Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Seriously, we should be lamenting talented women having to go on CBB to sell their music. Why isn't Vinnie jigsaw-puzzling dreary Florence?

(More entries from #100 upwards tomorrow)

102. SHAKIRA: She Wolf

Punctum as people on the bus understand it: the toddler on the 430 bus at Fulham Palace Road doing the howl in "She Wolf" repeatedly. Gosh!

103. WILCO: Wilco - The Album

What an opening track; their own bubblegum signature tune! Borne out of loss, carrying on with that serene, wonderful hope. Hail nobility!


Not quite counted out, not at all with the open-eared; Yoko at one end, raving redemption of raindrops at the other. They've still got sun.

105. THE CRIBS: Ignore The Ignorant

There's a title of the year for a start. Great to see Marr active, working and with a point again; another decade is regained and relieved.

106. SUFJAN STEVENS: Presents The BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway)

Back home I found my Viewmaster reels again. I'd thought them long lost but happily the original machine remains intact. See what he says.

107. EMINEM: Relapse/Refill

Why did he come back? Because he doesn't need those pills any more and besides the ills of which he speaks won't be cured by their promise.

108. KERI HILSON: In A Perfect World

At last, her own voice, or at least a voice that can keep up with all the others; bounteous Futurism, blood muscling in, harnesses rejected.

109. THE VERONICAS: Hook Me Up

Oz Riot Grrl a generation later; not constantly evident but enough to recognise discontent and yearning, and the intervening canyon of hope.

110. THE MANIC STREET PREACHERS: Journal For Plague Lovers

The first half of the last decade was the worst; the second half the best. Revitalising life through words? I could tell them a few tales.

111. APOSTLE OF HUSTLE: Eats Darkness

Less percussive than its predecessor and sharing the generally more sombre mood of 2009 Arts & Crafts but a genuine grower; shadow's alight.

112. CAMERA OBSCURA: My Maudlin Career

Travelling to and from Scotland, we understand the grain of their yearn, and it is as unchanging as Beattock yet as colourful as Barrowland.

113. OJOS DE BRUJO: Aocana

Fabulously liquid world metapop; the strains are transport-friendly but the underlying emotions are as steely and shaky as Lorca. Stir red?


Wounded but proud; heavy but finally happy. Another brilliant female singer you'd have found it difficult to hear in 2009 for want of hype.

115. THE NOISETTES: Wild Young Hearts

They remind me of the Belle Stars if they'd carried on; nicely straightforward but with enough subtle curves to preserve interest and drive.

116. NORAH JONES: The Fall

No "Totally Wired" cover unfortunately but the dog posts the sign to places more interesting than she'd previously been; New Blue Pop Notes.

117. TODDLA T: Skanky Skanky

Sheffield breaks out, the first in this year's unending series; hipper than Arctics, hungrier than hauntologists, TT gets the dub regritted.

118=: MILEY CYRUS: The Time Of Our Lives/VARIOUS: Hannah Montana - The Movie

The Disney work ethic suits the Metro Station sister well; "the Jay-Z song is on" - radio/music as life saver, hoedowns happier than climbs.

119. SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO: Temporary Pleasure

Delphic may yet outrun their orange indie/dance bus but this seemed pretty indomitable throughout 2009; the white Plastic Box and Beth Ditto.

120. THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND: The Phenomenal Handclap Band

"5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40" - the Tom Tom Club reborn via Riot Grrl and the rest of the record was nicely and lightly placed, like snow.

121. METRIC: Fantasies

More determined electro-angst; as ever, it's all in the spaces, what they don't sing, the fireworks kept in the cupboard on the third shelf.

122. BELL ORCHESTRE: As Seen Through Windows

New Arcade Fire due this year and meanwhile their string leader continues to weave wondrous waves with quiet patience and subtle brilliance.

123. MELANIE FIONA: The Bridge

First of an enchanting Canadian triptych; the closet R&B find of the year, already assured and looking to strike with greater force in 2010.

124. BASSHUNTER: Bass Generation

Forget CBB; this is the rave album Cliff Richard should have made. "Every Morning" would have got him back to number one easily, with elan.

125. KID BRITISH: It Was This Or Football...

Astounding nation statement which for some reason only saw its first half properly released. The entire record tops Madness in their games.


