Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 9 of Oh Nine

#1 Best Albums
1. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
- Most refreshing approach to song-writing and performance I've heard in years. Sticks with you in a good way.
2. The Swell Season – Strict Joy There aren't quite the standout songs on this one as on the movie soundtrack for "Once" that made this lineup famous but nonetheless this is a beautiful album.
3. John Scofield - Piety Street Renown Jazz guitarist puts together a lineup of amazing New Orleans musicians for an album of gospel songs done in a classical New Orleans style with elements of blues, funk, and other roots music. I don't know why it took so long for this to happen but I like the result.
4. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (I know this one came out in '08 but I came across it in '09). These Ivy league musicians sing about alot of things which I can't relate to like stuff related to going to a Ivy League schools, but it doesn't matter because they do it so well with their unique blend of Afro-Caribbean music.
5. U2 – No Line On the Horizon Not my favorite U2 album but certainly better than their last. There are some real standout tracks on here such as Magnificent, Breathe, Moment of Surrender, and Stand Up Comedy.

#2 Best Movies
1. Where the Wild Things Are
- Spike Jonze put together a brilliant film here. Definitely not a film for kids though it taps into the feelings of alienation and loneliness of children in our modern world like no other film I've seen.
2. Invictus Yet another example that great stories make great movies (something that many in Hollywood seem to have forgotten). This story of Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team is a compelling picture of character, forgiveness, and leadership in trying times and how something as simple as a sports team can rally a nation in a positive direction.
3. Up - Pixar did it again, and are we surprised. How many times do you watch an animated film that makes you cry. Pixar is such an example of a production company that does the fundamentals well like story telling, plot development, and acting while not getting lost in the extravagancies of the medium. Oh, and by the way they still do animation better than anyone out there.
4. District 9 A refreshing contribution to the genre of sci-fi alien films. This is not your parents alien film. District 9 turns the whole genre upside-down with aliens who are weak, stranded far from their home, and many of which who are becoming addicted to substances on earth. The exploration of what happens filmed in kind of a documentary style really works. You will either love this movie or hate it. I thought it was quite creative myself.
5. 500 Days of Summer Dina and I went to see this movie after walking out of Funny People (a movie that was anything but funny). I don't know why this movie didn't make a bigger splash because it was such a different take on the classic romantic comedy and it was done with such creativity and spirit.

#3 Movies I Think Would Have Made My “Best Of” List Had I Seen Them Yet
1. Crazy Heart
2. The Informant
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. Sherlock Holmes
5. Avatar

#4 Music I am Ashamed to Say I Liked in 2009
Black Eyed Peas
– As much as I’ve tried to resist I am weak when it comes to “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Got a Feeling”. A guilty pleasure.

#5 Most Obnoxious Song of 2009
Baby Are You Down, Down, Down, Down, Down (otherwise known as simply “Down”) by Jay Sean (unfortunately the best lyrics are the chorus). This song is a form of pop music terrorism. My wife has tortured me with this song for months now and it has such a sticky chorus that once heard will be stuck as a loop in my mind for the rest of the day. I am actually in danger of getting it stuck in my head just by writing this (but isn’t that just what terrorism is all about!)

#6 Best Culinary Discovery of 2009
Chocolate Covered Bacon

#7 Best Books of 2009
1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller
2. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
3. Not The Religious Type – Dave Schmelzer
4. Myth of a Christian Religion – Greg Boyd
5. Christianity Beyond Belief – Todd Hunter

#8 Best Books I Haven’t Finished Reading
1. Justification – N.T. Wright

I started this book months ago and have found it a great read in small doses. I’m very close to finishing it. Maybe in another 6 months.
2. Musicophelia - Oliver Sacks

#9 Best Concert - The Swell Season, House of Blues, New Orleans I didn’t get to catch Jazz Fest this year or U2 but I did get to catch another Irish band that put on an incredible concert. The Swell Season puts on a concert not to be missed – full of great songs, passion, and heart, not to mention some fine covers of Van Morison and other Louisiana classics.