Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best In Music: 2009

My Favorite 20 Songs of 2009

20. "Nobody" by Kate Earl - With a little bit of an 80's edge to it, and a good amount of soul, this makes for a good little pop song overall.

19. "Young Adult Friction" by The Pains of Being Young at Heart - A rock song with a good hook and a really fun climax.  Very youthful and fresh.

18. "Telephone" by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce - Lady Gaga has a knack for overdoing everything, and producing some catchy dance grooves.  This is my favorite.

17. "Watcha Gonna Do" by Imelda May - Imelda May has a CD full of soulful, flirty songs on "Love Tattoo," and this energetic song is the best of the bunch.

16. "Sweet Sweet Heartkiller" by Say Hi To Your Mom - This restrained song is delivered with a heartbreaking lovely voice, and contains some pretty great lines.

15. "Once Was Love" by Ingrid Michaelson - "Everybody" has a bunch of great singer/songwriter type of songs, really fully-realized and executed with some playful sounds and lyrics.  "Once Was Love" stands out for me just because I love the refrain.

14. "Boom" by Anjulie - Brimming with sultry sounds and a conflict of conscience, this sexy song is easy to lose oneself in.

13. "The Rainiest Day of Summer" by Elizabeth & the Catapult - This depressing song with an angelic chorus is a beautifully-written song, one of many on the album "Taller Children."

12. "Dreams" by Brandi Carlile - Brandi Carlile has been creating fantastic music for awhile now, so it's no surprise that the songstress hit another one out of the park with this new jam that showcases her great voice and musical arrangements.

11. "Not Fair" by Lily Allen - Amid a fantastic album, Lily Allen released this great song with a wonderful hook and smart, sassy lyrics.  I love songs with big bell chimes in them for some reason.

10. "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke - Yorke's electronic, experimental sound is haunting and beautiful, and really proved it could enchance a fight sequence in a movie (one of the only good things about New Moon).

9. "Relator" by Pete Yorn & Scarlet Johansson - This single has more bells and whistles than Pete Yorn's other songs, but Yorn never seemed to have so much fun in a song just made for the summer. Scarlett holds her own alongside the rocker with a subdued, distorted sound.

8. "Oh, No" by Andrew Bird - One of the most mainstream songs by songwriter Andrew Bird is a cheerful-sounding tune full of hums and whistles for a perfectly agreeable package.

7. "Zero" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero" is a rocking song with a lot of energy. It's infectious as hell and dares you to move to its beat.

6. "God Help the Girl" by God Help the Girl - This whimsical song written by Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian is a wonderfully simple song that soars with Catherine Ireton's cheeky vocals.

5. "Whatever You Like" by Anya Marina - Remaking the rap song by T.I., Anya Marina brings new energy and a new perspective to the lyrics with a very danceable, pop-laden rendition.

4. "French Navy" by Camera Obscura - This song is incredibly catchy with great swells of sound and an overall fun retro vibe.

3. "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina - Anya Marina was a real find for me this year.  With the singer/songwriter's addition to the New Moon soundtrack, I hope she finds a whole new audience.  This dark song full of strings is just beautiful.

2. "As It Must Be" by Joey Ryan - This fantastic soft ballad by singer/songwriter Joey Ryan is delivered via a beautiful voice that's just heartbreaking set to the strings and piano in this single.  An instant classic.

1. "Sweet About Me" by Gabriella Cilmi - This country-soaked song from soul-singer Gabriella Cilmi is one of the, if not the, best song I've heard in the past five years. A strong voice, complimented by sassy lyrics for one unforgettable overall package.

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2009

10. "Wait For Me" by Moby - Full of haunting experimental sounds, Moby's latest may be his most ambitious yet. Electrifying and original. Key Tracks: "Pale Horses," "Shot In the Back of the Head," "Walk With Me."

9. "Red Revelations" by Jace Everett - Jace Everett, whose song "Bad Things" is on people's minds, as it's the theme song for HBO's True Blood, has a dark, moody sound on this intense country-rock album chalk-full of great broody music. Key Tracks: "Possession," "Burn For You," "One of Them."

8. "Lessons To Be Learned" by Gabriella Cilmi - As I mentioned already, "Sweet About Me" is one of the best songs I've heard in a long while, but also speckled throughout this CD are bluesy songs that really showcase Cilmi's amazing voice. Key Tracks: "Sweet About Me," "Awkward Game," "Cigarettes and Lies."

7. "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson - As I stated above, Ingrid has a knack for writing playful, fully-realized songs on this CD full of great music.  Key Tracks: "Once Was Love," "Sort Of," "Everybody."

6. "Bomb In a Birdcage" by A Fine Frenzy - With the second CD, I feel like A Fine Frenzy kind of cut loose and made a consistently great album, really showcasing what A Fine Frenzy is capable of:  stunning songs.  Playful and melodic.  Key Tracks:  "Electric Twist," "The World Without," "Happier."

5. "Campfire Songs" by The Tall Pines - This is just a new classic country-rock album. Strong, solid songs with great tunes and fantastic vocals (by both men and women, but primarily from the stunning Connie Lynn Petruk). Not to be missed. Key Tracks: "Up!" "Good Woman," "Love You Better."

4. "Love, Save the Empty" by Erin McCarley - McCarley's breathy vocals are perfectly suited for this pop-tinged CD with infectious beats and surprisingly dark lyrics. This is a new talent to keep your eyes on. Key Tracks: "Hello/Goodbye," "Sleepwalking," "Love, Save the Empty."

3. "It's Not Me, It's You" by Lily Allen - In UK artist Lily Allen's latest, the sassy singer-songwriter develops some amazing hooks with bold lyrics and blunt political references. From her tribute to George W. Bush ("Fuck You") to more personal songs about love and sex, Lily Allen hits a home run that's even better than her critically-acclaimed debut that put her on the map. Key Tracks: "Not Fair," "Back To the Start," "Fuck You."

2. "Amanda Leigh" by Mandy Moore - On her latest CD, Moore produces an album inspired by music of the 60's and 70's ("Song About Home"), as well as musicals ("Pocket Philosopher"), to produce some riveting sounds about love and heartache. She established her song-writing abilities with her previous album "Wild Hope," but her voice has never sounded better than it does on this album, where she exudes a confidence in her writing and singing that really signals something special. Key Tracks: "Everblue," "Love To Love Me Back," "Nothing Everything."

1. "...With Its Roots Above and Its Branches Below" by Joey Ryan - This UK import CD contains the wonderful "As It Must Be" listed above, and contains some songs from older EPs released by Joey like fan-favorite "California." His voice soars in songs like "Like A Cloak" and croons powerfully through many of the bare folk songs. This CD is very simple but irrefutably beautiful. Buy it here. Key Tracks: "As It Must Be," "Like a Cloak," "No One Else Like You."

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