2009 is over! It wasn't a bad year, just a little difficult. Glad I had great some music to get me through.
So what was I listening to in 2009? Well, thanks to handy-dandy iTunes, I was able to group all my new music for the year and see how frequently I listened to certain songs and albums. I just love databases! (it's the geek in me.)
Thank you to all my friends and to all the bloggers out there that kept an ear out for the good music.
And now, here are my top 15 album for 2009. Though most of the list is not in any specific order, the first 4 albums listed below definitely topped my list.
- Pet Shop Boys - Yes
What a great pop-dance album. Xenomania's production was perfect for the Boys. What would make this album even better? Get rid of "All Over The World" and add "We're All Criminals Now" and "This Used To Be The Future", both from the bonus disc.
- The Bird and the Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
Superb pop songs, killer arrangements, thick vocal harmonies... It's like biting into a York Peppermint Pattie! I love Greg Kurstin's work. He's a great songwriter and producer. Inara George, who co-wrote and co-produced the album, has such a sweet voice. Just prefect. The chorus to "Diamond Dave" still sends chills up my spine!
- Robbie Williams - Reality Killed the Video Star
- This is one of those classic Trevor Horn albums that we'll be talking about for years. I feel like Horn was inspired by his own best productions when he worked on this project. There were elements of Art Of Noise, ABC, Seal, and Pet Shop Boys woven into all over these songs. And the beautiful string arrangements by Anne Dudley just sent me over the top. Williams' lyrics seem to have taken on a new direction. They can still be very tongue in cheek, but I sense that he wants to be taken seriously.
Skye - Keeping Secrets
I just love the feel of this album. It just flows along. Skye's voice is so soothing. Even on the upbeat songs "The Shape I'm In" and "Almost Killed Me", Skye sounds like she's gliding on water. She is an artist who concentrates on the craft of good songwriting. I wish more people knew about her.
- Dragonette - Fixin To Thrill
Fun fun fun fun fun! 80s influence all the way!
- Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
I really didn't expect Allen to deliver an album like this, but it was "The Fear" (lead single) that made me take notice. "F*** You" became the unofficial answer to the Bush administration. How could I not love her?!
- Yeah Yeah Yeas - It's Blitz!
The Yeahs took a page out of Giorgio Moroder's book on this one. I felt that the songs on this album were more accessible than on previous albums. Karen O's voice and her delivery are so unique. Love her!
- Gossip - Music For Men
Raw aggression. An unconventional lead singer. Dance-punk feel. Love the album title. I can see this entire album being remixed and re-released: "Music For Queens".
- Leona Lewis - Echo
The only reason I bought this album is because it was on sale. But Wow! What a solid pop album! I think she is going to be the one who fills the void that Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion left behind. I'm glad the powers that be went for a pop-R&B feel and not a pure R&B sound. ECHO has one of the best hidden tracks I've ever heard: the dramatic "Stone Hearts".
- Mica Paris - Born Again
What a nice surprise to hear some good music from Mica! Her last few albums were such disappointments that I had almost written her off. And she still has pipes! A lot of the album has a 60s/ 70s R&B feel (Motown and Philly), which fits perfectly with her voice. Among the gems on this album is a beautiful acoustic version of "My One Temptation", one of my favorite songs from her first album. Welcome back, Mica.
Eliane Elias - Bossa Nova Stories
Not as good as Dreamer (2004), but still such an enjoyable collection. Her vocals have really matured since she first started singing on her albums.
Annie - Don't Stop
Nice to see this finally released. I had an unreleased version a year ago and listened to it all the time. Now that she has an official release (with a few new songs), I wanted to include it in my list. If you want fun dance-pop that you can sing along to, this is the album.
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
She reminds me of Kate Bush, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos and Vanessa Daou... that's why I like her! Very moody.
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
You know those commercials that have fun music? The ones where you realized that you're bopping your head around to it or that you're singing the song all day long? This is a whole album of that.
Ok, so there weren't 15 albums. Since I didn't know which one to pick for the last one, I decided to lump them all together in this list below.
- A Fine Frenzy - Bomb In A Birdcage: Catchy songs and a nice voice.
- Basia - It's That Girl Again: Do I like this album? Yea, yea, yea!
- Karine Hannah - Karine: What a powerful voice! Oh, and my song is on it too.
- Morrissey - Years of Refusal: A nice offering.
- Norah Jones - The Fall: Great first single. I just love the feel of her albums (expect for Not Too Late). There was a lot of hype about the change in her sound, but it wasn't that much of a change.
- Passion Pit - Manners: Very creative.
- Shakespear's Sister - Songs From The Red Room: I guess Siobhan didn't do too well releasing material under her name, so it makes sense for her to go back to using Sister. Is this the future of alternate pop?
- Tegan & Sara - Sainthood: Going more mainstream, and I like it.
- Agnes - "Release Me": Great song. Even moms would like it.
- Amanda Lepore - "Cotton Candy": Silly fun. Yay!
- Annie Lennox - "Shining Light": Perfect for Annie. I always feel good when I hear this song.
- Beyoncé - "Halo": All about the remix for me.
- Ciara - "Love Sex Magic": I didn't want to like this song (because of Timberlake), but it was infectious.
- David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland - "When Love Takes Over": The song of the summer in Provincetown. I like my friend's version of the lyrics, "Constipated, always is..."
- Freemasons Feat. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)": Great combo.
- Röyksopp - "Happy Up Here": I love the sounds they use. Great video.
- Saint Etienne - "Method Of Modern Love": Feel-good song of the year.
- Tina Arena - "Night Fever": Great remake. Tina is an incredible singer.
2009 Disappointments and Reality Checks
- Prince: Whatever. I have no interested in your music anymore. Go away.
- U2 - No Line On The Horizon: I hate when bands go on about "this is the best work we've ever done" and then the album sucks so bad. How many songs did they record and they ended up with this?
- Diana Krall - Quiet Nights: I like Diana Krall, but her voice didn't fit the Brazilian style from this album. It was just wrong. She should have listened to the title of this album.
- Vanessa Williams - The Real Thing: No emotion in her delivery at all. Flat performance. Boring.
- Whitney Houston: No matter how much hype there was for her new album, there was no hiding the fact that her voice is gone. "Million Dollar Bill" was a fun song, but it wasn't enough. Her live performances were painful to watch, just hearing her scream to get a reaction from the audience. That's not singing.
- Mariah Carey: Here's a neat trick! Go to a Google and start typing either "Mariah Carey voice" or "Mariah Carey what happened" and see the suggestions that come up. Quite fitting. Never been one of my favorites, but I though she could sing. Live performances were uncomfortable at best, be it for her attire, the worried look on her face, or the fact that she couldn't find the right notes to sing.