Friday, December 25, 2009

Best of 2009: No. 5-1

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope your having a good time with your family and friends, and here's a Christmas treat for you. The top 5 albums of 2009! Tune in next week for the top 50 of the decade, and look out for a top 10 movies of the decade and a review of Avatar.

5. The Antlers - Hospice
In an age where bands get noisy, sillier or do balls to the wall experimentalism, The Antlers do something of the opposite with the austere and serious Hospice. Something of a modern day In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, with a story of a couple dealing with a cancer battle, and the reminiscing of their time together from the abortion saga "Bear", with it's shuffling sound, sounding like a doctor rushing to a suffering patient, to the surreal Sylvia Plath story, "Sylvia", which a shout that would make Jeff Magnum blush. A harrowing experience throughout, the album isn't all gloom and doom, but there are moments of hope too. On "Two", despite it's sorrow, it is still a hopeful moment in all the drama.

4. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Phoenix could have had it easy. At the start of the decade, Phoenix were the backing band for fellow French group Air, and were part of the whole Parisian electro/house scene with Daft Punk and the like. They made good pop songs, good albums throughout the decade, but they were essentially ignored the whole time. Now with Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix, the group sound like they weren't ignored for a large part of the decade, but like the biggest band in the world, and they have the songs to prove it. "Lisztomania", "1901", "Countdown", are all great and every song get better as the year goes. It serves as some sort of vindication for the little French band that could.

3. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
If Phoenix got their vindication this year with WAP, then David Longstreth's Dirty Projectors had an even greater vindication this year with Bitte Orca. Mostly a work of Longstreth pop deconstruction experiments, working as sort of the crazy man of the freak folk movement. After the deconstructioning Black Flag's Damaged in 2007's Rise Above, Longstreth made a big leap forward from the freak pop experimentalism to Bitte Orca, and album that is one part strange pop music, and another part as just plain genius. From the consistently catchy songs like "Temecula Sunrise" and the killer track "Stillness is the Move", to the just plain awesomeness of "Useful Chamber", Bitte Orca is the most fun you'll have with album this year.

2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
What!? Animal Collective not a number one!? I just dropped my monocle into my glass of fine wine! How can Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion not be the no.1 album of the year? It's topped virtually every list in the world! I need an explanation right now for this travesty! Well, for reason I can't explain on this entry, I feel that the watershed album MPP is only second best in comparison to...

1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Yes, while Merriweather Post Pavilion is a fantastic album, it is not better than the magnificent album that is Veckatimest. While MPP seems to look into the future for sonic answers, Grizzly Bear turns to the past to make something new and refreshing. The album is sonically beautiful and deep. There are moments you can't hear on first listens but come out on later listens. The vocal work is wonderful, from Daniel Rossen's painful quiver on songs like "Southern Point" and "While You Wait For the Others" to Ed Droste's angelic boyish vocal work on "Two Weeks" and "Ready Able". The album is fantastic throughout with every song as great as the last. They work together and the flow together. Albums like this don't get any better, and this is why Veckatimest is the best album of 2009.

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