Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Tuneage of 2009

It's that time of year when everyone has their "Best Of" lists. For the past few years I have listed my favorite albums of the year, so why break tradition? Here's my list, such as it is! Remember, these are not what I would call the "best" albums, simply my favorites and most played of 2009. As you scan the entries below, you'll probably notice that this year's list didn't take a lot of thought as a lot of my favorite bands released albums this year! However, for the most part, they were all each respective artist's strongest efforts in some time. Either that or I just got really lazy this year! So, here we go (in no particular order):

U2 - No Line On The Horizon

No surprise here. I remember a conversation I had one time with my good friend Fred about U2 and what our favorite U2 album was. He summed it up nicely - "My favorite U2 album? The next one." I couldn't agree more. That being said, I really think this is U2's best album since Achtung Baby. That's not to say that Pop doesn't still have it's proper place in my heart. It totally does! What I love about No Line On The Horizon is that I didn't like it that much at first. The albums that have to grow on me are the ones that mean the most to me. This album is a perfect example of that

Highlights: Magnificent, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, Breathe

Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King

In the words of Dave Matthews himself, "If you don't like this album, you should have the person nearest you punch you in the face." After the death of founding member and saxophonist LeRoi Moore, the band found themselves not knowing how to continue (or to continue at all). This album is the soundtrack of a band learning to be a band again and learning to love each other again. DMB have publicly stated that they weren't really seeing eye to eye over the past few years. LeRoi was the one who basically said, "Let's just have fun with it." A lot of his musical contributions remain on the finished product. More than anything, this album is a tribute to the memory of LeRoi Moore. In my opinion, their best album since Before These Crowded Streets (and maybe even a little better!) And let's face it - any album with the word Whiskey in the title is A-OK with me!!!

Highlights: Why I Am, Alligator Pie, Squirm, You and Me

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

I and Love and The and Avett and Brothers!!! OK, that was cheesy... But honestly - I really, really love these guys! The Avetts have slowly made a name for themselves by touring for years and years and years without losing their unique style or selling out. Their perseverance is starting to pay off. They are getting the recognition they deserve in national publications, playing to larger and larger crowds, making the rounds on late night television and having music guru Rick Rubin produce this album. While I can't say this is my favorite Avett Brothers album (that honor still goes to Mignonette), this is a truly beautiful album and, according to my iPod, the most played album of the year at the Layne house! Bravo, Avetts! Bravo!

Highlights: I and Love and You, The Perfect Space, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Pearl Jam - Backspacer

There's always going to be that band that you still listen to well after high school. Pearl Jam is that band for me. I will ALWAYS buy their albums and I will ALWAYS see them at least once on each tour. This album is just awesome! It's hard for me to put into words just how much I love these guys and, now that I think about it, even harder to describe this album! I guess I can sum it up like this: This album is Pearl Jam all grown up. I know that isn't a very profound statement, but so be it. Out of this entire list, I would recommend this album above all the others (yes, even U2!!)

Highlights: Amongst The Waves, Gonna See My Friend, Just Breathe

Muse - The Resistance

I have to admit, I am a fairly new fan of Muse. I had heard "Knights of Cydonia" and "Hysteria" and really liked them, but I had the pleasure of seeing them open for U2 in Atlanta and became a huge fan immediately. The only negative thing I can say about them is that they are very derivative. I've said that if Queen and Radiohead had a kid, it would be Muse. Still, that's not a bad pedigree at all! This album rocks, but I have to be in the right mood for it. Luckily, my mood has been right this year!!!

Highlights: Uprising, Resistance, MK Ultra

So there you have it. Again, these are just my favorites and I shouldn't be considered a music critic or any kind of authority at all. I just like what I like, OK? That's what's so great about music, isn't it? There's no right or wrong answer!

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