After reading my brother’s blog post on his best albums of 2009, I was influenced to do my own.
I have a bit of a music taste different than my brother’s, so my top 10 will be a little weird and not as legit as my brother’s.
1. The Devil Wear’s Prada “With Roots Above and Branches Below”
Compared to their two previous albums, TDWP definitely made it their own in my opinion. Now, I’m a big fan of their music and their first album “Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord” was more of a grindcore album with nothing but screaming and loud drums and a bit of electric guitar. Quite good. As for their second album, which was released in 2007 “Plagues” they used more synthesizers and less screaming and added more vocals. It had more of a melody and they definitely got in touch their keyboards and etc, but it still had their hardcore feel. “With Roots Above and Branches Blow” they got back to their hardcore yelling vocals, but remained their melodic vocals (it makes it easier to understand what they’re saying). Also, their bass and drums got a lot better and much louder- which is something I like and which is why they’re number one. Their lyrics have meaning, as always, and it’s powerful.
2. Lady GaGa “The Fame Monster”
The year of the GaGa! Regardless of her crazy, ridiculous, yet fashionable appearance, Lady GaGa definitely made herself known this year with her introduction to a new genre of music. It’s more of electro-pop meets techno, meets ’80s pop/rock and with a touch of pop and hip hop and you got Lady GaGa! Her music is edgy and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her voice can either be sweet and gentle or angry and aggressive. She definitely succeeded in differentiating herself from other pop-divas, who are afraid to explore with music and sing about subjects other than love and boyfriends. Lady GaGa definitely takes time getting used to, but her music will make you want to dance and dare to be different. Kudos, miss.
3. Emery “In Shallow Seas We Sail”
A follow up from “While Broken Hearts Prevail”, “In Shallow Seas We Sail” brought back Emery to their original screaming roots. While their third album “I’m Only a Man” sort of changed their original sound or screaming and aggressive drums and deep insightful lyrics, “In Shallow Seas We Sail” reminded us of the “The Question” and “The Weak’s End” Emery- thoughtful lyrics about life and our own struggles and battles with what we have going on in life and lyrics that definitely slapped in your the face! Ah yes, it was good. Though their music isn’t as sad or “depressing” as it was in “The Weak’s End,” it brought back the screaming they once did in “The Question” which we all love. Their music had that spark again, the aggression- the whit and etc. Their lyrics improved in my opinion and it was just deep, it was deep and provoked you to stop what you’re doing so you could jam. It was strong, it was Emery. I hope/wish for more of this in future albums.
4. The Twilight Sad “Forget the Night Ahead”
Personally, I loved it. Compared to their previous albums, they’ve improved with their vocals and got more in touch with their instrumentals. And by that I mean it’s just drums and one guitar. This time they experienced with music allowing you to be lost in this trance. I felt that with their songs on this album. I thought it was great. Their thick Scottish accents were more understandable on this album, their lyrics definitely remained the same- it was deep and powerful. I can’t help it, I think they did a great job on this album. It wasn’t just noise like their last albums, it was more of a search or a quest rather- it was insightful. I look forward to more.
5. Flyleaf “Momento Mori”
I was beginning to worry about Flyleaf since they haven’t had an album since 2006 and such, but they came through with “Memento Mori.” This album is more faith based and definitely spiritual. But what’s so great about this album is that it’s not like those other Christian albums that sing the same songs about “How great God is,” though those songs are true- we’ve all heard them before. This is more about struggles and relationships and prayer and hope for others and their quest for salvation. This album is very personal and I thought the lyrics and music was beautiful. It’s still a Flyleaf original, not much has changed, except they improved! I love it.
