Enlightened Conflict

My Music Favorites of 2009

January 6th, 2010

Brice’s favorites inspired me to add my favorite music of 2009. While he tends to like good musicians I tend to go to the electronic dark sounds and angst type music of Dépêche Mode or Death Cab or Aimee Mann. So at least you will get a mix to choose from. Here you go.

Metric. “Fantasies”

Wow. If you like this kind of music, high energy club like, think maybe an updated Bronski Beat or Joy Division, this cd wont disappoint you top to bottom. Help, I’m Alive, Gold Gun Girls and Gimme Sympathy (of which even the acoustic version is pretty good) are just three highlights within a pretty outstanding overall track list.

Fisher.”Water”

Her double CD “Uppers & Downers” was so good it has been tough for anything she has done since to match up to the level. “Water” comes really close. And it is a really good CD. If she hadn’t put a wacky song at track 3 (I think) the first 6 songs are as good as she has ever written. The first 2 tracks “Breathe” and “Hollywood” are really really good. So. Track 8 is one of those songs that make you wonder what they were thinking about when they decided to not only put it on the cd let alone in the middle of the track list. The cd closes great. Track 10 is a quirky break up song with a beautiful chorus focusing on moving on. Track 11 then comes right back and beautifully talks about missing someone despite breaking up. Track 12 is just one of those sweeping majestic songs fisher seems to right on occasion.

Imogen Heap. “Ellipse

Imogen Heap. Seems to be an eclectically strange woman. And she sometimes writes some odd mixtures of sounds and music. But. When she is good she is really good. Wonderful timing and shifts in the music seemingly tied to almost perfect lyrics. She doesn’t hesitate to repeat a good line when it works which I also like. There are three outstanding tracks on this CD “First Train Home,” “Wait it Out” and “2-1”. There are at least 3 other tracks that are really nice (and of course a couple of odd ones that always seem to have a section that has huge potential and then gets lost somewhere in a morass of sounds and effects).

 

Silversun Pickups. “Swoon

I really like Carnavas (their first CD). All ‘Swoon’ does is improve their sound. They got a little tighter. The songwriting got a little more sophisticated. Their sound got a little cleaner (but not to the detriment of their sound). Some bands lose their rawness as they mature and it hurts them. In Silversun Pickups case it sounds like as they mature a little they get better a little. Swoon is an excellent cd.

Note: see my earlier post about this band.

And finally, some songs:

U2. “Magnificent

Everything you love about U2. Driving bass. Edge chord riffs. Bono sweeping vocals. Anthemic feel. I wasn’t thrilled with the CD but this song reminds you of everything you loved about Joshua Tree and the bigness of U2 at their best.

30 Seconds to Mars. “Kings and Queens

Spectacularly big sounding song. Jared Leto is a showman and he seems to like to write big anthemic songs and big sweeping videos. I have said it before but I use the 30 Seconds video for “A Beautiful Lie” all the time when teaching classes to showcase how music can be used to communicate a message. As a band their music can be inconsistent, but, when they hit one it is a tape measure shot out of the park. Kings and Queens is one of those songs to me. There is nothing gentle about it but it has a great melody.

Alice in Chains. “Your Decision

I have always been a huge Alice in Chains fan. I love the darkness in their stuff and yet their harmonies were always strikingly beautiful. I thought Layne Staley for all his issues was the consummate dark grunge lead man. So an Alice without Layne Staley didn’t appeal to me at all. Yet. Your Decision does capture everything you loved about Alice. Dark but hopeful. Harmonies and that distinct guitar sound. I am not sure I will ever completely wrap my arms around a ‘Staleyless’ Alice in Chains but this song reminds me of everything I love of that Portland grungy sound.

Miranda Lambert. “White Liar

I think you are either a Miranda Lambert fan or a Taylor Swift fan. The difference is like having your coffee black or with lots of sugar and heavy cream. Miranda’s first album is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (and that was a good CD). This year’s cd is ‘Revolution’. The song I am picking out is White Liar. She is unabashedly country and talented. She is not slick and still a little inconsistent but in the long run if I were a betting man I would say 10 years from now she will be crankin’ out kick ass Dixie Chicks in your face type music and Taylor will be most famous for dating one of the New Kids on the Block (or a Jonas Brother or whatever).

Enlightened Conflict