Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Top 5 Albums of 2009 (and Top 5 Albums of the Decade)

Since everyone has come down with Best-Of-List fever, I guess I’ll hop on the bandwagon.

Top Five Albums of 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
This band continues to evolve their sound without sacrificing what makes them great.

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
While not as mesmerizing as Fox Confessor, this is a solid album with plenty of high points.

Various Artists – Dark was the Night
It's amazing how many artists got involved in this project. Full of gems that create a perfect mood together.

Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
The idea of a rock-opera could turn out to be hilariously bad, but the Decemberists manage to make an inspired experience. Vivid imagery and great music.

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Critic darlings of the moment but it's deservedly so. I don't consider this among the best of the decade as some lists have it, but they are definitely on the cutting edge of the music scene right now.

I left off Grizzly Bear, not because I don't like them but I think the album is weaker than most care to admit. It's the best mediocre record I've heard in a long time, but not worthy of being in my top five.

How can anyone try to compile such a concise list for the decade? Thus most sites I see are doing a list of hundreds of albums. I was resistant but gave it a shot anyway...

Top 5 Albums of the Decade

Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
This one’s on the top of a lot of lists and justifiably so. After the opus of OK Computer, my anticipation for a new Radiohead album was never higher than for Kid A. Even still, I was unprepared for what they created. What a great way to kick off a decade in music and set the bar high for everyone else.

Sigur Rós – Ágætis byrjun (2000)
Astonishing... Beautiful... Brilliant... These are words that come to mind.

The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)
It was a tough call between this and Elephant but I have to go with the one that introduced me to this duo. This album shows them just as they’re hitting their stride. The vibrancy that’s captured on this album was a refreshing change from everything around it at the time.

Beck – Sea Change (2002)
This came out of nowhere for me. I fully came to respect Beck’s genius as a musician because of this album. Even after endless listens, my heart aches at these songs. Raw emotion like this is rarely captured so completely.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)
This is pure, unabashed sonic fury that you only hear once in a while, like Nirvana's Nevermind ten years before.

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