Sean Daly picks the best songs, albums of 2009

10 Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise): Not sure if this Queenly thunderclap is as good as 2004's American Idiot, but Before the Lobotomy is GD's best song of the decade. So there.

9 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz (Interscope): Karen O, the Ichabod Cranial leader of this NYC art-pop trio, is the most fascinating frontwoman in rock. Maybe the scariest, too. If they ever reopen Studio 54, the first song played should be the YYYs Zero.

8 The Dead Weather, Horehound (Third Man): So jarring, so hard, so good, this supergrouping of Jack White and Kills femme fatale Alison Mosshart is the sound of would-be paramours trying to love each other to death — with Uzis if necessary.

7 Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope): Do Dave Grohl and Jack White have a bet on who can form the most side projects? The Foo Fighter and his yowling pal Josh Homme join Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones for a hairy-knuckled trip to Misty Mountain.

6 Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation): The completion of Hova's decadelong trilogy merges soul samples and a quick-lipped lesson to young MCs itching to take down the king. Rap is a young man's game — unless Shawn Carter says it's not.

5 Gliss, Devotion Implosion (Cordless): Imagine if Raymond Chandler had an apartment in Melrose Place. Or Philip Marlowe dated one of the Olsen twins. This L.A. trio takes "noir rock" a la Jesus and Mary Chain and spices it with the wobbly hookup mores of the Sunset Strip.

4 Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg (Interscope): No surprise here: The '70s-stuck stoner-rocking Aussies might be my favorite new band of the Aughties. Andrew Stockdale & Co. indulge in stoopid head-banging dude rock — and I can't get enough of it.

3 The Duke and the King, Nothing Gold Can Stay (Ramseur): These Woodstock-born folkies feature Simone Felice (of the Felice Brothers) conjuring the puff-puff-pass spirit of Cat Stevens and related '70s bonfire studs. The best band name of the year refers to the con artists in Huckleberry Finn.

2St. Vincent, Actor (4AD/ADA): She's Cinderella with a taste for blood. Or maybe Beauty and the Bjork. Trying to figure out the electro-clashing dreamscapes and labyrinthine lyrics of a.k.a. Annie Clark from Oklahoma is creepy, mesmerizing fun.

1Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson, Break Up (Rhino/WEA): Scruffy busker Yorn makes a postmodern duets album that acknowledges both the frustration and kinky pull of our celebrity-driven culture. Like a lithe, cig-pulling lust object from some Francophilic fantasy, the saucer-eyed ScarJo represents our love/hate relationship with Lohan et al. — but wow, she can sing, too.



10 Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise) Not sure if this Queenly thunderclap is as good as 2004's American Idiot. But Before the Lobotomy is GD's best song of the decade. So there.

9Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz (Interscope) Karen O, the Ichabod Cranial leader of this NYC art-pop trio, is the most fascinating frontwoman in rock. Maybe the scariest, too. If they ever re-open Studio 54, the first song played should be the YYYs Zero.

8 The Dead Weather, Horehound (Third Man) So jarring, so hard, so good, this supergrouping of Jack White and Kills femme fatale Alison Mosshart is the sound of would-be paramours trying to love each other to death — with Uzis if necessary.

7 Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope) Do Dave Grohl and Jack White have a bet on who can form the most side projects? The Foo Fighter and his yowling pal Josh Homme join Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones for a hairy-knuckled trip to Misty Mountain.

6 Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation) The completion of Hova's decadelong trilogy merges soul samples and a quick-lipped lesson to young MCs itching to take down the king. Rap is a young man's game — unless Shawn Carter says it's not.

5 Gliss, Devotion Implosion (Cordless) Imagine if Raymond Chandler had an apartment in Melrose Place. Or Philip Marlowe dated one of the Olsen Twins. This L.A. trio takes "noir rock" a la Jesus and Mary Chain and spices it with the wobbly hook-up mores of the Sunset Strip.

4 Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg (Interscope) No surprise here: The '70s-stuck stoner-rocking Aussie might be my favorite new band of the Aughties. Andrew Stockdale & Co. indulge in stoopid head-banging dude rock — and I can't get enough of it.

