Top 5 Albums of 2009
I had a different favorite track every time I spun Kingdoms. Being a Jonny Craig fanboy, I naturally started off with “Don’t Jump The Shark Before You Save The Whale,” where the Emarosa singer’s brief outro appearance is overshadowed by vocalist Mishi’s chorus. The pounding bass and melodic vocals of “Meg Ryan Would Play You In A Movie” drew me in next, followed by the great rock ‘n roll feel of “Gotta Love That Southern Charm.” Assuming any of those songs would be eligible for lead single status, the band went with the Craig Owens-assisted “Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky” for the video, with the most sensible pop chorus on the album. There was too many good tracks for this not to make my top 5.
Happy Bemis is still a productive Bemis. Mr. Max created yet another Say Anything masterpiece with the self-titled effort. There’s just so many great tracks here. There is no one lyrically more interesting than the mastermind himself. “Do Better” may seem like the stand out track, but “Ahh…Men,” “Cemetery,” and “Fed To Death” would all have something to say for that title.
In a year where 140-word witticisms are all the rage, fun. managed to make an album full of clever wordplay and incredible musicianship. The three-piece put together an album drawing from frontman Nate Ruess’ old The Format influences, classic Queen, show tunes and simple happiness. Easily the most original record of the year, Aim & Ignite is a grand start to what should be a lengthy fun. career.
Came very, very close to earning the top honor this year. A Day To Remember mastered sing-alongcore in a way that no one else could, making easy listening screams and hard-hitting pop/rock work together in a new way. There’s nothing revolutionary about it; Homesick is simply well done. From the nowfamous gang vocal opening of “The Downfall Of Us All” to the acoustic duet “If It Means A Lot To You,” the records’ 12 tracks make for a seamless 40 minutes of fun metal.
A debut full-length takes the cake in 2009. We all knew that Closure In Moscow had the potential after their stellar EP The Penance & The Patience, but no one knew that the Australians would release the masterpiece that is First Temple. Our own Mat Colwell sums it up better than I do in his old review” “After listening to this album, I am sure that they are the next big thing in Post-Hardcore. The melodies are intense and the vocals soaring with technical guitar work (see: “Vanguard”) backed by a tight rhythm section make a promising debut full-length from the Australian natives. Throughout the entire album you hear every aspect of its members beautifully executed from pounding bass and tight drumming to the heavy yet intricate guitar work. They bring a fresh experimental approach to the now-drowning post-hardcore scene.” I couldn’t agree more. The controlled chaos of the guitars, the perfect layering and an album with no filler make this the album of the year. It’s a masterpiece. Unmatched.
Honorable Mention (In no particular order) (Yes, I realize there are six albums here. Deal with it.)
Heartsounds – Until We Surrender
City Escape – Avalanches EP
VersaEmerge – VersaEmerge
Thrice – Beggars
Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals
Dance Gavin Dance – Happiness
Jonny Craig – A Dream Is A Question You Don’t Know How To Answer
Saosin – In Search Of Solid Ground and Emery – …In Shalllow Seas We Sail
There really isn’t anything wrong with either of these albums; they just don’t compare to the bands’ previous works. ISOSG lacks the powerful hits like “Voices” and “You’re Not Alone” in an album that shows little maturation lyrically. Emery’s latest is solid, but lacks the energy that made them great.
Most Anticipated in 2010
Stoked to hear Jonny’s new material in Emarosa and Isles & Glaciers. I’m hoping Anberlin puts out something stronger than New Surrender too (although I’d be ok with recycling “Godspeed” in “Feel Good Drag” fashion). The possible TREOS reunion has me stoked as well. Maybe we’ll finally get that DVD from them too.
Best Show of ’09
Jeez. I saw so many perfect acts this year that it would be a disservice to only name one.
fun. at Chain Reaction (Anaheim, CA) – five-piece harmonies in a 200 person venue are always welcome. An incredibly intimate show with some fantastic talent. Seeing Andrew Dost switch from keys to trumpet to guitar (often midsong) was a treat, as was their cover of The Format’s “Dog Problems.”
Emarosa / Our Last Night / In Fear & Faith / I See Stars / Burden of A Day / Broadway @ The Glasshouse (Pomona, CA) – Looking back, I actually enjoyed this concert a lot more than my review seems to say. Just a great post-hardcore day.
The Devil Wears Prada / A Day To Remember / Sky Eats Airplane / Emarosa @ Soma (San Diego, CA) – My first time seeing Emarosa live. They only played four songs, but they were incredible. Even though I never have been much of a Sky Eats Airplane fan, I enjoyed the musicianship. Having a lightning quick drummer and guitar player always gets my attention. ADTR put on what was their highest quality show of the five or so times I’ve seen them, with Jeremy hitting everything and the sold-out crowd going nuts. And Devil Wears Prada. Need I say more?