With 2009 a done deal and all sorts of publications proclaiming what were the best music releases in 2009, I decided to give my two cents about what's worthy of praise. To be honest, I cannot say that I am impressed with what is called art these days. Case in point: While I appreciate Beyonce and all her bootyliciousness, I don't see her as an artist. While she knows how to shake her thing and lip-sync with the best of the prefabricated 'divas', she really shouldn't be called an artist. [Sorry, Beyonce.] I think people like Jill Scott, Minnie Ripperton, Joni Mitchell, or Bruce Springsteen are artists. They write their material and know how to sing. More importantly they know that true art isn't about bling and hype, but more about writing good songs and creating music that is timeless. In today's world of Top 40 and American Idol, it's all about artifice, flashy videos, controversy, dance moves but nothing else. I keep waiting for the next music zeitgeist a la NIRVANA, but I have a feeling I won't see that happen again.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that most of my favorite artists released CDs in 2009. For me it was an embarrassment of riches and I hadn't see such a bounty of great music since the 80s. So, in my humble opinion here are my top 20 CDs from 2009. Rolling Store eat your heart out!
20. Zero 7: Yeah Ghosts: I must admit, I was saddened that this duo decided to take a different approach to their sound. But I do give them props for trying something new.
19. Verve: Forth
18. Lily Allen: It's Not Me, It's You
17. Q-Tip: Kamaal The Abstract. Finally this one saw the light of day and it was worth the seven year wait!
15. Skye: Keeping Secrets
14. Bad Lieutenant: Never Cry Another Tear
13. Dangermouse and Sparklehorse: Dark Night of the Soul. This is the best CD that was never released.
12. Peter, Bjorn and John: Living Thing
11. RES: BlackGirlsRock: Another CD that was never released. Fortunately, you can get it here.
10. Bob Mould: Life and Times. Bob Mould just keeps getting better as he gets older!
9. Basement Jaxx: Scars
8. Massive Attack: Splitting the Atom EP. OK, so it's not a full length CD, but I had to put it on here since they take forever to release new material.
7. Green Day: 21st Century Breakdown
6. Mos Def: The Ecstatic
5. Friendly Fires: Friendly Fires [Re-release] This is the best new wave/ dance music since Duran Duran's Rio
4. Depeche Mode: Sounds of the Universe. DM use old synths, but never sacrifice song craft and pop hooks with this release. I will go on record by saying DM are our generations' Beatles! Nuff Said!
3. Pet Shop Boys: Yes. Another stunning effort from Neil and Chris. I dare you not to dance to All Over the World!
2. Doves: Kingdom of Rust. I never got tired of listening to this CD. As a matter of fact, the more I listened to it, the more I fell in love with it. I got a chance to see Doves perform live and it was one of the best concerts I have seen in a while.
1. Maxwell: BlackSummer'sNight. This is the real deal! As Michael Baisden would say, "This is music for the grown and sexy folks." Indeed, BlackSummer'sNight has it all, slow jams, deep grooves, sexy lyrics and Maxwell's lovely falsetto. Though it may have taken eight years for him to release BlackSummer'sNight, it was well worth the wait.
Looking forward, the first quarter in 2010 seems promising with artists such as Hot Chip, Massive Attack, Corrine Bailey Rae and Sade releasing new CDs. I look forward to spending my hard earned cash on these artists and hopefully I'll be able to do another top 20 for 2010!
"Your User ID is... - TuPac7, sir. And I ain't mad at ya." Thankfully the customer found this to be amusing.
1 year ago