Favorite Albums of 2009: Top 2!

2. Pet Shop Boys – Yes

This is unabashedly, commercially-minded music, but with the style and grace of two masters of the pop genre. In other words, it is the catchiest thing they have cobbled together since 1993’s Very. In order to pull this off, they went to the current hit making machine in the United Kingdom called Xenomania who helped coalesce PSB’s sound with the current feel of today’s hits. The outcome is an album that is all Pet Shops Boys, but with an added bounciness of today’s British hits like in “Love, Etc.” and “The Way It Used To Be.” Included also are some of the best ballads they done in a decade with “King Of Rome” and “Vulnerable.” Fans of PSB rejoice. Here is the album you’ve been waiting for since the sweetness of Very. And if you didn’t even know they were still making music, this is the perfect chance to rekindle that old relationship.

Favorite songs: “Love, Etc.”, “All Over The World”, “Did You See Me Coming?”, “Vulnerable”

1. Florence + The Machine – Lungs

I should have learned by now that the albums I go back to over and over again with no explanation are the ones that end up here at the top. This 23-year-old has completely blown me away with her voice resembling Toni Childs in indignity and Feist in quirkiness. In other words, like Sarah McLachlin on steroids. Songs like “Dog Days Are Over”, “Hurricane Drunk”, and “Rabbit Heart” are all melodrama. Others like “Girl With One Eye”, “My Boy Builds Coffins” and “Kiss With A Fist” show her twisted humor. Yet you get to the end and are blown away by the incredible love song “You’ve Got The Love”. This album defies all expectation. Lungs can be overblown at times and Florence’s intensity may not be for everyone, but it is undeniably emotional. The hurt, the spite and the love — squashed and returned — are felt here in waves of palpable empathy. We’ve all at some point felt these situations in the same complexity as her cut-to-the-heart lyrics. Lungs is a celebration of almost everything that a relationship can be whether we welcome it or not.

Favorite songs: “Dogs Days Are Over”, “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, “Kiss With A Fist”, “Girl With One Eye”, “Hurricane Drunk”, “You’ve Got The Love”

6 thoughts on “Favorite Albums of 2009: Top 2!

  1. Mateo

    Thanks for turning me onto Florence + The Machine. One of the bright spots in one of the darkest years in music. While pop princesses and Auto-Tuned no talents rule the charts it’s nice to know that someone is still making music that is challenging but listenable. Thanks for your Best Of lists. I love ’em!

  2. I was only mildly impressed with the Pet Shop Boys previous album, “Fundamental”… then along comes Yes! I love every track (except “Legacy”) and think that “The Way It Used To Be” is one of their best songs ever. The genius of infusing “The Nutcracker Suite” into “All Over The World” is something few bands could manage, but Neil and Chris made it seem effortless. Just a testament to their pop music genius, I guess. :-)

    As if that weren’t enough, they had a really good show for the supporting tour. Worth seeing on DVD when it comes out if you didn’t catch them live.

    And thanks for getting me hooked on Florence + The Machine. I think she reminds me of Lily Allen more than Childs, Feist, or McLachlin… but she’s got an edge that buries them all.

    1. You’re welcome. I hadn’t realized that I was pushing it on people and it hadn’t been released in the US yet. Thank goodness iTunes get ‘imports’ occasionally like the Pet Shop Boys’ Christmas EP

  3. I’ve been meaning to listen to Florence and the Machine for some time, as they’ve had rave reviews all over the place. Now I’m definitely going to get hold of the album if it’s beaten ‘Yes’ in your personal chart!

    I hope you and Cameron had a wonderful Christmas and wish you both a very happy new year. x

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