- Complete Me
This was such a quality album. Every song was excellently written, performed and produced. I just couldn't stop listening. If you have let Frankmusik slip by, it's time to catch up before he finishes his second album, already well under progress.
- The Hideaway
Imogen Heap became one of my favourite artists with her previous album Speak for Yourself
and her fabulous video blogs throughout 2008. She whipped up an absolute frenzy of anticipation for this album and at first I felt slightly underwhelmed when it finally arrived. However, I have kept the CD in my car since it was released and something makes me keep putting it back on. It works well in the car if you are driving alone - It's a very intimate album with intricate arrangements and you only catch these subtleties if you play it loud. There's not very many rock out moments like on Speak For Yourself - you need to let it get under your skin and you'll gradually notice some of the most beautiful moments in pop music in 2009.
This was a bit of a surprise for me. I'd enjoyed their first two albums, but this took them to another league. Powerful electronic arrangements with screwy baselines and some excellent guest vocals made this an addictive pop album. Great video with Robyn too.
4. Patrick Wolf
- The Bachelor
Patrick Wolf continued to bring it in 2009. He's the bad boy version of Kate Bush and I love him. His gig at Heaven was one of my moments of the year.
5. Emilie Simon
- The Big Machine
This was a complete and utter surprise! I wasn't going to bother with this because I couldn't get my hands on a CD copy very easily. I'm so glad I did - like Royksopp above, Emilie took her game to another level. This is the Kate Bush album that never was. It's Hounds of Love
for 2009 and 2010. My only gripe - I wish it was in French like her other albums. French is such a beautiful singing language.
6. Nerina Pallot
- The Graduate
Nerina's third album feels a little more homemade than her previous efforts. I think this is a good thing. There's some big tunes on this. If there's anything Nerina knows how to do well, it's writing a decent song. And her vocal is like melted chocolate.
7. Regina Spektor
While I was waiting for this I went back and discovered Regina's first two albums and wasn't disappointed. This one is much more polished than those, but delights in abundance. Like many albums on this list, it's an intimate, listen-alone experience.
- Fixin' To Thrill
After the disappointing coverage of their first excellent album, I was actually a little surprised to learn they were going ahead with a second one. It's wonderful. It's crunchy pop that gets into your head. Another great driving album.
9. The Bird and the Bee
- Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
2009 was a great year for Greg Kurstin (if he cares about my top 20 albums list that is - 3 entries!) Inara George makes up the other half of this duo and 2009 was the year that they became one of my favourite bands. It's unashamedly jazz pop in the best (and most twinkly) way. Quite simply, it quirks.
10. Florence and The Machine
Blah blah blah. Lovely. Clever. RABBIT HEART!!!!!!!
Kent is my favourite non-English singing band. I am going to see them for the first time in Finland soon - cannot wait! If you like melodic indie rock with electronic undertones, this is your bag. Depeche Mode meets Coldplay. Nah, I'm sure I can do better than that. Give me a minute to have a think.
Guilty pleasure of 2009. This album kept me running all year and didn't let me down (3 stone lost!) It's high energy electropop and their best album since the heady days of Wow
. If you ever liked Bananarama, get this!
13. Little Boots
Greg Kurstin number 2! Ignore the hype, ignore the fact that she had lots of money behind her (it really pisses me off the way people won't give an album a chance because it has had money spent on promotion). It's a great album, full stop.
14. Lily Allen
- Everyone's At It
Greg Kurstin number 3! I really hope Lily continues to work with him. This album was inventive, funny and very musical.
Like their first album, Bones, this has a bittersweet sound. It's beautiful electropop. The vocal shimmers. I hope they continue to record and release albums, I love Artymove to pieces. There's a track called I turn you off
which is devastating. But listen to NYC, You And Me
for something more representative of the band. This would have been higher if it had more than seven tracks - the band probably have full time jobs, so I'll let them off this time!
