Tuesday, 19 January 2010

41. ALICIA KEYS: The Element Of Freedom

Some of the most beautiful singing and songs from anyone this year; rippingly heartfelt and never, ever going away or giving up. No, never.

(The list resumes from #40 tomorrow)

42. GREEN DAY: 21st Century Breakdown

Not a shock at all, but a lot of us had been waiting a long while for the next chapter; the story continues and society doesn't quite split.

43. THE HIDDEN CAMERAS: Origin: Orphan

Now this was a genuine shock. Theatre of Hate, anyone? Grinding 1982 post-punk epics of hurt wonder? From the Hidden Cameras? Hail 2009!

44. PAOLO NUTINI: Sunny Side Up

Took us a while to get this, but hell, he got to do what he wanted and how he wanted it. Boy, does the Paisley boy sound like Alex Harvey!!

45. MICHAEL BUBLÉ: Crazy Love

His "Cry Me A River" was strikingly new; his essential fine humour apparent everywhere. He crooned bubblegum, was ready for anything. Yay!

46. MELODY GARDOT: My One And Only Thrill

Again, it's all about not being seen to try. She just stood there, didn't have to underline what she'd lived through, and sang to be alive.

47. MONSTERS OF FOLK: Monsters Of Folk

Remember the supergroup? As with Blind Faith, you'll be surprised at the concentration, the focus, and above all the odd air of celebrants.

48. AMERIE: In Love & War

Not enough people noticed. She was growing up, getting harder and angrier, and creating some bewitching tomorrow pop. Time for her notice.

49=. DEMI LOVATO: Don't Forget/Here We Go Again

Prolificity. We could do with a lot more of it. And quite a lot more of this cheekily adventurous, utterly untouched pop of someone's now.

50. JACK PEŇATE: Everything Is New

This certainly sounded new. Kissing The Pink? Hang on, where are you going? The first of the Brit School truly to prove himself creative.

51. BUSTA RHYMES: Back On My B.S.

It begins with some Beethoven graffiti. Then he howls hungrier than perhaps he has ever done. Rap wasn't finished, just different, in 2009.

52. ENTER SHIKARI: Common Dreads

Extraordinary. Imagine Robert Smith kneeing Big Tony Hadley in Noam Chomsky's elevator, with the resulting chrome feedback. A capital "C"?

53. PALOMA FAITH: Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful

Can't compute the words "Pixie Lott" and "human being." Less hyped, more potent, Paloma has proved a growing passion without yelling "fix."

54. LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III: High, Wide And Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project

First of all, Kate McGarrigle RIP. Second of all, hear this wonderfully-packaged, ALIVE tribute to another underappreciated pioneer. Amen.

55. PINK MARTINI: Splendor In The Grass

One of the world's best pop groups - come on, admit it - and more depth and mischief than most of 2009's dutiful time servers-come-clockers.

56. ROBIN THICKE: Sex Therapy

Always better to wait until the year has actually finished. Otherwise we'd have missed this succumbing epic of Nu-Nu-Soul, better than ice.


When we were finally allowed to make up our own minds about her, we discovered - Phil Oakey! Gary Numan! Re-determined New Pop! Goodness!

58. YEARS: Years

We'll have to wait until spring for a new Broken Social Scene record but this quiet, reflective but demonstrative spinoff spins rare wonder.

59. THE PRODIGY: Invaders Must Die

Like AC/DC and the Ramones, they will make the same album forever; as with AC/DC and the Ramones, fortunately it's a terrific, artful album.

60. KELLY CLARKSON: All I Ever Wanted

She was finally happy, and herself, as she deserved to be. One of 2009's most unashamedly major key pop records and her joy is so resonant.