Tag Archives: lily allen

In with the new: a hasty look at the most interesting albums of 2009

back in 2009So you’re sick of reading end-of-the-year polls are you? Me too. I’ve already exorcised that demon. With nowt else happening as the nation sinks into the collective food and drink binge known as Christmas, maybe it’s a good time to have a quick peek at what musical treats next year has in store…

Only a handful of release dates have been announced so far, so it’s impossible to preview the year as a whole, but what do we know about already?

In late January, if all goes to plan, Animal Collective will have critics all a-flutter over their new album Merriweather Post Pavillion. I wasn’t too keen on last album Strawberry Jam, but you can guarantee this will be nothing if not experimental. On the same day Andrew Bird releases his eleventh album, Noble Beast, which I’ve already heard a muso friend describe in glowing terms.

A week later and we have a big new album closer to home to get excited about. Franz Ferdinand return after three years with Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. You’ve probably heard one of the singles – Lucid Dreams or Ulysses – and it sounds like the stylish Glaswegians are aiming straight for the indie disco, if indie discos still exist in 2009. Also on this day The Strokes’ bassist Nikolai Fraiture releases his first album as Nickel Eye. I’ve already heard the promo: it’s alright.

Into February and Montreal’s latest buzz band Handsome Furs bring us their second album Face Control. It’s being put out by Sub Pop, which means it must be good. Fact. An early contender for album of the year also arrives in the form of Hush by Asobi Seksu. I’ve heard it already and it’s rather good – poppier than Citrus but as epic as ever.

Commercially, the big album of February will most probably be Lily Allen‘s follow-up to the six times platinum ¬†Alright, Still. Called It’s Not Me, It’s You, expect more ‘witty’, ‘edgy’ lyrics from the mouthy LDNer.

In March The Decemberists return with The Hazards of Love. Can we expect more sea-shanties and literary singalongs from these Pitchfork favourites? Time will tell.

And that’s about the point where all firm dates for your diary dissolve and we are left with lots of TBA-style conjecture. But others virtually guaranteed to come up with new music in 2009 include these notables: The Strokes (they’re expected to return to the studio in February), Outkast, Rufus Wainwright, Sonic Youth, The¬†Flaming Lips, The National, Morrisey, Matisyahu, U2 (yawn), The Fray (yawn), Kate Nash (yawn), Lionel Ritchie (yas!), Papa Roach (yawn), The Rifles (meh) Lady Sovereign (meh), The Feeling (YAWN!!!) and Kylie Minogue (yawn).

But all these pale into insignificance in comparison to what will surely be the album of the year: X Hits, the long-awaited greatest hits collection from failed reality TV show group Liberty X! Get in!

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Will someone make Mark Ronson disappear, please?

Mark Ronson and Lily Allen out shopping for a new necktie and skinny suit combo

The first time I heard the name ‘Mark Ronson’, I think it was a radio play of his cover of Radiohead’s ‘Just’. It was one of those times when you take a mental note of the name and check their MySpace later.

Ronson’s funked-up version of ‘Just’ may be a stoke of genius, but his current determination to become a popstar is just getting annoying.

There’s really no need for Mark Ronson to go out and sell ‘Mark Ronson’ to the world. He’s already established himself as a heavyweight producer, performing mixing-desk duties for two of the most, erm, commercial female artists of today: Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse.

His solo debut Versions proves the point. It’s not the work of a popstar. It’s a producer having a bit of fun, interpreting his favourite English bands and singers. With the exception of ‘Valerie’, it was underwhelming.

But now here is… MARK RONSON, ALL OVER THE TV.

Last weekend he was doing his usual, half-arsed rhythm guitar thing at Glastonbury, and tonight he was doing his usual, half-arsed rhythm guitar thing at O2 Wireless. Except this time it was during Wiley’s hit ‘Wearing My Rolex’. Listen carefully: what part of this synth-laden, electro-grime composition was the skinny-suited one actually playing? Hmmm.

If that wasn’t enough to send the nausea scale off the limit, Ronson sounds like a boring, pretentious, narcissistic, mid-Atlantic tosser whenever he deigns to be interviewed.

The man is a gifted producer, and he may look cool and all that, but he’s a shit popstar. He needs to get back to the studio and stay there.

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