monster - Lady GaGa: “Seriously, Devyn? Did you seriously just…?” Yeah, I just went there. Are you gonna hate on it now? You better not.

18. It’s Not Me, It’s You - Lily Allen: This was so heavily promoted, and I get why. It was damn good. Albums promoted with free lollypops win my vote any day.

17. Fantasies - Metric: I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with this album. It’s totally catchy and great. Certainly not Metric’s most notable work, but I don’t see why it doesn’t deserve a spot on my top 20.

16. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective: Okay, so I really didn't want to put this album anywhere near my list, but I have to say, I've given in. I've always considered myself just a casual Animal Collective listener, I never found them to be particularly mind blowing, but yes, they've won me over with this album. It's, dare I say it? ... LISTENABLE! And not just that, but actually quite good.

15. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: Okay, so a lot of the songs sound the same, but you know, whatever... YOU KNOW YOU LIKE IT TOO! SO, SHUT UP!

14. Logos - Atlas Sound: I have never been a big listener of Deerhunter, but I've never argued with the fact that Bradford Cox is an incredibly talented musician. I actually didn't intend on listening to this album, but after hearing a lot of good things about, I figured it couldn't hurt. Much to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it. It's really chill and good for taking naps to.

13. Manners - Passion Pit: I think I may have expected too much of this release after how good their EP was, which managed a top 10 spot last year. Nonetheless, this was good though. It's basically an extension of the EP which is by no means bad.

12. Hands - Little Boots: I had this on repeat all summer, need I say more? It’s catchy as hell, and it’s got a lot of cute lyrics. Not to mention, Little Boots is totally adorable.

11. Real Estate - Real Estate: I knew this was going to be good, based on their EP’s. It’s crazy how popular they got within a few months. Who knew some guys from my home state would make such a bang?

10. Vapours - Islands: I was scared to listen to this the first time, but I was actually really happy with it. I like it better than Arm’s Way (which only got an honorable mention last year). It’s totally different from anything Nick has ever done. There were no ten minute songs... just pure dance party.

9. Grand - Matt and Kim: Basically, I’ve been looking forward to this album for the last two years, and when it finally arrived in January, I was totally stoked. Of course, their self-titled debut is a thousand times better, but this was a good follow up. I’m happy for them and the attention they’ve gotten from this album. It’s well deserved, but I feel like their first album, and EP are just being overlooked because of the publicity that Grand has gotten.

8. Get Color - Health: This album made me love Health. I’ll admit, I was never really a fan before, I just thought they were some noisy experimental band, no thank you! But this was actually melodic. It was short, sweet and enjoyable, but still retained the intensity expected from their music.

7. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix: Upbeat and catchy. That’s all I was really looking for in this album, and Phoenix more than surpassed my standards.

6. It’s Blitz! - Yeah Yeah Yeahs: I was thoroughly happy with this. It’s got just the right amount of synth, just enough disco, and seemed to cut down on Karen’s signature shouting, without losing what we all know and love about YYY’s. It was more of a light listen compared to previous releases, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. There was nothing really startling about it. Nothing that made me feel like I was having a heart attack. Karen’s got such a pretty voice, I’m glad she fully took advantage of it on this album.

5. Psychic Chasms - Neon Indian

- What’s not to like about this? It kind of gave me a Starfucker (I’m sorry, Pyramiddd) feel the first time I listened to it, but a little more raw. I dig it, a lot. Truly seventeen minutes of bliss.

4. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura

- What else could you expect from them? It was bound to be good. Every track is just so sweet and lovely. They can really do no wrong.

3. Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear

- This was actually unexpected. I thought it was going to be another snoozefest, considering I can barely listen to Yellow House or Horn of Plenty without getting bored.

2. March of the Zapotec/Holland - Beirut

- If all of the material was new, this would most definitely be number one on the list, but I figured that would not be fair, because only half of the material is new, the other half is from when Zach was 15. It really is fantastic though. It is impossible for Beirut to come out with a bad release, I'm convinced.

1. XX - The XX

- I listened to this once, and for the next two weeks, it was all i listened to. These newcomers from the UK have stolen my heart. Sure, they lack any form of stage presence, but that doesn't make this album any less enjoyable.

Honorable Mentions:

Sainthood - Tegan and Sara: I really wanted to love this, but I found that it just didn't meet my expectations. Though, they get a shout out anyway, because this album certainly did not change my opinion of them. There are some decent songs, it's just not totally golden like their last three albums (and I say last three, because anything pre-If It Was You is not so great).

Ultraviolet - Kid Sister: If this had come out two years ago, or even last year, it would have been in my top albums. Instead, she gets an honorable mention. Sorry, Sis. It simply wasn't worth the wait, especially because I already had half of the tracks.

Far - Regina Spektor: Compared to her other albums, this was far from what I expected; it really didn't do much for me. I probably listened to it twice, then it disappeared into the lost land of barely played songs on my itunes. And to think, she got so much hype this year, I mean hell, I saw her TWICE!

See Mystery Lights - YACHT: This album seemed to be an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. It didn't cut it for me. Go back to The Blow, Jona!

Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future - The Bird and The Bee: This was a cute album, but I mean, there were only a couple of songs that stood out.

Living Thing - Peter Bjorn & John: Peter barely sings on this album, I don't get it. I thought it was going to be fantastic, based on the first single I heard, "Lay It Down," but I guess I was wrong.

BiRd-BrAiNs - tUnE-yArDs: Okay, I like ukuleles and all, but aside from maybe two or three songs, Merrill's voice got a little irritating, and I just wasn't loving it anymore. The initial concept is nice though. I wish I liked it more.

LP - Discovery: I wanted this to be awesome. Instead it just ended up sounding like Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot thrown into a blender with Kanye West and a vocoder. It probably wouldn't have even been mentioned on my list if it weren't for the song "Carby," which I had on repeat for weeks after I first listened to this album.

Clues - Clues: Another offshoot I wanted to love, but just couldn't. I suppose most offshoots and side projects will only receive an honorable mention.

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