Usually I wait until the year is over but since I don't expect much action in the next two months, and I really need to remember why life is worth living for, I decided to do my 'best of' lists tonight. In some sense, this is good because this way I do my list before magazines like NME and so I am a little bit less biased.
I'm more of a song's person than an album's person. That said, even thought 2009 was musically amazing, it was hard to make this list. Big hits like 'Poker Face' and 'Stillness is the move' were very important to me, but there was no way I could include them here, simply because the respective albums are not as good as a whole.
Anyway, below is my list. Hopefully it tells you something about my personality and, more importantly, it gives you a new act to listen to.
10. Cobra Starship, Hot Mess:
THe kind of plastic record that doesn't say anything and stills says it all. I used to hate these emo bastards but this time, by leaving the complaints and embracing the dancefloor, they really did it! This is probably the album that rivers Cuomo had in mind (but never accomplished) for Weezer's Raditude: just plain fun, without taking itself too seriously.
Highlights: Nice Guys Finish Last, Hot Mess, Good Girls Go Bad
9. Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You:
Oh god, I love british accent. I once went out with a british girl just because of her accent. Oh yeah, and the songs are amazing too...
Highlights: The Fear, Back To The Start
8. The Big Pink, A Brief History Of Love:
This feels like a long, dense and complicated trip, occasionally made more pleasant by things like the stellar 'Dominos', but still... I was not going to put this album here, but I was in love for the entire year, and I don't know. I just connect with this album, even thought it's far from perfect.
Highlights: Dominos, Velvet, Love In Vain
7. Muse, The Resistance:
My once favorite band came back in 2009, 3 years after the memorable Black Holes And Revelations. The Resistance may not match BH&R's glory, but still it's hard to not be touched by lyrics that speak so closely to my heart such as in 'Undisclosed Desires', or to the brilliant chorus of 'Resistance'.
Highlights: Resistance, Undisclosed Desires
6. Annie, Don't Stop:
Annie's music is exactly the kind of pop that I love the most. Plastic, with no big message, but still with weird touches. In "I don't like your band', when she sings (sarcastically) about feeling bad for not liking the guy's music, it reminds me of the best moments that Lily Allen might never had. 'Songs Remind Me of you' uses a simple (and ordinary) feeling and transforms it in one of the best chorus of the year. I could go all day... In terms of singles, this is possibly the album of the year!
Highlights: Don't Stop, Songs Remind Me Of You, Bad Times
5. Franz Ferdinand, Tonight:
Cold and calculated, yes, but Franz Ferdinand was always like that. You wouldn't necessarily want to be their close friend but still cannot resist the big party anthems. People talked a lot about the role of synthesizers in this record but at least in one of the tracks it yields a very interesting result: 'Lucid Dreams', an 8-minutes club epic, is beyond fascinating.
Highlights: Lucid Dreams, Turn It On, What She Came for
4. Passion Pit, Manners:
Seriously, can someone resist the the super catchy melodrama of songs like Sleepyhead and Little Secrets? Passion Pit is this year's MGMT and more than deserves all the love it got in 2009.
Highlights: Sleepyhead, The Reeling
3. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix:
While the Strokes are too busy delivering average solo projects that they can't be a band again, these french guys gave the world a reason not to miss them. With pop gems like '1901', who needs The Strokes anyway?
Highlights: 1901, Lasso, Liztomania
2. La Roux, La Roux:
At first, I dismissed this as just an overhyped effort of an ugly girl with an annoying voice. But with time the annoying voice became less annoying and more powerful, and her beauty...well, she's still the same but who cares? Like Annie's album, this is electropop at its best. Party tunes directed to the dancefloor, the kind of Britney spears that it's cool to like. But, unlike Annie's Don't Stop, the message here is dark and angry. Eleanor Jackson is not happy but she knows that the fun can never stop...
Highlights: Colourless Colour, Bulletproof, In for The kill
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!:
'Shake it like a ladder to the sun', the first words of the YYYs third album, could be considered an understatement of what this album does. It has the big party energy of FF's Tonight but without losing the emotional stuff that made this band epic in the past. Don't get me wrong, I love all the albums in this list, but It's Blitz! is 2009's best by a mile. Reviewing this record, Spin Magazine wrote: "The result is the alternative pop album of the decade-one that imbues The Killers's Hot Fuss and MGMT's Oracular Spectacular with a remarkable depth and finesse". I couldn't agree more.
Highlights: Heads Will Roll, Hysteric, Zero