The One21 Best Of 2009 Pt.2

2009 is almost over, and in the world of music, that means one thing, Best Of lists! At One21, we wanted to wait a little bit to post ours; because to me posting a “Best Of” list before Thanksgiving is kinda like nominating Avatar for Best Drama the week before it is screened for critics.

Wait, yea, that happened….

Anyways, we consider these albums to be the cream of what was released this year. we aren’t going to do a count down though, so in no particular order, here are the last 12 albums that made 2009 great:

Album of the year

manchester orchestra mean everything to nothing
Mean Everything To Nothing
Manchester Orchestra

Why we picked it: When you are able to marry both catchiness and intelligence, then you created something very special. Manchester Orchestra have done just that with equal parts gritty garage rock, progressive indie, and angry post-hardcore combined to result in a cohesive group of songs that not only build on each other, but also communicate a vast range of emotion and mood. Every song has something that you didn’t hear the first time (or the second), and Mean Everything To Nothing will keep you coming back. In plain English, this is a phenomenal album.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Best of the rest

michelle_shocked soul of my soul
Soul Of My Soul
Michelle Shocked
Why we picked it:
Another tour de force featuring musical styles and sharp lyrics, Soul of My Soul is another Michelle Shocked masterpiece. She employs many musical styles from folk to reggae to rock to gospel on this fifth album since she converted to Christianity. Joy, sadness and anger permeate this record about relationships, her faith and the world we face. Another brilliant offering from one of rock’s most respected artists.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

fiction family
Fiction Family
Fiction Family

Why we picked it: This side project from Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman and Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins sounds like anything but. Beautiful clear melodies, strong production and mostly acoustic instrumentation enable the songs soar. Hopefully, not a one time side project, Fiction Family could challenge Wilco for the title as top purveyor of middle period Beatles style music.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

To Tell The Story Kelly Parks
To Tell The Story
Kelly Parks
Why we picked it:
One of the Christian scene’s truly great underground artists, Kelly (Jones) Parks returned in 2009 after a 7 year absence from the recording studio. To Tell The Story was worth it. Bouncy songs delivered in Parks crystal clear will have you embarrassing yourself in traffic as you sing along with her direct lyrics about our faith, out joy and our challenges.

melinda doolittle coming back to you
Coming Back To You
Melinda Doolittle

Why we picked it: If you like your soul music circa 1969; strong, direct without embellishment; then welcome home. This former American Idol third place finisher has delivered the best, least effected, record ever by any AI contestant. She has the pipes so she does not try to impress with histrionics, which is great. That allows us to enjoy these songs about faith and relationships without needing to push aside auto tuners or annoying vocal runs. A fantastic soul record.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

cas metah guest room
Guest Room
Cas Metah

Why we picked it: If there are any emcees reading this right now, I want to ask you to do something this year; listen to Guest Room and take notes. Every track on this album is quality, each one lending something to the others: there are enough fun, chill songs to balance out the more serious, darker tracks. On top of that Cas Metah is a great emcee, and on top of that he has attracted an amazing line up to guest on each song (hence why it is called Guest Room). All of this and you got some really interesting beats to make it all come together. This is what hip-hop should be; Christian, Underground, East or West Coast, whatever. Like I said, take notes…
Buy: Amazon MP3, iTunes

paper route absence
Paper Route

Why we picked it: Paper Route continues to amaze with a striking blend of electronic indie rock music. Layer upon layer of sounds create a collage of music and soundscapes for the love songs of joy and pain. “Are We All Forgotten” is one of the most beautiful songs of 2009.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Awake O' Sleeper- Lisa Heinrichs
Awake O’ Sleeper
Lisa Heinrichs

Why we picked it: This little known, in the States, folk, country singer from Canada delivered a marvelous debut album in 2009. Lisa Heinrichs has a striking, clear voice, a sense of humor and a sense of purpose. Her combination of faith based songs and political statements will make you think and dance, all at the same time.
Buy:Amazon MP3, iTunes

josh garrels lost animals
Lost Animals
Josh Garrels
Why we picked it:
Another treasure chest of beatbox, stream of consciousness theology from our favorite hippie troubadour. Listening to Garrels you will surely dance. You will also pull out your Bible, pray and contemplate your theology and your relationship with God. You will have a good time at it all.
Buy: iTunes

advent naked and cold
Naked And Cold

Why we picked it: Advent IS spirit-filled hardcore. Naked And Cold IS Advent. There simply isn’t anybody doing this particular brand of abrasive metal-core anymore, and I’m starting to think that it may be because it might kill lesser men. Not Advent though, this is the type of music played to start revolutions and break down walls. Unlike their Black Flag predecessors, Advent is trying to start a revolution of the heart, a re-emergence of people proud to call Christ their Savior, and willing to die for His name. Some people might call that a revival, and I think that’s what Naked And Cold might be all about.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Cheaters & Thieves

Why we picked it: Put Cheaters & Thieves in a mix tomorrow with any of the big names in rock today, and I guarantee that you ears will perk up every time one of the tracks shuffles in. There is something very dark and painful happening here, and there are many times you actually feel like you are witnessing vocalist Andy trying to sing away his demons. Slow, trudging progressions allow this album to breathe the way it should; it’s as if they went any faster the songs might shatter. This is the kind of music that sticks with you long after you stop listening, and Dignan might be the best at it.
Buy: Amazon MP3, iTunes

bosque brown baby
Bosque Brown

Why we picked it: Now for something completely different than anything you have heard in the Christian or secular scene this year. Mara Lee Miller, the heart and soul and voice of Bosque Brown, sounds as if Tom Waits and Patsy Cline had a child gave her a collection of Kris Kristofferen and Joy Division records and left in a trailer in the desert. This record is a haunting mix of minimalist, indie folk, classic country. We have been mesmerized all year.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright mewithoutyou
It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright

Why we picked it: Perhaps one of the more debated albums of the year, the latest installment in the mewithoutYou saga sees the band fully embrace their indie folk influences. All the aggression from past albums is replaced with a joyful celebration of instruments and voices. We are getting to see a different side of a band that has always marched to their own drum. The ironic part is that in the age of Sufjan Stevens, Panda Bear, and The Avett Brothers, this may be mewithoutYou‘s trendiest album yet. Funnier still is that this album may be one of the best in that era.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

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