Tuesday, December 29, 2009

25 Albums of 2009: Honorable Mentions

Before we start dissecting the decade, I wanted to make a list of my favorite albums of 2009, many of which will likely pop up again when I crank out a "Best of the Decade" list in the next couple weeks. I'm probably going to hold off on a best of 2009 film list for a little while because I still have a lot of movies I want to see, but if all goes according to plan, you'll be suffering for list overdose by the end of January. These lists will still be chock full of the irreverent charm and witticisms you've come to expect, so don't fret. Here are a few Honorable mentions from 2009, in no particular order.

Morrissey - Years of Refusal

Morrissey has closed out the decade with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, and we are all the better for it. His last three albums have found The Smiths leader happy (as happy as Morrissey can be), and on Years of Refusal he puts out some of his strongest post-Smiths work, his fluttery boom of a voice as strong as ever. I saw him perform in March, and it was a transcendent experience.
Best track - Something Is Squeezing My Skull

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

These young gents from the UK have quietly matured since releasing their debut in 2006. While their newest album has its share of catchy riffs and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, there are also songs like the brilliant Cornerstone that find Alex Turner at his most tender, without sacrificing any of his wit.

Best Track - Cornerstone

Mos Def - The Ecstatic

While unfamiliar with most of his work before The Ecstatic, this album made my check out the rest of his catalog. Mos Def balances his dynamic lyrics with hearty doses of social commentary and consciousness, a rarity in the hip-hop world today and a welcome change of pace.

Best Track - Life In Marvelous Times

The Almighty Defenders - The Almighty Defenders

A collaborative feature from The Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ, The Almighty Defenders have an unsurprising grungy sound, but what is surprising is how fun it sounds and how undeniable the hooks are.

Best Track - All My Lovin'

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

2009 found perennial "Best of" powerhouses The Decemberists experimenting a bit, originally conceiving The Hazards of Love as a musical, eventually releasing it as an album instead. While the whole thing is perhaps a bit ambitious (even for The Decemberists), the album works for the most part and the female parts make for a nice balance and change of pace from their typical balladry.

Best Track - The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid

Stay tuned for albums 25-16 tomorrow!!

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