2009 was a great year for music in my opinion. So I decided to choose 30 of my favorite albums of the year. Usually I have a hard enough time picking 10 albums let alone 30. Let's go...
30. Amanda Leigh - Mandy Moore
Moore's 2007 release Wild Hope is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of this decade. To say my expectations were high for her follow up, would be an understatement. That's not to say this album isn't good, there are just a few snoozers that left me wanting more. Standout tracks for me include the lead single I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week, Fern Dell, Pocket Philosopher and Nothing Everything.
29. Bestia - Hello Seahorse!
Mexico City's Hello Seashore! came to my attention when they were a free download on itunes this year. I liked what I heard and decided to check them out. It's not something I'd listen to everyday, but I really did enjoy the album's ethereal sounds and enjoyed them when I saw them play not too long ago.
28. Recuerdos y Tequila - Elan
Singer/songwriter Elan is one of my favorite artists that I've discovered in the last 10 years. So much that I'd say her album Street Child is my favorite album of the decade. However when I heard she'd finally took the plunge and recorded in her native Spanish, I didn't know what to expect. While she doesn't have the same umph as she does in English (her voice kinda loses it's scratchiness that I love so much), this is still a nice collection of covers. It's a very mellow collection of some well known songs. It'll tide me over until her next English language release.
27. Bendito entre las mujeres - Vallín
Maná guitarist Sergio Vallín created a wonderful concept album this year for his first ever solo effort. There were some great results, especially considering some of my faves are featured (Ely Guerra, María José, Janette Chao, Natalia Jiménez, etc).
26. Fortress Round My Heart - Ida Maria
Originally released in 2008 in Europe, Norway's Ida Maria's debut got a stateside release in 2009. Thank GOD it did. I love her frenetic vocals and her upbeat music.
25. Wild Young Hearts - Noisettes
The UK's Noisettes have a great sound and their latest release did not disappoint. Part soul, rock, disco, and everything in between, they have a sound that can't be ignored. They always put a smile on my face :)
24. Reality Killed The Video Star - Robbie Williams
Produced by Trevor Horn, this album saw Williams play w/ several different sounds. This could be a recipe for disaster, but as a fan I was very happy with his latest effort. I could listen toYou Know Me on repeat for days :)
23. Viva - Bananarama
The 'Nanas have found a sound that works for them, dance music, and released a fagtastic dance album that would force Madonna to trade in her last facelift for an album this good. They even did a cover of iiO's 2001 hit Rapture and managed not to destroy it. Check out Tell Me Tomorrow, Dum Dum Boy and Love Comes.
22. Sr. Kubrick ¿qué haría usted? - La Prohibida
Spain's fiercest drag queen finally released a follow up to Flash. Dabbling in synth, high energy and everything electro in between, check out this album to see what you've been missing out on. My personal fave is the high energy throwback Yo en Saturno, tú en Aranjuez.
21. Cuculand - CuCu Diamantes
Former Yerba Buena frontwoman released one of the sickest albums of 2009. I mean that in the best way possible. A glamorous mix of funk, traditional cuban rhythms and a wardrobe that Lady GaGa would kill for, CuCu is sexy, bold and finger waving fierce!
20. The E.N.D. - Black Eyed Peas
Love them or hate them, you gotta admit the Black Eyed Peas have really proved their staying power as one of the little groups that could during the 2000s. Who thought that after a politically charged under the radar hip hop band added a former girl group never been (might I add that Wild Orchid is one of my fave bands EVER) would be one of the biggest chart toppers today? While I could do without ever hearing I Gotta Feeling ever again in my life, the BEP made the ultimate party album of 2009. Hip hop has never sounded this dancey in years. Songs like Rock That Body, Meet Me Halfway, Simple Little Medley, Boom Boom Pow are the best proof.
19. Come to Life - Natalie Imbruglia
Definitely one of my favorite 90s relics, imo Natalie Imbruglia released her best album since 2002's White Lilies Island. The rock/pop jam My God, the dance floor ready Want, to my personal fave WYUT.
