Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Erik Hassle
Hassle
Scandinavian import Erik Hassle's debut album didn't break new ground, but Hassle was a solid, immediately enjoyable album. There's a lot of promise here and so many directions Hassle can take his sound, so I'll be anxiously awaiting whatever comes next.
Key Tracks: 'Don't Bring Flowers,' 'Hurtful,' 'All That I Wanted Was You'


Little Boots
Hands
Everytime I listen to Hands, I kick myself for not listening to it more often. The album doesn't quite linger like I would like it to, but there's no denying the power and originality of the songs. Of the many nouveau-80's music acts around these days (not that I'm complaining), Little Boots seems to be one of the few who is looking ahead as well.
Key Tracks: 'Remedy,' 'Love Kills,' 'Meddle'


Lily Allen
It's Not Me, It's You
As a fan of Lily's debut album Alright, Still, I was excited to find that It's Not Me, It's You retained her trademark dark sense of humor but allowed her sound to mature in unexpected ways. I'm still not sure what genre I would classify Lily in (pop? indie? soft rock?) but I doubt that even matters; she sounds fantastic when not stuck in a box.
Key Tracks: 'The Fear,' 'Fuck You,' 'Chinese'


Paloma Faith
Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Based on the overly precious and quirky album cover, I wasn't expecting much from Ms. Faith, but I'll be damned if she didn't completely sucker me in on the first listen. With her neo-60's soul sound, I suspect she'll be making music I want to listen to for years to come.
Key Tracks: 'New York,' 'Play On,' 'Stone Cold Sober'


Shakira
She Wolf
Not quite Laundry Service, but an excellent collection of songs, led by the batshit crazy title song, that practically scream "Shakira" with their oddly clever lyrics and indescribable vocals.
Key Tracks: 'Spy,' 'She Wolf,' 'Did It Again'


Natalie Imbruglia
Come to Life
There's nothing I love more than when pop stars get personal on their album. Usually, they are big a "fuck you" to anyone who has done them wrong and who doesn't love that. Natalie Imbruglia, on the other hand, explores the pain and heartbreak of her recent divorce on Come to Life. Talk about uncomfortable. Fortunately, however, the music is never uncomfortable to listen to for Imbruglia is careful to craft beautiful music around her emotions. An impressive "comeback" from our one-time One Hit Wonder.
Key Tracks: 'Fun,' 'Want,' 'Lukas'


La Roux
La Roux
Listening to La Roux's debut album is like being transported to LA in the 1980's. For some, this may be their idea of hell. I, on the other hand, couldn't think of anything better. What's so impressive about this album is that they are so unapologetic about their love for 80's synth pop. And, by some odd miracle, lead singer Elly Jackson's blankly robotic voice is able to emote better than nearly every "real" singer American Idol has ever produced. Please, La Roux, don't ever give up the good fight for 80's synth pop!
Key Tracks: 'Bulletproof,' 'Armour Love,' 'Reflections Are Protection'


Lady GaGa
The Fame Monster
Within the span of 12 months, Lady GaGa grew into a pop artist of incredible maturity. The Fame Monster only has eight tracks, but damn what an amazing group of eight tracks they are. We are all living in GaGa's world know and, you know, I think that's something I can live with.
Key Tracks: 'Bad Romance,' 'Dance in the Dark,' 'Telephone'


Demi Lovato
Here We Go Again
Speaking of maturity, can you believe that Her We Go Again came from not only an underage artist, but a Disney one at that? Constantly pushing the boundaries, creatively and vocally, Demi Lovato has become quite the powerhouse for a 17-year old. Listen how she emotes the loneliness and aching during the opening verse of 'Falling Over Me.' Again, and I hate to sound like an American Idol judge but 17 YEARS OLD. This is Demi, bitch, and Miley better watch her back because there's a new teen queen ready to take her throne.
Key Tracks: 'Every Time You Lie,' 'Remember December,' 'U Got Nothin' On Me'


Rihanna
Rated R
I'm just gonna say it: Rihanna's Rated R is probably the greatest synthesis of urban and rock music since Aerosmith and Run DMC's 'Walk This Way.' And, given the situation she's been through this year, it's no wonder she went for a darker, harder sound after the pop sensation that was Good Girl Gone Bad. Rihanna's operatic tribute to the glory of violence, guns and stupidity is light years ahead of anything in pop music today, so it's probably no surprise that album has done poorly sales wise. This is her My December, the darker follow-up to a singles-driven monster of an album and the one she will be remembered for.
Key Tracks: 'Fire Bomb,' 'Stupid in Love,' 'Rockstar 101'

1 comment:

Jose said...

I thought I was the only person who'd liked "She-Wolf" as much. With her in my part of the world it's usually "eww she's trying English again" or "she sold her folksy side to Satan", but I truly loved what she did in this album. The title song is pure genius.
Yay for Little Boots too.