Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Favorite Albums of 2009 Continued - #10-6

Here are the next 5 songs from my top 20.

10. Wilco - (The Album): After the very straightforward Sky Blue Sky in 2007, Wilco got a bit more experimental again with this album. Starting with the somewhat comical but deeply infectious "Wilco (The Song)" and containing three of the catchiest tunes Jeff Tweedy has ever written ("One Wing," "You and I," and "I'll Fight"), this album will not disappoint. I saw Wilco at the Orpheum in Memphis this year, and these songs are even better live.

9. Iron & Wine - Around The Well: This double album consists of B-sides, soundtrack songs, and other rarities. The first disc will please fans of the old-school, lo-fi Sam Beam creations, while the second disc will please those who enjoyed The Shepherd's Dog and his collaborations with Calexico. I think "God Made the Automobile" may be my favorite Iron & Wine song, and the rest of the album is almost as excellent. This one doesn't really feel like a B-sides album, but more like two very good proper releases.

8. Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar: The second solo album from Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood is an excellent collection of new songs that didn't quite fit the Truckers' style. It's easy to understand why Hood decided to release these without the band. While the style is a bit of a departure from his full-time gig, the songs are undeniably Patterson Hood. My personal favorites are "Pollyanna," "Pride of the Yankees," and "Grandaddy."

7. Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses - Roadhouse Sun: The sophomore album from Texan Ryan Bingham may be my favorite road-trip album of 2009. The gritty, roots-rock style of the production fits these songs perfectly. You can almost smell the gravel of a run-down beer joint parking lot when this album is playing. The whole album is outstanding and it includes my favorite song of the year in "Dylan's Hard Rain."

6. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Self-titled: The second album from former Drive-By Truckers member Jason Isbell is a mostly melancholy affair. There's a lot of regret in these songs. With lines like "I can't make myself do right on Friday night" and "The chairs are up on the bar now, and they're asking me to leave," you can tell Isbell writes from the perspective of a man who feels like he should make a change, but isn't quite ready. Don't get the impression that this album is a depressing affair. Isbell and his bandmate keep things too soulful for that, and you'll be singing along after a couple of listens.

I'll follow up with my top 5 in a couple of days.

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