Best Albums of 2009: 30-21

24 Dec

Here we are again, friends.   I haven’t much else to say, so let’s get on with it.  (I bet you thought I was going to say “Onwards!”)

30. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

My last listen to this actually didn’t go all that well, but I know I spent the majority of the year enjoying this album, so I’ll leave it where it is.  Hell, there are occasions when I don’t even enjoy The Unforgettable Fire that much, and that’s my favorite album of all time…of all time.  Another album with an inexplicable closing number that I never listen to, Neko, if you REALLY want my to believe you recorded a swamp for 30 minutes, I’m going to need those crickets to not be so repetitive.

29. Miike Snow – Miike Snow

Reminding me a great deal of Passion Pit’s Manners probably is why I have this album ranked so “lowly”, comparatively speaking (spoiler alert?).  It’s a fun synth-pop album, but too many repeated phrases, and just not being the BEST in this particular “genre” leave it in a strange limbo where I will probably never listen to it again.

28. Karen O. And The Kids – Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack

It’s no secret I like soundtracks, what may not be as known is that I also love Karen O.  Hello, best of both worlds, how are you today?  While I have yet to see the film, unfortunately, with a soundtrack this emotionally profound connected to it, I have high hopes for the DVD release.  We’ll see.

27. Bell X1 – Blue Lights on the Runway

I’m trying to remember if this was the first album I heard in 2009.  I think that might have been Working on a Dream, but I remember the first time I heard lead single, “The Great Defector”, that was listening to a radio station from another country, waiting for the new U2 single to premiere.  “Get On You Boots” did not exactly rock the foundations of my world, but “The Great Defector” came close.  The album is filled with the often incredibly convoluted metaphors I’ve come to expect from Bell X1, and aside from a particularly painful one found in the penultimate track, “One Stringed Harp” (You’re still pulling your knickers from your arse, like you’re playing a one stringed harp…Yowch), it’s as good as anything else I’ve heard from these guys.

26. We Were Promised Jetpacks

I don’t know a lot by Frightened Rabbit, or at least I didn’t when I heard this album, but I knew a few songs, and I loved them, so when I heard this was what Jetpacks sounded like, I was all on board.  I don’t know if this is some new genre forming, a new Scottish sound, but I wouldn’t mind if it was.  The benefits of hearing this album were two-fold.  First, I heard an excellent album, and second, I finally got around to listening to some of Frightened Rabbit’s catalog.  Now onto 2010 so I can hear their new album.

25. Florence & The Machine – Lungs

Like We Were Promised Jetpacks, there was a direct correlation between this album, and me getting into another band.  Only this time, it actually completely changed my 2009 rankings.  For, you see, with each passing song on Lungs, I kept being filled with the desire to re-listen to Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns.  Another spoiler alert, my ranking for that album was greatly changed.  So, perhaps, like Miike Snow, the only problem I had with Florence & The Machine was that it was a sound I loved, but not as much as the way other people had done it.

24. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

I don’t have a lot to say about this one.  I know there was about a week where I listened to it about five times, and I haven’t since.  I haven’t fallen out of love, just fallen out of time, I suppose.  I think, at this point, I’ve heard all of the Arctic Monkeys’ full album releases, and my love for them is growing at a healthy pace, so, in time, I will return.

23. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

How the mighty have fallen.  At mid-year, this was my 7th favorite album of the year, out of about 45.  I’ve never liked Franz Ferdinand as much as I feel like I should.  Not sure why I’d feel a need to like a band, but, I do.  This album changed all that, it’s fun, thoughtful, and a bit of a different direction, but not too crazy.  I guess I maybe just got over the love after a while, or maybe it was making the mistake of listening to Blood, the remixes album of Tonight.  Either way, there are still a few fantastic tracks on here, but our relationship has cooled.

22. The XX- XX

Confession: I did not realize this album was “about sex” as I keep hearing that it is.  That doesn’t change anything, just thought I’d get that off my chest.  Anyways, I love this album.  It should probably be ranked higher, but it’s so…calm.  The album is there, it is very stripped down, it is very beautiful, but it never takes any grand leaps.  I love it for what it is, but for some reason, this is as high as I’ve been willing to rank it.

21. The Mountain Goats – Life of the World to Come

This is one of about three or four concert-attendance-rating-enhancements.  The songs on Life of the World to Come are unleashed in a live setting, and I can’t for the life of me understand why John Darnielle recorded some of them so lifelessly.  However, thanks to the concert attendance, I was able to get past some of the musical failings of the album and truly appreciate how beautiful it is lyrically.  This is not the best The Mountain Goats have to offer, but it is surely not the worst.

Tomorrow: Shit gets real.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I’m all better…sorry, Axver.

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