Friday, December 11, 2009

Lisztomania

I love writing my list of top ten favourite albums of the year. Now, this really isn’t a best-of list, these are just the albums that I listened to the most, spoke to me the most, and were my soundtrack to 2009. And they’re all really great too.

I’ve actually been waiting to write this list since early in the year, because even back then I could tell that 2009 seemed to be a better-than-average year for music. There are a lot of strong albums this year that didn’t even make my list. It just seemed like there was more music out there this year that I really connected with.

Also, so many of my favourite albums this year are total high-energy albums that make me want to dance and party. All ten of these albums can be described as being all killer, no filler. Seriously, it was a great year for music.

Most of you will be completely unsurprised about my list because I know I’ve written about the awesomeness of each of these albums earlier in the year.

I’ve posted this earlier than usual, because next week, work is going to kick my ass, and then I’ll be in holiday mode, so yeah, here’s the list.

10) Lost Channels – Great Lake Swimmers: Like all Great Lake Swimmers albums, the words beautiful and gorgeous come to mind while I listen to Lost Channels. I love the way that instruments are arranged in GLS songs, and there is nothing more relaxing than Tony Dekker’s vocals. This GLS album is different than their previous work, in that it’s a little more upbeat than their other albums. I love Lost Channels for its gorgeous melodies, dreamy lyrics, beautiful arrangements and vocals. If you need something laid back, but with a bit of a kick, pick this album up.

Fave song: She Comes To Me In Dreams

9) It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz! is actually the first YYYs album that I’ve heard and I love it. “Heads Will Roll” is the single that got me in interested in this album, and the rest of the songs follow through. There are a lot of danceable rock tunes on this album. However, a slightly softer side of the band is shown in the lovely “Hysteric” and on the very sweet “Little Shadow”. If you need something to throw on your iPod during a party, or if you need fun music while cleaning, marking, or at the gym, get It’s Blitz! Also, I find dancing around your living room to “Heads Will Roll” a great cure for a bad day.

Fave song: Hysteric

8) Territory – Two Hours Traffic: Two Hours Traffic are one of my favourite new musical finds of last year, and I was really looking forward to their new album. This band from PEI delivers some of the best power pop around, and their albums are produced by Joel Plaskett. Territory offers many songs that are loaded with hooks and are great to sing along with. “Just Listen” and the last track “Sing A Little Hymn” are softer slower offerings, but both work wonderfully. And THT get bonus points for mentions of Darwin and triceratops in “Sing A Little Hymn”.

Fave song: Drop Alcohol

7) Grand – Matt & Kim: Matt & Kim are a new find for me this year. This album is forever linked to NYC for me, since that’s where the band is from, and I discovered it around the time I travelled to NYC for my birthday this year. Grand is yet another great party album on this year’s list. I’ve included it on iPod playlists that I put on at a couple of parties this year, and at each occasion I had a couple of people ask me about it. All of the songs are short, piano-driven, and high energy. Grand is a grand little album, and you can’t help but picture yourself walking around in some funky NYC neighbourhood while you are listening to this album.

Fave song: Daylight

6) Vancouver – Matthew Good: I’ll admit that pretty much whenever Matt Good puts out a new album, it ends up on my year-end list. But, the man always delivers, so what can I do? I’m always interested in any album that is based upon an artist’s hometown, since one of my favourite themes to explore in literature in music is the meaning of home. Vancouver leads off with the rock number “Last Parade” and is a great mix of rock songs, and longer songs with lush arrangements. There’s something about Matt Good’s singing that always appeals to me, and whenever I’m listening to MG, there are little lines that strike me and just make sense. Vancouver is a collection of ten great songs, and it’s a great listen on those days where you are feeling pensive and reflective.

Fave song: A Silent Army in the Trees

5) Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix: Even if I hadn’t been wowed by Phoenix’s show last weekend, this album would have made this list. I picked up this album in May, and it’s gotten a lot of play since then because it is so fun. Phoenix is another new musical find for me in 2009, and I’m glad I discovered them at this point in their career. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix consists of ten very strong songs that mix electronic beats with guitars and keyboards and fun vocals.

Fave songs: It’s a toss up between Lisztomania and 1901.