3 The Duke and the King, Nothing Gold Can Stay (Ramseur) These Woodstock-born folkies feature Simone Felice (of the Felice Brothers) conjuring the puff-puff-pass spirit of Cat Stevens and related '70s bonfire studs. The best band name of the year refers to the con artists in Huckleberry Finn.

2St. Vincent, Actor (4AD/ADA) She's Cinderella with a taste for blood. Or maybe Beauty and the Bjork. Trying to figure out the electro-clashing dreamscapes and labyrinthine lyrics of aka Annie Clark from Oklahoma is creepy, mesmerizing fun.

1Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson, Break Up (Rhino/WEA) Scruffy busker Yorn makes a postmodern duets album that acknowledges both the frustration and kinky pull of our celebrity-driven culture. Like a lithe, cig-pulling lust object from some Francophilic fantasy, the saucer-eyed ScarJo represents our love/hate relationship with Lohan et al. — but wow, she can sing, too.

Someday when I'm old, fat and gray (okay, fine: older, fatter and grayer), I'm going to retire to my office, fire up the ol' Victrola and listen to AC/DC on vinyl over and over again. I imagine I'll take the occasional peek at what's new in music — or at least peek at whatever Beyonce's not wearing in her newest thighmasterful vid. But for the most part, my golden daze will be filled with bawdy, boisterous Jurassic rock that was either (1) recorded in 1979 or (2) sounds like it was. I need it loud, boys and girls, especially since a steady succession of tween-jacked JoBros shows has shredded my eardrums. Yee-ow. • I'm still in my 30s (tick, tick, tick . . .), but I can already see my musical tastes preparing for crusty retirement. Seven of my top albums of 2009 throw back to either the New Wave '80s, the fake-wood-paneling '70s or the mellow-gold '60s. The rap entry is from an elder statesmen, and my No. 2 pick is an eee-vil Disney princess offering antidote to the chipmunk rock of my wee daughters. Life is interfering with work — thank goodness. • If you want a broad statement on the year in pop, consider this: In 2009, the biggest sellers were Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga — and their albums were from 2008. The stars offered weakened product (Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D., U2's No Line on the Horizon, Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream), and newbies reeked of one-hit ephemera (3OH!3, Jason Derulo, Owl City). • But hey, this is a column about the Good Stuff, right? So here you go, my 10 top albums from 2009:

NEXT WEEK IN FLORIDIAN: SD's Decade in Review: It was very loud 10 years

The Songs

of '09 Playlist

What happens when a pop music critic despises most of the pop music at the top of the charts? Is it a matter of said scribe losing touch? Or was 2009 indeed a bastion of unimaginative stinkola? If you gander at the smashes of '09 according to Billboard and iTunes — Fireflies by Owl City, for instance, or I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas — you'll notice that most of said hits were, in fact, not good. And when I say "not good," what I mean is if I hear Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo one more time, I'm going to jam lawn darts in my ears and then (and this is crucial, so pay attention) insert two more lawn darts just to be safe. Pop pooped out this year: boring beats, dull hooks, total disregard for the imagination. Thus, my fave singles weren't all radio-tested, but they were glimmers of hope in a turgid sonic sea. So go on, give 'em a download — no lawn darts necessary.

1 The Girl Got Hot,

Weezer

2 I Could Break Your Heart

Any Day of the Week,

Mandy Moore

3 I Do Not Hook Up,

Kelly Clarkson

4 Take Me Back,

Tinted Windows

5 Only Prettier,

Miranda Lambert

6 Don't Stop Believin',

the cast of Glee

7 Party in the U.S.A.,

Miley Cyrus

8 Soaked,

Adam Lambert

9 Jump,

Flo Rida & Nelly Furtado

10 Before the Lobotomy, Green Day

Want to contribute your own song to the Songs of '09 Playlist? Go to Sean's Pop Life blog at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic. He also can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467.

Sean Daly picks the best songs, albums of 2009 12/19/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 5:13pm]

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