I’m not quite ready to post my top-ten records of 2009 yet. I know what they are and what order they’ll be in…but I just can’t quite bring myself to do it yet. Somehow, December 10th seems too early to do that. So, I’m waiting about another week or so. However, I thought I’d put SOMETHING out there about it, anyway, and reveal my list of “also-rans.”
Below is the stuff that either just didn’t quite make the top-ten or was for some reason ineligible. My rules are simple…the record has to have been RELEASED in 2009 and has to contain all (or at least like 90-95%) NEW material. No compilations. No “b-sides” or “from the vaults” projects. No soundtracks (unless it’s a wholly new work). No, “re-recordings” (IE – a band re-records an old record of their and releases “new versions” of old songs). No live records. Just NEW studio records. What follows is the stuff that either didn’t meet that criteria, or that DID, but that I didn’t like enough to earn a spot in my personal top-ten for 2009.
…and no…I didn’t but Ace Frehley’s record…or the new Kiss, either…ugh.
Stuff that was new, but didn’t make the cut:
- Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings
- This was hard. This is the first time since I’ve been making top-ten lists that Dream Theater has released a new record that didn’t make the cut. It’s not that the record isn’t good. It’s that it’s not in my top-ten. Pretty much, I feel like they need to take the producer’s credit away from the guys IN the band and get someone in from outside to tell them things like, “That’s a little TOO wanky.” or “I really don’t think Mike should sing on this one.” (Seriously, Portnoy…you’re embarassing yourself and others. You ruined at least two tracks on it for me.) Technically, the musicianship is still amazing. Some of the melodies are pretty memorable. I basically enjoyed it…but to be honest, I really can’t imagine listening to it very often—and it doesn’t even make my cut for the top-ten DREAM THEATER releases, much less top-ten overall… All you really need to know about this record is that their “special edition” version contained the complete record without vocals, so you could JUST listen to the musical wankery. (Which, to be fair, did solve my Portnoy problem…but is still ridiculous and boring.) Sorry guys. Just do better next time. I still believe in you. (But do yourself a favor and listen to Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye” before doing the next one…that’s where you should’ve headed, but with keys.)
- U2 – No Line on the Horizon
- I like it. I really do…it just barely fell short. But any record that features Bono attempting to rap has just gone too far in my opinion. 🙂
- Okay. Blasphemy. I know. I love Sammy and Mike. Don’t have any problem with the other guys, either. This was the best selling rock record in recent memory, and I was really hoping to be on the bandwagon…but frankly, I only really like about half of it. Don’t get me wrong…the half I like, I REALLY like…but the stuff I don’t, I REALLY don’t. Just kind of feels like an unfinished Sammy Hagar solo record to me. I’m thinking I’m going to like their second release more, though. I think this just suffered from the fan reaction being so positive, for me. I think that the band felt pressured to get something out there quickly and may have made different choices given the time—and there was just NO WAY they could’ve lived up to the hype. I’m sure the second one will blow me away. This one just fell a little short for me. (I hope I don’t come across as completely slamming it. It’s been on and off my playlist since it came out… I DO like it…I just don’t LOVE it.)
- Tori Amos – Abnormally Attracted to Sin
- Okay. I really like it…but I was hoping it would be more in the vein of her previous record (“American Doll Posse”). I guess that one must’ve fallen flat with a majority of her fan-base or something, because this is NOTHING like it… I was just hoping for something a little more rock-based. It’s good though. Just NARROWLY missed the top-ten. It’s probably at #11.
Stuff that was ineligible, but that I liked a LOT:
- Leonard Cohen – Live in London
- If this hadn’t been a live album, it would have, without question, definitively, immovably been at #1. It might’ve taken up spots 1-10, in fact, completely negating the need for a list at all. Seriously. Please check it out. It’s great.
- Leonard Cohen – Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
- Kind of sleepy, but nice to wake up to. Again, ineligible because it’s both live AND old! 🙂 Probably would’ve made the list, otherwise.
- Pearl Jam – Ten (Special Edition)
- Re-release, and therefore ineligable…pretty interesting, but frankly, I’ll take the original masterpiece, thanks. Still kind of cool, though.
- The Hold Steady – A Positive Rage
- Live record from one of my favorite current rick bands. I seriously don’t know how these guys aren’t bigger.
- Drive-By Truckers – Live from Austin, TX
- Live record from my FAVORITE rock band working today. (Well…I guess The Who’s still technically working…but DBT’s releasing new material and The Who’s dragging their feet…c’mon Pete…gimmie a #1 next year!) Anyhoo…this is a pretty good live record. I love it…but at the same time, it sounds a little too “clean” to be a true representation of a standard DBT show. I think they were under pressure to tidy it up for TV (it aired on Austin City Limits). But, undoubtedly a great live album, and a must-have for any fan. Don’t know that I’d start a non-fan here…but if you’re already on board, this is gold.
- Drive-By Truckers – The Fine Print
- B-sides, rarities, and unreleased stuff. I like it…but out of the 12 songs on it, I think I’d already heard about 10 of them. (Of course, I’m one of those crazy-collectors…so I probably didn’t have the same experience as some others on this one!) 🙂 Nonetheless…there are some must-haves for the BIG fans here. Definitely not a good place to start…but awesome cover of Tom Petty’s “Rebels” and Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” So…win.
- Spinal Tap – Back from the Dead
- The Tap-guys re-recorded a bunch of new versions of the soundtrack from the 80s. I can’t even COUNT how many ways that’s ineligible…but it’s a lot of fun and you should really check it out. 🙂 Do yourself a favor and get the one with the DVD in it. Definitely worth the price.
- Cheap Trick – Sgt. Pepper Live
- It’s Cheap Trick (VERY VERY FAITHFULLY) performing the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” live. It’s really good—scary-good in some places—and the proceeds go to stop cancer. So do a good deed and hear an awesome show while you’re at it.
- Willie Nelson – Lost Highway
- Collection of some of Willie’s stuff from his projects on the “Lost Highway” label, plus a few previously un-released tracks. Well worth it, mainly for “Ain’t Goin’ Down on Brokeback Mountain.” (I get it!) …but it’s a compilation, so it couldn’t make the top-ten (or it certainly WOULD have).
…and there you have it. That’s the stuff that had a shot (for the most-part, anyway), but either fell short or was disqualified. The real top-ten is forthcoming, as well as maybe a few more honorable mentions, if I recall any.