Tuesday, 29 December 2009

My favourite albums of 2009

So this year I had more time and thus found more music. It seems to be as simple as that! I read a bunch of people saying that 2009 was a crappy year for music, but, y'know, those people are idiots. It's never a crappy year for anything, it's just impossible to be exposed to everything that might possibly be good. Give yourself a break, give the world a break, just... can't we all just get along?

Anyway I got you seven albums that I loved, ten albums that I really liked, a couple that I know sucked but still kind of liked, and a few that I haven't decided about yet. Some of these I've written about before, and I'll try not to repeat myself but... hell I repeat myself enough in real life so that would just be an accurate reflection of myself. Once you have an actual thought in your head you owe it too the world to get as much mileage out of it as possible, right? Right? Don't leave me hanging here.

Themselves - Crownsdown

It's like they set out to make a real hip-hop album, but they've accidentally evolved beyond musical genres, so for all the references and put-downs they throw in - they've kind of already won because they've transferred to a different league and are kind of on their own there. The hip-hop references are delicious though, and while it didn't blow me away at first (I was still pretty impressed) it was a massive grower, and I really love the record now. Just writing about it makes me want to listen to it again, and this is one of my favourite videos this year:

Converge - Axe To Fall

Every now and then I go back to this album and think - do I really like it or am I in awe of it? The answer is probably both. I'm not exactly a die-hard hard-core fan, so I can understand some people thinking that they're either a) stuck in a rut or b) moving too far into the mainstream (though it's kind of surreal that those two criticisms - the main ones I've read - come from completely opposite directions) because they probably know more about hard-core than me. But I like this album a lot, it's my favourite thing I've heard by Converge and it sounds like terrible, powerful things being given form.

The Flaming Lips - Embryonic

So basically, and quite surreally for a band who put on one of the most stunning stage shows ever, I totally lost interest in the Flaming Lips after Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. That album, to sum it up, sucks, and I figured that all the craziness and invention that I had loved about them until that point - and especially a certain demented flame that always seemed to drive them - had gone for good. This album was not just a return to form but sounds like they've evolved into a whole new strange, wonderful, disquieting band. It's just so fucking exciting to hear a band that's been going for so long metamorphose so powerfully and convincingly into this kind of monster. The levels, the sound, the songs, the structure, the album - everything is too much, and it's amazing.

Charlotte Hatherley - New Worlds

I reckon in the end, I just like the way she writes songs. I really, really like the way she writes songs.

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

I think I said before I don't know why there's people running around saying that this was a let down. The last track - Forever Young - is a travesty, contemplating the existence of which upsets me greatly, but the rest of the album is impressively strong. Well worth the hype.

OneOne - Aooooon

Beautiful, folky music, and I really like everything that Tenniscoats and Deerhoof put out, but this one captured my imagination a lot more than I expected it to.

Future of the Left - Travels With Myself And Another

Like some deranged, musclebound dictator of the land of half-forgoten pop culture who's angry. Angry! Always angry! And churning and riffing and spitting and grinning and occasionally calming down enough to make you think it's making sense, but really it's still half out of its mind on pop-tarts and real ale.

Those albums, I loved. These ones I liked a lot, but not enough to really gush about them.

Chuck Prophet - Let Freedom Ring

Shiina Ringo - Sanmon Gossip

Health - Get Color

Young Fresh Fellows - I Think This Is

Eyedea & Abilities - By The Throat

Luke Haines - 21st Century Man / Achtung Mutha

Grand Duchy - Petit Fours

Monobright - 2

Boredoms - Super Roots 10

Annie - Don't Stop

And the ones I know kind of suck, but I liked anyway were:

Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon : The End of Day

Teriyaki Boyz - Serious Japanese

And the few that I picked up at the end of the year, and dug to varying degrees but don't feel good about properly rating were:

St Vincent - Actor

Gallows - Grey Britain

Clipse - Til The Casket Drops

Ah, music. Bring the hell on 2010 already. Give me more. MORE! MY HUNGER CANNOT BE SATED!

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