‘Time’ Picks Its Top 10 Albums Of 2009

Dec 11th, 2009 // 26 Comments

It’s been quite the high profile week for The-Dream. Not only did a wedding photo of the hit-making songwriter-producer and Christina Milian just surface, his Love vs. Money was also singled out in Time‘s picks for the top albums of the year. Hopefully this calms him down after his recent Grammy snub.

Dirty Projectors, a favorite of Solange Knowles, ranked pretty high on the list, as did Lilith Fair 2010 performer Miranda Lambert.

Lady Gaga just managed to scrape in at #10 with The Fame Monster, and the publication notes “there’s still a little too much filler for global domination to be a real goal. But the hits… are towering and undeniable.”

Hop below the jump to see the 10 albums that Time magazine felt were worth their salt in 2009.

TIME’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2009:

1. Brad Paisley, American Saturday Night
2. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
3. Mastodon, Crack The Skye
4. Miranda Lambert, Revolution
5. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
6. The-Dream, Love vs. Money
7. Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. II
8. Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
9. The Avett Brothers, I And Love And You
10. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

  1. We aren’t doing “The Good, The Bad and the WTF?” any more?

    I’ll start: Brad Paisley? No. 1? WTF?

    That is an abomination.

    I don’t understand these Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift apologists, who see thier mass commercial success as legitimate artistic integrity.

    But to follow that with the Dirty Projectors reeks of list by committee.

    Really- what a strange and annoying list.

  2. Devo

    couldn’t agree more with @thesemodernsocks — a ridiculous list, especially the No.1 choice

  3. “I don’t understand these Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift apologists, who see thier mass commercial success as legitimate artistic integrity.”

    Oh, dear goodness, my stockinged friend. Do you really think this is some rare insight, this idea that commercial success does not necessarily equal good art? Come on. It’s a frikking age-old truth, man. Nobody is unaware of it, especially the entertainment staff at a big magazine. They’re grown-ups who cover this stuff for a living, not 10-year-olds still figuring out how the world works.

    So it’s a pretty safe bet that Paisley’s commercial success was not the driving factor in his selection. That’s just such a naive argument, especially given all the obvious evidence at hand:

    – The list includes people like Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear and Avett Brothers.
    – Paisley wasn’t remotely the decade’s bestselling music act (or even country act).
    – The item specifically acknowledges his commercialism in a “to be sure, but” sense.

    You are absolutely correct that Paisley at #1 is an abomination. That reflects really lousy judgment and taste. What it doesn’t reflect is some clueless belief that “mass commercial success (is) legitimate artistic integrity.”

    You’d have to be kind of clueless to assume that other people are that clueless, at least the ones over 10 years old.

  4. @Here_Now: Here Now,

    Hey now.

    I’m not saying that at all. I’m thinking in particular of Slate’s Jody Rosen, who is all over Paisley’s jock, and part of his argument for such a bland, boring artist is that he is universal, and has a broad appeal, and take a stance of “how could you deny such popular appeal?” (ok fine, he also thinks he is a good guitar player), three weeks on top of billboard. What I’m saying is that it wasn’t an assumption, but a response to an argument. He’s made similar statements regarding Swift, as well. My own feeling is that Paisley and his ilk on modern country radio are posters for product movement over good art.

    And I was just speaking to the Paisley being no. 1. The rest of the list just doesn’t make sense- it strains the imagination (for me at least- who was recently accused of naivete) that a reader of Time is going to go out and buy both a Raekwon record and a Miranda Lambert record.

  5. crispy

    I don’t get the love for Phoenix. That album has 2 good songs, one of which may just be the best song of the year, but the rest of that album is filler.

    I can name several albums in the same league that are better picks for best of 2009: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metric, Editors, Passion Pit, Silversun Pickups, Empire of the Sun, etc, etc etc.

  6. Sorry, I didn’t intend to come off as attacking you personally. It’s just that I see this claim pretty frequently, where people accuse others of “thinking so-and-so is good just because they’re popular.”

    It’s usually a strawman argument. In general, nobody (with any wits about them) thinks that popularity, in and of itself, is an indicator of quality. Now, I could see a specifically tailored argument in this vein, like the one you’re describing by Rosen. But that seems to be merely defending popularity as a positive quality *as far as popularity goes* — not intrinsically equating it with artistic merit.

    Either way, you know what would be cool? To start taking over the comment threads at Idolator with higher-end debate like this. Let them do their frivolous stuff out there on top, and we all commandeer the threads with more thoughtful, intelligent discussion, totally ruining their plans to turn this into a disposable pop gossip site or whatever it is they’re trying to do. Bwahahahaaa, etc.

  7. Dadgummit, that comment was for thesemodernsocks.

  8. @Here_Now: Fair enough. I’ll even cop to using a straw man- its just that it infuriates me to see people wasting “ink” on such hacks.

  9. Yeah, I don’t get the Paisley fascination, either. It’s bad ’80s pop music by a guy who writes self-consciously cheesy songs. In that sense, Paisley to some extent preys on his audience (he’s actually a really smart guy). And Rosen is basically celebrating that predation.

    Sometimes it’s hard to escape the feeling that Paisley got a lot of critical-establishment love this year because he wrote a positive song about Obama. “Huh. He’s not actually a despicable redneck, I don’t have to hate him.” Sort of like what happened with the Dixie Chicks. Politics aside, there’s something kind of patronizing about it all.

  10. AnonymousFormerIdolatrix

    I agree on Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert & Phoenix, personally…so, nice! As a more poprock oriented person, those were what resonated with me this year. Phoenix is very typical for me, I’ve loved them since United, but the other two are kind of out of left field…apparently they were for enough people to hit the list at these rankings? I am guessing this is more about overall social trends than any kind of absolute-quality ranking.

