Adventures In 2009: Top 30 Albums [#30-21]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Book of 2009 is closing its pages, and before we open up the fresh and crisp leaflets of 2010's novel, it's time to review what was pounding through the speakers of the last year of the "noughties" decade. Music was at a skittish pace this year, where if you were looking for something that was going to knock you off of your seat, you had to roll up your sleeves and do a little digging. Yet, that was all in the fun of it, so I wasn't complaining...well, too much anyways. Though I had to wade through the mediocre and disappointments pool of tunes, I managed to find 30 albums and 30 songs that struck my fancy and played like musical candy to my ears. It was a tough decision to whittle down my 2009 collection down to just 30 albums/songs, but I persevered! So indulge me for a moment as I countdown some of my favorites from this year, beginning with the first installment of 30 favored albums. :)


Canada has been having a stream of talent coming out recently and Anjulie is another one of those names that crossed the borderlines and whose music invaded my ear drums. Her self-titled debut album is a delightful blend of punchy pop, earthy soul and other funky things. The oddball smatter of eclectic percussion "Boom" sets the tone, and from there we are introduced to a patchwork quilt of sounds like the lounging, "Another Dumb Girl" and the perky tropical zing of, "Addicted2Me". An eclectic soul's dream record.  

Notable tracks: Love Songs, Another Dumb Girl


29. Let The Truth Be Told - Laura Izibor 
It's quite lazy for critics and the like to say that Laura Izibor is channeling Alicia Keys.The only thing these two have in common is that they can sing and jam on some ivory keys.The similarities halt once you soak in the Soul stunner from Ireland's impressive debut, Let The Truth Be Told as you find that Izibor has her own riveting style and a rich toned vocal in tow. The album takes on a homegrown and deeply personal touch as songs like "Don't Stay" and "What Would You Do"  sound like written notes ripped straight out of your journal. On top of all that talent, she's also a lovely person, who is down-to-earth and is living for the music. Truly, one of the voices to listen for well into the new year.

Notable tracks: If Tonight Is My Last, From My Heart To Yours


A big thunderclap of electronic fervor rests insides this loose cannon of electronic hip-hop n' pop, and  its quite a slicing modern update of what 80's New Romantic consisted of. The fondness for Mr. Hudson's eerie, yet solid and accent riddled alto drew me into his Library project, whose A Tale of Two Cities still gets spins, but when he paired up with Kanye West on 808's "Paranoid", it proved to be just a small morsel of what was to come for the UK vocalist, and this is where Straight No Chaser comes in. The record is wall to wall sound of frosted pop, with soul and hip-hop elements smeared in for good measure, and its vibe is an instant attraction. Kanye assists on the soaring, "Supernova" while the slicing "White Lies" is just one of few heartbreak hotel stories residing on this intricate disc.
 
Noted tracks: There Will Be Tears,White Lies


27. Music For Men - Gossip
There is something about the Gossip...oh, yeah, it's front-woman, Beth Ditto, who has become literally an advocate for all of us curvy girls out there due to her confidence and interesting dress ensembles. Yet, in some ways, while Beth is becoming the muse to fashion gurus across this planet, the music of her group gets lost in the shuffle. Darn shame, because the group's, Music For Men, is an eletctro rock-licking good time. Things kick off with the punchy, "Dimestore Diamond" and from there we get to hear rambunctious punk-pop tracks like "Pop Goes The World" and the jubilant, "Men In Love". For those who like a little pep in their step, Beth & Co. take you there.

Notable tracks: Dimestore Diamond, Heavy Cross

Last minute discoveries are always the cherries jubilee, and producer, multi-instrumentalist Zo!'s homage to long-lost classics was a delectable nugget of a find. After being convinced through fellow bloggers and word of mouth, the Foreign Exchange cohort's EP ...Just Visitng Too package got a spin and it soared to being a cut above full-length albums this year. With guests such as Sy Smith, Phonte and Yahzarah guesting on misbetgotten soul cuts such as The Jones Girls' "Nights Over Egypt" and Quincy Jones' Patti Austin exercise, "Somethin' Special", this short n' sweet collection is quite a nostalgic feast for the earbuds.

