Archive for January, 2010

Top Albums of 2009

January 3, 2010

Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop albums:

I like some rap music, but I usually don’t enjoy an entire album of it enough to make my overall top 10 albums, so I thought I should give it a separate listing.

3.) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3– I don’t think this is a particularly good album, but it does have quite a few pretty good songs.  

2.) Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of Day– Cudi can’t rap or sing very well, but there are some good beats and, like Kanye, you end up enjoying it because Cudi’s talent lies outside the actual rapping/singing.

1.) Mos Def The Ecstatic– A solid, eclectic rap album which avoids many of the pitfalls that, in my opinion, plague most rap albums (too much talking/skits, songs and album drag on too long, too many guest artists which don’t work particularly well but are included because it is a famous name).

Favorite EPs:

Too short in duration to garner votes for top album, but some of my favorite music of the year came off of EPs.

3.) Washed Out Life of Leisure– I bought this EP for the song “Feel It All Around” but the entire thing rocks.

2.) Animal Collective Fall Be Kind– I love “Graze” and “What Would I Want? Sky” is my #1 song of the year, and the final 3 songs of the album have been growing on me as of late.

1.) Delorean Ayrton Senna– All 5 songs on this EP are fun and upbeat and leave me in a good mood.

Top Ten Albums of 2009:

10.) Neon Indian Psychic Chasms– I have only had this album for about a week, but in that time I have listened to the entire thing 10-15 times (aided by the fact that it is a mere 30 minutes long) and am completely in love with it.

9.) Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix– I was really trying pretty hard to keep this band out of my top album list, not because I don’t like them (which I do), it is just that I don’t like them as much as everyone else seems to.  Regardless, this is a very fun album with a terrific 1-2 punch in “Lisztomania” and “1901” and is more deserving of this spot than any other album.

8.) A-trak Infinity + 1 (mixtape)- If I included my list of favorite compilation albums of the year, this would have topped it.  My favorite party album of the year for some fun grooving music.

7.) St. Vincent Actor– The last 4 songs slow down and can bore me a bit at times, but the first seven are some of my favorite music from the past year, including “Marrow” and “Laughing with a Mouth of Blood” which didn’t make the top 20 but would have made the top 30.

6.) Japandroids Post-Nothing– I often have the need for a somewhat angry album that I can do a bunch of air-drumming to.  For a while I thought Wavves would be that band to make my list, but the Japandroids album is much better.  This is the type of album that makes me rethink my opinion of discordant garage rock.

5.) Girls Album– There is so much variability of sound on this album, it is hard to believe at times that all of the songs came from the same band.

4.) Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz– When I showed up to Sasquatch! last May my thoughts on It’s Blitz (albeit only after 2 listens) were that it sounded just like there other stuff.  After seeing them live that weekend though and after many more listens I came around and now I think it is by far there best work yet.

3.) The XX XX– I have only had this album for about a month, so it is a bit of a risk placing it this high up on the list.  It receives such a  high rank though for all of the enjoyment I have gotten out of it in the past month and the future enjoyment of it I predict in the coming months.

2.) Matt and Kim Grand– Both my #1 and #2 albums came out in January 2009 and they have been at or near the top of my albums list all year long.  The album kicks off a bang in “Daylight” and then doesn’t let up for the next 30+ minutes.  I would predict this is the album that I listened to the most in 2009 and was my favorite album to pace my perfect pushup routine with.

1.) Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion– Well, no surprise here I guess except to myself.  All year long I have been attempting to find an album to supplant A.C. at the top of my list because I wanted to be original and figured MPP would be at the top of Pitchfork’s, KEXP’s and a million others’ top album list.  In the end though I had to accept that this has been my favorite album all year long and nothing else is worthy of the spot.  “In the Flowers” was my favorite song to kick off early morning run playlists, “My Girls” made the #5 spot of my top songs list, both “Lion in a Coma” and “Brother Sport” were close to my top 20 and I appreciate the fact that this feels like a complete album as opposed to just a collection of really awesome songs.

Top 20 Songs of 2009

January 3, 2010

A couple months ago I posted my top 20 songs and albums of the past decade, but that list didn’t include any songs from 2009.  If I were to redo that song list today, I may end up using a couple of songs from the following list:

20.) “Daniel” by Bat for Lashes- I originally had this song ranked about 21 or 22, but when I nudged Bat for Lashes’ Two Suns out of my top albums list I figured I needed to represent this band which I enjoyed a lot over the past year.

