2009 is coming to a close, which means that it's time to check in on what the favorite albums, artists, songs and moments were among the fine folks in the MTV Newsroom. Be sure to check out James Montgomery's definitive year-end list for 2009, and enjoy the "10 In 2009" series that will be running over the next two weeks.
By April Richardson
These are in no particular order, and my taste is predictable as always.
Jarvis Cocker, Further Complications
Pulp was one of the greatest bands to ever exist, so it's no surprise that ex-frontman Cocker's second solo album is full of genius. I love this guy, his voice, his lyrics and everything he does.
Manic Street Preachers, Journal for Plague Lovers
The band used lyrics left behind by still missing since 1995 (and declared "presumed dead" in 2008) bandmember Richey Edwards for this haunting album.
R.E.M., Live at the Olympia
One of the best live albums I've ever heard. These guys play seemingly almost everything from their near 30-year career at this "not a show" in Dublin, Ireland, from Chronic Town cuts to early versions of songs that ended up on 2008's amazing Accelerate.
The Gossip, Music for Men
Top of their game, tightest and danciest and post-punkiest. "Men In Love" could have been a perfect Au Pairs song. This CD has nothin' but hits.
Morrissey, Years of Refusal
Come on. I can't even make a grocery list without including Morrissey. Just the way he sings the chorus of "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" is worth the price alone.
La Roux, La Roux
It's like Yaz is making albums in 2009 under a different name. (That's a compliment.) Catchy x 1,000.
Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
On their third album in, these dudes have yet to make a misstep as far as I'm concerned. As my friend Chip says, "They've got more hooks than a bait shop."
Arctic Monkeys, Humbug
The over-articulate Alex Turner has done it again! Josh Homme's productorial touch is all over this, as a couple of songs sound like they could be on a Queens of the Stone Age album. That's not a complaint, though.
Paul F. Tompkins, Freak Wharf
Go ahead, try to find a funnier comedian working today. Just try! (Hint: You can't.) Paul is at the top of his game, with unstoppable talent and cleverness and that rare affability that endears you to him even while he's poking fun at you or one of your favorite things. He's a stand-up guy in every sense of the expression.
Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You
This is effortless, breezy pop at its best, with laid-back beats backing up Lily's lovely and charming voice. Listening to this album just feels like hanging out with your friends and talking about how crappy dudes can be (in bed).