Notable tracks: Somethin' Special (ft. Yahzarah), My Flame (ft. Phonte)


 25. Lungs - Florence + The Machine
Florence Welch and her band have currently become the darlings of the indie rock movement, and have built a rampant fanbase only after being around for barely a year. Still, there is reason for the adoring legion as Lungs is an impressive collection of hypnotic, percussion thumping,  and down-right haunting compositions. Think of if there was merge of Kate Bush and a Tim Burton flick, and you've got a basis for what Lungs is like. Welch's voice is surprisingly soulful, especially when she takes on tracks like Candi Staton's "You've Got The Love" and the gospel chant of "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)", but through the delicate eerieness, she does cut a rock-a-billy rug on the swinging, "Kiss With A Fist". Yet, if there was any album this year that dipped into an elegant yet sinister foray into music, this is a prime example of that state of being. Oh, and "Drumming Song" is utterly fantastic and is worth admission alone.

Notable tracks: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), My Boy Builds Coffins


24. Free - Lisa Shaw
If there is any album artwork that expertly displays the contents of what the album has in store, its Lisa Shaw's Free. From the first track on, your submerged in crisp House and Neo-Soul waters, all lead with utmost grandure by Shaw's comforting vocal tone. As "Find My Way" features a skittish two-step, "Honey" is just that...it oozes with sticky n' sweet confection. With production and co-writing assistance from deep-House music wizard, Miguel Migs, Free is everything that you'd want for a chill-out record, glass of wine in hand is optional, yet is a complement to the contents

Notable tracks: Honey, Like I Want To


23. Machine Dreams - Little Dragon
 Most would debate that Little Dragon's self-titled debut is their shining glory, yet Machine Dreams basically picks up where their 2007 predecessor left off and manages to continue on what the band from Sweden excel at doing: sparse yet intricate prog-funk and trip-hop.Machine Dreams is chock-filled with experimental cold cuts of swiveling synth fancy with all the blips n' beeps inbetween, fulfilling all desires. Front woman,Yukimi Nagano's voice is even more punchy and mesmerizing on this, especially when she drapes it over cuts like the zero-gravity float of the opener, "A New" or when she's seductively slinky on the quirky, "Blinking Pigs".

Notable tracks: Looking Glass, Fortune 


22. 4:15 - Ayah
After wowing folks over with her Problem Woman mixtape (a concept built around Marvin Gaye's classic Trouble Man soundtrack), the Toronto-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, dropped her first full-length record, 4:15 earlier this year, and its a great introduction to the vocalist's repertoire. It's a comfort blanket of sounds of the neo-soul and vintage R&B persuasion that just instantly wraps you up in its vibe. Expertly using an interpolation of Ramsey Lewis' "Sun Goddess", "Fallen" is a top track, along side the persistent "He Don't Want It" whose squishy synths infuse your mind.     

Notable tracks: He Don't Want It, Fallen

The UK Queen of Soul went independent (she's now on her own record label, Hurricane Records), recruited the likes of Guy Chambers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis...oh, and Legendary Lungs herself, Miss Chaka Khan and creates quite a charming set of party pop joints and R&B workouts. Yet, I wouldn't of expected less from Miss Knight, as she has never had a bad release. "Breakout" surges into my bones and I can't help but dance about as is "In Your Shoes" which takes 80's funk to new heights. The real dimepiece is her duet with Khan, which just leaps and bounds and hits a home run right from when these two dynamo voices come together.

Notable tracks: 100%, Soul Survivor (ft. Chaka Khan)

3 comments:

  1. Oooh, this is gonna be good! :) You introduced me to Anjulie -- still so glad you did!

    ReplyDelete
  2. yea...I'm not gonna lie...I am VERY excited about this list...makes me think I may have a musical kindred spirit :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. So far , so good.I do wonder what is next. If a list does not have Zo! in the top ten what is?

    I do not list hijack by placing my choices. I will wait 'till the full reveal for that.

    ReplyDelete

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