Published Jan 26, 2010Exclaim! Readers' Top Pop Rocks Albums of 2009:
1. Lady Gaga
4. Animal Collective
5. Grizzly Bear
6. Them Crooked Vultures
8. Joel Plaskett
10. The XX
1. Lady Gaga The Fame Monster (Interscope)
"Good driving music. Also, she's unstoppable right now performance-wise. What a girl. Love + respect her."
Lucas Renaud, Montreal, QC
"I don't give a fuck if it makes me look like some mainstream sheep, this album is fucking GREAT!"
Nick Green, Waterloo, ON
"Not only is the music great, but you get the most for your money since she included her previous recordings in this album as well."
Nicole Shaver, Ottawa, ON
"Lady Gaga has come on the scene and reinvented pop. It is so refreshing to see someone not only bring life with their music but with their fashion sense and sheer ability to entertain every sense!"
Sharleen Nielsen, Halifax, NS
"A good follow-up to her first CD, this CD brings in a few different styles of songs as well as her usual party anthems."
Christianne Mace, Oakville, ON
2. Metric Fantasies (Last Gang)
"An album to play from start to finish without skipping any tracks. A nice addition to the Metric collection."
Harrison Fine, Toronto, ON
"I hate to admit it, but pop trio Metric has won me over with their 2009 release aptly named Fantasies. I have to admit I was hooked when I heard the sneak peak single 'Help I'm Alive' in late 2008, and like many many Torontonians rushed to buy their album. What I got was surprising. They grew up! Gone are the days of their punk-based pop anthems like 'Monster Hospital' but that leaves room for a more mature electro/pop feel as seen in 'Help I'm Alive.' I really really dig this album and I'm especially glad that Emily Haynes is at least attempting to write about something not totally melancholic. Hats off boys... and girl."
Ryan Burton, Toronto, ON
"Metric's always been fun and interesting, but it didn't snap into sharp focus until Fantasies, which is deeper, groovier and more cohesive than their previous uneven efforts. Even when Emily Haines sings a shock-value line like 'I heard you fuck through the wall,' she's sure to follow it with an open-heart lyric like 'If somebody's got soul, you've gotta make the move.' Fantasies = fantastic."
Tara Thorne, Halifax, NS
"Nice evolution in Metric's sound, really catchy and smart."
Julie-Anne, Fredericton, NB
"Really catchy stuff... liked the avant-garde-ness of Old World Underground and even Live It Out, but this album is very danceable."
Nam-An Dinh, Mississauga, ON
"Couldn't call myself a fan before this album, but after not being able to take my finger off the repeat button for several tracks, I am now."
Jenny Boulger, Toronto, ON
3. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)
"Basically just a great pop record. In an alternate world this could be topping the charts and blasting out of every radio station. It was still an indie smash but probably could have been bigger. There were numerous songs catchy enough to be singles and the one's that actually were singles were some of the best pop tunes of the decade. I've been following this band since United and I have to say that their last couple albums were straying off course to my ears and I am grateful to know that they were building to this."
Daric Harrison, Calgary, AB
"This album is so lovely and catchy. Biking down queen street listening to 'Girlfriend' all summer was defiantly a highlight of the year."
Tess Roby, Toronto, ON
"After years of quality records, Phoenix have perfected their pop formula. Their success has been hard earned and is well deserved."
Michael Sallot, Montreal, QC
"For a band that has been around, regularly touring and producing albums since 2000, Phoenix has never managed to get a whole lot of recognition. That however, is something rapidly changing with the release of their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. In a similar vein to their 2006 album It's Never Been Like That, their new work emphasizes their unique sound that has, after years of effort, finally paid off for them."
Alex Carter, Toronto, ON
"'This album is AMAZING, the great thing about it is that not one single song is a filler song."
Neena Sharma, Ajax, ON
"'I'm an old man who doesn't know too much about the kids and their music these days, but I sure enjoyed that 'Lisztomania' as well as that '1901.' The world hasn't heard a one two punch like that since Tone Loc followed up 'Wild Thing' with a little track called 'Funky Cold Medina.'"
Pat Morgan, Toronto, ON
4. Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
"Every listen brings something new and fabulous."
Brad Clark, Vancouver BC
"I like the way they mix the old and new, very inventive yet familiar..."
Herve Govin, Chateauguay, QC
"The most out there pop album of the year. Its sound draws you in like a warm wave."
Matejs Garijans, Toronto, ON
"Spacey stuff at its best."
Rene Lessard, Edmonton, AB
"It just rocked my world. Still does. Their albums were good before, with that type of teen-crazy spirit, but now, they have a maturity and depth that was lacking before. And they still know how to surprise me, and knock my socks off. Thank you, animals guys."
Stephanie Lebel, Montreal, QC
"'Describe a dream you once had. What was playing? Who was there? Was it night? It was this."
Nicholas Boshart, Toronto, ON
5. Grizzly Bear Veckatimest (Warp)
"This album has taken a whole new step in the genre of indie rock. By far a landmark album for this group, and these songs continually get better with each listen."
Walter Petrichyn, Windsor, ON
"Grizzly Bear continue to evolve their sound and songwriting and Veckatimest shows a young band getting better with each release."
Matthew Leslie, Toronto, ON
"Beautiful album have listened to it many, many times and still do not tire of it."
Tim Stairs, Ottawa, ON
"Grizzly Bear were everywhere this year. From Veckatimest's excellent sounds and melodies to shout outs from Jay-Z, this band has come a long, long way from the home recordings of their first album."
