Okay. Let's dive into my favorite albums of the year, shall we?
Listen, I realize this is pretty self indulgent and maybe even a bit arrogant.
This page can easily be navigated away from if you think I'm a total dickhead/idiot/music snob/music ignoramus/etc. Either way, let's get down to it...
This list is in no way in specific ranked order. This music as of my typing this right now is undefined as to whether it will be a 20/30/457 best of 09 list so we'll just see what unfolds.
Here we go.
The Dangerous Summer - Reach for the Sun
This album is a gem. While this list is not numbered this would most likely be number one if it was. This album is amazing. The lyrics are so amazing. Easy to relate to. Very personal. The instrumentation sounds beautiful. It's very lush without being over produced. This, to me, feels very much like a summer time album but all around is just one of the better things I've heard this year. There's honestly no throw away tracks here. It shines from front to back.
I am actually turning this on right now to listen to while I type this list out. Phenomenal. If you take nothing else from this list please listen to this album.
Jeremy Enigk - OK Bear
This album is a very close second to the above listed album. Jeremy Enigk is the front man of recently reunited emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate. They're good and they're a huge influence on the genre however I've never been a HUGE fan. Just casual listener. So obviously I hadn't really heard much of Enigk's previous solo releases (3 albums and 1 score) and wasn't thinking too much of this release when I checked it out. I was absolutely blown away. Maybe due to the fact that I was not really expecting much but listen after listen this album fails to impress. It's just overall a masterpiece of a rock record. Fuck your genres. If you like rock music and any of it's broad sub genres I suggest you check this out. There's something here for everyone. Lyrics, vocals and music are all lush and diverse. If you haven't heard it, (and most of the "taste makers" lists that I've browsed, pitchfork and the like, I'm looking at you haven't listed it) which I think may be a large possibility, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
Love this album. As a Wilco fan I think it's absolutely great. If you're not a Wilco fan I don't think that it's going to bring about a stampede of conversions. Really I think that here they have blended the elements that I love of their past work and kept the songs musically accessible as they were on Sky Blue Sky. So it's radio friendly Wilco of that release, however a bit more experimental to bring back those fans of "YHF" and "Ghost." With lyrics like "...every generation thinks it's the worst, thinks it's the end of the world" it shows that Jeff Tweedy is still in top form as far as his lyrics are concerned. End of the day if you don't like Wilco give it a try. If you don't get it in a couple listens you can chuck this one.
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Oh Lily, Lily, Lily. You and your weird myspace blogs crying about self-image and speaking of suicide. You and that third nipple. You and your cooky, semi-pornographic outfits you've been wearing since your miscarriage/weight loss. You're such a crazy broad. Honestly, if you weren't crazy I don't think you'd be able to make an album this great. Poppy, shiny production with the usual angsty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics (that probably aren't that tongue-in-cheek anymore, really) that we've come to love from you, Lily. My girlfriend really tried her best to make sure I absolutely hate this album. See, every time she has more than 3 beers in her it's a guarantee that she'll grab my iPod, put this on and start singing along. Even with this very nearly being WAY overplayed I can't deny what it is. A great album. One of the best this year. Thanks, Lily.
P.S. I know I mentioned you being crazy and all but I probably still would do, just sayin'.
Shook Ones - The Unquotable A.M.H.
Wow. Amazing hardcore album. I don't really fancy myself a hardcore fan. I mean what with all the beards, tattoos, circle pits, blood and straightedge dudes screaming about politics and animal rights. Then an album like this hits my eardrums. This is probably on the more melodic side of hardcore but it's great. Absolutely love it. Like I said it's melodic. You get some dude screaming at you over some of the quickest hooks you've ever heard played on an instrument. Don't know much of these guys previous work but after this album you can guarantee I'm digging through their entire back catalog. I suggest you do the same starting with this piece.
Ace Enders and a Million Different People - When I Hit the Ground
Ever heard of The Early November? This is that guy.
I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business? That guy, too.
Ace Enders crafts just some wonderful pop gems. They have a bit of a rock edge to them so they're not Jonas Brothers sugary but they will be stuck in your head forever! Honestly it's just a fun, feel good record. Probably the "safest" record on my list with Lily Allen. It's great. Just fun to listen to and fun to sing along with. All music, to me, invokes an emotion and while some you can relate to on a more personal level you still need to be able to just sit back & listen to some jams you don't have to think about. That's what Ace has crafted for you here and it's delicious!
Enough of the explanations.
This is becoming a bit self-indulgent, no?
Here's others I loved this year...
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
Brand New - Daisy
Thrice - Beggars
P.O.S. - Never Better
Brother Ali - Us
Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood
Modest Mouse - No One's First and You're Nxt
Two Tongues - Two Tongues
Say Anything - Say Anything
Felt - Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez
John Mayer - Battle Studies
The Swellers - Ups and Downsizing
Morrissey - Years of Refusal
Set Your Goals - This Will Be the Death of Us
Propogandhi - Supporting Caste
fun. - Aim & Ignite
Thursday - Common Existence
Owen - New Leaves
NoFX - Coaster
St. Vincent - Actor
Why? - Eskimo Snow
Some releases that I am looking forward to in 2010.
The Wonder Years - The Upsides (Ed. note: Shhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone but I've heard this album already. It's amazing!)
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction
Hellogoodbye - TBA
Jimmy Eat World - TBA
The Weakerthans - Honestly don't know if they'll be releasing something but if they do... Man, I'm sure it'll be great!
That's all I'll fill this space with my opinion that any/all could care less about anyway.