Top (and Bottom) Five Albums of 2009

Okay, so I know I’m jumping the gun a little here, but honestly, the rest of 2009 isn’t looking all that promising, folks.

So here they are, my top five favorite albums of 2009:

5. Mike DoughtySad Man Happy Man
This album has grown on me so much more since the first listen and I think that “Lorna Zauberberg” just might be my favorite Mike Doughty song, ever. Seeing him live promoting this album I’m sure has something to do with the way I feel about it now. Mike Doughty, guitar, small club, little to no security…I’m surprised I didn’t get myself in trouble. (BTW, this guy cracks me right the fuck up, enjoy!)

Mike Doughty’s “Pleasure On Credit” as done by a crazy internet guy!

4. Lily AllenIt’s Not Me, It’s You
That’s so not true Lily, this year’s been all about you. The gap-toothed Brit certainly made a years worth of singles on this album. After the past few years, she deserves to have a good one. It’s such a shame that as of right now, Allen has “no plans” on releasing another album and will be taking the next two years to start her own record label. I’ll miss you Lily, come back soon!

Lily Allen – “Fuck You”

3. The DecemberistsThe Hazards of Love
Current TV‘s Embedded totally did a special on these guys and the hazards of turning this album into a live show (tee-hee, bad joke, I know). I’ll tell you what…I think that made me love this album even more. It’s just so damn good and I really think that I am going to have to see it live. Shara Worden makes me weak in the lady parts. Damn. (Check this out at about four minutes in…)

The Decemberists – “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Reprise” Live

2. Pet Shop BoysYes
Such a fantastic album! Twenty five years of making music and they’ve still got it. I am still convinced that they are the only band who could ever even attempt to sample Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”. This whole album is so damn good. We also bought our hard copy of it in Miami, so this will now forever be an incredibly happy album for me.

Pet Shop Boys – “All Over the World”

1. PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This album was the most revolutionary album of the year, hands down. The French quartet is still storming the airwaves with this album and has actually been nominated for their first Grammy (Best Alternative Music Album). I really hope they win, they deserve it. The best part about Phoenix this year is when people I know discover them and tell me that I “HAVE TO HEAR” this AMAZING new band Phoenix. They have really rocked my world this year. Check ’em out.

Phoenix – “Lizstomania”

You know, that was actually a whole lot harder than I thought. Some honorable mentions are Flyleaf’s Memento Mori and David Guetta’s One Love.

Now for the fun part…

The WORST five albums of 2009:

5. Depeche ModeSounds of the Universe
You figure after being around for approximately 1, 010 years, Depeche Mode would either a.) have this musical situation down pat or b.) have made everything good that they will ever make and have run out of ideas. Looks like they went with Plan B. If you have run out of anything good to contribute to the music industry, WHY KEEP MAKING MUSIC!? This is my open letter, begging Depeche Mode to please stop making music.

4. 311Uplifter
God, this is such a terrible album. And as far as I know, I’m not the only one who appears to feel this way. I mean, have you heard ANYTHING out of this album this year? Did they even have a single? This album was simply shameful and I can’t believe they even released it. I swear, now that I listen to this album again, it’s even worse that I thought it was.

311 – “I Like the Way”

3. Dashboard ConfessionalAlter the Ending
Oh Dashboard, how I used to love you and how you’ve failed me. This album is wretched. And you know what’s even worse? That I’m their Myspace friend and get to see all their ridiculous updates and all the gushy heart-filled replies of 13 year old girls who love Chris Carraba. This album is a wicked disappointment.

Dashboard Confessional – “No News Is Bad News”

2. WeezerRaditude
Oh Weezer. How I wanted to love this album. I wanted to love Rivers again. I wanted to love thick glasses and argyle. This album has let me know that unless something drastically changes, I think my relationship with Weezer is over. Yes, Weezer, I am breaking up with you. We had some great times, unraveling sweaters and hanging out in the garage. Oh, those were the times. Good bye, Weezer. Also, this Snuggie situation? It’s gotta go.

1. Butch WalkerSycamore Meadows
So, technically, this album was released in 2008, but it sucked so hard it kept on sucking right through 2009, plus, I didn’t review it until this year. Also, bringing him up to first place is the fact that he produced TWO of the other four albums on this worst of portion. Oh Butch…not only are you ruining your own albums, now you’re ruining the entire future of music by churning out this garbage. This mass produced crap is getting out of control and Walker is certainly not making the situation any better.

Honorable mentions for the worst album of the year include Marilyn Manson’s The High End of Low and Ben Lee’s The Rebirth of Venus.

Well, that’s it for the year in review folks. What was YOUR favorite album this year?


Butch Walker – Sycamore Meadows

Butch WalkerBefore I even begin this, please know that I am terribly biased on this album. I’ve been a big fan of Walker since the Marv 3 days…and well, I simply don’t know what to make of this album. This album brings to mind Letters, my least favorite album of his. I like glam Butch Walker. I want eyeliner and glitter and scissor kicks and too much hair wax. I want glam motherfucking rock and roll. The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonights restored my faith in him after Letters, so I’m hoping that after this album, he goes back to that. Honestly, I like the man better with a band. His solo stuff just isn’t my bag I guess.

Anyway, onto the album: First of all, the title. Really, Butch, really? It sounds like a bad teen drama on Fox.

What is this country thing going on? He started it in “Rich People Die Unhappy” on The Rise and Fall, and he continues the trend on this album with “Going Back/Going Home” and even “3 Kids in Brooklyn”. It does have a certain classic rock charm reminiscent of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, especially with the harmonica in “A Song For the Metalheads”. I don’t mind it, it’s just not what I think of when I think of Butch Walker. I guess it’s a good thing that he’s venturing onto other avenues and experimenting, but I think this album will alienate a lot of people who have followed him from the Marvelous 3 days. I mean, every artist changes and grows, and that’s a good thing. But c’mon, at least pop a throw-back track in there. Something to make the old fans rock out and think of where they were the first time they heard the Hey! album.

This is a pretty stereotypical breakup album.  “Here Comes The…”, “Ships In A Bottle”,  and “Passed Your Place, Saw Your Car” are tales of loss, grief, and loneliness. Every album needs a good ballad, and Walker can certainly deliver in that sense.

I think if I was going through a terrible breakup, or was a 16 year old cutter, I would appreciate this album more. Walker is still an amazing lyricist and musician, that I can’t deny, I just don’t like the direction that this album’s going in. It’s just too goddamn depressing for me.

Also, I might just be pissed off that he condones Katy Perry making music. That’s just wrong. I’m sorry Butch, C.

Butch Walker’s Website