I am going to do a best of the decade list, too. Why not? So argue with my choices below, or send links to your own lists and I will post 'em.
Without further ado, my favorite albums and songs of 2009.
I know, what is an album? But collections of song do either hang together or not, and there is still something to records that work on a 45+ minute loop.
10. Rancid, Let the Dominoes Fall
Like the Raekwon record (#3), a total throwback. Hey everyone, it is 1995! No, I am not complaining.
9. J Dilla, Jay Stay Paid
Posthumous Dilla still better than 99 percent of the cats out there.
8. Lil Wayne, No Ceilings (mixtape)
7. Flaming Lips, Convinced of the Hex
A fuzzy, jammy session. Just what we haven't heard in a long time.
6. Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
5. Amadou and Mariam, Welcome to Mali
4. Steve Earle, Townes
Sad songs in tribute to a sad man, Townes Van Zandt, a great and underappreciated songwriter.
3. Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx Pt. II
Wu aesthetic lives on. I would not have thought the best rap record of 2009 would sound almost like it came out in the mid-'90s. But here we are.
2. Rihanna, Rated R
1. Brad Paisley, American Saturday Night
People, it is not even close. This is absolutely the best, best-crafted album of 2009. Soaring choruses, shredding guitar solos, funny lyrics. Brad Paisley is big-hearted, likable, honest. They're just perfectly constructed songs built around sweet conceits. ... Just a stray thought, but how much better would that movie "It Might Get Loud" have been if it had swapped in Brad Paisley for Jack White?
I understand that many people's ears are not really tuned to modern Nashville country. Get them in tune.
21. Britney Spears, "If You Seek Amy"
Hey, let's see you release a song that spells out a curse word.
20. Flo Rida w/ Ne-Yo, "Be On You"
Hey, let's see you release a straight R&B ballad that is based on a scene from "Anchorman."
19. Drake w/ Kanye/Eminem/Lil Wayne, "Forever"
Eminem wins this one, but all the verses are pretty good.
18. Jay-Z, "Run This Town"
17. Kelly Clarkson, “My Life Would Suck Without You”
16. Rihanna feat. Young Jeezy, "So Hard"
15. Mariah Carey, "Obsessed"
14. Tortoise, “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In”
13. Miley Cyrus, "Party in the USA"
12. Wilco, “Wilco (The Song)”
Kind of sly in a way. Nice song.
11. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, "Afraid Ain't Me"
10. Major Lazer, "Hold the Line"
9. The Flaming Lips, "I Can Be a Frog"
8. Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
I think conceivably the Black Eyed Peas will be the Hootie & the Blowfish of 2019 -- mega-popular band that no one now admits to ever liking. (Btw, isn't it about time for a critical reappraisal of Hootie?) Whatever. They are good. Both "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow" are monster singles.
7. Lady Gaga, "Paparazzi"
6. Amadou & Mariam, "Masite Lady"
5. Brad Paisley, "Then"
4. Steve Earle, “Pancho and Lefty”
It's weird but because it's the best-known Townes Zan Vandt song, it's also somehow the most personal of Steve Earle's covers. And it's just a great goddamn song.
3. Jay-Z, "Empire State of Mind"
2. Raekwon "10 Bricks"
1. Rihanna, "Russian Roulette"
Taut! As soaring and suspenseful as pop music can be.