So another year has gone by, I haven’t posted as much as I’d like, though I have plenty of plans for a series of posts related to various things this year. But, to start it all off, I’m recapping the top music I’ve been listening to over the last year. Mainly for me, though perhaps one of you will find some new music you like, but I also just like to see how my tastes change over time and different uses (especially compared to my top music for last year). So here it be.
Over 2008 I got much more into breakbeat and nuskool breaks, and over the last year I got back into Goa Trance quite a bit and went through a big period of reacquiring the hip-hop/rap I remember loving when I was going through school (Jr. High, High School, College, etc.) so the charts changed more than I thought they would, compared to last year. In fact I have a whole new Backspin playlist for that stuff that is awesome.
Top 10 Artists of 2009
- The Crystal Method (#1 last year): Not much of a shock here, I still love TCM, though nothing they’ve done since has compared to the Vegas album (that album is perfect). The latest album got back to their roots a bit, but even then wasn’t nearly as good, except for Drown in the Now and Double Down Under. This album defined the west coast sound of breakbeat, and made TCM a name (and a common sound in countless commercials and movies).
- Hybrid (#4 last year): Again, not much of a shock. After getting into Hybrid last year and really loving their style, I still love a lot of Hybrid’s tracks, especially from the I Choose Noise album. Hybrid does an amazing job of weaving so many disparate sounds: soundtrack, ambient, chill, breakbeat, techno, acid, rock, etc.
- UNKLE (#5 last year): This one surprised me a bit, as I haven’t really added all that many new UNKLE tracks, but I’ve been listening more to the ones I have, specifically the Self Defence album. However, that album is all remixes, and not really indicative of UNKLE being #3. It’s more like Dylan Rhymes, Evil Nine, Roots Manuva, Ian Brown, etc.
- Eminem (new to top 10 this year): Another one that wasn’t expected. I’ve only added 1 or 2 new Eminem tracks, but I have been listening to more hip-hop/rap this year.
- Dr. Dre (#7 last year): Another change, this one less surprising due to getting back into hip-hop/rap. Keep Their Heads Ringing and Forgot About Dre came back into my headphones big in 2009.
- 2pac (#2 last year): This one never surprises me, as I have a lot of songs from pac, so it always trends high (just like TCM above).
- Frenessy (new this year): This was one of the big new albums for me this year, and was a clear sign I was starting to enjoy Goa Trance way more once again. Frenessy has some pretty solid sounds, really layered tracks and deep basslines.
- Massive Attack (new to top 10 this year): I didn’t see Massive coming back up individually, but they did. I’ve always liked this group and really wish there were churning out more stuff.
- Vaishiyas (new this year): Again, Goa Trance comes back up, and this was another new artist I never had before. More trancey than something like Frenessy, but still solid beats and basslines.
- Leftfield (#9 last year): Much like Massive Attack, I’ve always liked and had Leftfield in my collection, but no new additions in a long time (both Massive and Leftfield need to come back heavy), but I’ve been re-experiencing their tracks and enjoying them. Solid electronic and dance, but with a distinct sound and vibe (much like Massive Attack), and not really able to be said is one genre over another, but definitely trending towards electronic.
Top 10 Albums of 2009
- UNKLE – Self Defence (Never Never Land Reconstructed and Bonus Beats) (#3 last year): Great remixes of UNKLE’s stuff, and really not so much about UNKLE as about all the various artists doing the remixes. I’ve had this album for a while, but apparently started listening to it more over the last year. Album ranges from downtempo chill stuff to a few heavy riffs with solid beats. Good variety.
- Hybrid – I Choose Noise (#1 last year): This album is still great, not every single song, but the vast majority. Hybrid has a really complex and creative sound, and contains both the sweeping and emotional feelings of classical, but also tracks and beats worthy of a dance floor or rave.
- Frenessy – Lost Sound Digital (new this year): New Goa, great sound. Most of this album is pretty solid. If you like Goa, Acid, or Trance, Frenessy is worth checking out.
- The Crystal Method – Vegas (#7 last year): No shock, I love every track on this album, and I usually only like 1 or 2 tracks on any given album, if that. If you don’t know about this album, go listen to the samples, it’s worth it.
- Mimosa – Hostilis (new this year): As well as getting into Goa more the past year, I also got more into glitch, but way more than just the “regular” glitchmob or edIT stuff that has become somewhat meh. Mimosa does some great glitch, that isn’t cookie cutter like most other glitch.
- Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard – The Dark Knight Collectors Edition (new this year): Okay, this one is probably the most surprising. While I do like soundtracks and instrumentals, and did like The Dark Knight’s soundtrack, there are only 3 songs from this 2-disc, 28 song album that I have listened to…the 3 remixes. The first 2 are Gunpowder and Gasoline (Mel Wesson Remix) and Rory’s First Kiss (Ryeland Allison Remix), both of which are solid, but only 3 stars to me. The one I really like, and the one I played enough to get into the top 10, apparently, is Why So Serious? (The Crystal Method Remix). Which is, in a word, awesome. Great remix that perfectly blends the original sound from the soundtrack, and all that entails, with a fully desired TCM driving beat, with synths, pulses, and all the things that make breakbeat so good and so infamous.
