in Top Ten

John’s Top Ten Albums of 2009

Happy new year folks, here it is 2010: the year we make contact, you know like that movie? Anyways I agree with Colin that 2009 was a little underwhelming in the way of truly great albums but there were still some nice tunes here and there. I don’t have a lot to say but enjoy my ramblings and typos anyways.

10. Muse – The Resistance
Split up it doesn’t quite work but sitting down and listening to it as a whole and it’s a grand rock opera experience. Huge layered vocals reminiscent of Queen combined with some of Matthew Bellamy’s excellent guitar work and vocals produces an album of epic quality. It’s my favorite Muse album up to this point and I only see this band getting huger in the years to come, uber pwnage.

9. Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Kasabian doesn’t really stray far from their comfort zone on their third release but that doesn’t stop them from delivering some first class, fist pumping electro-rock. Front-man Tom Meighan and Vocalist/Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno have developed a great partnership switching off on vocals on electrifying tracks like “Fire”, “Where Did All the Love Go?” and my favorite “Vlad the Impaler” which lead to my favorite music video of the year. Buzzy basses, sweet riffs and a tongue n’ cheek Brit swagger make this an album to be reckoned with.

8. Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
: The Boss is in fine form once again in a rockin’ collection of tributes to the working man. The E-Street band shows us why they’re basically the best backing back in rock and Bruce’s gritty howl and presence ties it all together. It was this album that finally got me really into Bruce Springsteen. I really don’t think I listened to anything else but Bruce last January and February.

7. Peter Bjorn and John – Living Thing
Continuing to break the mold it’s Sweden’s favorite Indie trio but not Sean’s, Peter Bjorn and John. With every member contributing to song-writing and vocals “Living Thing” seems to draw inspiration from just about everywhere. With a spark for the unpredictable I rather like it’s diverse and experimental nature. “Nothing to Worry About” (Used in all the Always Sunny in Philadelphia promos this year) is a joyous hippity-hop romp with an infectious sing-along chorus. The brash but memorable “Lay it Down” is another great number (probably my favorite). The best thing to come from these guys yet.

6. Chester French – Love the Future
: Straight off of surprisingly enough Pharell’s Star Trak Records, Love the Future seemed to take a billion years to finish but it was worth the wait. C.F. brings to mind the fun and catchy Pop sounds of the 60s along with some swanky synths and even some old school beat machines. Somehow I think they can come off as a little arrogant but that might just be the preppy attitude that flows through this album. I don’t know what it is but that doesn’t stop these compositions from being the fun pop/rock gems their meant to be. I was surprised that Chester French didn’t find the same success as fellow Ivy leaguers Vampire Weekend and MGMT but whatever, that just makes the fan base seem more exclusive.

5. Matt & Kim – Grand
It took some time for me to warm up to this hip urban duo but I just fell in love with all the simple arrangements. Accompanied by some highly inventive percussion and goofy indie pop melodies it’s the definition of alternative. It’s a short and sweet album that would be welcome into any indie rock fan’s collection.

4. Weezer – Raditude
Weezer’s experiment of bizarre collaborations (Lil Wayne, The All American Rejects) turns out to be just what this band needed. Some moments even bring me back to the glory days but the new ideas are also a welcomed venture… With the exception of the terrible “Love is the Answer”. Weezer may be getting a little cornier as the years go on (note Rivers Cuomo in that commercial for Band Hero) but they still got it in em, they just gotta dig a little deeper to find it.

3. U2 – No Line On the Horizon
Who’d of thought I’d fall in love with an album that I initially gave such a lukewarm response? It truly has the polished and excellently crafted feel of a seasoned rock band. I don’t think anyone can make a guitar sound more beautiful than The Edge and here along with Bono’s trademark operatic delivery and a tight rhythm section U2 is as tight and prolific as ever. “Moment of Surrender” and “I Know I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” are already among my all time favorite U2 songs.

2. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
This is the definition of what a supergroup should be. Different artists bringing their own styles and sensibilities to create a new, distinct original sound. There’s a whole slew of memorable Alt-Country rockers and especially touching ballads, I’m quite partial to “Ahead of The Curve”. Even the songs that don’t thrill me still impress me vocally or from a production standpoint. The Blending of soulful vocals and true themes of Americana really help this album break out of the pack of other supergroups, I hope they all work together again someday.

1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This album is so good I went to the trouble off editing this list like a year later. I hadn’t really heard the album before I did this list so who would’ve of thunk I’d fall so head over heels for it? The catchiness, the the romanticism of the music and lyrics, beautiful stuff. I think it helped to seem them life and see how much energy and pep they had with this fantastic material. Let’s hope I don’t have to edit this again in another year with another overlooked gem.

Honorable Mention
Golden Silvers – True Romance
:The album seems a little inconsistent between catchy dance tunes and more brooding pieces, but it’s an enjoyable little synth romp.

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
: Bit of a downer waiting almost four years for another Franz Ferdinand album and then getting this but it’s still okay. “No You Girls” is a great Poppy dance single, good enough to be in a PSP commercial.