I haven’t really been updating in a while because I’m lazy and unmotivated, but here, in no particular order, are 25 rather good albums from 2009 that you should seek out. These are not the only worthwhile albums released this year, but they’re the ones I’ve been listening to a lot and/or came to mind first. I’m sure I’ve left plenty off, because it was actually a pretty solid year for music. Up next: the decade’s best. I’ve been working on that list a little longer.
1) Manic Street Preachers – Journal for Plague Lovers
Returning with lyrics pulled straight from Richey James Edwards’ journals, this could have seemed like a desperate and laughable attempt at salvaging their earlier successes by exploiting the assumed death of a former bandmember…instead, it feels like the first truly great Manics album in well over a decade — and a proper sequel to Holy Bible that is sprawling and ambitious yet reassuringly familiar.
2) Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
Twee indie-pop done right; “James” is one of the saddest songs I’ve heard all year.
3) Julian Casablancas – Phrazes for the Young
Strokes frontman expands his horizons and delivers one of the better solo debuts of the decade. “11th Dimension” is impossible to dislike, I think.
4) Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
Put three rock veterans in a room and this is what you get: a fun rock n’ roll album with some of the best riffs in recent memory.
5) Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
Johnny Depp is a fan, too. That’s all you need to know.
6) Passion Pit – Passion Pit
Catchy synth rock stuff. Pretty infectious.
7) The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love
Kinda reminiscent of earlier shoegaze; this was a late discovery for me, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.
8 ) The Horrors – Primary Colours
Much-derided UK indie rock group delivers surprisingly-very-good album.
9) Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
English indie rock band; “All the King’s Men” will tell you all you need to know about them, and whether you’ll like them or not.
10) Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … Pt. II
I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but this is way better than it has any right to be. Raekwon’s best since the album’s predecessor, and generally speaking one of the better rap albums of the decade.
11) Girls – Album
12) The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
13) Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
14) Leonard Cohen – Live in London
15) Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
16) DOOM – Born Like This
17) Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle
18) Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – S/T
19) Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
20) Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
21) Mos Def – The Ecstatic
22) Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today…
23) The Antlers – Hospice
24) Atlas Sound – Logos
25) Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement