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Posts Tagged ‘Best of List

The Albums of 2009

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Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for another year end best albums of the year list. For me, 2009 is a better year for music than 2008. Why? Because there are more great records this year than in the previous year. Last year when I made this kind of list, I made the top 5 and 5  honorable mentions. And actually, it was pretty easy to pick those albums. But for the year 2009, it was very difficult to compile and pick which ones are the best. Want proves? Just listen to the great albums that was released in the year 2009 from the likes of Wilco, Manic Street Preachers, Bat for Lashes, Julian Casablancas, Phoenix, Fever Ray, Mastodon, Them Crooked Vultures, Wild Beasts, Florence + the Machine, The Swell Season, and even The Horrors.

But here are the ones that made it to the list…

1. Grizzly Bear / Veckatimest

I always thought that 2009 is the year for Animal Collective. Until this album came out. This is chamber pop at its spaciest. Melodious riffs, beautiful vocal harmonies, spacey layered guitars, catchy tunes, and many more aspects that makes this album the best of 2009. It’s at the same time complex and listenable without the need of further listening. In short, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is what The Beach Boys would have sounded like if only Brian Wilson’s father had sex with a sexy female Martian. 2009’s best album. Definitely.

2. Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion

Let’s just put it this way for this album: For me, Animal Collective should dedicate Merriweather Post Pavilion to the people who don’t believe that originality still exists in the present day. Sure, this album need further listening, but after further listening? This album will thrive inside your brain. And stays there until… I don’t know, because it hasn’t leave from my brain since the first time it thrived into my brain. The rawness, beauty, and of course originalities of this album really amazed me, even for the hundredth listening. How could such album exists? Pure brilliance.

3. Dirty Projectors / Bitte Orca

The combination between modern and traditional, difficult techniques and musical talents, and guitar melodies and vocal harmonies has never been so beautiful and touching before. Kinda like the musical arrangements of Frank Zappa with Rafiki, Timon, Pumba, Mufasa, Simba, and the whole Lion King characters as the singers. On acid.

4. The xx / xx

Who would have thought that a band who call themselves as stupid as The xx, titled their album xx, and used a white capital X letter with black background for their album cover could made a debut album so defining that from first hearing you can already determine the band’s signature sound? All they did was create a twisted yet romantic lyrics, combine two melodies (one Interpol-esque and one Interpol-esque), create simple basslines, make head hopping beats, and sing it wonderfully light. Oh, did I mention that they did all of those with no real drum kit? They did it with a marvelous play of drum machine instead. This album is a classic case of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

5. The Flaming Lips / Embryonic

After their stunning audiovisual experience with Christmas on Mars, these manic Martians are back to make us a little playlist to accompany our long Uranus trip to celebrate Hanukkah on that planet. The pace might be slow for your taste, but it is stunning nevertheless.

Honorable mentions:

– Yeah Yeah Yeahs / It’s Blitz!

– Girls / Album

– Sonic Youth / The Eternal

– Japandroids / Post – Nothing

– The Pains of Being Pure at Heart / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

If you don’t agree with what I have picked, then you should tell me what are your best albums of 2009. But if you agree, then we should meet up and start a band together.

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Written by Reno Nismara

December 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

The Albums of 2008

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I want to open this post by saying, “Happy New Year!”. Sorry for the lateness and the rudeness. Let’s just hope that everything will change for the better, okay?

Now, it’s always a dream of mine to make my own “year end best of albums list” at a famous music magazine. Until I reach that dream of mine, I could only make my list at this blog, which are completely okay and awkwardly fun.

In this list, I only picked the five (plus five honorable mentions) best albums of 2008. Why five? Just because. Let me tell you that I chose these albums based on many things and I certainly did not chose these albums subjectively.

So, without any complains about the situations that are happening in the music industry, here are my top five (plus five honorable mentions) best albums  of 2008…

1. My Morning Jacket / Evil Urges.

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Since their previous album, that was titled Z, I always wonder what will their album will sounds like after such a magnificent album. Honestly, I am not expecting too much from their new album, because it will be hard to followed such a magnificent album with another magnificent album. But, what do I get with Evil Urges? Brilliance. I was shocked and amazed with it. They’re not afraid to get spacier after such a spacey experience with Z. They even channeled Prince’s falsetto at the album title track. This is a brave album with such brilliance and such class. This is my best album of 2008. And no, I am not exaggerating.

2. Spiritualized / Songs in A&E.

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Like any other Spiritualized albums, this album generally talks about love, depression, and death. Unfortunately, there’s no Spiritualized album that can matched the beautifulness, the epic-ness, and the honesties of their critically acclaimed album Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating in Space. Until this album came out from the surface. From the first hearing, I have thought that this album is going to be the newest Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman masterpiece and one of the best albums of 2008. Why? This is not your typical Spiritualized album. In fact, this is not your typical rock album. In this album, Jason Pierce bravely mantained the gospel sound of the band circa Let It Come Down, which doesn’t deliver well enough in that album. But, it doesn’t mean that Songs in A&E is not good. If in Let It Come Down the gospel is too over the top, the amount of gospel in this album is perfectly precise. Songs in A&E is not only good, but better than most of Spiritualized albums, which are also great. This album is heartbreaking (courtesy of the lyrics) and groundbreaking (courtesy of the musical compositions) at the same time. Jason Pierce, I salute you.

3. TV on the Radio / Dear Science.

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I could only give this album two words. Fucking genius. And I could only give this band two words after this album. Fucking geniuses.

4. Fleet Foxes / Fleet Foxes.

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This album generally and uniquely talks about life. Why unique? Because they talked about all kinds of life, whether it’s a life at a real world or a life at an imaginary fairy tale world, which they told at an amazingly vivid kind of way.  Sounds familiar? Yes, it was already done before, but Fleet Foxes keeps it fresh and keeps it original by adding such glorious melodies and beautiful harmonies. This album helps the music industry at being fresh again. This is an original album by an original band.

5. The Kills / Midnight Boom.

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Surprised? Yeah, me too. In fact, I have never liked The Kills before, but this album blows me away. This is a very variative and flexible album. By mixing the beats of hip hop, artsy noise guitar, swaggering rock n’ roll riffs, and of course the rawness of punk, you can hear this album at a party, when you still have a hang over after last night’s party, when you’re having a conversation with some friends in a bar, when you want to be alone, when you’re in love, when you just got your heart broken, and of course when you’re on drugs. The music in this album has the perfect amount of swaggering and cockiness, but this album also has the perfect amount of naughtiness and plainness. This is the kind of album that makes you forget how to skip a track.

Honorable mentions:

– Fucked Up / The Chemistry of Common Life.

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– Vampire Weekend / Vampire Weekend.

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– Coldplay / Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.

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– Bon Iver / For Emma, Forever Ago.

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– M83 / Saturdays=Youth.

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Got different taste? Why don’t you tell me yours?