2009 Music in Review: The Albums

For Part 1 of the singles, go here.

For Part 2 of the singles, go here.

    Favorite retro-sounding albums:

    • Noisettes – Wild Young Hearts: This is the mental picture I had of Amy Winehouse before I saw what she looked like (and having high def does nothing for her, let me tell you). Shingai Shoniwa is her polar opposite who is stylish, restrained, and together. Admittedly, I know nothing of her personal life, but it’s a safe bet that it’s a lot more organized than Ms. Winehouse. Shingai has an amazing voice and is engaging to watch (in videos, at least– I hope to see them perform live someday).
    • Raveonettes – In and Out of Control: The Danish duo are at it again with another fantastic album. I have no idea what the lyrics to “Bang!” mean, but the melody makes me giddy. The album has some pure pop moments (the previously mentioned “Bang!”), along with some lush melodies contrasted with dark lyrics (“Last Dance,” “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”).
    • Cocktail Slippers – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: The singer’s voice reminds me of Voice of the Beehive, who I absolutely adore. This is a garage band from Oslo, Norway and they have “cocktail” in the name. How could I resist?
    • Glasvegas – s/t: The Jesus and Mary Chain had a love child with The Ronettes and raised it in Scotland.
    • The Leftovers – Eager to Please: I would like to thank my friend Dave for introducing me to yet another fun summer power pop album. He does this every year (see also: Rhett Miller, Everybody Else).

    Favorite mellow albums:

    • The Damnwells – One Last Century: Offered as a free download from Paste magazine, it was priceless in every sense of the word. It’s beautifully written and performed. “Closer Than We Are” gets me every time.
    • Various Artists, Sweetheart – Our Favourite Artists Sing Their Favourite Love Songs: A lovely, understated cover album. The versions of “Take on Me” and “I’m on Fire” surprised me in a good way, and I love Death Cab for Cutie’s cover of The Cure’s “Love Song.” It’s perfect winter music for cuddling under a blanket either alone or with the one you love.
    • The Twilight Hours – Stereo Night: Local mainstays Matt Wilson and John Munson team up for a dreamy collection of songs. The first time I heard “Alone,” I got chills.

    Favorite albums to play loudly:

    • Tinted Windows – s/t: Fountains of Wayne meets Hanson meets Cheap Trick meets Smashing Pumpkins? Absolutely. It helps that Adam Schlesinger wrote most of the songs. He’s one of the most talented songwriters of our time. He’s like Lennon and McCartney rolled into one, except without “Spies Like Us” and “Freedom.” Bun E. Carlos and James Iha are solid, and Taylor Hanson’s vocals are outstanding.
    • Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown: How do you follow up American Idiot? First, you do a side project (Foxboro Hot Tubs) that sounds like a garage band, then you incorporate some of that sound while writing the musical-influenced sequel. It’s not as much of a surprise as American Idiot, but an enjoyable album all the same.
    • Weezer – Raditude: This album could have also fit in the retro category, because there’s something old school about a lot of the songs and the melodies. I liked the red album, but I felt like they were trying to do too much with it and could have used a couple more passes at some of the songs. This album is more cohesive and it seems like they’re having a lot more fun.
    • Cheap Trick – The Latest: They can do no wrong, really. But there are so many bands who have been around forever who just pump out crap to make a buck, yet Cheap Trick produces these solidly crafted albums.
    • Frank Turner – Poetry of the Deed: We were first introduced to Frank Turner when he opened for The Gaslight Anthem in October, and we were glad we got there early to see him perform as the opening act. He played an acoustic set, but it was powerful and passionate, and his songs stayed with me long after he stopped playing. Even though this is acoustic, it rocks in the best way.
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    3 Responses to “2009 Music in Review: The Albums”

    1. Dave Lifton Says:

      Always a pleasure to introduce you to great bands, and I was glad to see you put The Feeling on your singles list. I reviewed them back in 2007.

    2. Thomas Says:

      I’m really glad you gave the Noisettes a second listen. I’m so looking forward to my London (!) trip in February to see them in a relatively small venue with general admission. They were fantastic in Hamburg last year – my favorite concert of the year, and that includes Springsteen!

      • Michele Says:

        I’m so glad you encouraged me to give them another listen. It’s such a fun album. I hope you have a fantastic time in London!

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