2009 was a different kind of year for me; myriad reasons, but they follow from one, and that's being a father. New car, new house, new schedule, waaaay less money, waaaay more responsibility, etc. Anyway, i'm spending much more time at home and around the neighborhood, and as consequence i've been able to spend more time on movies, music, books, video games, and the like. I thought it would be terrible, but i thought wrong. In addition to having more time to listen to music, i've had more time and resources to acquire it. This blog has really showed out this year in that regard, thanks to some work from lee, and now we can share with each other much more easily than before.
Music is still the only 'end of year' thing i can honestly participate in tho, and i do so with relish. last year my top albums were from acts i knew nothing about the year before, and once again i'm in the same boat. I like this. it's exciting.
Anyway, here's my top 10 albums from 2009, with the ones i like more higher up and the ones less lower down.
xx - the xx
post-nothing - japandroids
merriweather post pavillion - animal collective
life of leisure/high times eps - washed out
only built 4 cuban linx II - raekwon
veckatimest - grizzly bear
hold time- m. ward
begone dull care - junior boys
album - girls
My Album of the Year: xx - the xx
The Runner- Up: post-nothing - japandroids
I guess simpler was better this year, as my two favorite records were unadorned and unfussy. Japandroids made a record that is best listened to ear splitting loud, from the stereo in your car, while you drive fast. I've always had a weakness for records like this, and was happy to have these young men help prematurely deafen me. Japandroids effortlessly capture that 'fuck yes' feeling of being young, something i think we're all starting to miss.
So how the fuck did the xx make a better record, or one i like more anyway? i don't really know.
but this record is great. maybe it's because xx didn't try to make me like it. i dismissed it on first listening (i was sold on japandriods 30 seconds into 'wet hair'), began to like it by the fifth, and became obsessed by 20th. every week i fell for a new song, and i kept returning to see what else might seduce. the production, vocals and playing are all perfectly considered and arranged, but it doesn't feel fussed over, like vecatimest. the back and forth between the vocalists is echoed in the instrumentation; its like the whole of it is one of those hot and bothered, writhing make out conversations. or maybe, it's just that, to quote crazy jesse "i wanna fuck that chicks voice."
Notes on the Rest:
returning records from animal collective, grizzly bear, and junior boys were all keepers for me. merriweather post pavillion is so fucking weird and wonderful i want to eat lsd and run around on the beach with it on blast. it's certainly the most inventive, creative "wow" record on my list, but i didn't put it up top because a) i think 'feels' might be better, and b) i liked the other two records more. oh well.
And what bearing should a better record from your back catalog really have on a best of the year list? Ask the Junior Boys, whose begone dull care wasn't quite as good as their last record, or maybe even their first. But still a great record, nonetheless. or maybe just a good record from a a great band. anyway i liked it, so there.
On the flip-side, Grizzly Bear's Vecakimeist was much better than it's predecessor Yellow House, which just bored the living shit out of me. Vecaktimest is a polished, beatific record with only a couple of boring spots. that's why it's down here.
Washed out was an awesome suprise from chris, and i guess doesn't technically belong here as there is no lp in thier catalog, only two lonely eps. but i listened to them as one on my ipod, and i'm counting them, so fuck you.
Raekwon is technically returning, as is M. Ward but they were both new to me this year. Try these back to back for contrast: M. Ward's 'Jailbird" and Raekwon's 'New Wu.'
Also, Girls and Discovery made records i liked. Listen, please.