The Inaugrual Best Albums of The Year Post! 2009 Edition
So 2009 has been an amazing year for music, really really strong in my opinion, littered with brilliant releases throughout it’s 12 months. Me and Lewi set about deciding upon and writing about our Top Ten favourite albums released this year and god it was hard. After a bit of deliberating we eventually settled on those below. Check ‘em out.
10. DOOM – Born Like This
DOOM is notorious for; his alias’s, his fake shows, and his incredible MCing. He has an almost cult like following, and has the respect of every head in the hip hop industry. It’s been awhile since he has resurfaced, and with time, comes great expectation. “Born Like This”, is a little different too DOOM’s old albums, there aren’t as much cartoon references, and it is far darker than his old stuff. The album does seem more produced, but it doesn’t loose its raw feel. Although it is not one of DOOM’s best albums, its still one of the best albums of the year, combining super heroes, media, injustice, violence, and DOOM’s magic touch.
Listen to “Yessir”:
9. The Horrors – Primary Colours
I wasn’t a big fan of The Horrors first time around with their cartoonlike, almost archetypal gothic appearance and nonsensical put-upon false names. Thankfully this year they traded their gothic for psychedelia for their second album “Primary Colours” A title of which is incredibly fitting at describing such an amalgamation of sounds, tripped out beyond belief that just blurts out tertiary to me. Songs like “Three Decades”, “Who Can Say”, “Scarlet Fields” and the fantastic album ender “Sea Within A Sea” that are so totally full of emotion, lasting feeling and fear. There is definitely such a level of fear to Faris Badwan’s vocal that it is not just a screach at the listener, but something that sounds like a plea, and the singing is his release. I love the album, so much because of the music that fills it and live, it is just as amazing to witness, their shoegaze transformation, is one that has been enacted brilliantly and one that could not have come at a better time for their career and to be their “second, more mature album” which is a step in not only the right direction, but a good hint of what they could exploit in the future.
Listen to “Scarlet Fields”:
8. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
Definitely the best indie-folk album of the year, it’s not often you get to listen to a song about liking a song, and Andrew Bird is able to capture that very well. Listen to “Anonanimal”, probably one of my favorite songs of the year, combining loop pedals and the pizzacarto method to great effect. The album is consistent, but yet still diverse, making it very interesting to listen to. The only thing I would say, Andrew Bird plays the songs so much better live. This session of him playing for pitchfork is actually amazing, it literally is just mesmerizing. It’s a shame that the album isn’t as good as his live sets, otherwise he would be much higher on the top ten albums. Nonetheless, the album is a great piece of work.
Listen to “Anonanimal”:
7. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Mos Def, before this album, to me was more of an actor than a rapper, but The Ecstatic definitely proves his artistic talent/merit/worth behind the mike. It’s led me to delve deeper into his back catalogue, including his Talib Kwalli-accompanying duo Blackstar. But this album definitely shows off everything about Mos Def that is brilliant, epic, epic flow, undeniably great beats and best off all, lyrics that got some serious meaning and touch upon topics very much in the public eye. Just listen to the fantastic “Auditorium” below. The Iraq War mention really gets me, showing the side of the rap game that does care about the image it portrays to the youth. Def consistently drops great songs across this album, like “Supermagic”, “Priority” and “Workers Comp” that keep you wanting more, here’s hoping that he returns to the studio sooner rather than later.
Listen to “Auditorium”:
6. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Dirty Projectors manage to play quite upbeat music around subject that are usually found to be quite saddening. They’ve covered Black Flags album, Damaged, which sounded like Black Flag had decided to put down the angst and pick up the love. Dirty Projectors craft music incredibly well, and honestly have the best vocals I’ve ever heard. Bitte Orca definitely shows this off well, every track definitely has some pop in it, but at the same time, not loosing its integrity and structure. The album seems to take some influence from R&B, as you feel as if you should be dancing. Everything on the album seems so well thought out, with vocals almost doing call and response with the guitar on “Remade Horizon”. This album will turn anyone’s frown into a smile.
