My Musical 2009
(The first one of you nimrods who points out that it is now technically 2010 will be the proud recipient of… something. I don’t know what, but it’ll be unpleasant. So there.)
I know everyone and their dog has done one of these lists where they blather on about how awesome 2009 was, music-wise, and then they proceed to display their superior musical taste by picking 10 CDs that a grand total of four people have listened to (I’m looking at you, Paste Magazine. I love you and all, but seriously). So, since I am an unoriginal sheep (baa!), I’ve got yet another list to toss your way. The one caveat I would add is that, as usual with me (since I am pretty much always behind the times), this is just a list of the top 10 CDs I bought in 2009. A couple of them came out prior to that, but they still count in my world.
Ready? Here goes!
10. The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack
Okay, before you write this one off because of the fact that I am one of those “Twilight People,” bear in mind that my Twilight-skeptical husband also thinks this is a darn good CD. Thom Yorke, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, and Band of Skulls lend a decidedly more “indie” feel to this soundtrack than was present on the Twilight soundtrack, but it definitely fits the mood of New Moon better. Favorite tracks: “Hearing Damage” – Thom Yorke, “Monsters” – Hurricane Bells, and “Roslyn” – Bon Iver and St. Vincent.
9. U2 – No Line on the Horizon
I’ve decided that my musical relationship with U2 is something akin to a marriage entering its eleventh year. You have the initial excitement and butterflies at the beginning, a few scary moments where you weren’t sure you were going to be able to stick it out, but are now in a comfortable place where, although you don’t get that swept-off-your-feet feeling very often, you are content and feel relatively stable. Such is the case with this CD. I’ll be honest, it didn’t knock my socks off when I first listened to it. There were a couple of songs I actually pretty much disliked. However, as I listened to it over and over again, I found that I wasn’t disappointed, really. Sure, not every song is a home run, but there are some great, solid songs on this CD. Still, I would buy a recording of Bono reading the phone book, so there’s that. Favorite Tracks: “Breathe,” “Moment of Surrender,” “No Line on the Horizon.”
8. Barcelona – Absolutes
I found this band kind of by accident. Around the beginning of October, one of the folks I follow on Twitter tweeted about seeing them open for someone and how much she enjoyed their show. A couple of other friends mentioned them in passing as well, so I thought I’d give them a listen. You guys, this CD is SO GOOD. They sound kind of like what would happen if Keane, Copeland, and Coldplay had a baby together. An awesome, awesome baby. Favorite tracks: “First Floor People,” “Come Back When You Can,” and “Response.”
7. Muse – The Resistance
Yes, it’s pretentious. Yes, it’s overblown. Yes, they have a three-part movement in the middle of the CD. And yes, I love it. It sounds like Muse doing what Muse does best – highly produced, electronica/prog-rock influenced ear candy (or, as Jeff says, “a less-complex Rush that is more pleasing to the ears”). And I’m going to get to see the whole spectacle live in February. Favorite Tracks: “Uprising,” “Undisclosed Desires,” “Guiding Light.”
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
I have a love-hate relationship with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I absolutely loved “Maps,” but pretty much everything after that I was kind of “meh” about. So, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I heard “Zero” on the radio. I’m not usually one for dance floor art rock (I think I’m making up musical genres at this point), but I found this one reappearing in my shuffle quite a bit this year. Favorite Tracks: “Zero,” “Skeletons,” and “Heads Will Roll.”
5. Mute Math – Armistice
This one was a very pleasant surprise. I was blown away by their self-titled CD back in 2006, and I felt like I was just going to be disappointed with the follow-up. Plus, I’d heard some not-so-good rumblings regarding re-recording, personality clashes with producers, etc. So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I popped Armistice into my car’s CD player this past fall. Thankfully, most of my worries were unfounded. Is it as mind-blowing as their self-titled? No. But it’s solid. A little darker, perhaps a little more pop-friendly, but solid. Favorite Tracks: “The Nerve,” “Clipping,” “No Response.”
4. Silversun Pickups – Swoon
SSP was a band I first heard of a couple years back when “Lazy Eye” was getting some airplay around Atlanta, but I never got around to buying any of their music. Fast forward to earlier this year when “Panic Switch” entered the rotation of a couple of local stations, and I remembered that I really liked them and should probably look into the new CD. It’s definitely one I keep going back to in my shuffle – a nice mix of quiet melodies and flat-out rock. I approve. A side note: Jeff swears this sounds like something he would’ve listened to back in 1995 at the height of his shoegaze phase (see: Fold Zandura, The Prayer Chain, etc.). Which is probably why he’s on board with it. Ha. Favorite Tracks: “Panic Switch”, “Draining,” “Catch and Release.”
3. Paramore – Brand New Eyes
If you’ve been around me any time over the course of the past two years, you’ll probably be aware of my burgeoning girl crush on Hayley Williams (we’re BFFs. She just doesn’t know her BFF is a 30 year old married mother of twins yet. YET. [Hayley, call me. Let's do lunch. Or go get a tattoo together. Or something.]). So, you probably aren’t surprised to see this CD make an appearance on my top 10 list. Why do I like it? It’s straight up rock without all of the weird or gimmicky trappings that seems to come with a lot of popular music these days. Is it the most intellectual album of the year? Probably not. But it’s fun, and it rocks. So go buy the CD. Because it rocks. Did I mention it rocks? Favorite Tracks: “All I Wanted,” “Ignorance,” “Brick by Boring Brick.”
2. Metric – Fantasies
This was probably the most random purchase of the year for me, but it turned out well. I’d heard “Help I’m Alive” on the radio a few times, and had some iTunes bucks to spend, so I downloaded the whole CD on a whim. Best impulse buy ever! I absolutely fell in love with it. It’s got a kind of Achtung Baby-esque vibe to it (the whole “walkie talkies in washing machines” sound), which probably explains why I latched onto it so quickly. Favorite Tracks: “Help I’m Alive,” “Gold Guns Girls,” and “Sick Muse.”
…..and drumroll, please!
1. Paper Route – Absence
Maybe I should, on occasion, listen to my husband when he comes back from Cornerstone absolutely RAVING about a band. Jeff returned from C-stone 2007 just going on and on about this new band he’d seen there called Paper Route. I must admit that most of his gushing went in one ear and out the other (I am personally blaming it on the fact that I went into early labor a week and a half after he came home, so my thoughts were otherwise occupied). The raving returned earlier this year when Absence was released. Once again, I didn’t pay him much attention. Fast forward to late summer when we found out that Paper Route was going to be supporting Paramore on their fall tour. I decided that I should probably, FINALLY, listen to Absence so I’d know a song or two when we went to the concert. I uploaded it to my iPod and plugged it in while I was doing some housework one Saturday afternoon. You guys, I had to sit down when “Wish” came on. And again with “Good Intentions.” Repeat with “Last Time,” “Gutter,” and pretty much the rest of the CD. This was probably the first time in about five years that I had that kind of reaction to a CD. Beautiful lyrics rolled inside an indie rock/1980’s-esque synth-pop sound. Love it, haven’t taken it out of my car’s CD player since September. Favorite Tracks: I really want to put the whole CD on here, but I’ll narrow it down to three for consistency’s sake: “Wish”, “Good Intentions,” and “Gutter.”
So, there you have it folks. Rip it to shreds.
Filed under: Music