10. Jay-Z Blueprint 3: Jay-Z comes out of retirement a second time and delivers a solid effort. It’s not Blueprint 2 but “Empire State of Mind” is worth the price of the album alone.
9. Norah Jones The Fall: I don’t care what some of the internet trolls think; Norah Jones is the real deal. She grows up on The Fall and delivers her most mature album to date. There’s no sunshine on this record and that’s a good thing.
8. Nirvana Live At Reading: Sometimes I need a reminder of why Nirvana was so important to music. This came at a good time. A popular bootleg gets released on CD/DVD at the peak of Nirvana’s career. Classic live album.
7. Julian Casablancas Phrazes for the Young: Strokes lead singer follows his band mates and goes solo. The result is fresh and slightly experimental record with some great tracks on it (see “Out of the Blue” & “11th Dimension”).
6. Grizzly Bear Veckatimest: I never really understood these guys until now. “While You Wait For The Others” might be my favorite song of 2009. Give this a couple of listens and you’ll be hooked.
5. U2 No Line On The Horizon: I don’t think U2 made any new fans by releasing this album but the old fans were rewarded by throwback tracks like “Magnificent” and “Moment of Surrender.”
4. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: It’s about time Phoenix got some credit. They’ve been making albums for over 10 years and this is their best release yet. Sadly you’ve probably heard the whole thing in the Gap.
3. The Avett Brothers I and Love and You: The Avett Brothers get together with Rick Rubin and make their most consistent and emotional record. It’s not feet stomping music, but that doesn’t matter here. It’s the sound of a band finally finding their true voice.
2. Animal Collection Merriweather Post Pavilion: I’d call this Animal Collective’s most commercial album, but that’s not really saying much. They continue to make noise the same way they’ve always done it; it’s just a little easier to listen to this time around. Check out “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” if you don’t believe me.
1. the xx xx: The name of the band is the xx and the album is called xx. The first time I listened to it I got chills for the first time in years. I understand the simplicity of the music and that’s what makes it so amazing. Most songs are about love and sex and they work on the interplay between the female lead singer and the male lead singer. Check it out if you haven’t already.