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Top 2009 Music

Here’s my top 2009 music, presented in 3 categories (descending order):

Cat1: Superb – Surprising – Strong – Sparkling

1. I’ve put Editors at #1 with In This Light And On This Evening, thanks to the Cuttings II bonus CD. That’s what avoided an ex aequo with Starsailor. Going beyond this evening into This Night. Increased experiments of multi-layered electronic rock.

2. Starsailor‘s All the plans just happens to be a true masterpiece that combines, reinforces and pushes all that they’ve done before to a higher… plan… and beyond. The Deluxe acoustic bonus shows the melodic strength to their songs. My second best #1.

Cat2: Surprising – Strong – Sparkling

Some artists caught my interest and took me by surprise:

3. Bat for Lashes highlighted the shadows of Two Suns with her ethereal tunes of enlightened darkness.

4. Florence + The Machine produced an incredible debut that rages as an auditive storm pulling out the air of our Lungs.

5. The Horrors have painted a bunch of wild and dark songs in Primary Colours outgrowing ancient influences.

Cat3: Surprising – Strong or Sparkling

Familiar faces, sometimes hiding behind new masks, have given evidence of their musical qualities without necessarily transcending it.

  • Julian Plenti showed up saying he Is… Skyscraper. Although his voice says Paul Banks, his musical incarnation says differently.
  • Axl Peleman heeft ons een prachtig tweede plaatje in zijn sappig Aantwaarps In ‘t Gezicht gesmeten.
  • Peter Doherty showed a great song writer side to his talents on the fabulous Grace/Wastelands.
  • Brett Anderson has over merely 3 solo albums evolved to an extraordinary artist, with Slow Attack to prove that he definitely no longer needs unlimited electricity to be very powerful.

Cat4: Here to stay

Familiar names that have produced decent work, but had no desire to look for groundbreaking experiences:

Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club – The Beautiful Untrue / Laïs & Simon Lenski – Laïs Lenski / Sting – If on a winter’s night / Arctic Monkeys – Humbug / Franz Ferdinand – Tonight / Morrissey – Years of Refusal / Rammstein – Liebe ist für Alle da

Cat5: Out of competition

  • Cecilia Bartoli gave new life to great compositions from the Napolitan School of castrati on Sacrificium
  • British Sea Power gave new life to the old life of a Man of Aran
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Florence+a 13 lung effort

Once upon a time (in 2009) my attention was drawn to Florence+the Machine. However, around that time I was too busy being impressed by a strong, yet fairy-like, lady voice/musician known as Bat For Lashes. But great reviews on Florence’s summer festival performances convinced me to get Lungs anyway. Florence+the machine - LungsAnd I now know (this is a confession) that I shouldn’t have hesitated in the first place.

This is truly a wonderful lady (and a machine, of whatever kind)! She put out a very strong album, that is musically substantially different from Mrs. Natasha’s (when -wrongfully- sticking to some form of comparison).

Power to this Florence that is no nightingale, but flies+sings with the firm conviction of an eagle. She has a steady and straight-forward power in her voice and in her lyrics. At most a little tremble -controlled-. The music is composed and arranged with lots of subtle layers. Enjoy the extraordinary collection of instruments.

Somewhere halfway there’s a fantastic playful, rocking interlude, clearly telling us not to mess around with her. Because I imagine she just might turn into this punk (song) princess that will set fire to your bed, despite her rabbit heart. In the way that she leaves no room for doubt (all over this record), you can tell that she has a lion heart (and lungs…).

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A threesome of music, joy and entertainment (2)

Now here’s a 2009 record that was a pleasant surprise for me.

(2) Joy

Bat for Lashes - Two sunsShe’s angelic, demonish, elf-ish, poetic, soft and brutal. Adorable. She sings, whispers, cries, howls and rips your heart out. Artist. She (mrs. Natasha Khan) creates music that’s not heavy in itself yet very outspoken. Feathers and fur. The most varied rhythms, instruments and vocal hooks are mixed into an overwhelming sound, a mindblowing trip between a rock and Two Suns.

Get carried away on the wings of joy of this breathtaking medieval electrobabe, this newborn fairy of piano magic. Get hit by Bat For Lashes. The dream you dreamt hoping you were Daniel. Seductively carressed.

But I can’t stop thinking of the late Lunascape. It was probably less eclectic, more electronic and ambient, but still…