I have reviewed music for blogcritics.org and other cultural based web-sites, and I even here and there send out (not that I have strong demand, mind you) music and film review snippets on my Facebook page and on my own website.
This year, I decided to put together a top 10 music list. Now, I both loathe top 10 lists (or top 20 or 50) and I also love them. There’s simply too much good music floating around — and, sadly, you can’t listen to everything. Still, these lists are harmless fun, and I read almost every one I come across. I’ve seen a lot of top 10s for 2009 as well, and for the first time in memory the lists seem to vary widely. Usually there are three or four of the same albums that are on everyone’s list. Not so this year: there seems to be no great overlap in the various top music lists for 2009.
And I think that’s a good thing. I hope it means that a larger variety of music than in years past is making its way to the top of the bin, so to speak.
So, here you go: yet another top 10 list of music from 2009, irrespective of genre. Other than position one, they are not ranked, just listed. Take it for what it’s worth: the musings of an amateur critic.
Number 10 - The Eels, Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire. Eels songwriter “E” is working a concept here, where the album’s protagonist, so to speak, is revealing both the dark and tender sides of the human soul. To say much more than that over complicates what is a superbly assembled group of songs that are loud and brash and road-house bluesy (think Black Keys).
But Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire is also tender and revealing, and at times throws off a near whimsical pop sound or feel (think, believe it or not, flashes of Camera Obscura). Certain songs will devastate, e.g., “That Look You Give that Guy.” Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire is a fine album, and worth the purchase.
Number 9 - Neko Case, Middle Cyclone. For one thing, you have to love the cover art alone (Case atop a Mercury Cyclone, sword in hand, looking for something or someone to eviscerate). The record itself puts to rest — if there were any doubts — that Neko Case falls safely in the lineage of Patsy Cline in that she can wrest ever ounce of emotion — tender or tough — out of anything she sings. The overall feel of Middle Cyclone is twang-pop, and it can be both lush and ragged, always at the perfect moment. Whether vexed or relaxed, Case is brilliant here. Also: check out her work with The New Pornographers.