Pitchfork's top 50 albums of the year

Link here

My comments:

They nailed the #1 album. I dont think I have ever agreed with a #1 pick before, but Animal Collective absolutely hit it out of the park with MPP. Its been amazing to follow these guys and watch them put it all together. I’m still puzzled, though, by the collective agreement everyone has seemed to make that “My Girls” is the best song on the album. I’d put that as maybe the 5th or 6th best, with the clear #1 & #2 being “Summertime Clothes” and “In the Flowers” respectively.

The #2 album, Bitte Orca, not so much. This album is borderline unlistenable. When I heard the description, I immediately picked it up - off kilter indie is right up my alley. I have really, really tried many times to like this one. I’ve listened to the general-consensus-best-song-on-the-album Stillness Is The Move maybe 2 dozen times, and I just find it really annoying. The repeated piano loop is grating, the backing vocal warbling is annoying, and there just isnt any payoff.

I thought Embryonic by Flaming Lips was a disappointment and was surprised to see it at #4. Kinda reminds me of when a baseball player has been a perennial all-star to the point that he keeps getting voted on even in years where he is not playing well. I think they’ve been coasting since Yoshimi, and the show I saw them at recently did nothing to change that notion.

I thought Phoenix would be a top 5 for sure, not that I loved it so much but it seemed to get universal acclaim and consistent radio play. I still say they wont ever write a better song than “Funky Squaredance”, not that that’s anything to be ashamed of.

I was a little bummed to see one of my faves, Bromst by Dan Deacon, only get #46, although considering its possibly limited appeal I suppose I should be happy it was included at all. I still find this the most interesting and amazing album of the year (and decade), right after MPP.

Biggest snub, I thought, was not including Late of the Pier’s Fantasy Black Channel. Not a top 25, but I really thought I would see it there somewhere.

Anyways, I could go on and on, but what do you think? Snubs? Surprises?

As is typical for P4k, I don’t see any evidence they actually listened to these albums, just that they listened to the hype (although to be fair, they did generate the hype).

The only 2009 album I really think is great is Future of the Left’s Travels with Myself and Another, which didn’t place.

I like Bitte Orca quite a bit, although it did get old after awhile - it’s not weird enough for my tastes. Half of it could pass as AOR. MPP is decent pop. I don’t remember anything on it. Neko Case’s album is good.

I like most of the hip hop albums, but they seem to be in reverse order. I mean, Raekwon at number 5? C’mon. The only astonishing thing about that record is that it was any good at all. DOOM or Mos Def would have fit in at the top. Could’ve used the Blakroc album.

Lightning Bolts -* Earthly Delights*.

Absolutely no complaints with #1. Merriweather Post Pavilion was the album of the year. I thought Veckatimest, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and It’s Blitz! were a little low.

A friend of mine was raving about the Fuck Buttons album this week and I knew nothing about them so I was a little surprised to see them at 11.

I can’t really say what’s overrated since I haven’t bought that much music this year. Nothing I heard really jumped out at me. It just seemed like a down year in music.

What is Pitchfork’s focus? I’m guessing indie & hip hop.

I’ve been non-stopping ripping my CD collection since May 2009. I’ve just started the letter W and have almost 2TBs of music, a lot of it is indie/alt/folk/lo-fi stuff. I’ve only heard of 26% of those bands. I had to check with those to see which was the album title and which was the artist at parts of the article. I’m feelin’ old.

and Dance/Electronic.

k, thx

I wondered after I saw Baroness’s new album on there, but no Slayer, no Porcupine Tree (or Steven Wilson’s better solo album), etc.

not really my cuppa, eh

Pitchfork seems to have all the snottiness of the British music press of the 70s and 80s but without the leavening agent of taste.

Got time to do your own Top 50? I think it would be awesome. The only album mentioned so far that I have is Fuck Buttons. I liked that one well enough but so far I would pick Alexisonfire for my album of the year.

How so? I actually have a large distaste for most music writing - I find it very heavy handed and cliqueish/highschoolish - but pitchfork to me seems reasonably on it, handles their subject manner very thoroughly, and does so with at least a modicum of intelligence, better than any of their competitors other than maybe Rolling Stone from what I’ve read recently.

I have to admit that I don’t know many albums on their list, but since it’s focus is on indie/alternative, I miss “The Eternal” by Sonic Youth. It was one of the great albums of 2009.

#1 is a fitting choice. Also love Grizzly Bear, great band.

I think Miike Snow’s “Animal” was the indie hit song of the year. Would have liked to see it given a mention, though I can’t speak for the quality of the full album.

Same here. I consider myself pretty well versed in what going on in the music scene, but of the bands mentioned in the Top 10 on that list, I’ve only heard of Animal Collective and Flaming Lips.

Now get off my lawn

I’ve heard of just about all these albums, and I think I’ve listened to about 35 of them. Of course, I host an indie radio show and I read Pitchfork every day, so I’m not really typical.

I’m a little surprised they haven’t created a bit of backlash against Animal Collective. At this point they could set up a mike outside Panda Bear’s bathroom after 50 cent burrito night and P4K would give it a 9.1. Not that I blame them; MPP is a masterpiece and their recent EP was very good as well. But hipsters tend to run from that sort of enthusiasm, no matter how well-deserved. I guess it shows just how great the album is.

I haven’t heard the Fever Ray album at #9, but I never really got the love for The Knife’s Silent Shout, which was their #1 of that year. (Fever Ray is half of The Knife.)

I’m a huge Flaming Lips fan, but I wasn’t blown away by Embryonic. I like the overall sound of it, but the songs just weren’t there like they were on Yoshimi and The Soft Bulletin.

Glad to see Girls in the top 10; that one’s in my Top 5. Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone is also Top 5 material and way too low here at #21; at least it made their Top 50, unlike the almost-as-brilliant Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

My favorites that didn’t make it: The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists and Murdering Oscar and Other Love Songs by Patterson Hood.

Any list that includes The Mountain Goats, Neko Case, or The Flaming Lips diverges greatly from my tastes…I’m surprised that Taken By Trees didn’t make their list. I’ve yet to hear an Animal Collective song I’ve liked, either, and even though I listen to a lot of indie, I’ve never heard of a quarter of the bands.

I’ve always liked Bat For Lashes and Phoenix, and I’ve begun to like The xx and Bear in Heaven, though.

I’ve only heard of a few of those bands so either I am too old or not “indie” enough or both. But I’ve always liked Phoenix (ever since they came out with that song on the Cadillac commercial) and I like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (are there 3 yeahs or 4?) and I’m always looking for new music on my iPod (do kids still use iPods these days?).

I think Pitchfork (and others like it, e.g. Resident Advisor) went from generating hype in the early part of the decade to trying, now, to ‘harness’ hype - to stay just enough ahead to maintain some kind of relevance. Critical assessment of music just doesn’t carry much weight with any longer (and it’s fair to wonder, did it ever?), the great majority of people who read these sites basically go to see reinforced the opinions they’ve formed independently of the press. Reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what…

Pitchfork also did their top singles of the year, ftr.

I didn’t like those either. These were my favorites.

How about you? What did you like better than their picks for albums and/or singles?