Best Albums of 2009


It's always difficult to choose my favorite albums at the end of the year. My favorite part is getting to revisit some albums that get dusty from early in the year. My least favorite part is trying to say one album is better than another. They are better at different times for different reasons. I just want to spread my enjoyment of music onto you and so I'll give ranking art my best shot. Hope you discover some new music here.

I also hope you will comment on your favorites, offer links to your lists or tell me what you think of mine. Discovery of and discussion about art is a worthy exercise. If you are interested you can check out my previous lists: Best Albums of 2007, Best Albums of 2008. By the way, none of my album comments should be taken in a negative way. "Sad" means awesomely depressing, etc. Be aware: some albums contain colorful language. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures - Fun, loud rock. Way better than expected. 
  • Swell Season: Strict Joy - Just haven't heard it enough to list.


25. Megafaun: Gather, Form & Fly - Folksier, Funner Fleet Foxes.

24. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Chew-gum shoegaze. Would be used for a remake of The Breakfast Club.

23. Sufjan Stevens: The BQE - Unquestionably Suf. Suf you can work to. Music that moves. Fluttering.

22. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest - Grand yet feels restrained. Sad at times. Beautiful.

21. Volcano Choir: Unmap - Inventive, from the talents of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Collections of Colonies of Bees. It may take some work to enjoy, but enjoyable it is.

20. Passion Pit: Manners - Party time! Let's dance! Crazy falsettos on this one. Super-duper. Snazzy.

19. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Grab a tamborine and sing along as we drive to the coast in our VW van. Not always that simple, but close.

18. Antony & The Johnsons: The Crying Light - Sad. Hopeful. Yeah, basically the title. Antony's trembling voice sounds and resonates with the broken.

17. Atlas Sound: Logos - Etherial. Layered. Wonder at the collections of sounds.

16. Regina Spektor: Far - Sing-songy pop music that makes you think. 

15. Other Lives: Other Lives - Epic. Soaring. Room-filling sounds. Sad. Haunting.

14. D.M. Stith: Heavy Ghost - Beautifully creepy. Haunting. Creative. Textured. 

13. Metric: Fantasies - Fun. Foot tapping. Heart pumping. Head bobbing.!

12. Karen O and The Kids: Where the Wild Things Are - Great soundtrack from a great movie. Truly makes the movie better. Stays with you.

11. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Red Bull music. Cross-country road-trip music. Take-video-going-down-slides-and-replay-it-at-twice-the-speed music. 

10. The Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca - Quirky. Complex/complicated. Everywhere, and then together again. Harmonious. Rewarding to those who dare to try.

9. Neko Case: Middle Cyclone - Storyteller. Strong. Siren. Warm and inviting amid the crashing waves and rocks.

8. A.A. Bondy: When The Devil's Loose - Simple, acoustic, folksy music with a voice that longs for something. The voice makes the music. 

7. Brandi Carlile: Give Up The Ghost - Powerful voice and powerful music. Some of the best indie songwriting on my list with a wide appeal. If some of my musical tastes don't work for you, try Brandi. 

6. The XX: XX - Dream pop. Calm vocals with twisty tunes. Understated. Coolest of the cool. Has a beat, but you can chill out to it.

Oh-My-God--Charlie-Darwin-by-The-Low-Anthem_GBf0UlEJ7kYx_full 5. The Low Anthem: Oh My God, Charlie Darwin - From delicate epics to strummy Americana to rollicking Avett-like folk/rock. This is a great album full of life and rooted sounds. Homespun goodness and full emotions.

Manchester-orchestra-mean-everything-to-nothing-2009 4. Manchester Orchestra: Mean Everything to Nothing - Rock music with something to say. Some of my favorite "crank it up" moments in my music library are on this album. Surprisingly some of the quiet are here too.

6a00d8341c974f53ef011572250dac970b.jpg 3. The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You - It wasn't until I was listening through to see some of my favorite songs of the year that I realized how much I do love this album. Just beats out Manchester Orchestra at the end.

Animalcollective 2. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion - It's hard to discount this album. It's creative and hip and thoroughly enjoyable. Mesmerizing. Spinny. Trippy. Full of sounds and melodies and colors and unicorns. Ok, that's too far.

Antlers 1. The Antlers: Hospice - Living up to its name, this is solemn and heartbreaking. And brilliant. A running narrative often moves through this literary work. Stop, listen, experience.