Because I didn't have a full-time job for most of the year, I didn't buy nearly as much music as I usually do. I did, however, manage to get my hands on a few wonderful albums. The following is my picks for the ten best albums of 2009.
(ALSO: I only count albums I actually own so I know for a fact I'm missing some great music. Please let me know what caught your attention this year!)
10) Wilco- Wilco
Yes, the cover is probably better than the album. But Wilco is Wilco. They are one of the best bands in the world. Period. If you get a chance, see them live.
9) Mirah (A)spera
"Shells" is one of the most beautiful songs I can think of.
8) The Dead Weather- Horehound
Indie supergroup cuts a solid modern rock record that sounds like a solid classic rock record. Ironically, both classic rock and modern rock radio stations don't play it. Reason number 2,546 why radio sucks. (Check out the video, it's bad ass.)
7) Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
Neko Case is a hit away from being a superstar. She is hot, has one hell of a voice, and is a brilliant songwriter. I thought "People Got A Lotta Nerve" (below) might get some mainstream radio play, but it didn't really happen.
6) Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II
Recreating yourself can be good. But sometimes the old saying "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" applies as well. The skits are back, the dirty beats weaved in and out of tales recounting cooking and selling dope are too (as is the guest appearance of Ghostface Killah). Thank God.
5) (MF) Doom- Born Like This
MF Doom, or Doom, or whatever he calls himself today, is probably the most innovative rapper this decade. With a knack for catchy beats and clever rhymes; it is pretty much a guarantee any release of his makes my list.
4) Bat For Lashes- Siren Sounds
I enjoyed this album much more than I anticipated I would. Both "Siren Song" and "Daniel" were played frequently in my car. Singer-songwriter electronica? I don't know, you'll have to take a listen.
3) Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
Grizzly Bear likes to play this game where they pack as many catchy melodies as they can into one album. They're good at it. I've seen them live twice and was impressed each time.
2) Antony and the Johnsons- Crying Light
Antony Hegarty's wavering, gentle but defiant voice will cause you to listen. One could draw all sorts of analogies on how his voice is like life, or whatever, but it would be hard to do that without sounding like a melodramatic douchebag. Somehow, Antony is capable of singing stuff like that. I mean, who else could sing "I'm gonna miss the bees" and not sound ridiculous?
1) Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
I know, hipster darlings Animal Collective have already gained album of the year honors from the likes of "Spin" magazine and indie Bible "Pitchfork.com" to name just a couple. But this album is that good. I've been a fan for years now and am amazed at how I am never disappointed by each subsequent release. Rather than try to compare or describe, I'd recommend you check them out for yourself. (Hint: You have to listen several times before it clicks. At least I did.)
"In The Flowers"