Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Ten Redux

As mentioned before, I kind of messed up my top 10 list, as I may have overlooked a few albums, which deserve to be on the list. So, here are a couple at least, in no particular order, which should have been on the list:

Miike Snow Miike Snow
I posted the video for "Siliva" earlier today, and like I said the rest of the album is ridiculously awesome as well. Andrew Wyatt's voice is unforgettable, and dances and melds flawlessly with the various piano and synthesizer led rhythms on the album. And while many of the songs, such as "Black and Blue" and "Animal" have gloriously poppy beats and whistful synths, Wyatt's voice alludes to a more somber feeling present in the lyrics, as exemplified in the video for "Silvia." Still, the Swedish group has crafted an exciting and excellent album, which at least for me, left me thinking about it all day.

Mos Def The Ecstatic
Instant classic. Mos Def, like Raekwon, shows why he is so far above the mainstream rap of today, it's just not fair. The album is packed from first track to last, but highlights include "Wahid," with its pseudo-string infused beat and "Life in Marvelous Times," where Mos absolutely goes in over the synth and hand-clap led beat. "History" featuring Talib Kweli is also excellent in its own right, but is made even better by the fact it was produced by the late J Dilla. Once again, Mos Def proves that good, no, GREAT rap, doesn't follow the cookie cutter formula of guns, drugs, and girls.

Florence and the Machine Lungs
First thing's first: Florence Welch's voice is amazing. One of the most unique and talented vocalists in music today. And, while her voice could most likely carry the group by itself, it doesn't have to, as the musical arrangements are simply fantastic. Many of the songs deal with the issue of death, without being too overly morose and morbid about it. "My Boy Builds Coffins" is one such track, displaying the idea that no matter who you are, everyone dies. Other excellent tracks include "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" and "Dog Days Are Over," with its pounding beat and handclaps. Overall, a nearly flawless vocal performance by Welch, with excellent instrumentation and arrangements, making a great thing even better.

The xx xx
A lot has been written about the XX this year. Every website, blog, and magazine in the world was proclaiming their genius. Once again, I just didn't get it. It was too minimalist for me, and I didn't really like the whole dueling girl vs boy singer thing. Then suddenly it clicked last week. This album is pretty brilliant. I love the fact that guitarist Romy Croft and bassist Oliver Sim trade sultry vocal barbs, all the while dancing over dreamy guitar and synth driven beats. As with most of these albums, the whole thing is fantastic, but highlights are for sure "Islands," "Crystalized," and "Basic Space." I honestly don't know what is wrong with me, and why I couldn't see the sheer brilliance in this until like three days before 2010.

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