(Ashley’s) Best Albums of 2009: 10-6

28 Dec

So, company has arrived (eeeeeee), and I had to skip one more day on this.  That’s ok, as Cassie seems to have taken up the mantle of lizstofyin’.  Today, I will continue to attempt to NOT mention some of my favorite tracks of the year, but, I obviously enjoy many songs on these albums, or they wouldn’t be in my top ten, so I can assure these will still be justly done reviews.  WDANORS!

10. Pure Reason Revolution – Amor Vincit Omnia

I love an album title that firefox refuses to believe is spelled correctly.  Why is latin not in your internal dictionary, Firefox?  Why? (In case you were wondering, yes, I capitalized Firefox there because this is the only way its spell-checker is pleased with me spelling it).  Oh, I was writing something about an album, wasn’t I?  What can I say?  Waaaaaay better than their debut (Sorry, Phanan!), but that’s really only because I like this sound more than the debut.  Could this be the debut of heavy electro?  Maybe it already exists. In that case, where can I find more?  It is the inclusion of electronic music alone that even begins to make this something so near and dear to my heart, what a shock, I know.  And now, since it is NOT my favorite song on the album, but is a close enough second, here’s the, not-quite-as-good  “Deus Ex Machina” (I refuse to apologize, Axver):

9. Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

The death of a celebrity does not, in general, impact my life all that frequently.  Then, in the summer of 2008, LeRoi Moore, saxophone player and all-around kick-ass guy from Dave Matthews Band passed away, and it was due to such an unfortunate situation.  There are no certainties in life, I began to realize at that point, for, you see, I had passed up opportunities to see DMB before that point, thinking that they’d be around much longer, and I should stick to seeing the bands that I don’t know that about, bands like U2, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.  LeRoi was the heart of DMB, I related to him in the same way I do Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band, as, I too, am a saxophone player.  A positive of the situation is that I immediately threw out my theoretical pros/cons list of seeing Bruce Springsteen for a second time that year, because, you just don’t know.  And then, one year later, GrooGrux King came out.  I realize at this point, this review is more a personal revelation about my feelings towards the death of Moore, but nothing helped me realize these emotions more than this album.  The GrooGrux King in the title is Moore, the album being a tribute to his life.  Where I would be placing a video of my favorite song from this album right now, I’m instead going to leave you with the first track of Big Whiskey and perhaps you can feel just a smidge of the elation I did as the track began that very first time I heard it.

8. Hockey – Mind Chaos

Hello again, references to Lollapalooza, I’m beginning to realize just how much one day on your grounds has shaped my opinion of music for the year 2009.  Well done.  My original intention had been to go to all three days of Lolla, but financial Circumstances occurred later that summer, and plans had to be changed.  Not that I knew that when the schedule of artists came out.  My itinerary was fierce, but I was getting as much music out of the experience as  I could, but I didn’t know even half of these bands.  There was only one answer.  Who had the most interesting name?  If it was eye-catching enough, I looked further into their music.  Hockey is not interesting in and of itself, but my boyfriend and I needed to know if they were Canadian.  Though, as it would turn out, they were not, I was in love with their few songs I could find on teh interwebz.  Unfortunately, however, their album was not coming out until after Lollapalooza, so I was left for about five months listening to nothing but their three available tracks again and again and again.  Unfortunately, I did NOT get to go to all three days of Lolla, so I did not get to see Hockey.  I kept expecting a huge release of this album, honestly, and my reasons are thus: This is actually more of a reissue/re-imagining of Hockey’s debut.  It was original being sold on iTunes, when Capitol records signed Hockey, pulled the album, went to work making it better, and in the meantime, featured lead single “Too Fake” in a few ads.  So, I had every reason to believe that Capitol thought this album was going to be big.  Then the hype machine began to fade away, and the album silently came out one fall Tuesday, and I immediately began hyping it to anyone who would listen…even though I hadn’t heard it yet.  I’m sure everyone has that one album they wait all year for and are just sure it’s going to be the greatest thing they’ve ever heard.  Mind Chaos was my album.  And boy do I love it.  The album’s a mess, the band can’t decide if they want to be Arctic Monkeys, Bob Dylan, or Tom Petty (God, I hope they go with Tom Petty), but each track is pumping, moving, trying to reach to some greater plane to be hyperbolic.  The result is just one hot mess.  And now, the song I spent an entire summer listening to, thinking it just couldn’t get better than this (it did).

7. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This is, by far, the most pretentious album title I have ever heard in my entire life.  In fact, I almost couldn’t even bring myself to listen to it when I saw it.  IN FACT, I hated the album the first time I heard it, and I know it was just out of spite, because there was no reason in the world for me NOT to like it.  Synthpop, catchy lyrics (I think, they’re kind of hard to understand ;)), and danceable rhythms, these are the musical preferences of Ashley.  There are elements of the album I’m still not sold on (mostly, these days, that’s just “Fences”), and the fact that the best songs on the album are the opening duo, making the album lose a bit of steam far too quickly.  However, overall, this is one of those albums I can flip on at any moment and lose myself to the music for 40+ minutes of my life, and not give a damn.  And I do, quite often.  And hey, they must be doing something right to be featured in a zomg Cadillac commercial (Isn’t it obligatory in any review of this album to mention that? It seems to have become a prereq).

6. U2 – No Line on the Horizon

Are you, dear Reader, surprised?  You shouldn’t be, U2 put up a noble effort with their sound, releasing an album that Spin called “their oddest roots move yet – back to the edgy, old-school new-wave band they never really were.”  While I can’t really hear the new-wave in this album, I do have to agree, the album’s a return to form, at least after the dismal How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.  The obvious problem with this album, to me, is “Get On Your Boots”.  The inclusion of this track on the album, honestly, ruins everything.  To use that as some sort of glue to hold the first half and the second half together throws everything into such a cataclysmic chaos for me, and great as the second half is, I can never quite find my way back home.  It hurts saying that, I love U2.  I want to love the things they do, but, if you love everything, you’re just a Blind Sheep, and who wants that?  Not I, said the cat.  The better part of last year, and the beginning of this were spent in deep speculation, despair, anxiety, and of course, anticipation, jumping at the slightest piece of news, striving to avoid any of those retched “beach clips” of leaked material.  The end result, my 6th or 7th favorite U2 album.  Not too shabby.

Phew, that was quite a bit, thanks for sticking it out with me until now, you reading, soon, very soon, we shall reach the end of journey together, it’s been a fun one.

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One Response to “(Ashley’s) Best Albums of 2009: 10-6”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ashley’s Top 50 Albums of the 2000s: 30-21 « An Ocean of Noise - 27/03/2010

    […] I poured my heart out in the review of this album for the top albums of 2009; not wanting to repeat myself, you can read the review here: (Ashley’s) Best Albums of 2009: 10-6. […]

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