12/01/2009

2009: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Let's get to it, shall we?


ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Sonic Youth The Eternal [Matador]

With their sixteenth album a muscular return to the classic Daydream Nation era, the veteran quartet shows no signs of slowing down—or diminishing returns—as they embark on their fourth decade together.

Runner up:
P.O.S. Never Better [Rhymesayers]

When we first heard rock and hip-hop merge we were excited about the possibilities. Of course, once it went down the road of Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park nonsense we had to throw our hands up in disgust and frustration. Stefon Alexander aka P.O.S. kept the faith, tho. And we are much better off for it.


FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Pearl Jam
Backspacer [Monkeywrench/Island]

A modern day classic rock record, made by full-on true believers for folks not worried about hipness, market perceptions or other non-music related nonsense.

Runner up:
Them Crooked Vultures (self-titled) [DGC/Interscope]

Vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer Dave Grohl, mine the hard-nosed, blues-influenced late '60s/early '70s rock and roll that these guys have seemingly always worshipped or, in the case of Jones, helped popularize in the first place.


WORST ALBUM:
Chris Cornell
Scream [Interscope]

Scream
is assembly-line, Pussycat Dolls/Britney Spears-type tripe of the most uninspired kind, making it a tough blow to witness someone of this stature pointlessly fritter away a career of note for some ill-conceived stab at who knows what.


WORST ALBUM COVER ART:
Weezer Raditude [DGC]

Runner Up:
Wilco Wilco The Album [Nonsuch]
Dinosaur Jr Farm [Jagjaguwar]


FAVORITE MOVIE:

None


Truthfully, not one movie even inspired us. (We came close to seeing Star Trek but after watching way too many Michael Bay-space-opera-type previews we chose to pass.)


WORST MOVIE:
BrĂ¼no

How is it possible, after the Borat movie, that people would fall yet again for the same nonsense and be comedic fodder for another of Sacha Baron Cohen's lame-ass concoctions?


FAVORITE TV SHOW:
Hung (HBO)

Middle-aged Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), a divorced, high school basketball coach decides to expand his finances and become a high-priced escort, pimped by Tanya (Jane Adams), a mousy, neurotic, socially awkward, former fling, who refers to their business venture as "happiness consultants" for lonely, horny women. Pretty cool, actually.

Runner up:
Bored to Death (HBO)
Southland (ABC/TNT)


BEST REISSUE:
a tie: The Beatles Capitol catalog; and
Miles Davis
’ complete Columbia Records years

Runner up:
AC/DC Backtracks [Sony]
Pearl Jam Ten [Epic]


BEST COVER:
Pearl Jam's "Why Go?" by underground rapper P.O.S.
Definitely a ten.



MOST UNWELCOME COMEBACK:
Creed


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
Chris Cornell

Runner up:
Weezer

Man, have these guys lost the plot.


MOST UNDESERVED HYPE:
Lady Gaga

Yes, she is talented but, more importantly, she is also a hack.
A former resident songwriter for a major label who connected the musical lowest common denominator bullshit dots and added sexual ambiguity for effect, she’s Madonna for a generation that has never witnessed the real thing—who was always insanely overrated to begin with—and yet worships the long-irrelevant clay-footed goddess of pop music, despite not having an actual connection. (What a generation of music fans, huh?)

Runner up:
Wavves

C’mon, really? The lo-fi recording gimmick taken to the hilt is now a revered artistic conceit? Are you people bored? High? Un-fucking-believable.


BEST COMMENT POSTED ON “5”:
Next time I see 'The Cougar' listed in 5, it better be about Mellencamp!
- Josh Norek, Los Angeles, CA.


BEST THING TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR:
The beginning of a better musical decade

Would hoping for a significant amount of non-pretentious, non-hype driven, authentic, good music be too much to ask? That would be the best thing to look forward to, right?

Runner up:
The rumored Run-DMC biopic

* * * * *

GOODBYE
Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton; former Wilco singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Jay Bennett; Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley; Bob Bogle, co-founder and guitarist for surf rock icons The Ventures; Jake Brockman, keyboardist for Echo and the Bunnymen; veteran actor David Carradine; poet/author/musician Jim Carroll; producer/musician Jim Dickinson, one of the architects of "the Memphis sound";'70s sex symbol and TV icon Farrah Fawcett; drummer Jerry Fuchs (!!!, LCD Soundsystem); Hall of Fame songwriter Ellie Greenwich; former Electric Light Orchestra bassist Kelly Groucutt; writer/director of classic 1980s coming-of-age comedies, Mr. John Hughes; the legendary "King of Pop", Michael Jackson; Del-Fi Records founder Bob Keane, who discovered Ritchie Valens; crooner Al Martino; Johnny Carson's long-time Tonight Show sidekick, and host of Star Search, Ed McMahon; latin music manager/promoter/producer/record executive Ralph Mercado; Ken Ober, radio/TV personality and producer, host of MTV's Remote Control; salsa artist Manny Oquendo; guitarist/inventor/visionary: the inimitable Les Paul; comedian Soupy Sales; producer/bassist Mark Smith (The Waterboys); legendary Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa; actor Patrick Swayze; Mary Travers, one third of '60s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary; Gordon Waller of '60s pop duo Peter and Gordon; British actor Edward Woodward, best known in the US for starring in the TV show The Equalizer.

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