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Monday, January 4, 2010

My top 10 CDs of 2009

I've been busy with other things lately (like covering the Grammys), but at long last, here's the ranking of my ten favorite albums of 2009. It looks like a lot of bloggers' lists, with a couple of notable exceptions.

Dishonorable mention goes to Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear, the most overrated album of the year. I'm convinced the praise for that record is mainly a case of bloggers trying to look cool. "Two Weeks" might be the most perfect pop song of 2009, but the rest is rubbish.

10 Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Kid Cudi
"Pursuit of Happiness" is the track that really captured my attention - the idea of recording a psych-rap song with MGMT and Ratatat is something most rappers wouldn't even think of. "Day 'N' Nite" and "Make Her Say" - featuring a Lady Gaga sample - show that Kid Cudi is creative and talented enough to be around for a while.
Essential tracks: Pursuit of Happiness, Day 'N' Nite
Video link:
Day 'N' Nite

9 Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix
It's the favorite band of commercial music directors!
Essential tracks: 1901, Lisztomania
Video link:

8 Raditude, Weezer
I always laugh when people complain that Weezer has gone too pop or too mainstream. Weezer has always been about catchy pop songs. What do you call "Buddy Holly"? Raditude has some of the most inventive, creative songs Rivers Cuomo has ever written, including an Indian-flavored number and that infamous duet with Lil Wayne, "Can't Stop Partying." As Rivers once said, if you don't like it, you can shove it. But you don't like it - you love it.
Essential tracks: I Want You To, Can't Stop Partying
Video link:
(If You're Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To, Weezer

7 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective
I've never seen a year where literally every single critics year-end album list has the exact same #1 choice - this one. It's intriguingly quirky - definitely a good record.
Essential tracks: My Girls, Summertime Clothes
Video link: My Girls

6 Sainthood, Tegan and Sara
Aside from one track where it feels like they're channeling Paramore too heavily ("Hell"), the twins made their most listenable album with Sainthood. The album contains some of the first songs they've ever written together; in the past, they each wrote their own material.
Essential tracks: Arrow, Alligator
Video link: Hell (on Conan O'Brien)

5 It's Blitz!, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Finally, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs release a record I can enjoy the whole way through. "Heads Will Roll" might be my favorite track of 2009 - it's nice to see a rock band unafraid to embrace dance music. Even the ballads are good this time around - "Skeletons" is exquisite.
Essential tracks: Heads Will Roll, Skeletons
Video link: Heads Will Roll

4 11:11, Rodrigo y Gabriela
It was only a couple weeks ago I found out that this amazing instrumental acoustic guitar duo released a new record in September. One listen and I was hooked. 11:11 is a tribute record - each song is dedicated to a particular artist, with the songs written to match the style of the artists. "Buster Voodoo" is the Jimi Hendrix tribute; there are also odes to Santana, Pink Floyd, and Dimebag Darrell.
Essential tracks: Atman, Buster Voodoo
Video link: Buster Voodoo (live on Craig Ferguson)

3 Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, Dave Matthews Band
I may have been the only one not surprised when this was announced as an Album of the Year nominee at the Grammys. Actually, I was a little upset, because the Grammys stole my thunder. Big Whiskey was a brilliant return to form by one of the world's best rock bands. "Shake Me Like a Monkey" was one of their most lively tracks in years.
Essential tracks: Shake Me Like a Monkey, Baby Blue
Video link: You & Me

2 The Fame Monster (Deluxe), Lady Gaga
2009 will forever be known as the year of Lady Gaga, and with good reason. No one else could match her five monster hit singles - "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "LoveGame," "Paparazzi," and "Bad Romance." I'm choosing the deluxe edition of The Fame Monster, which also includes the new 8-song EP containing "Bad Romance," "Speechless" and "Telephone" with Beyonce.
Essential tracks: Paparazzi, Bad Romance
Video link: Bad Romance

1 Grand, Matt and Kim
Twenty-nine minutes of bliss. Spunky, ebullient, carefree... I run out of adjectives to describe the pure fun of the duo's music. Matt & Kim are my choice for 2009 Artist of the Year (that's right... deal with it, Lady Gaga.)
Essential tracks: Daylight, Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare
Video link: Lessons Learned

Other favorites:
Bitte Orca
, Dirty Projectors
The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z
Hot Mess, Cobra Starship
Album, Girls
Tarot Sport, Fuck Buttons
I and You and Love, Avett Brothers

1 comment:

BeckEye said...

I agree with what you said about Grizzly Bear, but I feel the same way about Animal Collective. I'd like to feed all of their records to a hungry grizzly.

I'm not much of a Weezer fan, but that's one of the greatest album covers I've ever seen!