Wednesday, 23 December 2009

2009 Albums of the Year

Some of my favourite albums of 2009 in no particular order:

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

Not love on first listen but after some intensive listening ended up being my favourite of all Franz Ferdinand albums yet. Unusual Ulysses, sexy No You Girls, dancy Can't Stop Feeling, trippy Lucid Dreams or quite touching Katherine Kiss Me... Unlike the earlier albums this one doesn't really have one 'off moment' for me. I'm usually into one-take simplicity when it comes to rock stuff but FF's elaborate ways of producing this record have completely paid off in the end.

The Pursuit - Jamie Cullum

I really like Jamie's style. He's a true 21st Century Kid: he loves jazz, he loves pop, he loves another trillion of music styles and he's somehow able to blend them all together and always sound only like himself and no-one else - and he's getting better and better at it.
As I wrote in my 'review' of this album earlier this year: prior to hearing Jamie's version of Don't Stop The Music I had no idea the song existed and most probably even if I had heard it before I wouldn't have been able to draw a link between Rihanna's ordinary disco track and Jamie's explosion of sexiness. Someone pass me an ice cube.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much - Mika

I fully realize there are many people who don't 'get' Mika's colourful yet kind of spooky world. All jurnos seem to be able to do is lable him "flamboyant". This guy isn't flamboyant, he's downwright craaaazy. But in the best possible artistic way. In a way that gives birth to characters like Dr. John and songs like Rain. All one has to do is jump through the mirror and enjoy the sad yet uplifting ride that'll make you believe that We, actually, Are all pretty much Golden.

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - Kasabian

An example of an album where I really don't pay that much attention to the individual songs but rather to the album as a whole.
This album is swagger, this album is a man's man who isn't afraid to raise his maul into the air and cry out in despair for the love missing from this world.
This is what rock and roll sounds like in 2009. Even with all our technology, it's still about the Fire,

Far - Regina Spektor

I wanted to put one of Regina's songs from Far on my previous list but I just couldn't choose just one. Regina's released her strongest album yet, dealing with God and other familiar human stuff in her unique quirky way but giving us melodies that you just can't resist and end up singing to them in no time. Oh, and the piano can make our heart sing as easily as it can make it cry.

It's Not Me, It's You - Lily Allen

Tho labled as a naughty girl by the press Lily in fact is very unlike any other female singer out there right now. She's just too clever for her own good. Biting, ironic, sweet and an annyoing bitch at the same time. Lyrically she is a bit of a female Robbie Williams but she's not afraid to be way more political even if it eventually blows up in her face. Fuck You is a true protest song for the new millenium, Everyone's At It & The Fear deal with the sad state of things that are and Him deals with God...with a mixture of irony, warm humor, sadness and catchy melodies.
On the other hand even when Lily loses the smirk and lets her emotions unfold she's still very gripping: I Could Say or the Take That rip-off Who'd Have Known will tug at your heart strings without making you feel guilty about it afterwards...
Best female pure-pop act out there. One-of-a-kind. It would be really sad if this album doesn't get a follow-up.

Journal for Plague Lovers - Manic Street Preachers

Manics are back raw and with the late Richey Edwards's lyrics. Songs like the lead single Jackie Collins Existential Question Time makes you sing along, songs like William's Last Words will send shivers down your spine. Great album.

Reality Killed the Video Star - Robbie Williams

Three years after Rudebox which got undeserved shit from the British press, Robbie decided to go back to his classic (brit) pop roots and the result is probably the most well-balanced record of his recent career. Robbie's slightly less biting than he used to be (Morning Sun, Won't Do That), on the other hand he sings about not calling it a comeback Last Days of Disco) and male lesbians (Difficul for Weirdos), so you know he's still very much our Robbie that won't ever make it big in the US by singing Jesus didn't die for you - what are you on?! - and all is well. :o)

Coraline OST - Bruno Coulais

Of all this year's original soundtracks this one caught my interest the most. Bruno Coulais has previously also scored with his beautiful compostition for Les Choristes, with Coraline he underlines the weirdness and spookiness of the film and a plus point of his songs is the fact the language they're sung in is a made up gibberish which the whole world can equally not understand in unison. ;o)

The Boat That Rocked - Various Artists

No new music here (except for one Duffy's coverversion) but I decided to include this compilation soundtrack album on this list because simply it is better than most of the stuff the still very much alive artists have come up with this year - and it doesn't even include one song by The Beatles. ;o)
If My Generation doesn't get you going, A Whiter Shade Of Pale doesn't make you trip a little and Lorraine Ellison's Stay With Me doesn't break your heart and make you wish Leona Lewis would be capable of something like that, you aren't alive...


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