For me, this year was more about singles. The only time I didn’t have ADHD with music was when I was listening to an hour long trance track and that was purely so that I could get the playcount to 1 in my ipod. To actually put an album on high rotation was an effort, which made it really hard to make this list. But what is noticeably lacking for me is my navel gazing indie favourites. No sad albums here, I just want to dance!
|1. Kleerup – Kleerup
Kleerup is a swedish record producer who has all my favourite female swedish singers laying down vocals to some seriously good dance orchestra music. Robyn, Lykke Li and Marit Bergman sit highly in my music playlists so to have them all on one album just meant that this was a no brainer for number one of the year. Put this on when it is raining at night and you want to stare moodily out the window.
Most Played Song in itunes – Until We Bleed (with Lykke Li)
|2. La Roux – La Roux
Another dance cd but this ones a bit more shuffleworthy. La Roux’s voice pisses off a lot of people and her look/style shines on a lot of gaydars but as far as I know she is denying the lesbian accusation. The lyrics are quite mature for a pop album but the theme is the universal “I love you, you’ve scorned me, I’m stalking you, I can live without you” styles. Armour Love is probably the peak of the album. No third person story telling here, just “i’m talking directly to you” over an awesome pop tune.
Most Played Song in itunes – Bulletproof
Not allowed to embed the original (which has a great 80s video) but you can view the unplugged version:
|3. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me It’s You
When The Fear came out it re-established Lily’s position at the top of the UK Pop ladder. The song has some of the most intelligent lyrics of the year – “I am a weapon of massive consumption” sums up today’s 20 somethings in a sweet little package with an incredible video to boot. Lily is evolving in to some repetition though, my boyfriend is bad in bed sounds too familiar but it’s ok, because not many people are brave enough to put it to country music and release it in the pop charts. She’s even put a political song on there and delivers it with a sweetly sung “Fuck You”.
Most Played Song in itunes – I Could Say
Not allowed to embed The Fear, so here is the lyrics to “I could say”
|4. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
One for the Hipsters. This album is like taking a prozac pill which makes you want to stand still, with arms outstretched, palms and head to the sky grinning like a mad man (with one foot tapping). Yet another happy one, but this one is a little harder to grasp since his voice, although expressive, seems to piss me off enough to not want to listen to the whole album. As such, the album starts with 5 stars then moves to 4, 3, 2, 1 in the ratings. I have no idea what they are singing about but I sing along with gusto and joy.
Most Played Song in itunes – 1901
I could post the official Phoenix Lisztomania video, but I love this tribute to the brat pack Brooklyn Hipster mashup version so much better.
|5. Gomez – A New Tide
I’d almost given up on Gomez as becoming maybe too boring since their last few albums had just disappeared in to my collection. However, they were one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live, so I thought I’d give their new album a listen and even go see them in concert. Let me tell you, Gomez are back and this album may even be better than their debut. Airstream Driver is an uber beat driven blues thumping groove track. But the album starts as a sunday verandah kick back. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to see them in concert if you like even one of their songs.Most Played Song in itunes – Airstream Driver
|6. Daniel Merriweather – Love & War
I don’t mind me some white boy soul over hip hop beats with some mean keyboards especially when it has been touched by Mark Ronson – a producer who never fails to woo me with his 60’s touches. Impossible was the song plugged by the record company but I keep returning to the sad stylings of “Cigarettes”. Daniel has an interesting back story of being homeless in Melbourne and somehow ending up in New York hobnobbing with rap stars before he even had an album release. He could be a wanker, I have no idea, but I dig his tunes.
Most Played Song in itunes – Cigarettes
|7. Blank & Jones – The Logic of Pleasure
Not strictly a 2009 release but I’m claiming it because that is the year I discovered them. I’ve picked up a bit of a dance music habit over the past year or so which is how I ended up shelling $80 to go to a God’s Kitchen set at The Met. I had no idea about who was playing but was blown away by Blank & Jones who were there live. I immediately sought out this album and put it on high rotation. It’s awesome to drive to at night down a freeway or on a scooter as lights flash by. Also a great “just before I go out I need to get amped up” style of music. To get the best effect you need good speakers.
Most Played Song in itunes – The Night Starts Here
|8. Tegan & Sara – Sainthood
This one is a bit of a no brainer since I blindly purchase their albums as soon as they come out without listening to any of their songs. It’s a sure bet it will be good too if Chris Walla produces it. It gets a low rating here due to the fact that I’ve had only a chance to listen to it 6 times in the month or so it’s been out. It’s not that much of a difference to “The Con” but I think their singing is maybe a little more accessible in this album which may make more people aware of them. There are some cringeworthy moments, but the song “Hell” somehow channels punk, blondie, devo and Joan Jett in to a full frontal pop assault. 5 stars!
Most Played Song in itunes – Hell
|9. The Lonely Island – Incredibad
It’s becoming standard for me to include a comedy album in the year end lists and although the Flight of the Conchords could easily take this position, The Lonely Island trounces it purely because it’s got Natalie Portman telling people to suck her dick and Justin Timberlake putting his in a box. The penis theme continues with Jizz in my Pants but the real highlight of the album is “I’m on a Boat”. Taking the piss out of all the rappers who pose on their $50 million yachts using T-Pain to deliver the message using the tool of the times – Auto Tune. This ain’t for the kids.
“I’m ridin on a dolphin, doin flips and shit
Most Played Song in itunes – I’m on a Boat
|10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
A band who keeps writing definitive songs for the era like “Maps” and “Turn Into” find synths and dance beats without losing their ability to touch via lyrics. Happy my tastes meet with theirs to get the dance craze at the same time. Sadly though the highlight for me ends up being an acoustic version of Hysteric which hits the emotional spot in the same way Maps does. Not to say Zero and Heads Will Roll don’t kick ass when you are in the mood for a party.
Most Played Song in itunes – Hysteric (Acoustic Version)
Ones that didn’t make the list – only just
- Flight of the Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky (Sugalumps is brilliant but I could only have one comedy album)
- Girls – Album (Hellhole Ratrace is fucking awesome but I need to listen more to the rest of the album)
- Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3 (not sure if I love this just because I went to New York this year and Empire State of Mind keeps taking me back)
- The Swell Season – Strict Joy (Glen Hansard is just pure emotion, but still only new to my collection)
- Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (Oh how I love your twee ways)
- Julian Casabalancas – Phrazes for the Young (deserves top 1o just for Tourist but another one that requires more album listens)