PopMatters Picks:

The Best Music of 2009

By PopMatters Staff

18 December 2009

Regardless of whether the past year lacked superstar moments or even a strong genre trend or two, we weren’t lacking for strong recordings. As ever, it’s a grab bag of styles, themes, and emotions, but this year proved to have a lot of quiet greats.

17 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best 60 Albums of 2009

PopMatters presents our 60 best albums of 2009, highlighted by a bevy of American indie rock juggernauts, the return of a hip-hop master, and a couple of the finest voices on the planet.

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17 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Singles of 2009

PopMatters kicks off our annual two-week-long best music of the year feature with the 50 best singles of 2009, highlighted by a trio of American indie rock headliners.

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17 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Re-Issues of 2009

PopMatters presents our 20 best re-issues of 2009, highlighted by the long overdue remastering of the Beatles oeuvre, a number of '80s and '90s classics, and one of the most storied catalogues in electronic music.

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16 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Live Albums of 2009

This has been a year teeming with one of the most robust outputs of live recordings in recent memory.

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16 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best R&B of 2009

In this increasingly stratified musical climate, only a handful of albums revealed sound artistic strides while meeting critical and commercial success. Here is the very best of 2009, a year where some of the brightest luster shone from the hidden gems.

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The Best Americana of 2009

This year saw a flood of plaid-shirted indie-roots bands building on the beardy throwbacks who gained country-rock traction in 2008. And while mainstream country music continued its evolution into '80s pop metal, plenty of roots acts turned the other direction with back-to-basics records.

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15 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Country Music of 2009

Country music purists may be stockpiling vinyl and dry goods for the Swiftocalypse, but all things considered, 2009 was a pretty good year for country music.

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14 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Hip-Hop of 2009

2009 was the Year of the Comeback, filled with powerful storytelling, dense lyricism, and sprawling departures.

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14 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Jazz of 2009

This was a great year for melding innovation and tradition. The trend continues of piano trios playing boldly, creating a new language for this venerable jazz form. And other kinds of groups have been equally inventive, particularly in working through what it means to be a jazz group -- a notion that has evolved beyond trumpet-saxophone-piano-bass-drums.

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10 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Electronic Albums of 2009

We have no idea where the hell electronic music is going in the next decade, but if you can't find something in the wide stew of sonics out there to get excited about, check your pulse. You're probably dead.

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10 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Psych Albums of 2009

Psychedelia has influenced so many things in 2009 -- whether the band is labeled freak-folk, psych-pop, or garage psychedelia to name a few -- that the creative approach to songwriting has influenced and been adopted by so many genres that barely any independent label has remained untouched by its reaches.

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The Best Metal Albums of 2009

It seems every year I say it, but this year it's truer than ever: this was one hell of a year for metal. If you think the Mastodon record is good (which it is) just wait 'til you hear this list’s top three.

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9 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best World Music of 2009

In 2009, well-known artists reliably produced solid albums, lesser-known artists did things that were often surprising and successful, archives were trawled by enthusiasts, old songs were excavated, polished, and compiled, and labels both large and small kept moving stubbornly on.

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9 Dec 2009 // 9:00 PM

The Best Bluegrass of 2009

For bluegrass fans, 2009 was a great year for music, a bad year for frugality. Though we're only listing the Top Ten, there were many excellent artists and albums worthy of a mention.

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The Best Indie Pop of 2009

My indie-pop year 2009 was about young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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The Best Singer-Songwriter Albums of 2009

We got it all in 2009. The stuff right here -- this is singing, this is songwriting. It lives, it breathes, and it bites. Hard.

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The Best Debut Albums of 2009

The best debuts are exciting not only for what they promise, but for what they deliver, too. Think of these ten albums not as what could be, but also what already is: the best debut records of 2009.

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World Tour/Media Whore(s): The Year in Reunions

While 2009 spawned plenty of rumors that brought the Libertines, the Smiths, and the Stone Roses back together, these were the bands that actually dusted off their guitars and plugged in their amps one more time.

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