The Best, the Mediocre and the Worst of 2009
November 28th, 2009

Thought I’d lay out some of the albums that I absolutely adored that were released this past year. Christmas is coming up, so maybe this could help to serve as a potential shopping list?

2009 had some fun stuff, some disappointing releases and a couple of outright horrible ones. So, here’s a look at some of my faves, plus a couple of forgettable purchases. I’m going to do this in a bite-sized format, simply because a couple of people had been bugging me about what I liked, so here you go.


Metric – Fantasies
I’ve gushed about Emily Haines and the rest of Metric before so I’ll try and spare you a repeat. Let me just say that this is a great album that continues to find me regularly hopping to it whenever I’ve got iTunes open.


Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
There’s an ad down in Spadina station here in Toronto that had this album advertised for ages. I think the last time I saw it was like back in June or so, which is amusing, since the album came out in March. I like to think that it’s because the ad people really like Neko Case and are simply doing their part to promote how amazing she is. I prefer her previous effort, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, over this, but it is still a fantastic listen.


Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
Man, 2009 really belonged to the females. Yeah, I’m gaga for Gaga. Great performer, great voice, awesome videos. I doubt I’ll ever reach some sort of introspective zen-high listening to her music, but goddamn if this isn’t totally fun music to listen to.

Dangermouse & Sparklehorse – Dark Night of the Soul
I love Sparklehorse. I think Danger Mouse is pretty swell. Them coming together to do an album with the likes of Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips, Julian Cascablancas and Frank Black is magic. Not technically an official released, as DM’s record label blocked the release, but it’s out there if you know the right places to look.


Silversun Pickups – Swoon
Got into these guys when ‘Lazy Eye’ was all the rage and this, their second album, is better than their first. Another one of those albums I kept hopping over to listen to on iTunes, who knew that there were people out there who knew how to make rock albums still?


Them Crooked Vultures – s/t
Speaking of rock albums…Josh Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl making a record together? If you need to have this one explained to you, well, there’s not much hope for you, is there?


Tom Waits – Glitter and Doom Live Album
Tom Waits’ live performances are legendary. I’ve never had the privilege of catching him live, so this disc is damn near close to an essential for me. This 2 disc set features a second album of Tom Waits bullshitting around on stage and if you haven’t heard Waits telling you some ‘Tom Tales’, you really owe it to yourself to pick this album up.


Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
There’s always one album that stands out as a ‘summer’ album for me: something you listen to nonstop when the sun is out and the weather is warm, then put away as soon as fall comes along. This is that album for 2009. Fun in musical form.

‘Meh’ Albums


Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
Green Day team up with Butch Vig, with mixed results. American Idiot was a great album, this one, not so much. Too much piano and autotuner, of all things. Conclusion: Butch Vig should not be allowed to produce anymore albums. I also wrote a rather lengthy review, if you want to check that out.


Matthew Good – Vancouver
While this album isn’t going to slot anywhere near to Good’s worst material (in the sense that there’s no ‘Song For The Girl’ on it, for example), it simply didn’t grab me at all. Most people who know me would find this surprising, given how big of a Good fan I’ve been. Dunno what to say to that. Maybe I’m outgrowing him?


Muse – The Resistance
Much was made about Muse employing an orchestra and creating a symphonic movement and…it just all sort of fell flat for me, which is disappointing. Not as fun of an album as Black Holes and Revelations.



Weezer – Raditude
I am officially no longer part of Weezer’s target demographic. I mean, christ, here is a song called ‘In The Mall.’ How old is Rivers Cuomo again? Why is he writing songs about hanging out in a mall? Bonus: guest appearance by Lil Wayne that does absolutely nothing to improve the record.


Eminem – Relapse
This was supposed to be a great album. A disc exploring the emotional fallout of Eminem’s drug addiction and the death of his friend, Proof.  Instead we get Sarah Palin jokes and an annoying as hell accent.


U2 – No Line On The Horizon
What a boring album. Not really surprising, I guess, as U2 has been phoning it in for years now. Proof that everything Rick Rubin touches doesn’t turn into gold.

And that’s 2009. Rather sparse list this year, but living on a shoestring budget’ll do that! Feel free to share your own favorites down in the comments section.

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