Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top 5 Albums of the Year

IMO, here are the Top Five Albums of the Year (2009):

5. Kid Cudi: "Man on the Moon"

A great hip-hop album from a rising star. The flow is great with largely mature, thoughtful lyrics. Beats are fun and fresh, while guest appearances don't overwhelm but add just the right spice.

Sample Track:"Make Her Say" ft. Kanye West and Common
For fans of: Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Lady GaGa.

4. Great Northern: "Remind Me Where the Light Is"

The second album from one of my new favorite bands. Great Northern combines female and male vocals for uplifting, wintry-sounding songs that evoke emotional responses. A great soft rock album and excellent follow-up to their superb 2007 debut.

Sample Track:"Story"
For fans of: Snow Patrol and Coldplay.

3. Jay-Z: "The Blueprint 3"

Hova returns with his best album since his "retirement". The Blueprint 3 balances everything, leading to one of the 25 greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. It showcases everything from club favorites to reflections on growing old.

Sample Track: "Empire State of Mind"
For fans of: Rihanna, Kanye West, and Nas.

2. The Very Best: "Warm Heart of Africa"

Every year an artist bursts onto the scene evoking new adoration and appreciation for what music can and should be. Last year, I especially liked Vampire Weekend and MGMT. This year, The Very Best opened up music to me. The combination of excellent production, worldly flavor, and upbeat songs creates unbridled emotion and a general feeling of buoyancy - all while being wholly original. Do yourself a favor and at least sample what this band has to offer.

Sample Track: "Julia"
For fans of: Vampire Weekend, M.I.A., and Amadou & Mariam.

1. Animal Collective - "Merriweather Post Pavilion"

An album that came out 3 weeks into the new year, Merriweather Post Pavilion remains the best of the year. It flows from track to track creating a landscape of images in your mind through the power of beautiful and complex lyrics fused with amazing instrumentation. Animal Collective's follow-up EP - "Fall Be Kind" - follows and the two serve as an example of what music should be in the tradition of a complete album. While nearly impossible to distinguish what the best track is, as the entire piece should be taken in as a whole, "My Girls" and "Lion in a Coma" stand out for me.

Sample Track: "My Girls"
For fans of: Grizzly Bear, Incubus, good music.

Honorable mention:
(in no particular order)
Grizzly Bear - "Veckatimest"
30 Seconds to Mars - "This Is War"
Karen O and the Kids - "Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack"
Kasabian - "The West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum"
Editors - "In This Light on this Evening"
Decemberists - "The Hazards of Love"
Andrew Bird - "Noble Beast"
Wolfmother - "Cosmic Egg"
Eskimo Joe - "Inshalla"
Metric - "Fantasies"

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