December 22, 2009

My Top 5 Albums of 2009

Following Vanilla Bear's lead I am posting my personal favorite albums of 2009. Pretty self explanatory, so here I go:

5- Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Simply put, this album is crazy good. It is well crafted and full of catchy pop-songs. It reminds me of the summer. This is the fourth album from this band and it is hands down their best.
Favorite Tracks: 1901, Listzomania, Lasso and Girlfriend

4- Sufjan Stevens- The BQE
I am aware that this music isn't officially "new," but it was officially released in 2009, thus qualifying it for this list. This definitely wasn't what I was expecting for a follow-up from Illinois, but it is uniquely Sufjan sounding. It is a collection of wonderful instrumentals and more importantly, it is a departure from Enjoy Your Rabbit, which had a heavy synth-techno sound. This is clearly more orchestral and it's amazing. I never thought an album about an old expressway could make me so happy.
Favorite Tracks: Movement II: Sleeping Invader, Interlude I: Dream Sequence In Subi Circumnavigation and Interlude II: Subi Power Waltz

3- Chris Garneau- El Radio
Chris Garneau is clearly a very sensitive guy because this album is a masterpiece of sensitivity portrayed. It is just a beautiful album with haunting lyrics backed by simple piano arrangements.
Favorite Tracks: Dirty Night Clowns, Fireflies, No More Pirates and Les Lucioles en Re Mineur

2- M. Ward- Hold Time
This album is wonderful for many reasons. On my first listen it seemed as if it was over before it began. I listened again and realized that was because of how magically his songs flow and connect. Every song is a nice introduction into the next phase of the album leaving this as a gigantic masterpiece. It's great because it's pretty retro sounding, and yet you can tell how innovative his guitar work is. I also just love M's graveled voice.
Favorite Tracks: Epistemology, Stars of Leo, Jailbird and Rave On

1- Monsters of Folk- Monsters of Folk
I don't even know how to start to describe how much I love this band and this album. For those who are unaware, it is composed of M. Ward (in my top 5 singer/songwriters), Conor Oberst (the genius behind Bright Eyes and my all-time favorite singer/songwriter), Mike Mogis (produces albums for some of my favorite bands and also an integral part of Bright Eyes) and Jim James (the brains behind My Morning Jacket). This album had a lot of expectations and it lived up to them all. This album is great because it is so diverse that it is very easy to pick out which songs were mostly conceptualized by which musician and yet thanks to the brilliance of Mogis as acting producer, it flows. This album has an intricacy to it that only four minds this great could really make it work. 'Monsters of Folk' is an apt title for this band and this album because it personifies Folk perfection.
Favorite Tracks: Temazcal, Map of the World, Baby Boomer and Ahead of the Curve

Honorable Mention: Death Cab for Cutie- The Open Door EP
This gets an honorable mention because it's not actually a full-length album, but it is amazing for what it is. The lyrics on it are memorably poetic, but that's what exactly what I would expect from a Death Cab album. This album is a great stepping stone between Plans and Narrow Stairs. These songs were not left off of Narrow Stairs because they weren't good, they just simply did not fit into the album as a whole. I think released seperately, however, they work really well together. I also had to include this because it's the only ever EP to inspire me to write an entire blog post about its brilliance.


Vanilla Bear said...

I obviously need to widen my musical horizons :( I'm still too mainstream!

Stephanie said...

You are simply a victim of your location and culture because Richard Walters, Franz Ferdinand and Paolo Nutini are by no means considered 'mainstream' here.