Monday 14 December 2009

2009 Best ofs [Music]

Somehow I didn’t seem to open myself up to a lot of new albums this year. Whether the fault was mine or the music's I’m not sure, but alot of the year's most praised releases left me cold. Florence Welch’s strident, pushy vocals had me cowering and reaching for a Gillian Welch record and the synthpop revival seemed fairly unexciting - give or take a couple of decent songs. But here are a few things I enjoyed.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin/Midwinter Graces - Tori Amos
So you’re still busy processing one Amos album when, lo and behold! - along comes another one. For me, neither AATS nor Midwinter Graces take their place as bona fide Amos Classics: the former is too uneven, the latter - necessarily - too limited in scope. Yet even “lesser” Amos works end up monopolising my musical year, and songs from both of these records provided me with more intense listening pleasure - and more little (and large) epiphanies - than those on any other release. “Give,” “Welcome to England,” “Ophelia,” "Curtain Call," “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,” “Lady In Blue” and “Winter’s Carol” bestow delight, orientation, courage and resolve. Colours that violate the blackness. Other worlds in parallel. Poems they can’t reach you in. Ways to break the chain.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
Cool (but warm) pop music by clever Frenchmen. An infectious, invigorating record. Encore!

Actor - St. Vincent
There’s a smug, art-conscious aspect to Actor that I don’t really enjoy that much; Annie Clark often seems less intent on bringing you into a song than in getting you to stand back and admire its cleverness . But on most of Actor's ambitious tracks the view looks pretty good.

Merriweather Post Pavillion - Animal Collective
This year’s Fleet Foxes in terms of praise: not as great as claimed, perhaps, but an undisputed grower.

A Loud Call - Holly Throsby
Throsby’s three disarming, low-key albums form a lovely trilogy. A Loud Call is the best.


  1. gawd, this list makes me feel old.....not heard of any of them.......Think I will stick to movies!!

  2. Ha! Check 'em out on YouTube, John.