NOTE: I posted the revised 2009 list earlier today as well. I have some stuff I want to post leading into Christmas, so I’m posting two today and two tomorrow. If you don’t like it, get your own damn blog. Like you probably already did in 2006.
As we’re getting closer to the present, my main “top tens” are changing less and less. That’s partly because it’s so recent, but also I’ve become a more dedicated listener. I literally start my top ten lists in January every year now. I make a list at the start of the year of stuff I KNOW is coming out and leave room for growth through the year. I’m on top of it, so I’m missing less…though a few still slip by me, and I end up rethinking my order, if nothing else. And that’s pretty much what happened in 2010. Read the original post here, if you want…
What I listed at the time:
- Shooter Jennings & Hierophant – Black Ribbons
- The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
- Rufus Wainwright – All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu
- The Black Keys – Brothers
- Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do
- John Mellencamp – No Better Than This
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
- Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
- Punch Brothers – Punch
- The Henry Clay People – Somewhere on the Golden Coast / Old 97s – The Grand Theatre Volume One
REVISED Top Ten Records of 2009:
1. Shooter Jennings & Hierophant – Black Ribbons
No change here. Recently listened to it and still think it’s just as good. Still unbelievably smart with a good story and great music. Shooter presents a world not too far in the future that could probably easily happen. It’s fun and frightening all at once. And Stephen King does a recurring voiceover on it. If you haven’t heard it, you should’ve listened to me when I told you to pick it up in 2010…so pick it up now!
Favorite Tracks: “Wake Up!,” “Everything Else is Illusion,” and “All of this Could Have Been Yours”
2. Rufus Wainwright – All Days are Nights (Songs for Lulu)
This will probably stand as Rufus’ bravest project, if nothing else. It’s just him and his piano. No other instruments. He lays his songs bare to the world and puts his soul out there in every note. And I get lost in it. I forget that there aren’t other instruments there and the songs completely consume me. It’s a brilliant piece of work and if you’ve got a free hour and a Spotify account, it’s worth your time. (Then worth your money to buy a copy.) Moved up to #2 in the revision.
Favorite Tracks: “Sad with What I Have,” “Give Me What I Want and Give it to Me Now!,” and “What Would I Ever Do with a Rose?”
3. The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
This should stand as one of the better true rock records of its time. Soulful and slightly Southern fried, but still straight-up rock and roll. A truly great record from start to finish.
Favorite Tracks: “The Weekenders,” “We Can Get Together,” and “Barely Breathing”
4. Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do
I was unfair in my initial review of this record. I was still unfair by writing about it in the way I did when it hit my top ten list in 2010. Consistently referring to it as “not the best they’ve done” implies that it’s not worth buying even if it’s still good, since there’s better DBT records out there. In truth, this record is a perfectly good jumping-on point for the uninitiated, and has plenty to keep the long-time fans happy. It makes ME happy. And it’s moved up the list, over time.
Favorite Tracks: “The Fourth Night of My Drinking,” “Drag the Lake Charlie,” “Get Downtown,” and “After the Scene Dies”
5. The Black Keys – Brothers
I’m starting to sour on The Black Keys here in the year 2013…just because, yeah I liked this one and the one after it…but what else have you got for me besides the one note? But… That one note is a HELL of a good note. “Brothers” took the world by storm, and rightly so. It’s a great rock record that has plenty of throw-back while still moving forward. It’s a great listen and deserves every bit of acclaim it receives.
Favorite Tracks: “Next Girl,” “The Only One,” “Sinister Kid,” and “Unknown Brother”
6. Elvis Costello – National Ransom
There’s Elvis again. National Ransom is the rock and roll answer to its acousticy predecessor. More in the vein of “The Delivery Man,” which is the first Costello record I fell in love with on its own. (I’d had greatest hits compilations leading up to that…but “The Delivery Man” made me a real fan.) This is one of the stronger albums Costello has made in the current decade, and it’s a welcome add to any fan of the bespectacled, dark genius.
Favorite Tracks: “National Ransom,” “A Slow Drag with Josephine,” “That’s Not the Part of Him You’re Leaving”
7. John Mellencamp – No Better Than This
Recorded in classic locations with classic equipment, this record sounds like it fell out of another time. And I welcome that… It sounds like it came from when rock and roll was simpler and grounded in the dirt. Mellencamp delivered something special on this one.
Favorite Tracks: “Save Some Time to Dream,” “No One Cares About Me,” and “Don’t Forget About Me”
8. Old 97s – The Grand Theatre Volume One
Move up to being an entry all its own. I don’t think I’d listened to it enough when I originally made the list, because I found myself thinking, “How is that TIED for #10??” Definitely always belonged higher up the list. So now it is.
Favorite Tracks: “Every Night is Friday Night (Without You),” “The Magician,” “Champaign, Illinois,” and “Please Hold on While the Train is Moving”
9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
I have no idea what the album title or song from whence it sprang is about…but this is a good, gritty, greasy rock record. Plenty to grab on to, and all from a three-piece. Great guitar work mixes with bass fluidity you might miss if you’re not a bass player. I bought in on the first listen and I still play it pretty regularly.
Favorite Tracks: “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo,” and “Shadow’s Keeper”
10. The Henry Clay People – Somewhere on the Golden Coast
I love the slightly-punky jangle these guys make. A fun record that seems to zoom right by every time. Combines energy, angst, and fun in a way that you don’t hear out of a lot of bands these days. Always a great listen.
Favorite Tracks: “Nobody Taught Us To Quit,” “Working Part Time,” and “This Ain’t a Scene”
- Johnny Cash – American VI
- Coheed & Cambria – Year of the Black Rainbow
- Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise
- Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights (came SO close to making the list!)
- Punch Brothers – Antifogmatic
- Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Which I was torn about removing. Still a really, really great record, and if I go this again in a few years, I may move it back up.)
- Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
- …and the stuff that was in the original post, if any of it’s missing…
Look for 2011 and 2012 tomorrow! We’re so close to the present, you can almost HEAR the Tardis powering down!