- Vaishiyas – Action Flaxion (new this year): Again, Goa. And it works. The album is pretty solid overall, with 2 tracks standing out: Who You Are and Sub Oscs. If you like Goa or Trance, you should check this out.
- Massive Attack – Mezzanine (#8 last year): More good stuff continually resurrected from the music collection I already had. Great album. And an album that truly makes me wish Massive Attack were still laying tracks down.
- Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food (new to top 10 this year): Ah, High School. This album is up here as pure reminiscing and backspin-type of of stuff. Not anything compared to classics like Nuthin’ But a G’ Thang, Murder Was the Case, They Reminisce Over You, Uptown Anthem, Take You There, etc., but still definitely solid and worth having in the collection.
- Various Artists – FabricLive 16: Adam Freeland (new to top 10 this year): Oh Adam Freeland. How I hate the little whiny no-talent bitch that makes shitty shitfest music these days that you have become. However, like UNKLE, this album is not about that idiot Freeland and instead about some really good other artists on the album.
And who dropped from the Top Albums for 2009? Rob Dougan – Furious Angels, Dr. Dre – 2001, Daft Punk – Alive 2007, The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land, Shadowstorm – Genesis, and DJ Krush – Stepping Stones: The Self-Remixed Best.
Top 10 Songs of 2009
- Public Enemy VS. Benny Benassi – Bring the Noise (Pump-kin Remix) (new this year): I hate Benny Benassi for the most part. It’s crap cotton candy bullshit for trippers and tourists. BUT. This song is probably the absolute best remix of a classic rap song in history. The lyrics from Chuck D flow perfectly with this powerful driving new beat and comebacks laid down by Benassi. Amazing song.
- Rhymefest – Run That (new this year): This song (also known as Welcome to the Jungle) is extremely hard to find, and was on the soundtrack for The Rundown (which is a pretty funny movie in and of itself), but not released as part of the official soundtrack. Too bad, it’s a great song, and uses the riff from Black in Black by AC/DC really well.
- Souls of Mischief – 93 ‘TIL INFINITY (LP Version) (new this year): This is a song I picked up from by backspin school-days re-collecting of songs. I had completely forgotten about it until I stumbled onto it on YouTube looking for something else and instantly remembered some stuff I had forgotten about from back in the day. Really smooth hip-hop beat.
- Above the Law – Black Superman (new to top 10 this year): I’ve had this song for a while, and remember it from High School as well, but it jumped up my personal charts due to the whole backspin cataloging thing. Best song by Above the Law, to my mind, and a really solid beat and sound. I think the CD is discontinued and it doesn’t seem readily available on MP3.
- Ils – Cherish (Adam Freeland Mix) (new to top 10 this year): I got into Ils a while ago, and the original version of this track is pretty good, but Freeland plussed it up. As much as I loathe Freeland, he does have a knack for remixing a good electronic track and adding some nice nubreakz hotness to it. Otherwise he blows.
- Dr. Dre – Forgot About Dre (#9 last year): Still a classic, still stands on its own.
- UNKLE – Eye For An Eye (Dylan Rhymes vs Force Mass Motion Mix) (#6 last year): Excellent electronic track, still has a great break and comeback in the middle. Definitely worth checking out.
- Evil Nine – Crooked (new to top 10 this year): When Evil Nine is on point, they bring it. Unfortunately the hits seem to be getting fewer and further between (especially after that zombie/Halloween They Live! crap they dropped in 2008).
- N2Deep – Back To The Hotel (new this year): Again, new acquisition this year based on building my collection up of the songs I remember from school. And this song was awesome back in the day, and still flows and beats really good now. N2Deep did almost nothing else worth mentioning (though they got pretty big up in the Bay Area), but this song has all kinds of hip-hop nostalgia related to it for me.
- Evil Nine Featuring Toastie Taylor – Restless (new to top 10 this year): Probably (I think) the only other Evil Nine track that I find a 4 or 5 star. Vocal electronic, you’ve probably heard it in movies like Tokyo Drift, good song worth checking out.
What songs dropped and no longer make the cut? Hybrid – Last Man Standing (wow, surprising, as much as I listen to them), Massive Attack (feat. Mos Def) – I Against I (another surprise, I love this song), RZA – Fatal, Evil Nine – for lovers, not fighters, The Chemical Brothers – Loops of Fury, Paul Van Dyk – Make It (not surprising), Hybrid – Choke (surprised again), and Brainbug – Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix). Overall my top 10 songs changed much more significantly than the top albums and artists, compared to the previous year, and based how I shifted my music buying/downloading and listening (it started to slant more towards hip-hop/rap due to the backspin thing) that makes sense, but my renewed enjoyment of Goa didn’t really break into the top 10. Which also makes sense, hip-hop/rap is more consistent to me, and I’m much more finicky about good solid electronic music I like, although there is plenty of utter crap hip-hop/rap, especially most things getting released these days.
So that’s it. Interesting for me to see the changes, maybe for you as well (though I doubt it), but maybe you’ll discover some songs, artists, or albums you like from all this.