D Bedingfield being busy, it was time for a takeover; some of the year's most radiant "soul" singing - real energy and reddish truthfulness.

127. ASHER ROTH: Asleep In The Bread Aisle

Beck being Scientological, it was time for fresh slack to be cut in slacker pop; far from polished or considered, lax, lackadaisical laughs.

128. NEIL YOUNG: Fork In The Road

iPhone? What's that? Look, you want a picture? Will this do? That's another way of saying "this will do." I am the rock. Who's asking?

129. PREFAB SPROUT: Let's Change The World With Music

A sort of compendium of the 960 albums Paddy never got around to releasing in the last 20 years and the music was fiercely friendly and key.

130. SKEPTA: Microphone Champion

He covers "Sunglasses At Night" and this should have been heard everywhere; bratty beat invention unspoiled. He too will prosper this year.

131. MSTRKRFT: Fist Of God

First inevitable hello to Canada; they've got it right and both with and without John Legend's help their storm should still not be skipped.

132. BASHY: Catch Me If You Can

His first "proper" album but thankfully no lessening of ire or joy; his time is nearly come and his warming up exercises are already ablaze.

133. KEVIN RUDOLF: In The City

"I can't and I won't live a lie - no, not this time." One way to bring back rock is to remind us why the drone counts; spectacles to touch!

134. FLO RIDA: R.O.O.T.S. (Routes Of Overcoming The Struggle)

Boinga boinga boinga boinga that cat Billy Idol boinga boinga boinga boinga hello Kesha boinga boinga boinga boinga it's a war cry boinga...

135. PETER, BJORN AND JOHN: Living Thing

Mildly adventurous but the bonus ambient album was where the real adventure was going on; keep the scoreboard open for future contributions.

136. METRO STATION: Metro Station

Didn't get the second half of that Cure album again but if Bob were happy and dancing it might have sounded like this; ebullient, welcoming.

137. N-DUBZ: Against All Odds

The story from the NW1 blocks continued; slightly less immediate than before but ample invention and more importantly emotion still offered.


The real revolution in British 2009 pop set in with an enviable zest. Sharp, engaging, exuberantly vituperative - a response of vivid fire.

139. THE BRIGHTON PORT AUTHORITY: I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

The return of Norman Cook with pals old and new, and infintely more entertaining and enjoyable than you've been told everywhere else. Ahoy!


2008 peaked with Kanye so it's only right that 2009 should begin with him, along with David Byrne, Chuck D and others; the space compendium.


The concept couldn’t be simpler; 140 albums of their year, 140 characters per album.

Before I start, however, due acknowledgement to the artists who didn’t quite make the cut, mainly because we haven’t yet got around to giving their albums a proper listen (and the following is merely the tip of an overpoweringly huge iceberg). Apologies therefore to Antony and the Johnsons, Au Revoir Simone, Cecelia Bartoli, Dame Shirley Bassey, Broadcast & the Focus Group, Buika and Chucho Valdes, Bill Callahan, Les Claypool, Condo Fucks, Cornershop, DÂM-Funk, Discovery, Do Make Say Think, Dragonforce, the Flaming Lips, PJ Harvey and John Parish, Levon Helm, Howling Bells, Mr Hudson, Ironik, Jim Jones, King Midas Sound, Mavado, Miike Snow, Moby, the Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit, Mordant Music/Vindicatrix, Karen O (for the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are), DJ Quik and Kurupt, Position Normal, Rick Ross, Sa-Ra, Scooter, Sneaky Sound System, George Strait, Super Chika, Them Crooked Vultures, Tiesto, tune-yards, Weezer, Hank Williams Jnr, Charlie Winston and the Yeah You’s – you all fully deserved to be included.

Standard caveat #1: the albums are ordered in the manner in which they made the best sense to us and there is no suggestion that the album at, for example, #113 is necessarily worse than the one at #12; it just looks best to us this way.

Standard caveat #2: this is not intended as a definitive summary of The Year In Music; the city of 2009 had as many differing routes as ever and this is simply the route which we took; a route which, as ever, we hope you will enjoy exploring and, with any luck, hearing.

Lena’s companion piece is currently in production and will appear once this list has been published in full. And this list will be published at a rate of one post per album, in ascending order, so will be completed as time and energy allow. Patience is always a virtue.