18. Dulce Tentación - Fey
Fey's early offerings made my ears bleed. I couldn't stand this woman until she released 2002's Vértigo. A dark and brilliant electro album. While never able to match the artistic high that was that album, she's finally released an album that's a step in the right direction. While many argue this album is pretty much a Kylie Minogue knock-off, I'm okay with that. Cicatrices is a total Two Hearts knock off if you're looking for further proof. Also of note are the songs Próvocame, Lentamente, and Dolerá and Sirena de cristal which could have been on Vértigo. Here's hoping the long not released English version, Sweet Temptation finally gets an official release.
17. She Wolf - Shakira
Shakira drenched herself in electro for her latest release. Glad she did because some of my fave songs prove that her new sound is working. Check out Men In This Town, Did It Again, She Wolf, Why Wait, or Mon Amour. If only she could go back to being a brunette, all would be well.
16. Gaetana - Giusy Ferreri
The Spanish version of Italy's Giusy Ferreri's latest fell into my hands unexpectedly and boy am I glad it did. I love her husky almost Amy Whinehouse like voice and her killer sound! I need more!
15. La descarada Vol. 2 - Amandititita
The best thing to come along on the Mexican music scene in years is back with a new album! Finally! Her satirical and humorous lyrics are sometimes wasted on those who take everything she does and says literally. Too bad because they're missing out on some of the funnest and smartest music to poke fun at Mexico in years! The blasting of Mexico's white washed soaps, La güera Televisa is brilliant! Also check out the hilarious ode to drunken husbands A chinga te vas.
14. Amante de lo ajeno - María José
While I hated the fact that she followed up her brilliant debut w/ a covers album...I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. By choosing (for the most part) non-obvious songs (they were all hits just not the covered to death ones we're used to in the Spanish speaking music); she brought some new life to some forgotten faves. Her covers of Fiordaliso (Sóla no, yo no sé estar), Crystal (No me pregunten por él) and Lucía Méndez (Mi amor amor) are amongst my faves. Her cover of Melissa's No soy una señora has become a huge hit in Mexico and is slowly doing the same here in the US Latin market! This Katy Perry-esque first single had to grow on me, but boy has it! Here's to her next album, which I hope is of original material. If you haven't check out her overlooked 2007 self-titled debut.
13. Mi delirio - Anahí
If you would have told me that Anahí, yes the same Anahí that used to annoy the shit out of me as 1/6 of RBD, would release one of my favorite albums of the year I would have told you that you were on crack! Well I hope you're enjoying your crack. While a flop artist w/ her previous solo efforts (save for the campy teen pop "hit" Corazón de bombon), her material has always been dull and uninspiring. Fast foward to this year when she teamed up w/ Mexican electro hipsters Kinky. What an odd pair. But one that I'm grateful for. Their collaborations, the Gloria Trevi penned Me hipnotizas, a cover of Él me mintió (ok let's admit NO ONE will ever top Amanda Miguel's version...but she gets an E for effort) and the Juan Gabriel sampling Hasta que me conociste were the standouts.
12. In Love & War - Amerie
Often called a poor man's Beyoncé, I think Amerie is proving that she is a force to be reckoned with. After the fabulous Because I Love It came and went, I was ecstatic for this new release. She did not disappoint. The thing I love about Amerie's latest offering is the rich almost live sound to it. It's not typical over produced flavor of the month crap. We need more R&B acts like her.
11. The 1995 Sessions - Dannii Minogue
So we didn't get gay marriage in CA, but hey we got the next gayest thing: a lost release from the prettiest, most talented Minogue out there. Ok so this isn't a "new" album. Even w/ 14 year old tracks Dannii still does it better! Remember that Kylie fans.
10. Pop Art - MPHO
From the stark contrast of the black and white portrait of MPHO to the hot pink background, that's exactly what this album sounds like. There is a mix of sounds and textures that made this album one of my instant faves. Standouts include the first single Box N Locks, which heavily sampled Martha & The Muffin's Echo Beach, the SWV sounding Morning After, Hips Go Pop, the motown meets 2000s All Change, and the disco tinged Paranoid Type.
9. Ultraviolet - Kid Sister
Could this be a long lost Fannypack album? I think so. Enough said.
