Design Notes Top Ten Albums of 2009

Design Notes Top Ten Albums of 2009

I’ve decided for the third year in a row to visualize my top albums of the year. Last year it was my top 15, and the previous year my top 20. The fact that I could only scrape ten this year indicate two possible things, music options this year weren’t that great, and I’m getting old. Early in the year as I was starting to think of my list I noticed that they were all mellow, like really mellow. I made a call out for options that weren’t so slow. There were a couple suggestions that ended up making this list.

My criteria was pretty simple, A. did I listen to it a lot, B. would I want to listen to it next year, and the year after that, and C. was it compelling. The chart above shows a couple things—when the album was release in the year and how mellow or non mellow it was. I suppose that’s up for debate, but this is my blog and I can categorize things the way I want.

Design Notes Top Ten Albums of 2009

01 West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum: Kasabian
Perfect walking music for the mean streets of NYC. Lots of energy without the cheese.

02 Lost Channels: Great Lake Swimmers
For those days (or hours) when introspection is warranted.

03 20,000 Ghosts: The Rocketboys
I saw/heard these guys in Memphis while playing foosball—kind of surreal. Really smooth and tight, in a good way.

04 Further Complications: Jarvis Cocker
I almost feel compelled to like this because I’ve been a fan of all of Cocker’s other stuff. I also feel the same way with the Doves, yet their latest album was sub par at best while this kept the expectations nice n’high.

05 Downstairs: My First Earthquake
I think I listened to this album for a couple weeks straight. Really, really good for getting work done. Lyrics are pretty good too.

06 Hometowns: The Rural Alberta Advantage
Just for the record I didn’t add this to the list because they’re singing about a province I spent quite a few years living in. I just liked what was being said, and I could *almost* relate to it.

07 Farm: Dinosaur JR.
I have no idea why, but every time they release something I like it. Another great album to walk to, but for different reasons.

08 Noble Beast: Andrew Bird
Nicely built, lots of layers and levels to it.

09 You Can Have What You Want: Papercuts
Probably my most alt album on the list. Consistent from track to track whether I’m on shuffle mode or not.

10 Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian: Prefuse 73
Hard to describe this one, probably not for everyone…

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  • Flo

    What means the size of the bubbles?

  • michaelsurtees

    Good question—the bigger the circle, the more important it is. Circle 1 bigger than the second which is bigger than the third. I hope that clears things up…

  • rebeccabortman

    As a visual designer and the singer of your #5 band (!) of this year, I can't tell you how happy your visualization makes me! Thanks so much for including us! We just came out with a holiday music video today that I hope you enjoy:

  • michaelsurtees

    Hey Rebecca—thanks for chiming in. Like I mentioned above, it was a great album to work to. Really looking forward to your next album when ever that might come out.

  • renewableenergy

    Yeah it was a great album to work to..
    keep going on..

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