Monday, November 23, 2009

Albums I have discovered in 2009

About this time last year, I blogged about ten albums I was excited to have discovered in 2008.
This year, I have a list of some of the albums I have discovered, with a rating, out of 10, for each, to indicate how much it excited me.
However, a low score does not necessarily indicate a poor album, because these marks are given relative to my expectations. Therefore, if a band I love produces a relatively poor album for their high standard, they will receive a low mark, while if a band that I am not as keen on produce a surprisingly decent album, they will receive a high mark. A score of 5 indicates a satisfactory album that is exactly as expected given a band’s previous work. Hope that makes sense.
So, in alphabetical order by artist:

Anberlin – New Surrender – 8
Not as good at the previous Anberlin album, Cities, but full of decent songs and maintains the high Anberlin standard.
Athlete – Beyond the Neighbourhood – 10
Actually released in 2007, this is Athlete’s best album, far surpassing their first two. Not a weak track in sight. Best album of the year, hands down.
Athlete – Black Swan – 9
Athlete’s fourth album isn’t quite as good as BtN, but it’s still very good, and Black Swan Song is just amazing.
Bloc Party – Intimacy – 1
The third Bloc Party album had the task of following one of my all-time favourite albums, and doesn’t come anywhere close. Some good songs, but overall a big disappointment – far weaker than either of Bloc Party’s first two albums.
Editors – In the light and on this evening – 3
Some decent stuff on their third album, but it is still definitely their weakest.
Idlewild – Post electric blues – 2
Again, some really nice songs here, but ultimately a disappointment – this is significantly Idlewild’s weakest album since Hope is Important.
Killers – Day and Age – 4
Not as good as Hot Fuss or Sam’s Town, but this is still quite a good album. It’s a shame that it declines after the great opening of Losing Touch and Human.
Matt Redman – We shall not be shaken – 6
Another very solid Matt Redman album which, while not even close to The Friendship and the Fear, is definitely better than Beautiful News. A few absolute belters in We Shall Not Be Shaken, Through it All and You Alone Can Rescue.
Mew – No more stories – 3
Four very good songs, but ten that are not bad but not up to the standard of Mew’s first two albums.
Muse – The Resistance – 7
Like many albums on this list, this isn’t Muse at their very peak, but it’s still a very good album.
Stellastarr* - Civilised – 4
Some really cool stuff on Civilised, but following Harmonies for the Haunted was always a tall order and it’s just not in the same league. Move On is lovely though.
U2 – No line on the horizon - 2
My least favourite of all of U2s albums. Nuff said.

Absolute top 5 albums of the year?
Beyond the Neighbourhood
Black Swan
New Surrender
The Resistance
We Shall Not Be Shaken

A very interesting list, because this is the same ranking as the ‘relative to previous work’ list above. Which means that either this is a fluke, or I’m less capable of being objective than I thought.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that this year has been Athlete’s year. Well done boys.

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