It’s been a surprisingly great year for music. Lots of great new bands and old favorites returning. Even some of the albums that didn’t make this list were pretty good. Here are my picks in order:
10. In Rainbows, Radiohead. Took me a while to get into this album, but it is one of their best.
9. Costello Music, The Fratellis. “Flathead” was the second best single of the year.
8. The Stage Names, Okkervil River. Heartfelt, personal.
7. The Information, Beck. Personal lyrics for a change make this album ring true. Who else can use a telephone dialing fit into a melody?
6. New Magnetic Wonder, The Apples in Stereo. Happy happy joy joy!
5. Reunion Tour, The Weakerthans. While not as great as some of their earlier efforts, still a solid album. “Sun in an Empty Room” is one of the best songs they have ever done.
4. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon. Has the best single of the year, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” I wasn’t a fan of these guys before, but I am now.
3. Neon Bible, Arcade Fire. Darker, deeper.
2. The Broken String, Bishop Allen. My new favorite band. Catchy, charming. “Click Click Click Click” is my ringtone, if that tells you anything.
1. Leaves in the River, Sea Wolf. Great lyrics, soulful melodies, and frequent use of a cello. What’s not to like? My pick for the best album of the year.
In the disappointments category, put the missing Courtney Love album, Traffic and Weather by Fountains of Wayne, and Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky.