Best Albums of 2009: 20-11

27 Dec

Well way hey hey, here we are.  The top 20.  Hope you don’t mind that I nipped out for Christmas and Christmas Eve.  I’m sure you 5 readers can understand.

So, anyways.  This top 20.  Wow.  What a great bunch of albums, I mean, I realize I’ve only been listening to a lot of *new* music since the end of 2007, but, this is some seriously good stuff here.  I’ve worked hard all year to be sure that this top 20 is as strong, for me, as possible, and I’m pleased with the results.  On and Wards.

20. Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light

There’s something about this album that keeps me coming back for more.  It’s possible that I’ve heard it more than some of the albums in my top 10 even.  What I don’t understand is why.  I don’t care much for Antony’s voice, though I do realize that it is quite beautiful in its own way.  It must be the music, in fact, I’m sure it is.  Melodic and sweeping, it brings you in and pours on the emotion.  Not to mention the track “Aeon”, which, very nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it.

19. Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

Possibly my biggest regret of the year was pushing listening to this album off as long as I did.  As a result, tickets to their upcoming show in Dallas sold out before I had a chance to purchase them, and purchase I would have.  I can’t say a whole lot about this because my feelings towards it are still growing.  It’s the newest album in the top 20 as far as my listens to it are concerned, so, I’m doing it a bit of an injustice with this review.  To make up for it, a video!  Another of the best songs of the year *spoiler*:

18. Antlers – Hospice

I’m not the biggest fan of concept albums.  Especially when the concept is vague and barely holding on.  If you’re going to go for the concept album, go all the way, tell us a story with the music.  Antlers do this with their terribly depressing tale of bone cancer.  What is always unfortunate, however, with concept albums, is that you just have to be in a certain frame of mind to hear them, thus, this is not going to be a frequent spin for me, however, singles “Two” and “Bear” are already saved into the iPod for future obsession.

17. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

Possibly the lowest spot you’re ever going to see this album in on any end of the year list, it’s a bit of a surprise it ended up here, personally speaking.  I spent an entire year despising this album, mostly because my brain is so wired to be anti-hype, sometimes I unfortunately miss out on a lot of good things in life.  This, was an exception.  There are flaws with this album, as with any other, specifically the repeated use of echo vocals with repeated lines and synth parts.  But the songs that are great, they’re mind-blowingly so.  I’ve already mentioned one top song of the year candidate in this post, so I’m going to refrain from specifying what my favorite song from this album is, but, surprisingly, it is NOT “My Girls” or “Summertime Clothes”, both of which are flipping amazing tracks in their own right.

16. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns

As I already mentioned previously, by listening to Florence & The Machine I had a huge change of heart towards Two Suns.  This is another band I saw at Lollapalooza, come to think of it, and what a terrible idea that was having Natasha Khan perform in the middle of the afternoon.  This album was made for 2 A.M.  And by the time I finally realized that, it was already December.  I’m glad I came around, though.  Incredibly glad.

15. Royksopp – Junior

If there’s one type of music I will always and forever love, God I hope it’s this sort of dark synth.  What’s even better is that this is apparently the less serious of a two-album span.  Highly anticipating the potential release of Senior next year, as, Junior completely blew me away, quite unexpectedly.  With no idea what they sounded like, I went with a friend’s suggestion (coercion?  Flat out forcing?) to listen to this album, and she apparently reads me like a book, because it wasn’t just right up my alley, it was parking it’s damn bike in my garage.

14. Muse – Resistance

At this point, this album is almost feeling like a guilty pleasure.  There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t like it.  For one, my love of Muse has dwindled greatly.  For another, well, there are some silly songs on it (I’m looking at you “United States of Eurasia”).  In fact, a few songs are completely ripping off old Muse songs!  And yet, I can’t help but adore it, and I think that’s all thanks to the “Symphony”.  My love of classical music should be no secret by this point, and the mixture of “rock” music along with classical throughout the album was already great enough, but for it to close with a trio of mesmerizingly beautiful melody, well that, that just completely blew my mind.

13. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

I guess maybe this and Muse are a duo of guilty pleasures.  There is nothing exactly spectacular about Allen’s sophomore album, but, when you like every single track on something, how can you not rate it highly?  That’s my thought process anyways.  And I get such pleasure out of this.  It’s loose, it’s fun, it’s carefree, and yet, it’s not.  It FEELS carefree, but there are actually some fairly significant issues covered in the album if one looks closer.

12. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

This may be the final entry in “bands my boyfriend likes so he talked me into listening to them too” albums.  Obviously, it’s also the most successful.  Once again, as with Wilco, as with The Flaming Lips, it really wasn’t a good idea to listen to this album, as I actually haven’t heard anything else but SFA, but in this case, I’m glad I did it anyways.  An insanely fun album, trying out many different styles, and vocal structures, I have no idea if this is something they do all the time, but I need to get around to finding out.

11. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

SORRY AXVER!  Ok, now that that’s out-of-the-way, this is a greaaaaaaaaat album.  So great, like, I’m going to completely fawn over it for about 5 seconds, mmmkay?  Also, as far as this and The Avett Brothers go, I think maybe I heard this before that one, but they’re both incredibly recent entries to the top 20, but I stand by them 100%.  Especially this one.  Sure, the structure of each song is exactly the same, a couple slow verses, and then suddenly it explodes into an uproarious chorus, but, I LOVE that shit, so, who am I to complain?  The labeling of this album as bluegrass, for the record, is an incredible sin.  Just because there is a banjo does not mean that this is, as a friend of mine likes to refer to it, “Hick Music”.

Ok, we’re only getting warmed up, now.  Starting tomorrow, I will go into the top 10, but, as I’m going to actually put some media in those posts, I’m going to go ahead and break them up to five a piece (plus, I have company and I don’t really have the time to do all ten at once), so hold onto your hats, it’s about to get funky.

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