6. Muse “The Resistance”
As a long time fan, I was impressed with what they brought. They definitely changed their music. They experimented and weren’t afraid of it. Compared to their first two albums “Absolution” and “Black Holes and Revelations” they changed their lyrics with a combination of both. “Absolution” was more of a dark album with lyrics that definitely HIT you hard, and “Black Holes and Revelations” lightened up and introduced us to different music tones, more synth’s and keyboards, not much hardcore bass and their lyrics were more uppity. As for “The Resistance” they brought us the music used in their second album and a bit of the lyrics from their first. Very deep, strong, thoughtful, and a bit dark. They seemed to be in favor of a more electronica vibe in this album, which is great for me. Their songs “Uprising” and “MK Ultra” definitely can be an example of their new liking for synth’s and keyboards, it’s more natural and moving I should say. However, they remained to being Muse and doing what they want which is something I definitely love. They’re original.
7. The Dear Hunter “Act III: Life and Death”
Compared to Act’s I and II I must say this one is their best. I have no name for their genre of music. They do a mixture of old burlesque music with some rock, but it’s different. It’s experimental for sure, and they definitely showed it this year. They stuck to their eerie music, the echoes and dramatic vocals that shook and quivered. I felt this album was better with their lyrics, which was more aggressive- they talked about taking advantaged of a woman, and pain, it was about matters most artists don’t discuss- the lyrics definitely lead you to a dark place, with intense feeling. They spoke of loneliness- in all ways, and it was just very touching. It was moving. I didn’t dislike any of it. Their tune was their own, it was dramatic and quivery like their vocals, but it suited them- it wasn’t awful for the ear, it was beautiful.
8. Alexisonfire “Old Crows/Young Cardinals”
They definitely improved on this album. The lyrics were more understandable- the music didn’t sound too messy, t for once flowed well together. It’s not as gloomy as their previous album “Crisis” but it’s more in your face kind of music. The lyrics were great, it was a mixture of life lessons, things you should know, emotions, etc. They for sure ventured off a bit and got out of their shell a bit, at least in my opinion. They allowed less screaming on this album, and gave the WONDERFUL Dallas Green more vocal parts (instead of his usual part in the chorus, he actually sang some songs). Overall, I think their music made a great impact this year and it was a hell of a comeback after the band took quite a break and did their own individual music projects. They still are Alexisonfire in this album, but different. Better even. I liked it. I look forward to more.
9. Paramore “Brand New Eyes”
Not much has changed with Paramore’s sound. They definitely relaxed on their third album- it was as loud but it was definitely their kind of music. It seems that felt very comfortable in their music zone. Their lyrics was about love and struggles and wants, it was good since almost every girl goes through that. I kind of want to see them dig deeper, into a darker place- not make it just about wants for a relationships and break ups. Perhaps something more personal would make the album more successful (and it is already a success, but just saying). However, this album did well- everything flowed, they sort of altered their music to something more of summery feel. Nevertheless, I think if they experiment more with their lyrics- it could be better.
10. Cotton Jones “Paranoid Cocoon”
Compared to what they did in Page France, I say they did quite well this year. The lead singer’s vocals was more smooth and calmer and a bit deeper. Their music changed comparatively to Page France’s calm acoustic-ness to Cotton Jone’s more upbeat melodic, but natural sounding, instruments. It seems they got more in touch with the organ and just not forcing it, it was gentle on the ear and would make you sway from side to side. You wanted “hum” whenever their songs would come on, yes you could sing along, but you would hum so you wouldn’t ruin the vocals- it was good. Seeing this is their first album as a new band, they definitely broke the shell and bond from Page France’s soothing acoustics. They are more folk like- almost like campfire kind of music. Something you can enjoy while being outdoors almost. It’s better, their songs “Gone the Bells” and “Blood Red Sentimental Blues” are their best songs on their album- it’s sensational!
Those bands and albums in my opinion were the best this year, and yes there were others that barely made this list. And with that being said, I shall tell you of the HONORABLE MENTIONS!
1. We Were Promised Jetpacks “These Four Walls”
2. August Burns Red “Constellations”
3. Saosin “In Search of Solid Ground”
4. John Mayer “Battle Studies”
5. Passion Pit “Manners”
6. Phoenix “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
I think 2010 will be pretty kick ass. And hopefully no one gets pissed about this, it’s just my opinion and this year music definitely kicked ass. :}