releases its Best Albums of 2009 list, kicks off inevitable critical slap-fight

With some seven weeks to go ’til auld lang syne, retail giant has officially jumped the ’09 gun (if not the shark), announcing its definitive Editors’ Pick list of the year’s best albums.

Read the top 50 after the jump, beginning a trio of dry-clean-only TV clowns, and ending with the giant Mercury-Cougar-honkin’ clue on the left.


Best Albums Of 2009 (Editors’ Picks)
50 The Lonely Island, Incredibad
49 Rodrigo y Gabriela, 11:11
48 Thao, Know Better Learn Faster
47 Mayer Hawthorne, A Strange Arrangement
46 Noisettes, Wild Young Hearts
45 Doom, Born Like This
44 Bonnie Prince Billy, Beware
43 Throw Me the Statue, Creaturesque
42 Lily Allen, It’s Not Me, It’s You
41 Vieux Farka Touré, Fondo
40 St. Vincent, Actor
39 Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
38 Silversun Pickups, Swoon
37 Cass McCombs, Catacombs
36 Bob Dylan, Together Through Life
35 Antony And The Johnsons, The Crying Light
34 Iggy Pop, Preliminaires
33 Julian Plenti, Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper
32 A.C. Newman, Get Guilty
31 U2, No Line On The Horizon
30 Imogen Heap, Ellipse
29 Cave Singers, Welcome Joy
28 La Roux, La Roux
27 Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Roadsinger (To Warm You Through The Night)
26 Mark Knopfler, Get Lucky
25 Steve Martin, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo
24 The Bird and the Bee, Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
23 Various Artists, Dark Was The Night
22 Iron & Wine, Around The Well
21 Mastodon, Crack The Skye
20 Horrors, Primary Colours
19 Leonard Cohen, Live In London
18 Amadou & Mariam,Welcome To Mali
17 Sarah Jarosz, Song Up In Her Head
16 Steve Earles, Townes
15 The Swell Season, Strict Joy
14 Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
13 Passion Pit, Manners
12 Wilco, Wilco (The Album)
11 Metric, Fantasies
10 Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
09 Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
08 K’Naan, Troubadour
07 Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion
06 Girls, Album
05 The Avett Brothers, I And Love And You
04 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
03 Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
02 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz
01 Neko Case, Middle Cyclone

Naturally, we have some quibbles. I found Neko’s record oddly muted and underwhelming, not so much Cyclone as stiff breeze; our commentors clearly disagreed. I’m also not sure I’m sold on Pains of Being Pure at Hearts‘ early-’90s Brit-jangle revivalism, “Everything With You” aside. Or Passion Pit above the Grizzle Bear? As for the Steve Martin record—when I want banjo-Martin, I go Jerk.

But let me turn the conversation to you, Music Mixers; what’s missing and mislabeled here? And what is just as it should be? Also, for compare ‘n’ contrast, check out Amazon’s list of best and best-selling side by side here (hint: Bono will be much more pleased with the latter).

Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

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Ellie Goulding: The Music Mix recommends
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Comments (67 total) Add your comment
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  • Brian

    The Flaming Lips’ ‘Embryonic’ is missing.

  • Maiv

    The Yeah Yeah Yeahs did have an amazing album and they deserve their spot!

    • crispy

      Agreed. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year. Not a bad song on it.

      • Adam

        It’s Blitz is incredible..It really was a crowning achievement

  • blewit

    Flaming Lips, Embryonic…shameful.

  • Will

    Florence + the Machine’s “Lungs”

    • theeurocentric


    • Aaron


  • Tom Brazelton

    It’s Blitz is good, but not number 2 spot good!

  • Suzette

    Florence & the Machines and I loved Neko Case’s CD as well. What about Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment”? :-)

  • brandon

    i second that will

    florence and the machine “lungs” was number one for me this year

  • Andrew

    MIKA’s The Boy Who Knew Too Much, and Mandy Moore’s Amanda Leigh, both GREAT albums showing growth from their respective ARTISTS!!!

  • Stephen

    Is it just me or do you all find it weird that 9/10 of these albums are indepdently produced and released. I find it hard to believe that Jay-Z is the only ‘mainstream’ album worth putting in a top 50 list. Is Amazon really that one sided in terms of mainstream vs. cult? Do they really feel the need to go all indie in order to prove that they have a wide array of interests in the form of music? I originally would have thought not; though now I worry that my initial inclinations were off-base.

    • crispy

      Not weird at all. Mainstream music is derivative crap.

  • eminem

    where the f!#!@$! is relapse!!!

    • god

      exactly! Go relapse!

    • Sara

      I agree… Eminem’s album isn’t one full of singles, but his technique is astonishing.
      Maybe they just weren’t enticed by his theme of being a serial killer the entire album.. I admit, it didn’t ring true like his other work.

  • Elizabeth

    “Lungs” – Florence & The Machine
    “Seldom Seen Kid” – Elbow (unless it was an 08 release)

    Glad to see more Florence fans.

  • crispy

    That Phoenix album is way too high. It has 1 good song (ok, 1 great song… maybe the best song of the year), but the rest of it is filler.

    • Cole9219

      What one??? Lisztomania or 1901??

      • crispy

        1901 dude! That song is amazing.

  • Kevin

    That list looks amazing to me, no problem with it.

  • mdw225

    The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and K’Naan both deserve their spots! So glad to see K’Naan on this list. Would like to see Noisettes just a bit higher though…

    • Phil

      I don’t get what Universal Motown is doing with the Noisettes here. They featured them on ONE TREE HILL and a slew of Fall tv show have used “I’ll Never Forget You” (which make no mistake is THE hit that will break them in the U.S.) so WHY is their label issuing a remix of “Don’t Upset The Rhythm” with rapper Wale & Estelle!? I wanna see them success here, but not get lumped into the contemporary R&B/hip-hop scene.

  • RoyBatty

    Therapy?’s “Crooked Timber” is missing. Not surprised, though.

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