YBP’s Top 20 Albums of 2009

20 Album Mosaic

Hey there! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Well I figured the perfect time to catch up would be in my favourite post of the year and that is our top 20 albums of the year post. We had a lot of fun doing it last year and we had just as much fun this year. It has been a great year for music. There have been many promising debuts from many extremely talented people along with some incredible albums from some seasoned veterans in the music world. So without further ado, here’s our top 20 albums of the year!

20. Peter Doherty – Grace/Wastelands


Starting us off in the number 20 slot is the infamous Pete Doherty‘s debut solo album, Grace/Wastelands. While Doherty has had his troubles with the law in the past there has been little debate that this man is one hell of a songwriter. His band the Libertines were wildly popular when they were around, as was his other band Babyshambles. Now we get to hear a sort of stripped down version of Doherty that comes as a quite refreshing change from what we have heard in the past. Let’s just hope he can stay out of trouble long enough to give us some more of this stuff.

Pete Doherty – “New Love Grows On Trees”

19. Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

At number 19 we have Elvis Perkins in Dearland‘s latest, self titled album. His 2007 release, Ash Wednesday was an incredible debut which made you wonder if he would be able to keep it up on his follow up. Well it is safe to say that Perkins hasn’t lost any steam on his latest work. The difference however is that while Ash Wednesday was more or less a solo effort and baring of the soul, this album was created by Perkins along with three other musicians. The results are pretty fantastic however. Perkins also has one of the nicest designs in the Yellow Bird Project catalog. Check it out here.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland – “Shampoo”

18. Chris Garneau – El Radio

El Radio

Chris Garneau‘s sophomore release, El Radio, shows that while Garneau may have grown as a musician he still knows how to have fun with his music. Songs like “No More Pirates”, “Fireflies”, and “Dirty Night Clowns” lead the way on this truly excellent follow up.

Chris Garneau – “Dirty Night Clown”

17. La Roux – La Roux

La Roux

Next we have an incredible debut album from UK electro-pop duo La Roux. Led by the lovely and talented Eleanor Jackson on vocals and producer Ben Langmaid this duo has been catapulted into the spotlight in 2009 with their self-titled debut. Take a listen to “Bulletproof” which went to number 1 in the UK.

La Roux – “Bulletproof”

16. Passion Pit – Manners


This one should come as no surprise as Passion Pit has been pretty much all over the place this year. The obsession with Passion Pit started with the release of their debut Chunk of Change EP which provided us with the ultra catchy “Sleepyhead” and continued when they finally came out with their debut album, Manners.

Passion Pit – “Little Secrets”

15. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Here’s another album that should come as no surprise to be on many lists of the top albums of the year. While Phoenix sing in English they are actually a French band from Versailles. The band is made up of Thomas Mars on vocals, Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai on guitars, Deck D’Arcy on bass, Robin Coudert on keys and Thomas Hedlund on drums. Together they make some pretty catchy and excitable rock music. Here’s their hit single “Lisztomania” which has not only been conquering charts over in Europe but in North America as well.

Phoenix – “Lisztomania”

14. Little Boots – Hands


While this album hasn’t even technically been released in North America yet, Blackpool, England’s Little Boots is becoming more and more popular by the day. The album was released on June 8th in the UK but wont see the light of day in North America until the new year. It goes without saying that many people in North America have already heard it and love it. This album is a promising start to a career to say the very least. Little Boots is also one of the latest artists to design a t-shirt for YBP. Check it out here.

Little Boots – “Remedy”

13. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Its not me its you

Since this album was released quite early on in the year it’s sort of lost steam popularity wise as the year has progressed. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a superb album and by far Allen’s best work to date. To promote the album Allen posted the entire thing from start to finish on her Myspace page for a limited period of time which proved to be a great way to get people excited about the album. Unfortunately, Allen has announced that she will be taking a two year break from making music in the hopes of launching her own record label. Let’s hope it won’t be that long.

Lily Allen – “Not Fair”

12. Regina Spektor – Far

Regina Spektor Far

Regina Spektor‘s latest album was released in the summer of 2009 and hasn’t lost steam yet. Spektor has truly proven to be a songwriting machine as this is her 5th full length release in 8 years to go along with a pretty intensive touring schedule. Have a listen to the emotion driven, yet witty “Laughing With” from the album.

Regina Spektor – “Laughing With”

11. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

Arctic Monkeys Humbug

Sheffield, England’s Arctic Monkeys are at it again with their latest album, Humbug. But don’t let the album title fool you, this album isn’t a collection of depressing songs that would please Mr. Scrooge himself. Instead this album is a collection of 10 songs (cut down from 24) of the same raw energy and excellent song craft that we have come to know and love from these talented Brits. They aren’t going in any sort of new direction with their music but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. Here’s a standout track from the album, “Cornerstone”.

Arctic Monkeys – “Cornerstone”

10. Fanfarlo – Reservoir


Next we have the promising debut of another British band that go by the name of Fanfarlo. Well they are technically not all British as lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Simon Balthazar is actually of Swedish decent, but to make things easier let’s just say they are a group of talented musicians who have come together as Fanfarlo and have created one of the best albums of the year, entitled Reservoir.