4) Sainthood – Tegan and Sara: Tegan and Sara have only really been one of my favourites for a few years now, but they really impressed me with their 2009 release. I’d read remarks somewhere that some long-time fans might be disappointed with how poppy sounding this album is, but I completely disagree. It seems like that with this release the focus is completely on really catchy, short, pop-ish songs, and they work so well. I’d always found on previous Tegan and Sara stuff that there were some songs that I didn’t connect with so much, but I love each and every song on this album. And, this is another fun album that stands up for great music when you need to be energized, or to play during a party.

Fave song: Alligator (I love how 80s this song sounds.)

3) Fantasies – Metric: I’ve always been all right with Metric, but with this album, as well with finally seeing their awesome live show this fall, have made me love them. The first time I heard “Help I’m Alive” I remember saying to my friend Mathew “This must be Metric! It’s so great! I need this song!” I bought the album as soon as it came out, and declared it awesome upon each listen. Each song completely rocks, and I love Emily Haines’ voice and synth skills. If you can listen to this album without pumping your fist, you must have no arms. (Whoa, that’s really corny writing, but I’m keeping it.)
Fave song: Stadium Love

2) Middle Cyclone – Neko Case: It took a lot of internal debate during the year to decide whether this album, or the next one, would take first place because both are really special to me. Neko’s last album, “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” was my favourite album of 2007, and I think I might even like “Middle Cyclone” better. It’s hard to say because both are just so awesome. Neko’s got one of the best voices anywhere, and her songs wonderful and unique. Each time I listen to this album, a new song stands out to me, and I appreciate it more. I love the cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me”. The imagery in “Prison Girls” is vivid. I can identify with the heartsick tornado in “This Tornado Loves” you. And since I love animals, I love the menagerie of creatures that pop up in various songs. I don’t know what more to say than just go get this album now.

Fave song: I’m an Animal

1) Three – Joel Plaskett: In the final song on this masterpiece (and I don’t throw that word around), Joel sing “triple record, now that’s just rattlin’ off”. And honestly, that’s what you’d think would happen with a triple record. But it doesn’t. Each disc of this album has a different theme, and various melodies and aspects wind their way through the record. Every time I listen to the album, I discover something new and exciting that I didn’t hear before. And I’ve listened to this album a lot. According to last.fm, it’s my most listened to album. The reason being is that there are so many great songs on this album, from the lead-off single “Through & Through & Through”, to the tempo-shifting in “Run, Run, Run”, the beautiful “In The Blue Moonlight”, and the epic “On & On & On”. I’m so glad that I was able to see so many of the songs from my favourite album played at Massey Hall, and that show was also my fave of 2009.

Fave song: Deny, Deny, Deny

And that's it! I'm excited for 2010 albums already. I know that both Hawksley Workman and Los Campensinos! are coming out with new stuff, and I'm psyched. How about you? What's your favourite music from 2009?

8 comments:

Jocelyn said...

it is ABSOLUTELY amazing that you were able to make a list of your favorite albums and songs. i always want to listen to some of the bands/artists you like that i haven't heard, and i definitely still will!

Siobhan said...

Going to have to check out the albums I have not heard on this list - love your music taste!

And also love the lisztomania earworm this post has given me. :)

wigsf said...

I can't come up with ten albums this year worth listening to, let alone ten being considered best anything. It's been a bad year for music.

And it also takes about three years for music to properly to heard.

But if you wanna list, here's a list.

Before the Frost by the Black Crowes. Best tune being the surprising dancy tune I Ain't Hiding.

Colin James new album, I forget the title, very Tom Wilsony feel. Its a tolerable album so far.

The new Blue Rodeo, too long.

The Grunt said...

Strange...I just received the new Tegan and Sara cd from someone awesome yesterday:)

Aaron said...

3 of mine hit + one likely honourable mention, can you guess which?

I haven't actually started mine yet, but definitely thinking about it!

Claire said...

Breaking a long standing tradition...I've actually heard one of these albums, YAY! Plaskett for the win!

Cxx

-jason- said...

good lizt =)

you're always solid with the music. i liked the no arms line.

Miss Ash said...

Okay I totally need to branch out more and listen to a few of these albums, some I've never even heard of lol.