Thursday, 14 January 2010

81. K'NAAN: Troubadour


Canada again and one of the sprightliest of 2009's pop records; a much-needed door opening out to yellow light but don't miss the blue neon.


(More entries from #80 onwards tomorrow)

82. CHRIS BROWN: Graffiti


Every story has two sides; he scarcely alludes to that story but the new Numan numbness suggests a ruptured dagger, unsure if it wants hope.

83. CHIPMUNK: I Am Chipmunk


The boy came through. Sometimes he nods to Jet Harris, at others to "Another Green World." Oopsy-daisy, did that startle some assumptions?

84. PASSION PIT: Manners


Courtly. A word you hardly ever hear but it comes to mind with this patient palace of agreement, non-sundered ideals and the non-downbeats.

85. LILY ALLEN: It's Not Me, It's You


She's not afraid of being afraid. No longer afraid of being nobody, even if secretly she still squeals out to be noticed. Funny and sharp.

86. THE BIRD AND THE BEE: Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future


Greg Kurstin, currently the most important man in UK female pop, pulls all the strands together and then reshapes them with Lowell G's girl.

87. FRANZ FERDINAND: Tonight


Their best album? And that was just the bonus dub mix! Amazingly creative and ravenous New Pop - yes, let's proclaim it - and I get happy.

88. DAMIAN LAZARUS: Smoke The Monster Out


Surprised the avant-hauntologists weren't all over the least classifiable record of 2009; experimental? Dance? Glitch? Scott Walker? Eh?

89. JAMIE T: Kings And Queens


The concept now fully baked, this was one of 2009's more endearing rambles, albeit agreeably tight when it needed to be. Mike Skinner next?

90. SILVERSUN PICKUPS: Swoon


Perhaps Lena's most played CD of 2009 was "Gala" by Lush. Good to see that the Captain Nemo's Fish Bar brand of sonic cathedrality thrives.

91. PITBULL: Rebelution


When people get depressed, what do they want? "Rappers' Delight" and "The Bomb," diced up with corny Fiesta Havana chat. Who could resist?

92. CARRIE UNDERWOOD: Play On



"Cowboy Casanova" is great, like Fiona Apple ripping up a haystack - hardly surprising that Mike Elizondo is involved. Country's come back!

93. COBRA STARSHIP: Hot Mess


Worth it for "Good Girls Go Bad" alone but this is a colourful crayon explosion of a record; dreams of segues into Dead Or Alive, but alive.

94. YO LA TENGO: Popular Songs


An important group for me in the last decade, not always reflected in the blogging but their most immediately engaging recording since 2003.

95. THE UNTHANKS: Here's The Tender Coming


A slightly (or vastly) different unit from last time but the feeling has been brewing in me; what if this had been Cheryl Cole's solo album?

96. JUNIOR BOYS: Begone Dull Care


They've been patient, dignified, deep, and their plugs subtly sparked at the exact moment when no one was looking. Goodness needs patience.

97. THE GOSSIP: Music For Men


Doesn't that cover remind you of the Associates? Beth can also remind me of Billy sometimes but has the vital, righteous, breathing temper.

98. PHOENIX: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


I nearly had Amadeus as part of my name but my parents eventually (and wisely?) decided against it. France's finest electrAoRers paddle on.

99=. BOB DYLAN: Together Through Life/Christmas In The Heart




The original machine rager was happy once more; Mexicali trumpets, Tom Waits swagger and, bless him, the best Christmas album since Low's.

100. THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND: Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King


Suddenly it all made sense; a reserved grieving comparable with the Manics, and musically not that far removed either. Surprisingly curved.