Better Late Than Never: Best of ’09
End of year lists have become a holiday tradition for me. I love reading them, and this year has been better than any other because not only have I been buried in an avalanche of “best music of ’09” list, I’ve also been barraged with “best of the decade” lists. I normally disagree with these countdowns. In fact, the lists form major publication like Rolling Stone and Spin usually come off as laughable at best.
This year, however, I’ve read through all of these different “best of” lists, and haven’t had much of a reaction. While trying to compile my own list, I realized I could barely remember any great albums that had been released in the past 12 months. This worried me, because it’s not like this hasn’t been a good year for music, at least according to all the critics.
Anyway, here’s what I could come up with:
1. Morrissey – Years of Refusal
Great album, definitely the most pleasant surprise of the year.
2. AFI – Crash Love
This record definitely benefits from the fact I saw them twice this year, and they’re my favorite band. This isn’t the group’s strongest effort, but songs like “Veronica Sawyer Smokes,” “Darling I Want to Destroy You” and “Cold Hands” were among the best of the AFI’s career. Lead single “Medicate,” however, was one of the worst.
3. New Found Glory – Not Without A Fight
Wow, I’m really surprised this is so high up on my list, because it also falls short of their earlier work. However, even a mediocre album from New Found Glory is more enjoyable than most records for me.
4. White Lies To Lose My Life
Dark, desolate, depressed. The English trio picked the perfect year to release their debut EP.
5. Brand New – Daisy
Heavier Material like “Vices” and “Sink” were great, and single “At the Bottom” matches up to anything they’ve done in the past. As a whole however, this record doesn’t equal the greatness of their two previous efforts.
6. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
I’ve been surprised to see this record absent from nearly every year end list I’ve read. The former indie darlings produced what I thought was their most consistent release to date.
7. Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
Keeping with the current trend, this album wasn’t as good as their last, 2005’s American Idiot, but it was another solid effort.
8. Anti Flag – The People or the Gun
Half of this album was great, the other half was forgettable, and overall, it was much better than The Bright Lights of America.
9. Thrice – Beggers
This record isn’t higher on my list because I haven’t listened to it enough, a testament to the fact that it’s the type of album that gets better with every listen.
10. American Steal – Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts
While their last effort, Destroy their Future, was a politically charged masterpiece, the band seemed to lose some of their edge on this record. Still a fun listen.
Thursday – Common Existence
Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic
Silverstein – A Shipwreck in the Sand