Listen to titular chorus chanting “Useful Chamber”;
5. Blakroc – Blakroc
The Black Keys and the legends of the hip hop industry have definitely made one killer album. The two groups have blended their styles to create a raw, fresh, psychedelic hip hop. It’s not very often you can call something “rock ‘n’ roll”, but with Blakroc, you say it with out a doubt in your voice. Every track is a banger on this album, but if I had to choose one that really got my attention, it would have to be “What You Do To Me”, featuring Nicole Wray, Billy Danze and Jim Jones. This album isn’t just an album of the year, this is an album of the decade.
Listen to Nathan’s favourite, “Dollaz & Sense”:
4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Animal Collective until this year and one brilliant, brilliant, brilliant album (as well as a sublime EP) later, I love them. “Merriweather Post Pavilion” is quite simply, an album just full of brilliant songs from a band that really have come to represent the face of progressive rock, I know that is kind of pigeon-holing them, but thats probably the simplest way to define them. The songs that fill it are just fantastic, there are brilliant song like “Brother Sport” and “Summertime Clothes” whose fantastic beats and rhythm are consistent throughout the album. But seriously, it’s all about one song for me. “My Girls” is surely one of the best songs this year, even ever and definitely one of my favourites. It builds and builds and AnCo craft every little aspect of perfection about it. It is just such a well made song that it reeks of high quality songwriting and producing coupled with what can only be perceived as a highly expanded mind, or a large imagination. This song to me, certainly creates and represents alot of what 2009 was to me, a rather large creative board to jump on, one to expand to and grow from.
3. The xx – xx – (Review)
Who would of thought that one of this year’s best debuts would be from a 4 (now 3) piece of seemingly depressed 19 year olds. But it was. The xx have gone on to produce a debut album fully formed in it’s almost perfect, over-produced-so-its-ridiculously-dark way. And each song has beauty to it, the warring vocals, the minimalist music, with such a sexy bass that its hard to not want to dance along. Live as well, they totally reproduce this sense of a bleak, desolate landscape, making some kind of big open space of music that totally consumes and devours your soul. If you don’t feel some kind of hurt or remembrance of a bad relationship and are totally unfazed by this album then you are not human. Songs as perfect as “Crystallised” and “Basic Space” are hard to ignore, whilst the rest of the album, including the dare-I-say-it-album-highlight, almost instrumental “Intro”, construct a brilliant set of songs that many would be jealous of as a debut. I think out of the whole list, this album is the most accessible, and maybe not my favourite but definitely my highest recommendation.
Listen to “Basic Space”:
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest – (Review)
Grizzly Bear had one job ahead of them when they finished Yellow House, a universally loved album. Veckatimist has most definitely done the job. The album was composed by the whole band, which in a lot of cases will go terribly wrong. But for Grizzly Bear, its created an album with sound and vision. It’s very diverse, with songs like “Two Weeks”, an uplifting song, with a sharp piano and epic chorus, alongside songs such as “All We Ask”, a whisper of a song, that builds up to a marching chorus. Grizzly Bear have definitely got a long career in the music industry.
1. Wavves – Wavvves – (Review)
If you read my original review, you will already know of the deep, deep love I have for Wavves’ sophomore effort, an album, which totally epitomizes teenage life to me. It is just so fully brilliant. So underproduced that it seems like must be fake and so fake sounding that comes back sounding authentic again. That may sound totally stupid, but it isn’t, despite some contrived nature to the songs, Wavves made a brilliant album that has to be acclaimed, it is full of mistakes but nothing is perfect. And it is its own self knowledge of its mistakes that it succeeds on. Songs like “So Bored” are brilliant, no joke, everything is just so like “Yeah” (and believe my seriousness in that they are just so good and above all WORK) that it is outright as both a brilliant piece of music and a teen anthem. I could not love them anymore, and the album is full of little lo-fi masterpieces, “Friends Are Gone”, “Beach Demon”, “No Hope Kids”, yeah the list goes on. Just listen to this album as soon as possible people!
Start off with “So Bored” now: