Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favorite Albums of 2009 (part 1)

It took a little longer than I expected (as always), but I've finally finished putting together this list. I don't even know why I put so much time and work into this. Will my future kids ever read this to see if their dad ever listened to cool music? (the likely answer: No, but if they did, they would conclude that the music I liked is "old" and "boring.")

So after much listening, contemplating, deliberating (with myself), and rearranging, here it is. The top 10 consists of one Scottish band, one Canadian band, several American bands, and one female artist. Wow, a girl finally made it to my list. I don't even know me anymore.

Because the post is quite long, I've split it into two parts. The first part will be the top 10 albums, with the second part containing the runner-ups and special categories.





Why It's On the List: They're a two piece band that plays garage rock. Before you start picturing the White Stripes, try harder. Because of their repetitive melodies and simple three chord structures, I would say they're more like a techno band with guitar and drums. You're probably cringing right now, so give it a listen before you venture further.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "we run the gauntlet / let's get to France / so we can French kiss some French girls"


Atlas Sound


Why It's On the List: Not the best album to mosh to. Nor dance to. Just sit back on your comfy couch, put on your headphones, and say goodnight. Yes, you can fall asleep listening to this. No, I mean that in a good way.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "forget the things you've left behind / through looking back you may go blind"


Throw Me the Statue


Why It's On the List: Look at that band name. Sound familiar? (Hint: it's from one of the good Indiana Jones films.) Oh, you wanted to know what they sound like? That's what your ears are for, dummy.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "I run, but I can't outrun / each tug just pulls me deep / Is this how I go? / Is this where I sleep?"


Emmy the Great

First Love

Why It's On the List: Her name is Emmy, and she's great at what she does, which is writing biting, yet clever lyrics for her "anti-folk" songs. Oh, and she sings pretty damn well.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "and you and me are still but the scenery moves / well why would it stop just 'cause suddenly there's one where there used to be two"




Why It's On the List: The best Christian band that doesn't go by that label. Dustin's lyrics are sharp as always, and the band is quietly growing and nurturing their signature sound with each project. With that said, there are few tracks on here that I don't really care for (i.e. "Doublespeak"), so the album as a whole wasn't as great as I was expecting. Still, it's good enough to be #6 on my list.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "thought I must be dead or dreaming / when my captain still battered, betrayed / pulled me up, laid me over the beam he clung to / breathed his last and sank under the waves / your body is a bridge across an endless sea"


Say Hi

Oohs & Aahs

Why It's On the List: "Noise pop?" "Post-pop?" I don't care what it's called, all I know is that I love it. It's also very refreshing to hear an album with songs that sound different from one another. Variety is the spice of life. Or something. One negative -- I liked it better when he called himself Say Hi to Your Mom.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "my girl oh well sometimes it just don't add up / she says she's here but I know she isn't / and she talks a lot and I doze out, it works out pretty fine / she's got the looks and I've got the time"


Quiet Company

Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon

Why It's On the List: I didn't know about these guys until Texas kept harping on and on about them, so when it boils down to it, he's responsible for why the album is on here. I don't think I'm so much in love with them like he is, but yeah, the band is great. The album doesn't have any weak songs, nor any filler. It's a very strong piano-driven power pop record with well-written and thought-out lyrics about... life. That could sound incredibly simple or complicated, depending on who you are. Sorta like the band.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "and I came across the desert / trying to make life a metaphor / but there was no one to share my wisdom / so I moved along"


Brand New


Why It's On the List: The followup to The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (my favorite album from 2007) sounds like a natural progression -- angry, bitter, and filled with utter despair. Did Jesse give up on God? Is the band done? Does anyone other than me care? (Eff you guys.)

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "I'm a mountain that has been moved / I'm a fugitive that has no legs to run / I'm a preacher with no pulpit / spewing a sermon that goes on and on and on and on..."




Why It's On the List: Phil Spector, eat your heart out. Fantastic album, from the first track to the last. And how awesome is that Scottish accent? William Wallace would be proud (if he were into rock music).

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "liar, liar, liar, liar, liar, pants on fire"


The Antlers


Why It's On the List: Devastatingly, despairingly, bleakly, dejectedly, depressingly, miserably, heartbreakingly sad. Life sucks. But it can inspire some brilliant songs.

Sample of Lyrical Brilliance: "there was glass inside my feet and raining down from the ceiling / it opened up the scars that had just finished healing / it tore apart the canyon running down your femur / I thought that it was beautiful, it made me a believer"

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