Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best Music of 2009: Part 1

I could have pulled together a top 40 for 2009, but I just didn't think the albums that would have rounded out the list were truly worthy. Besides, that would have meant the list would have basically consisted of every album I wrote up in Frequent Spins this year, which would be kind of anti-climactic. Not that there's a whole lot of suspense hanging over these announcements, but you get the idea.

So, I thought 33 would be a good number for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it's a fraction short of the music format that I grew up listening to. Plus, I believe it will allow for every album on the list to be represented on my two-disc year-end compilation. That's a little more complicated than it sounds, though.

This is one of the biggest moments of the year for me. In the past, I sometimes pondered how much of my time is spent thinking about this list throughout the year. At one point, I estimated that, if you pieced it all together, it would take up about an entire month. Since I sleep almost one-third of my time, that would mean that over 10% of my waking hours were devoted to this seemingly pointless exercise.

I'm nowhere near that obsessive anymore. Either that or I have more of a life now. Regardless, I really enjoy the compilation of this list and I get pretty excited about its gradual unveiling.

I don't have the time this year to write as much about each entry as I have in years past, but I'll do my best to keep it interesting. Besides, it's the countdown that really matters, so here goes...

29. Holopaw - Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness
This late November release is the only album to appear here that wasn't previously featured in Frequent Spins. The third record from the Florida-based indie country band is quite possibly their best, and might have ranked higher had I allowed myself to spend a little more time with it.

30. Justin Townes Earle - Midnight at the Movies
I'll have to do some digging to determine if Justin and his dad are the first father-son combination to make my list. I know both Roseanne and Johnny Cash have, but at different times. Regardless, although Steve Earle has been here several times, and he did release an album this year, unfortunately he still can't boast of making it in the same year as his son.

31. Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan
Fast becoming the kings of witty, tongue-in-cheek art punk, Art Brut's third album was produced by former Pixie Frank Black, and is their second consecutive release to make the final cut.

32. Fanfarlo - Reservoir
Last year, The Rural Alberta Advantage were my big eMusic discovery. This year, I became a fan of Fanfarlo thanks to Paste Magazine Sampler 55. Three artists still to be revealed were also on that sampler, although that wasn't how I was turned on to them.

33. Buddy and Julie Miller - Written in Chalk
The first of a trio of duos to make this year's list, the alt-country husband-and-wife team are the only male/female combination among the three.

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