The 9 of '09

2009 was a great year in music. Here at Digging For Days, I don't pretend to have heard every album that was released. I did listen to a quite a bit. So here is my end of year list- no pretense or hype here. Let the bashing begin.

9. Crash Kings by Crash Kings

Their energy is as infectious as their songs. Without a guitar in sight, these Kings deliver one great song after the other. Whether it's the sheer force of Raincoat or the charging 1985, Crash Kings know how to keep the fingers off the skip button. They deserve much more attention in 2010.

8. Raditude
by Weezer

It's not Pinkerton. They haven't even tried to copy that album and you know what? Once you accept Weezer as the band they are now, you can sleep a little better at night. They turn up the pop of their brand of nerd pop/rock on Raditude and got bashed for it. One Lil Wayne collabo later on the super catchy Can't Stop Partying and you almost forgive them for turning their back on meaningful lyrics. With songs this toe tapping, I kind like the direction Weezer is headed.

7. Build Me This by Joshua James

Once billed as a quiet folk singer, James proved everyone wrong on his second album. Here he proved that he can rock with the best of them. But he didn't lose his core group of fans along the way. He blends his style of folk music with the volume turned way up. Black July is as stomping as a White Stripe song. Coal War is a modern take on a chain gang anthem. Joshua James pulled out all the stops here and it shows.

6. The Modern Electric by The Modern Electric

A little known band with a fondness for David Bowie with a rock edge. The Modern Electric deliver on the modern part of their name. They are at once a throwback to the '90s rock sound with a whole new twist. With a lead singer who can bend his voice to the brink and back again on such heart wrenching songs like Filming Our Favorite Lies. But it's the single Mistakes that shows their artistry; rather than explode, they hold back. Tease.

5. All I Ever Wanted by Kelly Clarkson

Oh, Kelly how we missed you since you were gone. She took a break from her pop roots to get her dark side out on My December but came back full force on Wanted. My Life Would Suck Without You was the banging pop song we always wanted from her and she delivered. Her voice still remains front and center but heightened by the right hooks that let us proudly sing along with her in the car. A return to form CD that also grows the artist (Just listen to the hard rock Whyyawannabringmedown and the retro I Want You); well worth the wait.

4. Ursa Major by Third Eye Blind

We thought we were rid of the '90s alt rock kings. They went the way of Bush, Vertical Horizon, and Live. But Third Eye Blind delivered a very much labored over album Ursa Major like they had nothing to prove. Stephen Jenkins' snarl and overly worded lyrics are still intact as were the classic 3EB hooks. Don't Believe A Word is quite possibly their most rocking yet (and very The Who-ish). While Sharp Knife is a classic slow burner with a message. After all the delays, Ursa Major proved these '90s guys deserve a spot in the new millennium.

3. Revolution by Miranda Lambert

Out of left field Lambert delivered not only the best country album of the year, but one of the best period. With songs that hit you below the belt and in the face, Lambert's delivery and tone completely set the stage for the stories she is telling. The House That Built Me brings tears to my eyes just thinking about going back to my childhood home, while Me and Your Cigarettes creates one of the best metaphors, nicotine and love-(they're both addictive and bad for you). She should be sweeping the awards circuit this time next year with her most honest, heartfelt record to date.

2. Phrazes for the Young by Julian Casablancas

The Strokes front man was the last one of his group to strike out on his own and you know what they say about the last ones. Casablancas delivered a throwback to the '80s on tracks such as 11th Dimension. His songs went unexpected places and often changed without much warning. He kept an eye on the future without losing what made The Strokes. Left & Right in the Dark finds Julian bopping along with pop beat and a chorus that keeps finding hooks around every corner. With only 8 songs on this album, every one has something to love. All killer, no filler.

1. Aim and Ignite by fun.

No band found the pure bliss of music quite like fun. did this year. Led by the former lead singer of The Format, fun. delivered the most exuberant pop opus I've heard in quite a while. Washed in violins, background vocals, lush harmonies, excellent melodies and a hooks galore. Aim and Ignite did just that. It exploded what pop music can be. It doesn't have to be fake club beats and guests rap collaborations. Fun. reminded everyone that music is supposed to sound like- genuine lyrics wrapped around a clever hook. It doesn't get much better than the frenetic track ironically called Be Calm or the military drums on At Least I'm Not as Sad as I Used to Be. If Aim and Ignite was their debut I can't wait to see when they explode.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, Have you seen this?

'All Along'

Instant classic!