Fanfarlo – “Harold T. Wilkins”

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Its Blitz

Karen O and her band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have really gone the extra mile with their latest album, It’s Blitz! Their first two releases were popular enough, but their latest has the band sounding tighter than ever before. The album was produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire), with help from TV On The Radio member and longtime friend of Karen O, Dave Sitek. Here’s the irresistible “Heads Will Roll” from the album.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”

8. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Sigh No More

At number 8 we have an album that we have been waiting for for quite a long time. That is the debut LP from London, England’s Mumford & Sons. After seeing them live two years ago at Montreal’s Pop Montreal festival opening for their friend Laura Marling, we knew right away that these guys were going to be big. Well after the release of three EPs, they have finally put out their debut LP, entitled Sigh No More. The album is everything we expected and more, with that same raw folk sound that they bring to their exceptional live performances along with a sort of endearing quality that permeates through every song. Have a listen to “The Cave” from the album.

Mumford and Suns – “The Cave”

7. Antony & The Johnsons – Crying Light

The Crying Light

Does anyone have any idea what Antony Hegarty means when he sings “Epilepsy is Dancing”? I sure don’t. But isn’t that what makes Antony & The Johnsons so great? I challenge you to find another individual as odd and uniquely talented as pianist and singer Antony Hegarty. Over the years he has provided us with some of the most melancholy, yet utterly beautiful songs around and he continues this trend with grace on his latest LP, The Crying Light.

Antony – “Epilepsy is Dancing”

6. Julian Casablancas – Phrazes for the Young

Phrazes For The Young

At number 6 we have lead Strokes member Julian Casablancas‘ debut solo album, Phrazes For The Young. While Casablancas is more or less the last Stroke to release a solo album, it may just be the best of the lot. While there is a definite Strokes sound to a few of the songs on the album, Casablancas delves into some other genres of music that he perhaps hasn’t really had a chance to work with in the past. There’s some electronica, there’s some blues and then there’s some of that good old fashioned grungy rock and roll that Casablancas has perfected over the years.

Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”

5. Girls – Album

Girls Album

This album pretty much came out of nowhere this year, to grab a spot as the number 5 album of the year. There isn’t much to go on just looking at the album cover. Okay…the band is called Girls, and the album is called…well, Album. But once you get into it you find a true gem of an album. On the surface you hear some fuzzy, grungy punk rock, led by the awkward vocals of lead singer Christopher Owens, but once you listen on a deeper level you find an overwhelming sense of innocence in the music and lyrics. For example, on “Hellhole Ratrace” Owens sings, “I dont wanna cry my whole life through, yeah I wanna do some laughing too, so come on come on come on come on and laugh with me”. Or on the album’s opening track “Lust For Life” when he sings, “Oh I wish I had a suntan, I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine. Oh I wish I had a beach house, then we could make a big fire every night”.

Girls – “Lust For Life”

4. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below

Up From Below

Remember Ima Robot? Well if you don’t it may be for the best because lead Ima Robot member Alex Ebert’s new band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros is all you need to hear. Perhaps at one point Ebert woke up and decided I no longer want to make psychotic electro-pop but I’d rather grow a beard and make some epic orchestral folk songs and play those instead. Whatever happened to Ebert we are glad it did because his latest album with his new band, Up From Below, is simply stunning.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Home”

3. Röyksopp – Junior


Röyksopp‘s latest album Junior has this Norweigan duo having more fun than they have ever had before. While their previous efforts have been more on the melancholy, emotional side, their latest album is poppy, dancy and just a whole lot of fun. With the help of Lykki Li, Robyn and Karin Dreijer Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray) they have put together one of the most exciting albums of the year and one guaranteed to elicit repeated listens. Stay tuned for the follow up to this one, aptly titled Senior, which will be released sometime in the new year.

Röyksopp – “Vision One”

2. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavillion

Ranking in at number 2 is Animal Collective‘s latest album, Merriweather Post Pavilion. This was a tough album to put at number two simply because of how good it is and how worthy it is of the number 1 spot. Perhaps if there was such thing as a tie for best album of the year this would be in it, but since ties are like kissing your sister, we had to make a tough choice, and here it is. With every album Animal Collective put out it seems as if this is as good as it’s going to get. Yet time after time their new releases blow us off of our feet. Here’s the outstanding “My Girls” from the album.

Animal Collective – “My Girls”

1. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest


Surprise Surprise! Our top album of 2009 is Brooklyn, New York’s Grizzly Bear‘s latest LP, Veckatimest. The album is pretty much perfect from the opening bars of “Southern Point” until the very end of the solemn “Foreground”. It must be hard for a band to deliver when it has such high expectations but I think it’s fair to say that this time around Droste and co. have matched and perhaps even exceeded expectations with this one. It also just so happens that Grizzly Bear is one of the latest band’s to design a t-shirt for YBP so be sure to check out their awesome design for a great cause.

Grizzly Bear – “While You Wait for the Others”

So there you have it! Another year is gone and left us with a whole pile of amazing albums. If 2010 is anywhere near as good for music as 2009 was we are all in for a treat. See you in the new year! May it be a prosperous and happy one for all.

If you are one of the many people that enjoy the use of Spotify, please click here to access our Spotify playlist of our top albums of the year.

8 comments for “YBP’s Top 20 Albums of 2009”

  1. where is Brandi carlile with any of her three recordings? and why is pete doherty even on the list. he’s a genius, but not alone.

  2. Less we forget – Metric, Andrew Bird, and Bat for Lashes!

  3. […] a nod to YBP’s top 20 albums of 2009, here’s a list of the songs I fell in love with in […]

  4. Also can’t forget Wilco’s album…. Some great songs on it.

  5. Oh and Santigold, cannot forget Santigold!

  6. You can’t forget Florence & the Machine – such an amazing album!

  7. Santigold was 2008.


  8. […] Top albums of 2009: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2009/12/31/ybps-top-20-albums-of-2009/ […]

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