Here is my list of my Top 10 favorite albums of 2009, starting with 5 honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention (In alphabetical order)
As Tall As Lions – You Can’t Take It With You
Triple Crown Records
Favorite Tracks: In Case Of Rapture, We’s Been Waitin’
Between The Trees – Spain
Favorite Tracks: We Can Try, The One Thing
David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
Favorite Tracks: Please, Baby, Please, In Stiches
The Fray – The Fray
Favorite Tracks: Never Say Never, Ungodly Hour
Thrice – Beggars
Favorite Tracks: In Exile, Beggars
And now for the top 10.
Sufjan Stevens – The BQE: The Motion Picture Soundtrack
Asthmatic Kitty Records
This album blew me away initially. An instrumental album, it really keeps you involved with it’s huge range of instrumentation. From very classical style (Introductory Fanfare For The Hooper Heroes) to programming/techno style songs (Movement IV: Traffic Shock), this album is full of beauty and surprises. If you appreciate instrumental music whatsoever, please check out this album.
Barcelona – Absolutes
From the very first track, Falling Out Of Trees, I knew I would love this album. This piano based album is a wonderful one from track one to track thirteen. And word on the street is that these guys put on an absolutely tremendous live show. Hopefully one day I’ll get to see it, and I hope you get to as well.
This Providence – Who Are You Now?
Fueled By Ramen Records
I found out about these around the time they toured with Relient K in October of 2008. I downloaded their ST album and was a huge fan. I loved Dan Young’s voice and the way it blended with the music. But when Who Are You Now? released in January, I knew these guys had something good going. Their first track, Sure As Hell really set the tone for the album, and I liked said tone. The music had really matured, and the lyrics were just as great. This is one of those albums that flat out doesn’t have a bad track. Good, good stuff from a pretty underrated band.
MUTEMATH – Armistice
Teleprompt/Warner Bros. Records
This album almost destroyed MUTEMATH. They had an entire album already recorded, but they weren’t real excited about the songs. They brought in Dennis Herring as their producer, who told them that all those songs sucked and they needed to write new stuff. Inspired by such brutal honesty, Armistice came out of that. And what a great record it is. This album is a little more poppy than their previous work, but still just as creative and unique as their ST album, if not better. I had the privilege of seeing this guys live, and it was just mind blowing. These 4 guys are so good at their respective positions in the band, and they play together so well.
Matt Hires – Take Us To The Start
This is an album I accidentally stumbled across, and I’m sure glad I did. This album is incredibly catchy and once you start it, you just gotta listen to it all the way through. Matt is a rather unknown artist in the industry, and I really hope for his sake that he gets a ton of exposure, because he has an incredible amount of potential.
The Dangerous Summer – Reach For The Sun
Talk about coming out of nowhere. My roommate from last year stumbled upon these guys just about a month before this album came out, having only their debut EP. It took a few spins of that for me to get used to this guy’s voice, but it steadily grew on me. By the time their full length LP came out, I was hooked. AJ Perdomo has a very distinct voice, but it’s one of passion and great skill. Keep your eyes on these guys, because they’re exploding, and fast.
Mat Kearney – City Of Black & White
If you came into this album expecting more pseudo-rap spoken word talk, you were letdown. If you came in with an open mind, you were probably just as equally impressed as I was. Mat Kearney’s voice has matured, and so has his music. From very upbeat songs like All I Have to the piano based New York To California, this album is filled with gems. The closing track is beautifully done with a stunning ending. After one listen, I was in love. Great work, Mat.
Sherwood – QU
I’ve always liked Sherwood. If I ever wanted a break from my typical routine of music, I’d give one of their older EPs a listen, just for something to have on. When I found this album, I didn’t even realize they were recording new stuff still. Boy, I’m glad I found this album. The opening track, Shelter, is a 55 second a capella track that just gets you pumped for the rest of the album. From there on out, each and every track is just flat out good. Guest vocals from Molly Jenson on Worn just make the song. If you get a chance, check out her newest album, too. (Maybe Tomorrow)
Relient K – Forget And Not Slow Down
Ohhh Relient K. I found out about these guys shortly after the release of their album mmhmm, and that quickly became one of my favorite albums of all time. Track after track on that album was so well written, and I knew these guys were good. Then came Five Score and Seven Years Ago. I thought, “Eh, these guys are pretty good, but I know these guys have more in them. Then came Forget And Not Slow Down. I knew after just one listen that this would be one of those albums that brought my faith back in Relient K. Tracks like Sahara, Savannah, and If You Believe Me make me realize that after so many years, Relient K is simply getting better.
Switchfoot – Hello Hurricane
lowercase people/Atlantic Records
So this is probably a little biased because I am such a big Switchfoot fan, but wow. In August of 2007, Switchfoot severed ties with their record label. After 4 solo EPs and a side project (Fiction Family), Jon and the gang got together, recorded over 80 songs, struggled through the decision making of what to cut and what to leave, and the end result was their record Hello Hurricane. And what a great ending to a great struggle. This album is what I would consider a “grower.” With each and every listen, you notice little things that make you say “Wow, this album is incredible.” I could go on a full-out review for each and every song, but I’ll save my breath and your time both. If you really want to find out how good it is, go pick it up. Chances are that you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading through this. If I persuaded you to at least give one album a listen, I did my job.