Saturday, December 5, 2009

#6.2 Music: Top Albums of 2009

Music is kind of the center of my life. some songs are just...perfect. they make me dance, sing, change my mood... discovering a new band or singer that I fall in love with is one of the greatest things. the only thing better than a song I love is an album I love. asking me to pick a favorite song off some albums would be like making me pick my favorite child...if i had children. Music is sometimes the only thing keeping me from going off the deep end at work. but then i slap on my headphones, crank up the tunes, and bliss out. everyone's voices are gone, it's just me and my work. Every year I think, "this year had the greatest music!" and then the next year comes along and tops it! So, here are my favorite albums of 2009. If you haven't heard them, I recommend you get on iTunes RIGHT NOW and have a listen, and click "buy album." you won't regret it!

(note: I resist ranking my favorites. I love them all equally. And I don't restrict myself to 10...usually I go all the way to 20.)

Gossip: Music for Men
Dancey awesomeness. Kind of like new Gloria Gaynor ballads. Think "it's raining men" (which was by the Weather Girls, i know, but you know what i mean.) Stand-out songs: Dimestore Diamond; Heavy Cross; Love Long Distance

Metric: Fantasies
Past Metric songs and albums were good...this one, their fourth, is just a culmination of everything good they've done before...times 10. this show was awesome (the parts I remember!); Emily Haines is a tiny powerhouse. Stand-out Songs: Help I'm Alive (the original version is great; the piano version is EVEN BETTER); Collect Call (this summer it seemed like this song was on the Current every single time I was in the car. in fact, driving to work one day I said to myself "they're going to play Collect Call next. and they did. no prewarning. but you know what, i didn't mind!); Stadium Love; Gimme Sympathy ("who'd you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?"); and Satellite Mind (i just listed half the album).

Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca
What the hell kind of album title is that? who cares! I love bands that mix male and female lead singers. this one has TWO lady singers! and great guitars! this band was created for my benefit! Standout songs: Cannibal Resource; The Stillness is the Move; Useful Chamber (to hear them sing "Bitte Orca, Orca Bitte!" in the middle)

Mason Jennings: Blood of Man

Previous Mason Jennings albums have not been my cup of tea. I always thought he sounded too much like Bob Dylan, and I can't stand the whiny voice singing. This album just went someplace different. someplace very dark and sad, and that always makes for great tunes. Standout songs: The Field; Pittsburgh

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!

This album doesn't try too hard to do anything fancy, or get very deep. Previous YYY albums did, and we don't need more of that. This album does its job of getting me pumped for exercising, though. Standout songs: Zero; Heads will Roll; Hysteric

White Lies: To Lose My Life...

Just your standard indie rock band, with very catch songs. saw them open for KoL. Standouts: Death; To Lose my Life; Fairwell to the Fairgrounds

XX: Xx
What an original title. I've only listened to this album a couple of times, but i remember being very impressed. It's hard to describe...kind of moody electronica, with a male and female singer. Good tunes to listen to when you are trying to fall asleep. Standout songs: Crystalized (I always think this is an Interpol song when it starts); Islands; Heart Skipped a Beat

The Big Pink: A Brief History of Love
This thing is epic. i just wish they had picked a different name for their band. Standouts: Crystal Visions; Dominos, of course (got ton of radio play)

Discovery: LP
Vampire Weekend + Ra Ra Riot + Dirty Projectors. and it sounds like none of those bands! my biggest complaint about solo or side projects is they usually sound a lot like the main act. not so with Discovery! Standouts: Orange Shirt (this gets the head bopping and would be great to play in my car if i had good woofers); Osaka Loop Line

Florence + the Machine: Lungs
I almost forgot this one! I was obsessed with this for a while, i put it in my Pick Six! Standouts: Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up); Kiss with a Fist; Hurricane

Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I blame that car commercial for getting "1901" stuck in my head so often. but it's still a great song. also Lisztomania...and the whole album. this show, back in June at the Varsity Theater, was definitely the hottest show i attended all year (even hotter than Metric), and definitely the most fun. my only complaint is the album is only 9 songs. i want more!

Silversun Pickups: Swoon
Their sophomore effort was definitely not as good as their debut album, but when an album is that perfect, you can't expect the followup to be as good. but i still have to give them some love. this album has slowly grown on me, especially after the show at the State theater this year. Standouts: No Secrets This Year; Substitution

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns
I assume they are Canadian?

I'll probably add more as i remember them...

On the other hand, there are a few songs that i love more than the whole album...or i'm too lazy to listen to the whole album and decide if it's worth of a place on the list above. Here are my favorite individual songs.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Home
I'm not unique in loving this's just so cute and folksy and I love the talking story at the end ("Remember that time you fell outta my window and almost broke your ass?").

Neko Case: People Got Lotta Nerve
"everyone knows i'm a maneater...still you're surprised when i eat ya..." She could sing the phone book and i'd love it!

White Rabbits: Percussion Guns
So energetic!

Eels: Fresh Blood
Kinda evil.

Grizzly Bear: Two Weeks

Peaches: Talk to Me