The Best Music of 2009

I’m sorry for not posting anything since October. The blame lays on a brutal combination of working retail and being lazy and just reading Videogum when I got home. But it’s 2010, a new decade, a new beginning. So let’s do this right and begin the first Bad Guys Win post of 2010 talking about stuff from last year. Perfect.

When I told my friend Lauren that my best albums list had only ten albums on it she remarked that 2009 had been “a slow year”. She was being too kind. 2009 was disappointing for plenty of reasons, as most of the big records sucked and the bands that got buzz either were or sound like Animal Collective. A list of ten great albums is damn miraculous.

10. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures

Josh Homme is a goddamn rock god. This is just front to back badass riffs, backed by Dave Grohl and a very spry John Paul Jones. I can hear the Jones influence, but the Homme sound is undeniable. More than just a record to tide me over until the next Queens album.

9. Japandroids – Post-nothing

Canadian duo with a singing drummer. Where have I heard that one before? An obvious avenue for success, Japandroids make sweaty sounding music with tons and tons of passion. “Young Hearts Spark Fire” is one of those singles that makes you want to run out and buy the band’s album right away. When the guys talk about taking time to “french kiss some french girls”, you smile and realize they’re a band with their priorities straight.

8. Raekwon – Only Built For Cuban Linx Pt. II

What are we calling this? The Godfather Pt. 2 of rap albums? Not to blaspheme, but I think it blows the original out of the water. Now if Rae could only make an album that’s any good that doesn’t reference his debut. Props to Ghostface, because he’s Ghostface and he kills it all over this record.

7. LMFAO – Party Rock

The beats on this record are sick. The raps are dumb, no, I take that back. The raps are amazingly dumb. That’s why they’re so great. When artists describe their album as a “party album” it is always a lie because the album will inevitably feature one of the following: a ballad, a hard street track, or worse, an ode to a fallen friend or loved one. Those can be great, but not for a P-A-R-T-Y! LMFAO go 14 tracks of party time music. This might not be your thing. I can respect that. But be aware that if you want to have a party, the word “party” is in the damn title. Truth in advertising, rarely done so well. “I’m In Miami, Bitch” is already classic status while “I Don’t Wanna Be” rides the sickest damn beat on the record. Well, that’s debate-able. Seriously, these beats.

6. Mastodon – Crack the Skye

A kid at work told me he’d heard Mastodon had sold out. The 13 minutes of “The Last Baron” say otherwise. Brendan O’Brien is no hack producer and any slickness on the production is overshadowed by the killer riffs and intricate playing that Mastodon is known for. If you don’t like Crack The Skye you’re just trying to be a dick. Quit it.

5. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix has three of the best Phoenix songs right up front. “Lisztomania”, “1901”, and “Fences” are Phoenix at their best. Man, those are great fucking songs. And the rest of the album is really good. Really good. But those first three songs are almost too good. Like, you listen to the rest of the album and think “Hey, these are good songs, don’t get me wrong. But ‘1901’? Getdufuckouttahere!” Am I making any sense?

4. DJ Quik and Kurupt – BlaQKout

Sick. Nasty. Fuckin’ ‘ell. Any and all of these words apply when talking about BlaQKout. DJ Quik and Kurupt rap about hoes, bitches, being awesome and all those other rap cliches from the 90’s, over the smoothest and sharpest throwback production I’ve ever heard. This is the kind of rap album you can play front to back, no bullshit just hilarious ignorant rhymes on top of the type of beats Jay-Z should have had on the Blueprint 3.

3. The Bloody Beetroots – Romborama

My friend Lauren described this as “horror movie dance music”. Apt. The last of the class of ’06 to drop an album, I figured after MSTRKRFT, Justice and Simian Mobile Disco, The Bloody Beetroots would sound past their sell date when Romborama finally saw the light of day. Instead, they delivered 20 straight bangers. And this shit is hard, son. Distorted screaming vocals, blown speaker beats; basically my dream album. Romborama could be categorized as a party record, but you’d have to leave early on account of the house burning down. Real talk.

2. MSTRKRFT – Fist of God

No lie, before Fist of God, MSTRKRFT seemed like a second rate Justice. They had the skills, but not the tunes. Fist of God is, to steal from Jimmy Cameron, a game changer. Al and Jesse go hard and fierce right from the start, sear your face off and then things get interesting. “Heartbreaker” feels less and less like a breather and more like a new direction every time I hear it, and that it’s followed by the title track is just great sequencing. No shit, sometimes “Fist Of God” literally takes my breath away. It’s perfect. That Lauren and I got to meet Jesse and Al and they turned out to be awesome people just made cosmic sense. An asshole could never make a song like “It Ain’t Love”.(Editor’s Note: Meeting Jesse and Al had no baring on the placement of this album)

1. Passion Pit – Manners

I don’t know why the cover art is so boring for this album because Manners sounds like the creation of an exuberant young man with boundless energy, access to a children’s choir and lots and lots of ideas. He might be a little sad sometimes (hey, who isn’t?); the music is how we can all feel better. Songs like “The Reeling” are melancholy in subject but joyous in execution. I’ve read that some people hate this album. To them I ask, what is it like to be cold inside? Kick any puppies today? Aww, hell. I can’t stay mad, this album is too fun. Is it possible to be too fun? Ask Passion Pit.

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One Response to “The Best Music of 2009”

  1. Lauren G Says:

    Oh Lorin, I love how our bond revolves around our love for similar music. This list is simply heart warming. That’s all I have to say.

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