PopMatters' Best 60 Albums of 2009

60. Jonsi & Alex - Riceboy Sleeps

Jonsi & Alex - Riceboy Sleeps
July 21, 2009
Critic Score
61
15 reviews

59. Converge - Axe To Fall

October 20, 2009
Critic Score
86
8 reviews

58. The Dead Weather - Horehound

July 14, 2009
Critic Score
72
21 reviews

As if the blues weren’t already dark enough. For the entirety of the Dead Weather’s debut album, Horehound, Jack White—who, in a commendable show of ego control, relegates himself to the drum stool for this, a sure-to-be successful supergroup (dirty word, I know) he somehow managed to cobble together in the downtime between fronting two of the only signs of life in today’s alt-rock landscape—Alison Mosshart and company are visibly determined to imbue an art form which is already obsessed with depression, loss, and all manner of cheerful things with even inkier shades of the human condition.

56. JJ - jj n° 2

July 1, 2009
Critic Score
82
8 reviews

55. The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away

July 21, 2009
Critic Score
77
23 reviews

The album is best appreciated as a pleasurable pop treat from a group whose vision is ever broadening.

51. Woods - Songs of Shame

April 14, 2009
Critic Score
72
7 reviews

49. Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall

August 18, 2009
Critic Score
80
23 reviews

It’s the perfect summer album: exuberant, lighthearted, with hooks to spare, and plenty of surf rock. It’s just further proof that great things come in strange packages.

48. Why? - Eskimo Snow

September 22, 2009
Critic Score
73
13 reviews

47. Alela Diane - To Be Still

February 17, 2009
Critic Score
80
13 reviews

46. Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo

Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo
October 6, 2009
Critic Score
81
6 reviews

45. HEALTH - Get Color

September 8, 2009
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

43. K'Naan - Troubadour

February 24, 2009
Critic Score
74
5 reviews

39. Warsaw Village Band - Infinity

Warsaw Village Band - Infinity
October 27, 2008
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

34. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

June 23, 2009
Critic Score
77
23 reviews

Although Farm sacrifices some immediacy and fire for expansive emotionalism and nuance, the album is a solid addition to the Dinosaur Jr. catalog and one whose highlights may prove even better with time.

33. Khaled - Liberté

Khaled - Liberté
March 31, 2009
Critic Score
85
2 reviews

31. Pearl Jam - Backspacer

September 22, 2009
Critic Score
70
18 reviews

30. Real Estate - Real Estate

November 17, 2009
Critic Score
79
10 reviews

29. Dan Deacon - Bromst

March 24, 2009
Critic Score
82
18 reviews

28. Brother Ali - Us

September 22, 2009
Critic Score
81
9 reviews

24. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)

June 30, 2009
Critic Score
74
22 reviews

Wilco’s success is largely due to their ability to continually surprise, if not outright confound, their audience. Their first five albums saw the band transform from alt-country torchbearers to Wall-of-Sound sculptors to post-rock deconstructionists. Facilitating this transformation was a steady rotation of band members, moving both into and then out of the ranks, eventually leaving frontman Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt as the only two orig inal members. Looking back over their career, it’s easy to see that this constant shuffling of members propelled Wilco’s sonic evolution.

22. Maxwell - BLACKsummers'night

Maxwell - BLACKsummers'night
July 7, 2009
Critic Score
81
10 reviews
Maxwell might be delivering one course at a time, but for now, delivering one of the best albums of 2009 will sate your appetite just fine.

21. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport

October 20, 2009
Critic Score
81
21 reviews

The first Fuck Buttons LP, last year’s Street Horrrsing, sprawled without actually doing anything. Empty gestures and energy directed towards no eventualities. Folk were disarmed by their readiness to balance the noise with big melodic statements, but it was done without finesse. Their live shows around the time were predictable in the way they dealt in such monochromatic shades as the album—we were either building and exploding, or just whis pering. It is heartening that with their second, Tarot Sport, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power seem to have found some semblance of intent and an appropriate outlet for that manic energy. They have discovered that there are infinite shades in between the extremes. You might describe it as ascending from Duplo to Lego.

20. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

February 3, 2009
Critic Score
76
17 reviews
It is a love song to the bands they grew up on, at times purely imitation as flattery, and, in those modest goals, it succeeds.

19. Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses - Roadhouse Sun

Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses - Roadhouse Sun
June 2, 2009
Critic Score
70
6 reviews

This is country music the way God intended it to be. On his second set for Lost Highway, this Texas-reared singer-songwriter delivers a dozen tunes full of hard living, hard drinking and hard rocking. The album could just as well have been called Roadhouse Son as Bingham’s biography reads like the lyrics of a country song, the tale of a young talent nurtured by roughnecks and raised on rough times.

16. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

January 12, 2009
Critic Score
83
18 reviews

14. Goran Bregovic - Alkohol

Goran Bregovic - Alkohol
May 19, 2009
Critic Score
85
2 reviews

12. The xx - xx

October 6, 2009
Critic Score
86
19 reviews

xx is a thoroughly cohesive, moving and accessible album. This young band of Londoners exhibits a level of maturity, artistry and potential that far exceeds their years.

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