With each passing year I realize that the album is a dying product. Years ago, I’d buy a new album and play it non-stop until I knew all the songs and could sing half the lyrics. Now, I buy an album and listen to it once, maybe 2-3 times, and then go back to the “shuffle” option on iTunes and listen to whatever songs from my 2,000+ songs it chooses. Now, I have to make a conscious effort to listen to an album enough to get to know it. So choosing favorite albums is much different now than it would’ve been, say, 10 years ago.
With that in mind, here are my choices for my favorite albums from 2009. I’m not even sure all of these were released in 2009, but they were new to me this past year and that’s what counts.
1.) No Line On The Horizon, U2
This one did come out in 2009, and you could’ve guessed it would be high on my list, if not at the top. I do love this album, but still don’t know where it fits among U2’s greatest albums. As I said in my @U2 review, it doesn’t really matter if this is better than Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree. What matters is that this album speaks to me for the place I’m at in my life — just like those earlier great albums spoke to a younger me.
2.) Union, The Boxer Rebellion
I had this and the number three album switched a couple times. But I’ll leave this at #2 because it’s still so intriguing to me. These are songs that don’t let you easily wrap yourself around them … at least not me. I couldn’t even name half the songs on the album, and can sing even fewer, but more often than not, when I decide I don’t want to put iTunes on shuffle and would rather listen to an album, this is where I start. So, on that basis, it gets the number two slot.
3.) Collective Soul (Rabbit), Collective Soul
My winner for worst album cover of the year! But it’s got some pretty darn good songs on it, too, so the album is well deserving of a spot in the year’s best albums. “You,” “Staring Down,” and “Welcome” are some of my faves at the moment. I heard a bunch of these songs when I saw Collective Soul back in June; of course, the album was still two months from being released, so I didn’t know any of them. Would like to hear them again in concert now that I have the album.
4.) We Are Not An Island, Vib Gyor
This is the first official release from Vib Gyor, a band that’s been around a long time. I saw them in a tiny Seattle club back in 2007, and a lot of the songs they played then are on this album — just newer versions that were re-recorded. “Fallen” is a great, great song … but the album version isn’t as good as some of its previous incarnations. But what do I know? The album version was named “Best Alternative Single of 2009” when iTunes released its Best of 2009 lists a month ago.
5.) The Resistance, Muse
Despite only being #5 on this list, Muse was easily my biggest musical discovery of 2009. I had one of their songs in my iTunes collection for a year or two, but didn’t like it; I only knew I was supposed to like Muse. It wasn’t until I saw them open up for U2 twice at Giants Stadium in September that I actually did start to like them. They put on a great show, full of swagger and bombast — the Queen kind of stuff you don’t expect bands to be doing these days. Sean bought this album shortly after we saw them live, and since then he’s bought (or received as a gift) two other Muse albums, and I bought another one online. So I’ll be listening to new Muse for a while to come yet.
- Backspacer by Pearl Jam — just got this one for Christmas, so it’s too new to make the list. I do like what I’ve heard, but need more time to get familiar with it.
- The Script by The Script — catchy pop songs by an Irish group
- Thriving Ivory by Thriving Ivory — more catchy pop songs, but not an Irish group as far as I know. In fact, I think this one may have been one of those iTunes recommendations … “if you like The Script, try Thriving Ivory.” And so I did.
- LeftRightLeftRightLeft by Coldplay — this is the free live album that Coldplay gave out during its tour. Good stuff, but pretty basic and straightforward.
What were some of your favorite albums and songs from 2009?