25 December 2009

The Best Albums of 2009 (in Haiku!)

The Sound of Young America

50 records I enjoyed this year; as always, the ordering is arbitrary, and had this list been published yesterday or tomorrow, there's about 10–15 records bubbling under the surface that could have made the cut. And this year it's all haikus!

50. Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer (Jagjaguwar)

Is it possible?
Wolf Parade a side project?
All signs point to "yes"

49. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (4AD)

Belle and Sebastian
Could stand to learn a lesson
From their fellow Scots

48. Dave Bazan – Curse Your Branches (Barsuk)

Au revoir Jesus
Goodbye Pedro the Lion
Life is full of doubt

47. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (mixtape)

Stop selling albums
Lil Wayne gives it all away
Unbeatable price

46. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Anti-)

Crouching Neko Case
On a Mercury Cougar
No hidden dragon

45. Cass McCombs – Catacombs (Domino)

Keep on keeping on
Karen Black guests on a track
Like Family Guy

44. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It's Blitz (Interscope)

Brooklyn survivors
She's probably not dating
That guy from Liars

43. Sonic Youth – The Eternal (Matador)

Zombie alt-rockers
Do not bury until dead
Put that shovel down

42. The-Dream – Love vs. Money (Def Jam)

Sexy, humorous
But that hyphen in "The-Dream?"

41. Pajo – Scream With Me (Black Tent Press)

I love the Misfits
Sure enough, so does Pajo
Four-track recordings

40. The xx – The xx (Young Turks)

Dry and hollow sound
Why listen to that racket?
But you would be wrong

39. Micachu & the Shapes – Jewellery (Rough Trade)

The new bricolage
No one cares if it will last
The English love it

38. Morrissey – Years of Refusal (Lost Highway)

What about The Smiths?
Stop asking about The Smiths
Go ask Johnny Marr

37. JD Twitch – 60 Minutes of Fear (RVNG)

Yeah, it's a mixtape
But in the future, format
Is irrelevant

36. Pink Mountaintops – Outside Love (Jagjaguwar)

Black Mountains are great
This guy has another band
Pink Mountains are great

35. Mos Def – The Ecstatic (Downtown)

No more bad movies
Please stick to the rivers and
Streams you are used to

34. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart –
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland)

Band's name is too long
I'm stupid for choosing an
All-haiku format

33. Condo Fucks – Fuckbook (Matador)

Oh fictional bands
Still, they are funnier than
Flight of the Conchords

32. Double Dagger – More (Thrill Jockey)

As in "Baltimore"
When someone says "Drum 'n' Bass"
They do not mean this

31. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (Saddle Creek)

Saddle Creek, you say?
And not a Bright Eyes album?
Hope for the future

30. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue (Warp)

Everything falls into place
The Campfire Headphase

29. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – Beware (Drag City)

Lots of weird photos
The music is not so weird
Mr. Consistent

28. The Thermals – Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars)

Perfect power pop
Move to Portland, Oregon
And stack that paper

27. jj – No. 2 (Sincerely Yours)

One million dollars
For a picture of jj
Please do not redeem

26. Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise)

Obama's in charge
Everyone said "chill out," yet
The war continues

25. Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Matador)

Across the river
No Hanukkah shows this year
Is it Chanukkah?

24. Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe (Mute)

They're printing euros
Best Mode since Violator
Goth love never dies

23. Nirvana – Live at Reading (Geffen)/
Bleach Deluxe Edition (Sub Pop)

They were awesome live
The greatest rock band ever
At last, evidence

22. El Perro Del Mar – Love is Not Pop (Licking Fingers)

El Perro Del Mar
What does that mean in English?
"The dog of the sea"

21. No Age – Losing Feeling EP (Sub Pop)

Half the length of Nouns
I enjoyed it twice as much
Just my opinion

20. Mount Eerie – Wind's Poem (P.W. Elverum & Sun)

Hey Phil Elverum
Your underground secret lair
Must be a nice place

19. Reigning Sound – Love and Curses (In the Red)

Back to the garage
Where do these guys park their cars
Out in the driveway?

18. The Horrors – Primary Colours (XL)

Remember Strange House?
Well neither do The Horrors
Gravy train whistle

17. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (Drag City)

Dark, light, dark again
Who needs molasses indie?
This guy is funny

16. Best Coast – When I'm With You 7" (Black Iris)/
Make You Mine 7" (Group Tightener)

Suburban sprinklers
Let's give Real Estate a prize
While we ignore this

15. Amesoeurs – Amesoeurs (Profound Lore)

A marriage of French,
Black metal, and The Cure, that
Ended in divorce

14. Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster (Interscope)

Is she a genius?
Inauthentically brilliant
Like a bad romance

13. Handsome Furs – Face Control (Sub Pop)

At last Bruce Springsteen
Indie rock gives you your due
Skip Sam's Town, buy this

12. The Raveonettes – In and Out of Control (Vice)

White Stripes stole thunder
Not better than White Blood Cells
Better than Horehound

11. Cold Cave – Love Comes Close (Heartworm/Matador)

Signed to Matador
Interpol, or Early Man?
Only time will tell

10. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion/
Fall Be Kind EP (Domino)

You could have slept through
All of Two Thousand and Nine
Wouldn't have mattered

9. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 (Ice H2O)

Branding failed Jay-Z
Better than The Blueprint 3
In Raekwon we trust

8. Hunx and His Punx – Gay Singles (True Panther Sounds)

More like "yes homo"
Beats Reatard at his own game
Not Monopoly

7. Brilliant Colors – Introducing (Slumberland)

Girls, girls, girls j'adore
Twenty-eight minutes and out
Leave 'em wanting more

6. Sunn O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)

Play this record loud
No one can live forever
Sonic Death Monkey

5. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)

Yes, Phoenix are French
Hey, Mozart was Austrian
Pop or rock, who cares?

4. Girls – Album (True Panther Sounds/Matador)

Jerry Lee Lewis
If he were raised in a cult
Lover, not Killer

3. Emeralds – What Happened (No Fun)

Hypnagogic pop
Inapposite to describe
The beautiful float

2. Fever Ray – Fever Ray (Rabid/Mute)

More people would care
If this were released under
The Knife moniker

1. The Dutchess and the Duke – Sunset/Sunrise (Hardly Art)

Sounds like Side A of
The Rolling Stones' Aftermath
This year's number one