The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (According to Shaun)

A year filled with great music, great songs, great albums.  A wonderful year in music to end the decade.  For me a year dominated by British Acts, Duos, and lots of great Rock.  Here is a collection of 40 of my favorite albums from a year that will definitely be remembered for many reasons.

40.  Tic Toc Tic – The Zolas

Introduced to me by my other future sister-in-law Breanna, this Vancouver based jumped into 40th place on the list because of their raucous album filled with ridiculously catchy songs.

myspace Fav songs:  The Great Collapse, You’re too Cool

39.  Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South – Ha Ha Tonka

It’s hard to not listen to this album and not compare it to the Kings of Leon.  But this album doesn’t have the in your face swagger, which i think is a good thing.  “Close every valve to your beating heart” was supposed to be on my top 100 list, but was erroneously  left out.

myspace Fav Songs:  Close every valve to your beating heart, Hold my feet to the fire

38.  Sunny Side Up – Paolo Nutini

A huge fan of Paolo’s first album, this album came as a surprise.  This Scotsman’s sophomore album is a lot more soul.  A lot of this album would have done wonders in the 50’s and 60’s.

myspace Fav Songs: 10/10, Coming up Easy

37.  Wilco (The Album) – Wilco

It’s more of the same from Wilco, which is always great.  Wilco is one of my favorite live bands and I am looking forward to hearing some of these new songs done live.

myspace Fav Songs: I’ll fight, Sonny Feeling, You and I

36.  Tonight – Franz Ferdinand

One of the more surprising outings this year for me.  This album reclaims the energy of their debut and adding some interesting flourishes.

myspace Fav Songs: No you Girls, Ulysses

35.  It’s Frightening – White Rabbits

The Percussion.  This album is all about the percussion.  The rest of is great too.  But nearly every song has an interesting or dominant drum component.  Mixed with the great songs, strong vocals and lyrics, and you get a great album.

myspace Fav Songs: Percussion Gun, Rudie Falls

34.  Manners – Passion Pit

Helium vocals, synths and beats.  This album was full of songs that soundtracked the fun times of summer.  An album that requires repeat listens.  And dancing.

myspace Fav Songs: Sleepyhead, Moth’s Wings, the Reeling

33.  Album – Girls

This is an album that required growth for me.  The first listen yielded two strong favorite songs, and further listens brought the rest of the songs into focus.  For some reason I get the feeling of a grittier Roy Orbison.

myspace Fav Songs: Lust for Life, Laura

32.  Dark was the Night – Various Artists

A double compilation created for charity by members of the National.  The artist list on this comp is impressive enough, and the fact that so many of these songs are great is a testimony to the artists.

myspace Fav Songs:  The Train Song (Feist and Ben Gibbard), So Far Around the Bend (The National), Tight Rope (Yeasayer)

31.  Blakroc – Blakroc

Black Keys and Hip Hop.  Last years Black Keys album with Danger Mouse pushed them out of their strict garage rock formula.  This year they take it 2 steps forward by incorporating some of the top artists in the hip hop scene.  This could have failed, but instead it rocked.

myspace Fav Songs: Dollaz and Sense, Ain’t Nothing Like you

30.  Watch me Fall – Jay Reatard

It took me awhile to understand the hype.  But one afternoon in the car, I listened to this album 6 times in a row.  I was hooked.  Pure garage rock.  I just found out now that he passed away last night.  I guess I have to go back into his back catalogue to hear more from this once rising talent.

myspace Fav Songs: It ain’t gonna save me, A whisper (There is no sun)

29.  Hospice – The Antlers

An album about watching his friend die of cancer.  This list has its fair share of subtle and understated albums.  But this album is a quiet as it is sad.  The songs chronicle the feelings and times in haunting beauty.

myspace Fav Songs: Bear, Two

28.  Where the Wild Things Are – Karen O and the Kids

This companion to the movie perfectly captured the feeling of the film.  Raucous, joyful, carefree, angry, sad, and uplifting.  And best of all, it works on it’s own.

myspace Fav Songs: All is Love, Rumpus

27.  Everything is New – Jack Peñate

This British album is one I go to when I am in a good mood.  It’s a smile maker for me.  Upbeat melodies, trebly guitars, throwback moments.  This is one of the top UK pop albums for me.

myspace Fav Songs: Be the one, Pull my heart away

26.  The Ecstatic – Mos Def

Mos Def is Back.  After flopping on his last few outings, his new album is groundbreaking and interesting.

myspace Fav Songs: Supermagic, Casa Bey

25.  Face Control – Handsome Furs

A lively album that I checked out based on a tweet from Ryan Adams.  A Brilliant album that just may deserve to be higher up on this list.

myspace Fav Songs: Legal Tender, Evangeline, Radio Kaliningrad

24.  Middle Cyclone – Neko Case

The first Neko Case album I truly loved.  Neko is at her best on this album and the songs are outstanding.

myspace Fav Songs: This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping

23.  Yeah So – Slow Club

I first heard of the Slow Club on a Christmas mix last year.  This album contained some of my favorite songs of the year, and the male/female vocal interplay makes this album.

myspace Fav Songs:  When I go, It Doesn’t have to be Beautiful, Giving up on Love

22.  It’s Blitz – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

This album may very well be worthy of one of my top 10 spots, but for some reason it ended up here.  The first half of ’09 seemed to be dominated by this album.  But, maybe their lackluster show at Sasquatch brought it down for me.  It is still a fantastic album filled with standouts.

myspace Fav Songs: Zero, Skeletons, Heads will Roll

21.  Wild Young Hearts – The Noisettes

In 2007 The noisettes had one of my very favorite albums.  And the #1 track on my list.  Come 2009, the new album is killer, but they seem to have lost their rawness, their fury.  This album is more soulful, but I sometimes miss the fury.

myspace Fav Songs: Don’t Upset the Rhythm, Saturday Night,

20.  A New Tide – Gomez

10 years ago, Gomez were one of my favorite British bands.  This album brings them back.  Classic Gomez that feels new.  A great return.

myspace Fav Songs: Airstream Driver, Mix, Little Pieces

19.  Weathervanes – Freelance Whales

Check out my review posted on this blog a month or so back for the whole review.  Enjoying this album more and more each time.

myspace Fav Songs: Generator^ First Floor, Hannah

18.  Some Kind of Salvation – The Features

This is another one of those energetic albums.  Lots of instrumentation, fun lyrics and melodies.  Album’s you look to when it’s sunny out, or when you are driving fast.

myspace Fav Songs: Lions, Baby’s Hammer

17.  Grand – Matt and Kim

It all starts with Daylight.  This duo’s energy is infectious as is the album.  The simplicity of the songs and the album make it even more fun.  A great listen.

myspace Fav Songs: Daylight, Lessons Learned

16.  Music for Men –  The Gossip

Beth Ditto’s vocals, the punk undertones, and the electronic beats mixed make this album one that I listened to a lot this year.  Maybe too much.  It’s one that you have to be in the mood for, but when you are it’s perfect.

myspace Fav Songs: Heavy Cross, 8th Wonder

15.  Black Swan – Athlete

Athlete have been one of my favorite British artists of the last ten years.  The first time I listen to a new album by them I seem surprised that it’s different from their last.  It’s obvious Athlete, but there is always a progression.  Once again, this album is one I can’t seem to get enough of.

myspace Fav Songs: Rubik’s Cube, Black Swan

14.  Speech Therapy – Speech Debelle

British Hip Hop.  Great British Hip Hop.  This Mercury Prize Award winning album features mostly minimalist backing, but it’s the the perfect soundtrack to her delivery.

myspace Fav Songs: Better Days, Live and Learn

13.  The Hazards of Love – The Decemberists

This Rock Opera could have failed on so many levels.  And it barely doesn’t.  It borders cliche, but that’s what makes it so strong.  Performed live in it’s entirety at Sasquatch, the album takes on a whole new level.

myspace Fav Songs: Hazards of Love

12.  One eskimO – One eskimO

The journey of a little Eskimo and some other characters put to music in a concept album/animated piece.  Story or no story this is a great album.  Each song stands out in it’s own way, and the album binds them together.

myspace Fav Songs: Kandi, Giving Up

11.  The Big Pink – The Big Pink

On the surface it seems to be a very misogynistic album.  And I am not really sure how to say it isn’t, but it is a classic rock album.  Featuring some of the best songs of the year, and some of the most interesting moments.  The album varies in sounds and style but stays true to their sound.  Each listen yields new favorites.

myspace Fav Songs: Velvet, Dominos

10.  Know Better Learn Faster – Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

Know better learn faster was an album that I had been looking forward to for a bit this year.  I had a couple of singles and advance tracks that I really enjoyed.  When the album was finally released it was full of tempered energy.  There is a certain rawness that is perfectly mixed with some clean production.  Lyrically Thao ranges as do the songs.  A varied listen that never strays to far and always keeps me looking for more.

myspace Fav Songs: Know Better Learn Faster, Cool Yourself

9.  Reverence for Fallen Trees – The Black Atlantic

This album is my “For Emma, Forever Ago” for 2009.  The Dutch Band recorded this album in a cabin in the adirondack giving it that rootsy feel.  This is a delicate and moody album that is subdued and gorgeous.  His haunting falsetto carries the lyrics throughout, while the acoustic beauty accompanies.  Listen to this album start to finish a few times in a row, and you will be hooked.  And best of all, this album is available free on their website.

myspace Fav Songs: Reverence for Fallen Trees, Dandelion,

8.  Fever Ray – Fever Ray

As you may know, Kris is a huge fan of The Knife and of Fever Ray.  After 3 years, I finally began to like The Knife.  Enter Fever Ray.  To me this album was more accessible than the majority of the work from the Knife, and the videos to accompany it were dark and creepy.  An album that is perfect for the dark and moody moments.  Or pretty much anytime.

myspace Fav Songs: When I grow Up, Seven

7.  Resevoir – Fanfarlo

Kris first introduced me to one of their singles earlier this year.  a couple months later I saw their album advertised for purchase on their website for $1.00 with bonus tracks. How can you pass on a deal like that?  Well the rest of the album is enough to bring this to the #7 position.

myspace Fav Songs: Ghosts, I’m a Pilot

6.  XX – The XX

Subtle and understated are two words that come to mind when you first hear this album.  However, this album requires a proper listen.  LOUD!  In headphones or on a great stereo.  That is when all of the elements become noticeable.  Lyrically this album is amazing, and the songs are fantastic.  This is a strong debut from a group that has made a big impact on me this year.

myspace Fav Songs: VCR, Crystalised

5.  Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix

Phoenix’s album is loaded with perfectly crafted melodies, and incredibly catchy songs.  This album broke them into the mainstream finding themselves on SNL, and in commercials.  Nearly every song is single-worthy, but as a whole is where the album truly shines.  A classic.

myspace Fav Songs: Lisztomania, 1901

4.  Aim and Ignite – fun.

This album from the former “The Format” frontman is over the top, theatrical and, above all, fun.  The album is loaded with broadway style pop.  Songs about life, relationships and the usual fare are sung over rich and layered arrangements.  But it’s the enrgy and the melodies that grab you.  Kris isn’t a fan of his voice, but I like it.

myspace Fav Songs: Be calm, Walking the Dog, All the Pretty Girls

3.  Hometowns – The Rural Alberta Advantage

What more could an Albertan want? It’s about Alberta, from a former Edmontonian.  This album received the major label release this year that is so deserved, garnering it the acclaim and exposure it earned.  Raw, lively, and real.  Nearly every track is a standout.  And it’s great to hear songs about your hometown, or your province.  My favorite track is still “Frank, AB” and is a lovely song for such a tragic event.  I am looking forward to their show in a month.

myspace Fav Songs: Frank, AB, Edmonton

2.  The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

Last year “Noah and the Whale” placed number 2.  This year, #2 again.  Still dark, moody, and melodic.  But different.  I purchased the deluxe version of this album which came with a film set to the entire album adding a visual component to the music.  But with music this affective you don’t really need it.  Every song evokes emotion of some sort.  I thought that I was too happy to enjoy this album, and then things got sad for me.  But I loved this album when I was happy too.  The title track still has the ability to give me chills, and there are so many musical moments that this album is strongly at #2.

myspace Fav Songs: First Days of Spring, Blue Skies, My Broken Heart

1.  Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine

What can be said about this album that hasn’t been said before.  I loved their EP last year and was anticipating this release this year.  Every listen yields a new find.  Every song mutates after each listen, and becomes new each subsequent turn.  Nearly every song on this album was in a playlist I made this year.  Her voice!  The Lyrics!  The melodies!  The best album of the year!
myspace Fav Songs:  Rabbit Heart, Dog Days are Over, Drumming Song
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2 Responses to The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (According to Shaun)

  1. Also Take a look at this collection of lists featuring Kris and Kristin’s

    http://largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/updates_2009/

  2. Pingback: We get up early just to start cranking the generator – Part 2 | Bolster Your Holster

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