16a and 16b. Tori Amos
- Abnormally Attracted To Sin
+ Midwinter Graces
Tori, Tori, Tori. Why aren't you number one in my countdown? Agh, after the thorougly amazing American Doll Posse a couple of years ago, Abnormally Attracted to Sin became my biggest disappointment of the year. It is probably my most listened to album of 2009 but that's because I wanted so badly for it to open up to me. There are some very excellent tracks on here, don't get me wrong. I think it's the synths she uses. If she wants to use synths, I wish she'd program them rather than play them like a piano. Piano arrangements sound horrible on synths. The accompanying visualettes were boring. Sorry! Midwinter Graces came as a huge surprise - two albums in one year! The album is half brilliant and contains a wonderful new song called New Year
17. Robbie Williams
- Reality Killed the Video Star
I described this album as classy the other day to somebody. I wasn't talking about Robbie or the songs. It's the production by Trevor Horn that gets me. It's just so crisp. The only thing I dislike about this album is the stupid rock song, Do You Mind?
, that has been bunged into the middle of the album, ruining the flow. And why are the wonderful electronic tracks hidden at the end? Deceptacon
18. Calvin Harris
- Something For The Weekend
I wasn't going to bother with more Calvin Harris. His first album was something I thought I'd like but I barely listened. This time around he wrote some proper songs and delivered. Flashback
is the best and should have had Kylie Minogue
on guest vocal in my opinion. It's not as though he can't get near her.
19. Basement Jaxx
At first I was all over this but eventually I realised it's basically more of the same. Not as good as their previous one but it still makes my list.
20. Depeche Mode
- Sounds of the Universe
I'm a late-comer to Depeche Mode. While others are disappointed with their more recent albums I really enjoy them. This is much more electronic and colder than their previous album.
21. La Roux
- La Roux
Did you overdo your La Roux in 2009? It's like Yazoo all over again.
Other 2009 albums I enjoyed in no particular order. Some of these should have probably made the above shortlist in retrospect.Annie
- Don't Stop
[At last this was released! Annie works best when she sings quirky indie-electropop. Sadly she doesn't have a strong enough vocal for full-on pop]Antigone
[Sexy and sassy. Reminds me of Moloko]A Camp
[Very pretty and you can't go wrong with Nina's gorgeous tones]David Guetta
- One Love
[My second placed exercise album. "Choose'' feat Kelly Rowland is HUGE]Editors
- In This Light and on This Evening
[A delight]Hanne Hukkelberg
- Blood From a Stone
[Small and introverted]Juvelen
[Never mind Prince's comeback, here's Juvelen]Lady Gaga
- The Fame Monster
[blah blah blah - I like it when it's just her, a electric guitar and a piano. This was a 2008 album for me]MaJiKer
[Cut out the annoying incidental tracks and you have a solid and highly original album of man-made beats and cheap synths. I actually own the same yamaha keyboard shown on the artwork!]Maximo Park
- Quicken The Heart
[This band managed to escape me until this year. Now I am all over them]Marit Bergman
- The Tear Collector
[Hard to describe. It's a classic acoustic pop sound - proper songs]Mew
- No More Stories...
[more quirky indie stuff from Mew. They love time signatures]Muse
- The Resistance
[Half great, half embarrassing]Natalie Imbruglia
- Come To Life
[Half brilliant new electrorock, half Torn. I wish she'd just gone all out with the new style. And the cover - Oh my God. So wrong. So inappropriate. She should be in leather or PVC for this new sound. Get yourself some attention woman!]Nelly Furtado
- Mi Plan
[I find it very amusing that people aren't interested because it's not sung in English. You are missing out people!]Paloma Faith
- Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
[Bittersweet soul]Pet Shop Boys
[Very disappointing as I'm such a huge fan, but some good stuff nonetheless. I want them to try something new next time - perhaps hook up with a production band at the same stage of their career as PSB were when they released Introspective. Royksopp perhaps?]Velvet
- The Queen
[Guilty pleasure]White Lies
- To Lose My Life
[Classic sound, great tunes]