The Sound Of 2009
I couldn’t say what the best music of 2009 was because I can’t really remember. I’ve already mentioned a few things but here are some of the songs that have been the soundtrack to my last twelve months.
Beyonce – Halo
When I heard that BK was going to become Sasha Fierce I cocked a sceptical eyebrow but it turns out her work in this persona has been bloody brilliant. This is exceptional though, a commercial love song that totally avoids the banal and saccharin and instead translates the religious imagery of the title into something transcendental. I can’t embed the classy video so you will have to follow the link. The beats might sound a little raspy on computer speakers but you will still need to make sure you have a loved one to grab hold of at 3:03 when they come back in.
Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers
From the sublime to the ridiculous. A collaboration between Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden was probably the last thing the world was crying out for but somehow it works. The rest of Dizzee’s loadsamoney happy period I would happy trade in for the grime of his teenage years but here his glee is infectious and it has soundtracked many an ill-advised bogle in 2009. Great shark costume too:
Steve Earle – Ben McCulloch
Earle has more than his fair share of ups and downs and as far as I’m concerned Train A Comin’ is more up than down. The wonder of legal mp3s meant that I could download this superb story song of the American Civil War without the rest of the album. It also meant that I could foolishly (and drunkenly) buy ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool based on fond memories and this webcomic.
Ashlee Simpson – Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)
Jessica’s little sister effortlessly outclasses her with this pop gem about that old favourite: “oh noes, fame is doing my head in”.
Blur – Ambulance
Seeing the Hyde Park re-union gig and finally buying Think Tank was the perfect way to round out my love affair with the band. The album is a masterclass in growing old gracefully and the opening track seems the most appropriate way to represent this here: “No, I ain’t got nothing to be scared off.”
God Help The Girl – Funny Little Frog
Stuart Murdoch turns impressario, puts together a 1960s girl group and gets them to re-record one of his old Belle & Sebastian songs. Glorious:
Arcade Fire – Wake Up
An old favourite but given a new lease of life by its inclusion in the trailer for Where The Wild Things Are. It was the perfect choice but unfortunately the trailer turned out to be better than the film. Still, at least it put this back onto heavy rotation on my iPod.
Arctic Monkeys – Cornerstone
The standout track from Humbug and possibly the finest thing they have recorded. Alex Turner’s lyrics are as brilliant in the specificity as always but this is coupled with a new yearning and warmth to his delivery which was only hinted at on Favourite Worst Nightmare. The sliding, shifting guitars only match this desire for a love as elusive as a scent on a seatbelt.
Bonnie “Prince” Billie – So Everyone
The first dance at my wedding. Nuff said.
The Lovegods – Sadie Mercedes
“I met her in White City, her bumper was so pretty.” I came across this on an old mix CD which contained loads of other great stuff like Safronia B by Calvin Boze and Voodoo Voodoo by Lavern Baker. This is the stand out though, sexy Detroit Cobra-style rock and roll. “A body that was so sublime, she could never be just mine”:
Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa
There seems to have been a bit of a mental illness theme to these selections. Here is His Bobness going off the deep end, donning a wig and a poker face and belting out this festive polka. This horrendous earworm has defined the end of my year so I don’t see why it shouldn’t define the beginning of your’s: