Throughout the year I have written about a number of the CDs that I spent time listening to. I was glancing at a couple of online top-ten lists and realized that I have listened to very few of the albums in these lists. This may be a factor of my advanced age but I really do try to stay up on things. I bought, for example, new albums by Rilo Kiley, A Fine Frenzy, Mae, Norah Jones, and Arcade Fire but I still feel like I've been out of touch with cutting edge music. I try to stay caught up by downloading the songs of the week from iTunes and by reading Paste magazine and listening to the sampler CD but, frankly, I end up deleting most of the stuff I get because I'm not wild about it. And even though I listen to songs by Brenda Carlisle and Amy Winehouse I just don't like it well enough to want to listen to a while lot more. I guess I'm just old.
So, with that disclaimer, here is my list of albums that really grabbed me this year. As in years past, this is not the best of the year, per se, it's the stuff that I spent the most time actually listening to. So this is the stuff that I clearly liked the most.
- Memory Almost Full – Paul McCartney
The single most listened to album of the year for me, hands down, is Paul McCartney's latest. It seems almost cliché that I would pick a Beatles album but, the fact is, I listened to this album a LOT this year. I just really liked it. See my review here.
- The Circling Hour – Iona
I spent a lot of time listening to Iona this year and The Circling Hour just might be one of their best ever albums. Outstanding music with great lyrics. My review is here.
- Instant Karma – various artists
The John Lennon songbook as interpreted by artists as diverse as U2, Green Day and REM. This one spent a lot of time on my iPod and also in my car. Great songs. My review is here.
- The Song Within – Phil Keaggy
I have loved Phil's playing for years and it is a real treat to have him hit one out of the park this year. This instrumental album is one of my all time favorite Keaggy albums. My review is here.
- Neon Bible – Arcade Fire
Bethany recently wrote about this on her blog and I waited for a long time to write about it because I felt like I didn't understand it very well. Musically it is quite dense and lyrically it confuses me but I really do like it – I'm just not sure why. Here is what Bethany had to say about it, though.
There were, of course, other albums that I enjoyed: Tell Me What You Know by Sara Groves, The Silence of Everything Yearned For by Ric Hordinski, both The Trumpet Child and Live from Nowhere, Vol 2 by Over the Rhine, Singularity by Mae, Overdressed by Caedmon's Call (my review is here) and Letters to the Editor, Vol 1 by Andrew Osenga (download it for FREE here) are all honorable mention albums but they just didn't have the staying power in my iPod and player that these other albums did.
So there is my list. I also rediscovered a lot of of music this year like the Andrew Osenga catalog and Iona's music and that was a lot of fun.