Top 5 Albums of 2009

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

I don’t usually rank my top five, but this album is hands down the best of the year. Mixing digital and organic soundscapes, the band from Maryland has essentially created a new genre, blending dance, rock, and who knows what else into infectious melodies. Was there anything quite as addictive and joyful as “My Girls” this year? I don’t think so.

Kings of Leon – Only By the Night

Yes, yes, yes, Only By the Night was released in ’08, but I don’t think anyone would argue that 2009 was the year of the Kings. They were everywhere this summer, a rare treat to the pop rotation: they actually deserved it. Their latest album does not have a single weak spot. The boys from Tennessee play American rock the right way, with dirty guitars and spacious solos.

M. Ward – Hold Time

I reviewed Ward’s latest effort for Patrol back in February, and I’ll steal a line or two to describe it here:

With his radio continually tuned to the oldies of the 50s and 60s greats like Roy Orbison and Hank Williams, it’s almost a given that Ward would sneak a classic cover like Buddy Holly’s “Rave On” into the record (which makes a case for the most played song of the year). Hold Time continues Ward’s tradition of recording laconically-sung, intricately-produced pop song

Metric – Fantasies

“Everybody, everybody just wanna play the Wii.” My original interpretation may not be the right words to the chorus of “Sick Muse,” but Metric’s latest is just as fun as Nintendo’s favourite console. Jimmy Shaw’s slick licks and Emily Haines’ sugary melodies have never sounded so good together, from the pulsing “Help, I’m Alive” to the rousing closer “Stadium Love.”

Slow Club – Yeah, So

The best of the guy/girl crop (yep, better than Mates of State and Matt & Kim), Slow Club’s low fi twee is catchy as hell. The Sheffield, UK duo have enough confidence in their songwriting to let it show through bare bones arrangements. Not that there’s anything wrong with complicated production, but when you have two leads as gosh darn charming as these two, it’s best to let their vocals and wit shine through.

Runner Up: One Year Late

Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I discovered Spoon’s latest a bit after the fact (case in point, their follow-up Transference arrives in ten days), but I’m glad someone finally clued me in (thanks Lauren). The production work on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga makes the band sound so casual that you feel like the songs emerge spontaneously from your ipod.


3 Responses

  1. Have you heard Antlers’ album Hospice?

  2. I have– I liked it for a while, but it didn’t stick with me for too long.

  3. Joel. You. Must. Burn. Me. Stuff.

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