The conclusion of my top albums of 2009. These four shuffled order constantly during the last week.
Feedback is welcome below.
4. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I avoided this album for a few weeks just because the title annoyed me. After I got over my stubbornness, I was relieved to see Phoenix matched (if not surpassed) their last effort, Its Never Been Like That. I was surprised it took an advertiser so long to swoop up “1901” and wouldn’t be shocked to see the other tracks (“Listzomania” especially) on a commercial soon. The whole album shines with indie-pop gold (the subtly enchanting “Fences” and mostly instrumental track “Love Like A Sunset Pt 1”) that I’m still not sick of.
3. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
I’m not sure if Scottish band Camera Obscura was planning on making an album full of fun throwback pop, but they succeeded. “Swans” sways with electric organ, “French Navy” bounces with each shake of the tambourine and “Honey In The Sun” showcases big band sounds of yesteryear. “James” might be my favorite track as Tracyanne Campbell lulls me into a relaxing coma on this bare-bones, yet genius story of heartbreak.
2. Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon: The End of Day
News flash: I think Kid Cudi is an immense talent. It really shouldn’t be a surprise with how much I’ve been blogged about Kid Cudi over the past 2 years. Man On The Moon: The End Of Day takes listeners on a trip through the mind of Scott Mescudi. The musical flow is about as moody as Cudi’s recent exploits, rants and indecision…in a good way. Party mode is in full effect on “Cudi Zone”, “Poke Her Face” and “Enter Galactic”, while other tracks range from menacing (“Solo Dolo”) to trippy (“Alive”) to problematic (“Soundtrack to My Life”). Ratatat has been known for crafting great instrumentals, but their production on “Alive” and “Pursuit of Happiness” truly shines. I’m not sure what you call the guitar sound their production emits, but I can’t get enough of it. The album ends on a hopeful note with the bouncy “Up Up and Away” capped with narration by Common that says “The end is never the end, a new challenge awaits”. Hopefully, Cudi’s next challenge takes shape of a new album in 2010.
1. Passion Pit – Manners
For anyone who reads this blog often, heard me talk about music or seen me listen to “Sleepyhead” at 3am, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Of all the bands I hype up, Passion Pit’s debut album certainly lived up to my praises. Their initial EP was okay, but had me slightly concerned. My favorite track on Manners has shifted weekly, but the album is one of the few that I still keep physically in my car (and next to my broken record player). “Make Light” was an apt choice for an album opener with staccato drumming and schizo piano. My play count on iTunes shows the sing along ready “Eyes Like Candles” and foot-tapping “To Kingdom Come” as most listened to, but “Little Secrets” remains a bouncy party-starter kids choir and electro-pop.