Wednesday, December 30, 2009

25 Albums of 2009: 25-16

I always think that every year is a disappointing year for music until I come up with these lists, so believe me when I say I'm doing it as much for myself as I am for anyone. Maybe it's the culture we live in that causes me to digest, obsess and then forget about most albums in less than a week, or maybe I just have a terrible memory. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Here's 25-16

25. Clipse - Til The Casket Drops

While brothers Pusha T and Malice have risen through the ranks enough to be lauded by critics, commercial success has remained elusive. Perhaps that's why most of the songs on here sound both defensive and inflated, deflecting criticism from those they've passed while peacocking for everyone else. Thematically, Til the Casket Drops is uneven, as songs like "There Was a Murder" about senseless violence are sandwiched between songs like "I'm Good" and "Never Will It Stop" that glorify it. Thankfully there's enough top-notch stuff here to balance out the lows.

Best Track - Popular Demand (Popeyes)

24. Let's Wrestle - In The Court of The Wresling Let's

Most critics have slept on these guys, but they cannot be denied. Writing punchy, addictive tracks that sound almost improvised, they sound like a lo-fi Arctic Monkeys, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Best Track - I Won't Lie To You

23. Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor

While a stark thematic departure from his last album, (2007's 'The Magic Position'), the defiant Patrick Wolf is still able to extract melodies from amidst the lush orchestration. Still not sure why the album cover looks like some Final Fantasy screenshot. 

Best Track - Hard Times

22 - Dead Man's Bones - S/T

I've already blogged about this Ryan Gosling project, and after seeing them live (with an entire children's choir) my opinion has not soured. Even if it's merely an artistic distraction from acting, it's an eerie, noble one.

Best Track - Pa Pa Power

21- Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

While not their best or most accessible album (that honor belongs to Strawberry Jam), Animal Collective continue to silence all their critics and redefine indie rock. All in a days work. And that cover, one of the best of ALL TIME. ALL TIME. /kanye

Best Track - Girls
I'm not going to post a link, you all know this song and it was one my top 200 tracks of the decade list if you need a refresher.

20- Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon

Time will be kind to Man on the Moon. While dismissed as too dark and moody by some, there's a lot to like if you can get past the icy exterior. Unfortunately, most people expected more songs like "Poke Her Face" (which is wildly out of place here) and were disappointed. Kid Cudi has promised a more upbeat album in the near future, but here's to hoping his critics give Man on the Moon another spin in the interim.

Best Track - Soundtrack 2 My Life

19 - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz

Karen O has one of the best voices in music today, capable of snarls in one instant and delicate coos the next. It's Blitz offers a slight tweak on their rock formula, peppering in a few synths and some ambient sound, but the trio is smart enough to keep Karen's voice front and center where it should be.

Best Track - Heads Will Roll

18 - Discovery - LP

Two hipsters from two of the whitest bands of the decade (Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot) try their hand at R&B, complete with synths, handclaps and autotune? Critics everywhere licked their chops. And then a funny thing happened. It was awesome. Unabashedly embracing the syrupy lyrics and the harmonies you've come to expect from R&B, the production remains decidedly indie. While the 2nd half loses a bit of momentum, for a while it is disarmingly great.

Best Track - Osaka Loop Line

17- Drake - So Far Gone Mixtape

"Dropped a mixtape, that s--- sounded like an album" as Drake says on Forever, and he says it best. Drake revolutionized the mixtape game with this thing, with "Best I Ever Had" becoming a chart-topping summer anthem. Mixtapes are supposed to be fun throw-away indulgences, but apparently Drake never got that memo. Never has an artist experienced such a meteoric rise to the top, and it all started here. Crazy to think about.

Best Track - Ignant Shit (but I'm probably biased due to the Lil Wayne verse)

16. Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health

Sad these guys broke up, because this album really shows that they were on to something special. I had the pleasure of seeing them open for Passion Pit a few months ago, and they were a tough act to follow. I know Brooklyn rock bands are a dime a dozen, but listen to "Sunlight" and tell me that doesn't get the old toes a-tappin'.

Best Track - Sunlight

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