19.) “Cold Spring” by Cymbals Eat Guitars- I love how this song starts off slow and mellow and then blasts off into the upper stratosphere.

18.) “Animal” by Miike Snow- Just a catchy fun song that I listened to a lot the past year.

17.) “Tricky Tricky” by Royksopp (ft. Karin Dreijer Andersson)- Takes the corny joke “Why is six afraid of seven? Because 7-8-9” and turns it into an awesome electronic dance track.

16.) “All Yr Songs” by Diamond Rings- I really love this song and it probably would have made it up into the top 15 except I could never find a website where I could buy or download the song.  You can stream it from their myspace page though if you like http://www.myspace.com/diamondringsmusic

15.) “Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear- My favorite song off a pretty solid album.

14.) “Seasun” by Delorean- I enjoy both the original version of this song and the John Talabot remix, and while different from one another, each manages to capture the essence of a sunny day at the beach into a matter of minutes.

13.) “1901” by Phoenix- Probably my favorite group sing-a-long track from the past year.

12.) “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi ft. MGMT and Ratatat- MGMT doesn’t add much to the song, but I love both of the tracks on Kid Cudi’s album which were produced by Ratatat.  

11.) “Sea Within A Sea” by The Horrors- I like it when songs are going along for a while at a certain speed and with a beat you like, and then they change it up to something you like even more.

10.) “Crystallized” by The XX- It is hard for me to choose a favorite song from this album, but I especially like in this song how the lead singers are each singing their separate parts and then towards the end they come back together but are still singing separate bits.

9.) “The River” by Akron/Family- I don’t love this song as much as I did at first, but this is probably the song that I listened to the most times in 2009.  I remember a trip to dentist in April where I listened to the song 3 times on repeat during the 15-minute walk there and 3 more times on the walk back.

8.) “Skeletons” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Probably only my 4th or 5th favorite song off the album, but this track gets the nod because it is the most memorable song I saw performed live all year.  At Sasquatch! they played this song with a haunting purple light bathing the stage which match the purple hue in the sky as the sun set over the Columbia River Gorge.

7.) “Snookered” by Dan Deacon- I once tried to explain to Mayme why I like this song so much, and I didn’t do it well and must have sounded high, but it came out as something like “This songs just covers so much terrain as it encompasses mountains, and valleys, river beds, and frozen tundra and transcends space and time as it flows through me…”  Needless to say, it is a kind of trippy song.

6.) “Lust for Life” by Girls- Until I just gave in and bought the entire album, there was a stretch of a couple of weeks where every morning I would wake up at 6am and stream this song a couple of times from pitchfork.com.  It makes me appreciate some of the trivialities of life when all it takes is a pizza and a bottle of wine to make you happy.

5.) “My Girls” by Animal Collective- A very pretty song with nice harmony which I enjoyed but thought was overrated by most people for quite a while.  Then I read more into the lyrics and learned that Noah Lennox wrote the song after his father had passed away as a promise to take care of his wife and young daughter.  Now when I hear it I get simultaneously very sad and very happy.

4.) “Daylight” by Matt and Kim- The first song that I really loved in 2009.  Just makes me appreciate youth and the wild nights that I won’t be having in 10 or 15 years.

3.) “Walkabout” by Atlas Sound ft. Noah Lennox- Another one of those songs that I would stream multiple times from Pitchfork every single day until I bought the album.

2.) “Warm Heart of Africa” by The Very Best ft. Ezra Koenig- This is one catchy son of a bitch with an infectious beat and a fun chorus sung by the Vampire Weekend frontman.

1.) “What Would I Want? Sky” by Animal Collective-So yeah, it was a pretty good year for Animal Collective.  I didn’t hear this song until around Thanksgiving, but I have been listening to it nonstop ever since.  It is interestingly constructed with the first 3 minutes a swirling haze of typical A.C. synthesized sounds and tribal drums and then halfway through the fog instantly clears into the most lucid and poppy music A.C. have ever made.  I am definitely excited to see what this band has to offer in the upcoming decade.