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Sam’s Favorite Records of 2009

It’s getting about that time of year, so I thought I’d put together my list. I honestly didn’t buy very much music this year, but this is the best of what I did.
DISCLAIMER: These are not THE BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR they are just the ones I bought and liked. I’m sure the Lady Gaga and Flo-Rida albums are awesome considering how much I have had to hear them, but from my itunes “recently added” playlist, this is the best of the best.

Sam’s Favorite Records of 2009

A.C. Newman – Get Guilty
I love this guy’s voice ever since I discovered The New Pornographers and have loved everything since. Buy this record for great indie pop.

AFI – Crash Love
Actually forget it, this record is awful. I just want to love it because it is still AFI (technically) but I can’t bring myself to do it. Sigh.

Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals
I did already review this record for this site, so it’s no surprise it made it onto this list. Take a listen to “Born and Raised” and “Midnight Regulations” if you don’t believe me that it’s some of the best melodic hardcore being made right now.

All Time Low – Nothing personal
Okay, I like pop punk. Sue me. But this album is as good as that genre gets. Also, the video for “Weightless” is hilarious and has a cameo of Pete Wentz and Mark Hoppus.

The Bird and The Bee – Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
Discovered this band on a work playlist, which may make it less cool, but love this dreamy female fronted pop album. Also, a song about being in love with David Lee Roth is a good way to win me over.

Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy
You can’t come to my hipster party unless you buy this and bring a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Cartel – Cycles
More pop punk, but after their terrible self titled, this record sounds like a band that has finally figured out their identity: Catchy, well written pop tunes for windows down sing a longs.

The Dangerous Summer – Reach For The Sun got me into this band. Horribly underrated. Kind of like The Starting Line (circa Direction), this band is not pulling ay punches, no gimmicks, just a really solid pop rock record.

A Day To Remember – Homesick
I never know how to describe ADTR to people. Are they hardcore? PopCore? Melodicore? Fall Out Boy with breakdowns? I don’t know, this is what a Bro-Down sounds like, but my god do they do it well and it sounds awesome while I ride my motorbike.

Decemberists – The hazards of love
After the crane wife, which lets be honest, was fucking phenomenal, they have managed to one up themselves and create an even more engaging record.

The Fray – s/t
Only really bought this for the single “You Found Me” but was pleasantly surprised with the mature songwriting, and I do love me some piano pop.

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
My review said most of it, but you also must buy this to be at my hipster party.

Kelly Clarkson – All I Ever Wanted
Fuck You. I love Kelly. She’s an American idol you know? And “My Life Would Suck Without You” is this year’s “Since You’ve been gone”

Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
During the credits of Talladega Nights, Will Farrell says “if you don’t chew big red then fuck you!” and that’s kind of how I feel about Lucero. This record incorporates more horns and the vocals are a little cleaned up, a little less desperate, but still Lucero. And if you don’t like Lucero then fuck you.

New Found Glory – Not Without A Fight
The older statesmen of drive-thru era pop punk can still write the best songs about how girls suck and your friends are awesome.

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart –s/t
Fuzzy, warm, Smiths meets My Bloody Valentine meets Belle and Sebastian meets The Stone Roses. Just buy it already.

Paramore – Brand New Eyes
mmmmHayley Williams…..A huge leap from Riot! In terms of mature lyrics and songwriting. Dropped the pop punk, 13 year old girl schtick and wrote a great rock record.

Passion Pit – Manners
I love this bleep-bloop-high hat shuffle-high voice strain indie pop. This is more hip than your vintage western shirt.

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
If you bought this album just for “Liztomania” it would be worth it. But fortunately for you, the whole album is really good. Especially for Frenchies. Who knew?

Set your Goals – This will be the death of us
Pop punk for grown ups. New Found Glory meets Bane meets Comeback Kid. A huge mature record for a bunch of teenagers.

Sherwood – QU
Like beautiful piano based summer time jams that are so sunny and bright you can’t help but notice how beautiful life is and you really miss Brian Wilson? Voila!

Silversun Pickups – Swoon
Standouts are “It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone” and “There’s No Secrets This Year” but the whole record sounds like a refined Smashing Pumpkins (no Billy Corgan, YAY!) who have really mastered the high hat, snare shuffle.

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – It’s Blitz
I have a crush on Karen O. Also this album is very good. More poppy than Gold Lion, which was kind of crap. So yeah, it’s good, but not as good as the love me and Karen O could be making.

About Sam

Sam currently lives in St. Thomas in the Caribbean where he drinks too much rum and is conveniently ignoring becoming an adult.


  1. Seconding the love for the Decemberists, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grizzle Bear albums.

    Also, The Worker’s self titled album, Where The Wild Things Are OST, Glee Season 1 OST, The Beatles Stereo Anthology, The Duckworth Lewis Method’s self titled album and Trail of the Dead’s The Century of Self.

  2. I’d include Propagandhi’s Supporting Caste. But that’s just me 😉

  3. The Life Of The World To Come – The Mountain Goats

    i realise that’s fairly unsurprising on my part, but it’s hands down my record of the year. it feels like there’s been an unprecedented level of thought put into each and every song and i think it’s probably his best work since Tallahassee.

    other notable mentions:
    Wave Machines – Wave If You’re Really There
    Owen – New Leaves
    Teenage BottleRocket – They Came From The Shadows
    Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
    Like…Alaska – On Against Want
    Micachu & The Shapes – Jewellery
    Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
    The XX – XX

    oh, and there’s that one Chris song off the new Larry Limbs EP that is pretty much better than their entire last record.

    This year was a good one for the same old music Mike likes lol. and Wave Machines and Like…Alaska (thanks Alan!) were pleasant surprises along the way.

  4. Also, Mike singing Green Day’s 21 Guns is one of the best things I’ve heard this year.

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