Top 5 Albums of 2009

I Know. It's a little bit late for the "Best of 2009" article. But I was busy trying to beat Super Mario Bros. 3. And no, I haven't done it yet. World 8 is just impossible. But before I drive myself to eating a different kind of mushroom just to deal with my inability to beat this 20 year old game, I figured I'd distract myself by finally doing this. I give you the Fleshy Fresh's Top 5 Albums of 2009.

5. Metric - Fantasies

Hello. This is Metric. They are relatively new to popularity, but they showed that they deserve it with their release of Fantasies last April. It seems that everyone these days is trying to get somewhere with a female-fronted band, but few groups can do it successfully; and Metric is one of them. Emily Haines is a strong frontwoman with a unique voice, giving the band a unique sound. The best part of this album is Haines attempt to deal with what seems to be an existential problem in "Help, I'm Alive" and "Blindness." The miraculous thing, though, is that she tackles these issues while keeping the music up-beat and avoiding the typical depression-ridden sound that groups like Bright Eyes made so popular (and eventually so hated).

4. Maria Taylor - Ladyluck

Ladyluck brought everything we at the Fleshy Fresh love about Maria Taylor, and then some. She has her slow songs, where she gets to show off her unique ability to lull you to sleep with her soft, infectious voice. She has her full-band songs that show off her grand vision without trying too hard. And she still has strong song-writing skills. This girl has a long career ahead of her, and she proved it with this release.

3. Dave Smallen - Everything Changes and Nothing Changes

It was very tempting to put Smallen's Waiting For the Pills EP on this list of the best of 2009. But Everything Changes and Nothing Changes has all of the songs that Waiting has plus a few extra goodies. Where do we get started? "Waiting for the Pills," "America," "With the Sky All Blue," "I Think It's Getting Better." The record is overflowing with brilliant songs of homelessness, desperation, and self-challenges. It's reassuring to know that he can capture his intense honesty in his recordings. Well done, Dave. Well done.

2. Thursday - Common Existence

Sadly, this is a band that has gotten little attention on the Fleshy Fresh, but for Thursday to be forgotten after such an epic release in 2009 would be an injustice. Common Existence is a breath of fresh air after their previous A City by the Light Divided, which seemed to either be missing something or simply the result of Thursday trying too hard. But the band brought back their tension building intros and stress-relieving power in Common Existence. Welcome back, Thursday. We missed you. Now keep it up.

1. Paramore - Brand New Eyes

I imagine that to some, the fact that Paramore is first on this list will be mildly upsetting. I have checked several "Top 5" articles across the internet that claim to give the best records of the alternative genre for this year, none of which include any of these 5; and most of the picks are things I've never heard of. In other words, this selection might not be musically elitist enough for someone who blogs about music. But the simple fact is thus: Brand New Eyes packs the punch. Hayley Williams is one of the most amazing female frontwomen that this country has seen in years, and she proved it on Brand New Eyes. The pipes in this little woman are astounding! Take one listen to "All I Wanted" and I guarantee you will be blown away. And the record really delivers with the strong song-writers and talented hook-writers that make up the other members of the band. Sure, some songs stand out more than others, such as "Ignorance," "Brick By Boring Brick," and "The Only Exception," but there is not a single bad song on this record. If you're going to listen to anything I say here, listen to this: Paramore deserve all the attention that they have received in the past few months. They are here and here to stay.

Honorable Mentions: Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio, Silversun Pickups - Swoon, and The Von Bondies - Love Hate and then There's You.