The future is now: Some favorites from 2009

Crazy things happen on the last evenings of years. Just a scarce decade ago, a lot of people sat in fear that their computers’ clocks would explode and take down all of human civilization in one fell swoop, much like the wrong move in a game of Mindsweep. Coincidentally, a decade ago might have been the last time anyone played Mindsweep. But as you might have surmised, such a thing did not occur. The human race lived to see another ten years of astounding innovations and profound tragedies. And those same computers that threatened our very way of life continued to make it possible for us to hear days and days of music that span both the astounding and tragic sides of the spectrum.

Around this time a decade ago, I was still rocking the mixed tapes that Laura made for me. Bands such as Crooked Fingers, the Old 97s, and Belle & Sebastian were featured alongside Lou Reed, Depeche Mode, and the Turtles. That year, I received my Toyota Corolla from my parents, and the outer body contained none of the bullet holes or other imperfections that it would acquire in the years to come. I drove around, blasting the tapes from the Toyota’s cassette deck, to get to classes, to work, to friends’ homes, and in a few years, to San Francisco.

But there’s a lot of time to elaborate on that. I just wanted to put that musical memory out there as well as the following list of some of my favorite albums of 2009, just in case 2010 is the real year that computers come alive and eat us all. If you’re reading this from such a computer, I hope it’s not too late.

  • Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer ~ Monkeywrench

Amongst the Waves

  • Mos Def ~ The Ecstatic ~ Downtown

Auditorium, feat. Slick Rick

  • Islands ~ Vapours ~ Anti-

Disarming the Car Bomb

  • Kid Cudi ~ Man on the Moon: The End of Day ~ Motown

Day ‘N’ Nite (Nightmare)

  • The Low Anthem ~ Oh My God Charlie Darwin ~ Nonesuch

The Horizon Is a Beltway

  • Swell Season ~ Strict Joy ~ Anti-

In These Arms

  • Taken by Trees ~ East of Eden ~ Rough Trade

The Greyest Love of All

  • John Vanderslice ~ Romanian Names ~ Dead Oceans


  • various artists ~ Dark Was the Night: A Red Hot Compilation ~ 4AD

Tightrope (Yeasayer)

  • Patrick Watson ~ Wooden Arms ~ Secret City



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