The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    2009 Best/Worst: Music

    Best Album: Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

    Editor in Chief
    With the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the French band Phoenix has risen to become one of the most promising and fresh-faced alternative bands. Even though this is the group’s fourth full-length album, it is the first to chart in the U.S. and unquestionably their breakthrough work. The album is a blisteringly short 37 minutes long, and all 10 songs are wildly catchy and listenable, but still different enough to not grow old. The songs are a mixture of impressively (almost Strokes-like) tight instrumentation while maintaining a loose and catchy attitude and lyrics.
    While still not widely popular, this acclaimed album has crept its way onto several critics’ “top-10 lists” as well as earning a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. Its most popular song, “1901” has even been featured in a Cadillac commercial. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix demonstrates the band’s knack for creating hip, catchy rock and reveal a potential for great things to come.

    Best Album: U2, No Line On the Horizon

    Opinion Editor
    Most bands, even the great ones, resort to releasing garbage after 20 years (well, probably earlier), if they do not break up first. Somehow U2 broke this pattern, as 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind and 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb are on the same level as U2’s work from its heyday. And in 2009, U2 beat the odds again with No Line on the Horizon.
    Produced by Brian Eno, the album contains highlights like the majestic “Magnificent,” the addictive anthem “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and the epic “Moment of Surrender,” which may be better than any song U2 has written since The Joshua Tree.
    I think many people were scared off by the album’s first single, “Get on Your Boots,” which is probably the album’s worst song. I was too, until I listened to the rest of the album. The album includes classic after classic, which is impressive, considering how many great songs U2 has released over the years.

    Best Album: Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion

    Editor in Chief
    Despite being around for nearly 10 years, Animal Collective’s brand of psychedelic-synth alternative music has been heard mostly in small, hip-indie circles, but with the release of Merriweather Post Pavillion, the group has risen to become one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the year.
    The album was recorded at Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Miss.
    While many of the tracks are based around samples and synth loops, they still capture a range of human emotions. Notable songs include “My Girls,” “Summertime Clothes” and the album’s closer “Brother Sport,” a nearly six minute long African-influenced romp.
    With this album, Animal Collective has simultaneously expanded popular music and created a sound collage that is both textural and accessible.

    Worst Album: Avett Brothers, I And Love And You

    Chief Designer
    Let me be very clear. The Avett Brothers are my favorite band of the decade hands down and despite this new album, have remained my most frequented live show of all time.
    That being said, do not let the magazines fool you. Do not let the reviews fool you. This is a diluted serving of the songwriting genius and aggressive passion the Avett Brothers built themselves on. I have never been more disappointed by an album than this, and if you have never listened to the Avetts, do not let this be the first of their albums you purchase.
    The brothers began with a slightly awkward yet clearly sincere folk/bluegrass beginning, moved into a more unique blend of that traditional sound and angsty-at-times rock n’ roll energy and have presently landed in what I see as radio-friendly, watered down, “alternative rock.” Listen to the Avett Brothers. Go buy Four Thieves Gone and let it rattle your bones. Go buy The Gleam or The Second Gleam and let them squeeze tears out of your eyes. Do not buy this album though; at least not until you let yourself experience all the beautiful music leading up to it.
    I have hope however. The few songs from their upcoming release that I have heard sound more like the Avetts I know and love, and I’m not giving up on them anytime soon. The songwriting on this album is as good as any of theirs, but for goodness’ sake, bring back the banjo and burn that drum kit.

    Worst Album: Weezer, Raditude

    Online Editor
    More appropriate than worst album, most mediocre album would better describe Weezer’s Raditude. It’s bland and forgettable, but I can imagine many, especially younger, Weezer fans will enjoy it. The lyrics are weak, the melodies and composition aren’t anything remarkable, it’s just another album.
    The song “In The Mall” is so mind-numbingly meaningless, I wonder why they even bothered to include it on the album. Lyrics don’t have to be profound or insightful to make a good song — go read some of Beck’s lyrics — but at least put a bit of thought into them.
    At least Beck’s are creative. The song “Get Me Some” stands out musically, powering along with satisfying rock-show-esque guitar riffs, but is nevertheless spoiled by miserably stupid lyrics.
    So much effort was made to make it ironic and lighthearted, they forgot to make it good. Maybe if lead singer Rivers Cuomo wasn’t a few months from being 40, hearing him sing “I’m your daddy” or about partying would be less weird. The album seems targeted toward teenagers. If you want a good Weezer album, skip Raditude and go for the Blue Album or Pinkerton.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    2009 Best/Worst: Music