Top 30 Albums of 2009


17 Oca 2010, 22:50

I seem to have bought more albums in 2009 than any other year and its really been difficult ranking these and should confess I could easily swap the ranking around quite considerably on any given day.

1)Pet Shop Boys Yes
Whilst I’ve always been a big Pet Shop Boys fan, I wasn’t overly enamoured of ‘Fundamental’ or ‘Release’ but ‘Yes’ is one of their best albums. ‘King of Rome’ and ‘The Way it used to be’ are beautiful – perfect PSB slowies and the type of songs I think they should do more of. Some lovely strings. Great album.

2)Simon Bookish Everything/ Everything
I think this actually came out at the end of 2008 but seemed to be ‘launched’ in 2009. I found the previous albums slight impenetrable however this one is a real step change – still quirky and idiosyncratic but this time dense electro bleeps replaced with strings, brass and jazzy piano. Fantastic lyrics and great vocals – real sense of drama. Highlights are Colophon, Portrait of the artist as a fountain, Carbon, and climate change friendly Dumb Terminal.

3)White Lies To Lose My Life
Took a little while for this to sink in but really anthemic tracks that drag you along.

4) La Roux La Roux
Some tracks really remind me of Billie Ray Martin who I love. Good poppy tracks which I couldn’t stop listening to during a holiday.

5)Little Boots Hands
Great poppy album. Earthquake is my favourite but they are mostly all enjoyable. La Roux seems to have won the bulk of the critical acclaim but really I think they are both good and quite distinct.

6) Morrissey Years of Refusal
Better than Ringleaders I think with a few great tracks (I’m OK by Myself, Something is squeezing my Skull, It’s not your birthday anymore) and a few good tracks as well as a few below par ones.

7) Wild Beasts Two Dancers
Really like this – very Billy MacKenzie - both in vocals and rather obscure lyrics. ‘This is our lot’ ‘hooting and howling’ and ‘The Fun Powder plot’ are great but the whole album works well as a single listen.

8) Doves Kingdom of Rust

9)Mr Solo Wonders Never Cease
Shift away from the electronics of earlier work, this album has some fantastic tracks such as the early Bowie-esque ‘Astrology’, ‘Wonders Never Cease’, ‘Lost In The Paradox’ ‘Let Happiness come soon to me’and the wonderful ‘Let Me Show You (My Chad Valley Give A Show Projector)’. Great lyrics.

10) McAlmont & NymanThe Glare
Love both Nyman and McAlmont so this collaboration was a treat. Not every song works fully but there are some great moments. ‘Secrets, Accusations and charges’ is particularly good.

11) Julian Plenti Julian Plenti is...skyscraper
Good substitute whilst waiting for Interpol to return. ‘Games for Days’ and ‘Only If you run’ are superb in that regard but the album does move Paul Banks in a newer direction as well. ‘Unwind’ is fantastic.

12) Patrick Wolf The Bachelor
Another strong album from Paddy with some of his best strings. Good mix of styles. ‘Damaris’ ‘Hard Times’ ‘Who will’ ‘Oblivion’ and ‘The Sun is often out’ are highlights.

13) Grizzly Bear Veckatimest
Quite a subtle but lovely sound. This wouldn’t have ranked so highly if I hadn’t seen them with an orchestra at the Barbican which really brought out the beauty of the songs and made me look at them afresh. ‘Cheerleader’, ‘Foreground’ ‘Two weeks’ and ‘While you wait for the other’ are the stand outs.

14) Luke Haines 21st Century Man/Actung Mutha
Not sure if its better than ‘Off Your Rocker...’ but it another strong set of songs – although some of the themes may be getting repetitious. ‘Love Letter to London’ is a lovely track – reminds me of my geography degree though! ‘Russian futurists block out the sun’, ‘English Southern Man’ and the title track are the best. Bonus CD is pretty good too.

15) The Ballet The Bear Life
This New York band were a new discovery for me this year. Really enjoyed their first UK gig. I don't think this second album is as good as the first but still pretty good. Very Magnetic Fields sounding.

16) God Help the Girl God Help The Girl
Nice to see Stuart Murdoch back. Some really lovely songs and arrangements. B sides to the singles equally good.

17) Dan Black ((Un))
Quite quirky with a handful of really strong songs. ‘Yours’ is a standout track.

18) Brontosaurus Chorus You’ve Created A Monster
Early Belle and Sebastian sounding band with great promise - shame they didn't put earlier single ‘Myth of Love’ on the album. Absolutely love ‘Love is the Path to Self destruction’ but the other tracks are great too.

19) Editors In This Light and On This Morning
More electronic than previous two albums. ‘You don’t know love’’Papillon’ ‘The Boxer’ and the title tracks are my favourites. Loved the video for Papillon.

20) Jonny Cola & The A-Grades The Yellow Mini
If this was a full album with the tracks they’ve been playing live it would be much higher in the rankings, however it’s really just a taster album showing great promise.

21) Marianne Faithfull Easy Come, Easy Go
A double CD set which if I could select an album’s worth it would have been in the top five. Thought a Jarvis Cocker/Faithfull duet would be fantastic unfortunately its one of the poorer tracks. Best tracks are ‘Children of Stone’ ‘In Germany Before The War’ and ‘How Many Worlds’. Good stab at Morrissey’s ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’.

22) Sparks The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman
Not really a proper album and I wasn’t really going to include it on the list as the lower ranking doesn’t really express that this is even more innovative than their last 3 albums which have been career bests. This is actually a musical produced for Swedish radio and consists of a single track. Therefore I haven’t listened to it too much hence the low ranking yet its a really enjoyable 50 or so minutes.

23) Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
‘French Navy’ is superb – one of my favourite tracks of the year. There are a couple of other reasonable tracks but I’m afraid they just don’t compete making a very unbalanced album.

24) Butcher Boy React Or Die
Lovely but no-where near as good as the fantastic debut.

25) Bat for Lashes Two Suns
Daniel is one of my favourite songs of the year but unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t quite do it for me.

26) Brett Anderson Slow Life
More of the same from Brett.

27) black room Pop Noir
Formerly known as Lorraine this Norwegian pop trio had a low key release of this reasonably good pop album. Couple of tracks remind me of Orlando.

28) Fryars Dark Young Hearts
This was disappointing given I had many tracks from the EPs plus already had ‘Visitors’. ‘Lakehouse’ is good but other new ones just don’t click.

29) Beirut

30) Lightning Seeds Four Winds
Missing Terry Hall. ‘Don’t Walk On By’ by far the stand out track.

Few others to mention – two superb various albums – Scott Walker 30th Century man – covers by a range of artists including Saint Etienne – some really good highlight the strength of the songs. Also ‘Dark Is the Night’ is a great double CD with some of my favourite American/Canadian bands contributing a unreleased track.

Re-issue of Morrissey’s Southpaw Grammar with some bonus tracks including the lovely quintessential ‘You Should Have been Nice to Me’. Anyone who doesn’t have the singles should also get Morrissey’s ‘Swords’ – some of his best tracks.

Finally must highlight the handful of superb (and free) singles released by The Melting Ice Caps. Collected together with the B sides it would probably be album of the year – ‘Between Eros and Agape’ is single of the year.

Quite a few things to look foward to in 2010 including new albums by Swimmer One Owen Pallett, Rufus Wainwright, The National, Magnetic Fields,Alphabeat, Interpol, Performance David Ford and Hurts.


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