Albums of the year


This is always one of my highlights of the year.

Making the big choice.

And this year was full of rich pickings.

Q said Arcade Fire was numero uno and I am inclined to agree.

Mojo said Radiohead, I can’t comment. I didn’t download it for free.

The Observer went for The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Now, despite my utmost admiration for Damon Alborn I have to say, I didn’t like that at all. Strange choice.

My top ten goes like this.

Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

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Wow. They came back bigger (much bigger) and better than before. Although I wasn’t at either Glastonbury or T in the Park I saw both on TV and on each occassion they were the best live band. My biggest disapointment, musically, of the year was having to turn down tickets to see them at the SECC.

Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

This year’s out of the blue. One off classic. Like The Ballad of The Broken Seas last year by Isabel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. There’s no reasons why albums like this exist but they do, so just take it while it’s going.

I reviewed it on the 60 Watt blog here.

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I wish I could have loved you more by Candie Payne

Saw her live and it was my favourite gig of the year. Totally overlooked by the media, this may be my favourite album of the year. A modern day take on wjhat dusty Springfield might have done if she’d been starting out now. I reviewedit  in more depth here.  And there’s a video too!

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Shine by Joni Mitchell

From the first chord to the last, a masterpiece. reviewed earlier in the year on my blog here.

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Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys

Great Rock n Roll. just great. Easily surpasses their first great album. But it’s not cool to like a second album is it. Well, that’s what the music press seem to think. Reviewed here.

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Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady

No holds barred R and R that blew me away when I first saw them on Jools. Chips Ahoy is a masterpiece. Reviewed here.

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The Reminder by Fiest

Soft jazzy stuff reviewed here.  Is Canada the hottest place on the planet just now?  I’d say so.

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This is the Life by Amy McDonald

I presumed this was a teen angst set. It’s not it’s great folk rock album.

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A Lily for the Spectre by Stephanie Dosen

Beautiful and quiet singer songwriter stuff reviewed here.

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Kala by MIA

The best world music album I heard last year. It’s a hip hop travelogue with a heavy third world political doctrine behind it. Much of it is great fun.  This was my review and there’s a video too.

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and on heavy rotation but either not released this year or just not quite top ten material were…

Cansei De Ser Sexy by CSS

Very naughty Brazilian rocky, poppy dance music, compared in some quarters (but not this one) to the rather overrated Klaxons.

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Four on the Floor by Juliette and the Licks

Totally written off as crap and uncool and yet this is a vicious, hard working and actually, great Rock and Roll album.

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Ma Fleur by Cinematic Orchestra

Lush orchestral jazz, that’s beautiful but one of the guest singers sounds too like Chris Martin for my liking.  Reviewed here.

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Thirst for romance by Cherry Ghost

Three great songs, but although a good album it turned out to be my disappointment of the year because, for me, the est ddn’t live up to the promise of the singles. Still really good, personal singer songwriter stuff with a heavy dose of arrangements thrown in.

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Made of bricks by Kate Nash.

No need to comment. You’ll love her or hate her. Foundations was a single of the year (probably my No 2 after Grace Kelly). The album is every bit as good as her arch rival’s – and another whom the media love to hate, just ‘cos she’s famous, Lily Allen – actually it’s probably better.

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Re-release of the year was, no question…

Collosal Youth by Young Marble Giants.

Sublime.  Reviewed here (and a video)

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And actually, compiling my tracks of the year is harder to do than albums. I’ve made up my usual compilation CD and anyone who wants a copy is welcome to it. Just ask.

For the first time ever I found it a major challenge to limit it to 19 tracks. No Norah Jones, despite one excellent song on her 2007 release. Mika had to be in, despite being desperately uncool.

Smash and grab – Juliette and the licks
People help the people – Cherry ghost
One week last summer – Joni mitchell
No Cars go – The Arcade Fire
Why should I settle for you – Candi Payne
Chips Ahoy- The Hold Steady
Brandy alexander – Feist
Grace Kelly – Mika
Crual Storm – Espers (A KF reccomendation)
15 – Rilo Kiley
505- Arctic Monkeys
Alala – CSS
Only getting better – Stephanie Dosen
Ma Fleur – The Cinematic Orchestra
Dickhead – Kate Nash
Gone Gone Gone – Plant and Krauss
Mr Rock n Roll – Amy McDonald
Missing my Son – Tom Waits