    And I would say I’m a Paisley “apologist”, I just like him. I saw him live completely by accident and you’d be hardpressed to find many who can play guitar like that…it transforms him very quickly from the goober I assumed him to be to a compelling and thrilling live performer. Who needs to apologize for that? And his success pales significantly compared to Ms. Swift (whose success is frustrating to me, too.)

    Didn’t anyone see Chris Weingarten’s piece on how artists like Paisley & Lambert are becoming the refuge of lovers of the cohesive (formerly rock) album? Now that we’re kind of abandoned by such a stagnant/derivative/otherwise-unappealing (to many, not all) field…I think that’s fair.

    The hipster-scenester picks do kinda stick in my craw, also for irrational personal reasons, but I see what they are going for and I can respect it. Whatevs.

  11. AnonymousFormerIdolatrix

    Oopsie I meant I would NOT say I am an apologist. Because I don’t believe in apologizing for liking something you think is good.

  12. AnonymousFormerIdolatrix

    @Here_Now… He wrote a positive song about Obama? I thought Toby Keith was the surprise Democrat?

    And I really think you might be the one condescending to his audience, and to him via your impressions of why critics might enjoy him. He has a distinct personality and POV that he executes well. Whether it’s authentic or not…whatever. Maybe it’s more of a Woody Guthrie thing and if so, so what?

    It’s not like you don’t have to be in alignment with what an artist represents to love it, you just have to be inclined to be curious about it or appreciate it, and enjoy the sound they make doing it. Or no?

  13. “And I really think you might be the one condescending to his audience, and to him via your impressions of why critics might enjoy him.”

    Nah, I’m a born and bred hick from the sticks of North Carolina, so I can’t be condescending to the audience. I am the audience.

    Look, sure — I may be missing something with Paisley. I could be reading his whole thing wrong. I’m not so wedded to some opinion of him that I’d be willing to stake my life on it. But my gut instincts just keep telling me there’s something funky about a lot of this.

  14. AnonymousFormerIdolatrix

    Fair enough…but apparently at least a few of us Northeasterners are also the audience, (…just sayin).

  15. I generally don’t trust anything out of Nashville. Its about moving units, selling tickets. Paisley does both. And I can’t get past my prejudices against cheesy, soft focus story songs- which, based on my supremely limited exposure, is all I hear.

    And another beef: Lady GaGa- on a substantive quality list? She’s great, but not as a musician. Seperate her shtick from the music and its more dreck on commercial radio. C’mon, Time!

  16. @AnonymousFormerIdolatrix: We’re all the audience. This is Obama’s America.

  17. AnonymousFormerIdolatrix

    Oh, dear.

    modernsocks, I don’t think I disagree with you…but I do have some kinda love for Nashville, so obvz my take is simply not negative like yours. And I do think overall the popular music industry is in a pro-Nashville swing, interestingly.

    But…what would you have preferred to see in a top 10, I’m almost afraid to ask?

  18. @thesemodernsocks: I just don’t understand criticisms of Gaga like that. What’s great about her, if not her music? The shtick? How is she great at all if her music is “dreck” on commercial radio?
    I feel like _as_a_maker_of_music_ (“musician”) she’s pretty amazing. The Fame was scattershot and had filler and too often seemed like she was just doing pop-by-numbers, but Fame Monster is on a whole different level. It’s fantastic music.
    Also why I can’t understand the Time comment…too much filler? It’s only 8 tracks! (all of which are near-perfect)

    Take my opinion with a grain of salt, though. the praise of gaga comes from someone whose favorite albums of the decade are broken social scene, cut copy, girl talk, wolf parade, and britney. probably in that order.

  19. this is an absolutely terrible list. all the albums on it are horrid mainstream garbage. the only album deserving of a spot on it is Phoenix’s brilliantly constructed album. Passion Pit definately deserves a spot on here as well. Brad Paisley doesn’t deserve a spot even close to the top 50. Expand your musical horizons and realize tht mainstream music is garbage. There are millions of better albums & bands that exist than what’s hip & on the radio. That’s what is destroying the once amazing music industry.

  20. Tammz

    Are you kidding me….is this really the list?? That sucks. I was hoping for something better. Wow….

  21. Chris

    I really miss the older Avett Brothers sound.

  22. glormae

    Brad “boring” Paisley #1….yuck. I don't get him at all. He talks to music instead of singing. I can find one better guitarist than Paisley and that would be Keith Urban. If you want to see a great entertainer, then check out a Keith Urban concert. His vocals and playing run rings around the suck up Paisley. Paisley and Swift….just don't get their whatever it is. I'd rather hear my dog howl than either of them on the radio.

  23. souls

    I don't understand the terminology of defining “best music” these days.
    I mean to include Lady Gaga and Brad Praisley in the list instead of other musical geniuses such as Tori Amos is clearly an inaccurate choice.
    But you know what they say about modernity, everything can be paid. I wouldn't be surprised if those names put big amounts of greens into the picker's pocket.

    Tragic.

  24. Souls

    I don't understand the terminology of defining “best music” these days.
    I mean to include Lady Gaga and Brad Praisley in the list instead of other musical geniuses such as Tori Amos is clearly an inaccurate choice.
    But you know what they say about modernity, everything can be paid. I wouldn't be surprised if those names put big amounts of greens into the picker's pocket.

    Tragic.

  25. Ugg Lady Gaga, Justin bieper will probably on 2010′s list

  26. Fritz Kjar

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