Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Ten Albums of 2009

I know there are some albums I have not been able to get acquire that have made many a list, but these are my top picks for 2009. It is what I have grown to love, sing a long to in the car or just rock the eff out to over this past year and to be honest 2009 had some great music. I can only hope 2010 is this solid.

Frank's Top Ten of 2009

1. Chuck Ragan- Gold Country
Chuck Ragan is the man, what else can I say? Ragan on "Gold Country" defines a new era of folk; not quite as timid as the Nebraska brand, more punk influence and gritty as the man's beard. It is the type of album that you put in your car or at home, kick back a few beers with your friends and reminisce. Highlight Track- Glory

2. Tegan & Sara- Sainthood
These two can't do much wrong in my mind and I don't care what flack I get for it. I think everyone and every critic has written about them what can be written. Clever pop. Amazing hooks. Tell all lyrics. Highlight Track- Someday

3. Brand New- Daisy
I might be one of the few people taken back by this album. It was much harder than I ever expected, much more abrasive and pleasantly surprising. I didn't think they could compete with "...Devil Raging Inside Me" and this album isn't quite that good, but it stands on its own legs. Lacey is a vocal wonderment, switching from gut wrenching screams to soft melodies; there isn't better in the genre. The musicality of this album is much more experimental than any previous release and has me wondering "what's next". I feel like every year Brand New releases an album I am highly anticipating the next and that is a good thing. Highlight Track- At the Bottom

4. Manchester Orchestra- Means Everything to Nothing
2009's answer to Weezer's "Pinkerton". No seriously I don't know what else to the album. Highlight Track- I've Got Friends

5. RX Bandits- Mandala
Got rid of the horns. Gained prog rock fortitude. Hella good album. As with all of these albums "Mandala" gets a heavy rotation on the ole Ipod. The time signature changes are something Mars Volta would be proud of and the overall musicianship would make John Petrucci smile. I have always loved RX Bandits for the way they infused many genres into their brand of ska, now they are full on rock band and better for it. Highlight Track- It's Only Another Parsec

6. Thrice- Beggars
If you remember Thrice's ambitious elements based four album release, this album is what happens when you pick the best tracks from each specific element. Memorable, breathtaking and challenging. Dustin Kensrue has become such a complete songwriter that you are guaranteed a near perfect release every time. Highlight Track- All the World is Mad

7. P.O.S.- Never Better
I think I have said this already, but I was late to the P.O.S. train. "Never Better" is what happens when a rapper takes the punk/hardcore aesthetic to hip hop. I don't think Jay-Z could envision anything quite this ambitious. HOVA might have to move OVA...yeah I know the longevity of Jay's career (he will always own that) but P.O.S. is doing something wildly different and it is surely the best hip hop album of 2009. Highlight Track- Drum Roll

8. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus
Don't call it a cop out. Phoenix, I feel like, has been on every commercial this year and in every retail store and I don't get tired of them. It's light, it's fun and pleasantly musical. The lead riffs are as "hum-able" as the hooks for Christ's sake. Highlight Track- 1901

9. The Decemberists- the Hazards of Love
Colin Meloy is an effin genius, do I still have to preface that? I don't think he has written a bad album. The man thinks and thinks and thinks, every note and line carefully weaving together stories that are not only heartfelt, but complicated. "Hazards of Love" is his most daunting album to date. It was originally penned to be a musical and although some of the theatrics are lost on the album release itself, Meloy's progressive folk rock is as solid as ever. Highlight Track- The Rake's Song

10. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
This was a tough decision, do I pick more prog emo/punk albums or the main album that calms me down after a rough day? I went with the latter in Grizzly Bear (you can only be so fired up so often). "Veckatimest" is a sensible pop record with an almost too perfect sound scape similar to Brian Wilson's "Smile." From the opening track the album takes you on a tour of melody that puts you in a trance. Every now and again an album comes along that you know you will play in the background of your daily life, this is one of those albums. Highlight Track- Two Weeks

Other lists out there: Spin, Paste, and Pitchfork

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

No comments: