Top 10 Albums of 2009

By Kyle Walke

In no particular order here are my Top Ten albums of 2009.

Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion (Experimental, Psychedelic pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie rock)

Psychedelic pop masters Animal Collective bring a whole new sound to 2009. This album feels like you are a child all over again riding your favorite roller coaster.  Up and down, fast and slow, flashing neon lights are clouded out by memories of nostalgia.

Animal Collective- My Girls

Julian Casablancas- Phrazes for the Young (Indie pop)

Casablancas shines bright on Phrazes for the Young.  At first you might think these are just tracks that should be on a Strokes album, but realistically these songs wouldn’t fit on a Strokes album.  Not better or worse than Casablancas’ previous efforts, these songs just seem to really come alive on his solo venture.  One of the best tracks of the year, “11th Dimension,” is so indie pop, that you can just imagine in some dank dive bar Neil Diamond and Lou Reed are high fiving and arguing over whose buying the next round.

Julian Casablancas- Glass

Discovery- LP (Indie rock, electronic)

LP is the collaborative work of Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles from Ra Ra Riot, friends who began recording together in the summer of 2005.  Discovery is truly one of electro pop’s guilty pleasures.  Keyboards galore and an array of synthesizers give this album the feeling of falling in love during the eighties, but in a cotton candy sort of way.

Discovery- Swing Tree

Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest (Psych-folk, Neo-psychedelia, Experimental rock, Lo-fi)

Ominous and gloomy may be the first words that come to mind when thinking about Grizzly’s Bear’s newest album Veckatimest, however those adjectives do no real justice in describing  the brilliance of their third studio album.  Vekcatimest is a dark hauntingly beautiful disc.  The folk nature of vocals from Edward Droste and Daniel Rossen give the vibe of a long-lost love singing in halls of an abandoned church.

Grizzy Bear- Two Weeks

Passion Pit- Manners (Indie rock, Electronic, Alternative dance, Electro pop)

Easily the catchiest album of the year, Passion Pit brings heartache with fun pounding beats on their 2009 release.  While there are so many elements to their sound, if it was possible to boil this music down to one key ingredient; it would have to be passion.  The band name Passion Pit is actually derived from a 1950’s nickname teenagers used to have for drive-in movie theaters in reference to their romantic escapades.  Lead singer Michael Angelakos passionately wrote half these songs as a gift for an ex-lover.  The lyrics are sincere and the sound is pulsating, this is a truly carefully crafted masterpiece.

Passion Pit- The Reeling

Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca (Experimental rock, Indie rock)

Another Brooklyn-based experimental band hits the scene, but do these hipsters offer something of substance or more of what were used to?  They say it’s a thin line between genius and crazy, but the Dirty Projectors walk this high wire perfectly.  With lyrics like, “I know there’s a space for you in the basement; all you have to do is help out with the choirs and dishes.  And I know you will,” it would be easy to think these guys are lost somewhere looking for Cheetos and pot.  But the truth is when you hear the music, it’s not just what they say, but how they say it and the arrangement comes out magnificently.

Dirty Projectors- Stillness is the Move

Miike Snow- Miike Snow (Electro pop)

Swedish band Miike Snow are good, they’re real good.  In fact these kids are so good they had a grammy racked up before they released their self titled debut. Miike Snow are the masterminds behind uber pop sensation Britney Spears track “Toxic,” which won the Grammy for best dance track.  Well if “Toxic” is a sign of what to expect, there may be some truth in foreshadowing.  Miike Snow is full of amazing electronic pop tracks, but this is a well designed album from start to finish. Miike Snow, guaranteed to please.

Miike Snow- Animal

Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Indie rock, Alternative rock, Electronic)

These Frenchies know how to make one hell of a beat.  This album is like an electronic dance party, but without the dance; everyone just grooving to the beat of their own drum.  Songs like “Listomania” and “1901” have historical references while songs like “Fences” are just flat out fun. This album has an edge we are not necessarily used to from Phoenix, but it works and fans turn out to be the big winners.

Phoenix- 1901

Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2 (Hip Hop)

If Hip hop is dead then Raekwon came to resurrect it.  His rhymes are reminiscent of old school Wu Tang, his beats are solid and the production is second to none.  Tracks like “10 bricks” demonstrate his ability make himself relevant in an every growing pop-centered rap society. Raekwon takes it to the hood and gets things dirty.  He doesn’t just go old school hip-hop he transforms it into something fresh.  While the kids out there may be listening to Jay-Z hook up with Alicia Keys, rap purists are bobbing their noggins to the drums of “Only Built 4 $ Cuban Linx, Pt. 2.”

Raekwon- House of Flying Daggers

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It’s Blitz (Indie rock)

This is the most complete Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album yet and that’s saying something with the rave reviews they’ve accumulated with their previous two releases.  Karen O’s vocals are so powerful and sweet they make your knees shake and your heart physically hurt.  There are five tracks on this album that are so good any of which could be used in a music 101 class on how to write the perfect love song. All this talk about romance doesn’t mean they’ve left their angry punk side behind (tracks such as “Zero” keep that tradition alive), but if you’re looking for album to long for that perfect someone, you have found it.

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s- Soft Shock


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by elroy jets on January 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I wouldve liked to see the dream “love vs money” up here. I thought it was a very refreshing r&b album. Besides that, great list, cool reviews, and the videos are a good touch.


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