8. Bones Of My Bones- Ebony Bones
Freaky, funky and fun. I absolutely loved this album. Her sound is all over the place just like the patterns of fabric she uses to make her outfits. I love this album!
7. Hombre invisible- Ely Guerra
To say Ely Guerra is one of my favorite voices ever is an understatement. If you ever get a chance, go see this woman live. She's just that intense. I digress. It seems like forever since Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy. Ely likes to take her time in creating music. There's an obvious reason. This album showcases her melodic, at times chaotic voice, and her amazing musical abilities.
6. Music For Men- Gossip
Beth Ditto is the baddest chick in music. She wails like no one and this collaboration with super producer Rick Rubin didn't take away from the Gossip's indie sound. In fact I think it only helped. He added another layer to their multi-textured sound. This album just makes you want to get up and dance!
5. Metamorfosis- Vega
Spanish singer-songwriter Vega ditched her Lilith-like sound/look of her previous albums and went for straight up Britpop sound for her 2009 release. There is a happy, poppy feel throughout. An almost 60s sound, right down to the cover. Check out Lolita, Mejor mañana, Cuanta decepción, Dentro, and Mágico. Aside from Chenoa, she is the best thing to ever come out of Operación Triunfo.
4. Absolutamente- Fangoria
To love one Fangoria release is to love them all. Some might argue that their hasn't really evolved much over the years. I beg to differ. They've played nice w/ some non-dance elements and the results are wicked. Produced by Tony James and Neal X of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, the dark dance of past albums are here as well as some new elements that made this album a definite grower for me. My personal faves are Más es más, Las Walpurgis te van a llamar, Lo poquito agrada y lo mucho enfada, Perdiendo los papeles otra vez, the title track, Con los angeles, Amanecer dorado and Ensayo para una despedida. Also check out the recent release w/ new versions! Alaska and Nacho can do no wrong to my ears!
3. How To Be A Lady Vol. 1 - Electrik Red
Why oh why this album flopped is beyond my comprehension. Quite possibly the best urban album of 2009. While none of the gals are anything special vocally, it's their sass and attitude that more than make up for it. Ever since i heard the trashy Drink In My Cup last year I've been anxiously awaiting this album to come out. The Dream and Tricky outdid themselves on production. I still can't believe so many people slept on this release. Hot hot hot hot sounds that your ears have been missing out on. Check out Friend Lover, So Good (I prefer the original non Lil' Wayne version thank you very much), Drink In My Cup, P is for Power, W.F.Y. (We F*ck You), and Kill Bill. Rumor has it the ladies are working on a new release already. Thank god!
2. Here We Go Again - Demi Lovato
I honestly listened to this album more than any on this list this year. Why wouldn't I? Go ahead and write Miss Lovato off as another Disney tart, but if you did then you'd miss out on one of the best pop/rock albums of the year. Yeah I'm standing by that. My inner 12 year old girl might have been lured in by Demi, but it's my almost 33 year old self that can't stop listening. She's got a nice set of pipes on her too. I honestly can say there is only 1 song on this album I did not like. And it was one of the bonus tracks, Gift Of A Friend (I'm assuming it's something Disney related). For the rest of the album, there are some great pop/rock offerings (World Of Chances, Catch Me, Stop The World, Falling Over Me), some harder rock songs (Got Dynamite, Remember September) and even the catchy theme song to her Disney Channel show Sonny With A Chance (So Far So Great). Here's hoping for a long career, I'd love to hear what this gal will be doing 10 years from now.
1. I Love You - Amanda Blank
Anyone who dares to cover Vanity 6 and not f*ck it up (Make-Up) is more than ok in my book. A mash up of electro dirty beats, hip hop, pop and rock & roll attitude made Amanda Blank's debut my favorite album of the year. The coolest white chick rapper since Betty Boo, she's one to keep an eye on. My favorites were DJ, Make It Take It, Might Like You Better (which samples the infamous lines of Romeo Void), Shame On Me, and Gimme What You Got. The Philly MC could very well fill the void that Avenue D left in my musical world when they broke up. To quote Martha Stewart, It's a good thing. Very good indeed.