Andrew Wilson, Ottawa, ON
"I'm pretty sure that with Grizzly Bear's Yellow House and Friend EP that they most likely placed themselves somewhere in the indie rock lexicon permanently. Then they released Veckatimest, an album that certainly plants them permanently in music history. This album is nothing short of gorgeous. Whether its the orchestral swells of 'Southern Point,' the piano balladry of 'Foreground' or the four part vocal harmony of 'While You Wait for the Others,' Veckatimest is the most ornate orchestral record released by a rock band this decade. No wonder Radiohead likes them so much. Grizzly Bear may just be one of the few bands that could end up being equally as important as them."
Matthew Ritchie, Halifax, NS
"Their third full-length is flat-out genius. Lead singer/guitarist Fred Droste and his band-mates have cleverly created magic arrangements plus swirling, atmospheric harmonies a la Brian Wilson's Beach Boys, in days of yore. Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold pronounced this album: 'The best record of the decade.' No small praise, indeed."
Wayne Yuzik, Saskatoon, SK
6. Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope)
"Fantastic, straight-up rock and roll from three living legends."
Reid McCarter, Toronto, ON
"It's a supergroup so yeah, its pretty genius album. I'll eat up anything Josh Homme puts out there."
Brittany Boersma, Toronto, ON
"This album grows like a third testicle. No dickin' around!"
Clint Miller, Port Coquitlam, BC
"Making the possible totally impossible!"
Jason Taylor, Toronto, ON
"Okay so bring on the haters... you are all just a bunch of jealous bitches. These guys sound like they are just having a ton of fun jamming out and what's fucking wrong with that? Take in the sexy throb rhythm of Zeppelin, the precise thunder thump of Nirvana and the guitar genius of QOSTA and Kyuss to form the a new super group. I'm sure they hate the term but I can't think of a more exciting collaboration this year besides the awesome metal band Shrinebuilder. Keep it up and I can't wait for more, the un-hater."
Ian Burmaster, Edmonton, AB
7. U2 No Line on the Horizon (Interscope)
"All about the lyrics... Bono's done, tho."
Dan Sainsbury, Winchester, ON
"An awesome band. All of their music is great!"
Deborah Perusse, Montreal, QC
8. Joel Plaskett Three (Maple Music)
"I like the concept of this trilogy and Joel has created a great batch of new songs. At first I thought this set was diluted and could have been reduced to a single disk, but after multiple listens I came to appreciate the 33-and-a-third-ness of it all."
David Kalviainen, Banff, AB
"I freaking love this album and Joel Plaskett can do no wrong in my eyes. His music perfectly captures what it's like to grow up in the Maritimes and his album Three came out shortly after I left the east to return to school in Montreal, and putting it on is like getting a little taste of home. I love the melodies, the lyrics, the backing vocals, and the poster of his cat Little White Fang napping inside his bass drum that came with the record. His live shows are always a gift to his audience, he never phones it in but puts on the best show he can and tries new things like his Tom Waits style spoken word interludes between songs. Keeping things fresh, singing about the Maritime experience, and just generally being a good natured, hard working, multi-talented musician will keep me coming back to Joel Plaskett over and over again for many years to come!"
Lisa Sproul, Montreal, QC
"Whether you like this music or not, all Canadians can relate to what Joel is singing, and that is what makes this so great."
Kevin Gascoigne, Montreal, QC
"This is one of the best albums of the year. It is THE best concept album of the decade."
Ian Gallant, Gloucester, ON
"I was really worried that releasing a triple album would be overdoing it. But Joel Plaskett has crafted the best record of his career with the help of his dad, Rose Cousins, and Ana Egge."
Jonathan Briggins, Halifax NS
9. Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch)
"'Finally fun again."
John Stuart, Montreal, QC
"Not since the heady days of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has Wilco put out a rock album this fantastic. It's truly exceptional. Also, you can't go wrong with a camel wearing a party hat on the album cover."
Nigel Moore, Winnipeg, MB
"Great new record, Wilco doing what Wilco does best."
Brent Peters, Windsor, ON
"'A lot of albums came to mind for this category but nothing stands out more than Wilco's latest album. Honorable mentions for me are Julie Doiron's I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, Tegan & Sara's Sainthood, and Ohbijou's Beacons. This year I also discovered a couple of bands that I really like. Matt & Kim from NYC. their album Grand is full of catchy pop songs that make you move and smile. Visqueen, although not new, is another band that I just discovered and their album Message to Garcia was performed to perfection at this year's Bumbershoot festival in Seattle."
Matej Hanzl, Stratford, PEI
10. The XX xx (Young Turks)
"An aural make out session from the first track. Never has something glacial sounded so warm and inviting."
Alexander Adrock, Toronto, ON
"There's a lot of space on this album... Really roomy but still remains warm and cosy... It takes balls to keep your sound so bare on a debut."
Dominic Savageau, Montreal, QC
"This album just floored me with its elegance. Simplicity never sounded so good."
Patrick Reinhartz, Fredericton, NB
"Bringing '70s post-punk gloom into the new millennium."
John Rudyk, Toronto, ON
"Minimalism at its best. Believe the hype."
Kortnee Borden, Toronto, ON
"Wow, what an awesome album! So clean and so fine. That they are all only about 20 years old is stunning. How they have managed to create such a wondrous album at such a young age is beyond me, but all I have to say is that their future should be great."
Justin Jadunath, Vancouver, BC
"Instant classic, I felt like I've lived with these songs on my iPod for a really long time. Timeless, sexy and instanly gratifying. 'Heart Skipped A Beat' has to be one of the best love songs of 2009."
Daniel Okorn, Toronto, ON