Once a year, there comes a special time different to all others. A time when families re-unite, when people give to charity, when gifts are exchanged and movies on television get intolerably James Bond-based. While all of this lovely stuff happens, the ears get pinned back and I spend 100% of my time either listening to and reviewing albums or complaining about what I’ve got myself into to anyone who’ll listen. Time for the end of year list, ladies and gentlemen. Here’s some bullshitty stuff about how I’m going to approach it, influenced by the time my history tutor in college told me that “prefaces are all well and good, but you also have to read the actual book”.
Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year
Q0.5 How are you?
You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for you to ask that question. I’m very well, thank you.
Q1 What’s going to happen?
I’m going to list what I consider to be the twenty-five best albums of 2009, and write retrospective reviews, starting with short ones and getting longer as I get to the important stuff.
Q2 What’s the point in another list?
Like everything on this blog, it’s partly self-serving. I’ve done it the past two years (2007, 2008) and I’ve found it gives me an excuse to go back over all the albums I really liked and properly listen to them and think about the music. I end up hearing new things I missed the first time round, usually, and figuring out more about the mysterious part of my brain that likes or dislikes music.
I’m also a subscriber to the concept of “writing back” to the big players. Like how underground music is in a conversation with the pop charts, and outsider art is in a conversation with the contents of the museums, music blogs of all sizes are in a conversation with the NME, Pitchfork and whoever. If they go dramatic and write up their lists, then I feel like I should too.
Q3 Why just 2009? Why not the whole decade?
It’s too big. I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to put together a proper list for a decade in which my awareness of music was limited for most of the first half. And also the amount of effort required to do what I do with the end of year lists with a whole decade is something I can’t muster with time and arsedness constraints being what they are.
Q4 What do you mean, interlude?
Like last year, the list will be broken up by guest posts. If you were around, you might remember the totally self-serving but nonetheless satisfying mild prank played on Bobby (then Dublin Duck Dispensary, now No Monster Club) and Brian (So Cow), when they were tricked into reviewing each other’s albums. This year, instead of EPs, compilations, old favourites and albums by Bobby, I have attempted to get some interesting people to write more thematic posts about 2009 in general. These will be deadly, and way more fun than the actual list.
Q5 Who are the guests?
Only the finest bloggers from across the web. Probably shouldn’t say who in case of mishaps, but their blogs are all excellent, as are (where applicable) their other pursuits.
Starting December 1st, ending HOPEFULLY before Christmas, but this has been known to drag on well into the New Year, and it might again.
Q7 What about other stuff?
I’ll still review gigs if I go to any, probably. Interview Project is on hold till the list’s over.
Q8 What’s the best album of 2009?
Not telling you. You probably already know in your heart of hearts if you’re around these parts with any kind of regularity. If not, the suspense will either kill you or make you stronger, probably.
Q9 What about Irish albums?
Irish albums can stand up for themselves. There’ll be a few in the list, but no higher than they deserve on their own merits. Which is quite high, in some cases.
Q10 Highlight reel from the past two years please.
Q10.5 What are you listening to right now?
Pink Flag by Wire.