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The 50 Best Songs of 2009

As part of PopMatters’ 20th anniversary, we are revisiting classic features. Travel back in time a decade ago to 2009, when indie rock was in its full ascendency,and hear the songs that soundtracked the era.

Recent
News

U2 at Soldier Field: Still Searching for Answers at 'Joshua Tree'

U2 made The Joshua Tree sound less like a finished work, a monument from a long-lost decade, than a series of songs still in search of answers.

Greg Kot
Music

The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '90s - Part 5 (20 - 1)

The fifth and final part of our examination of the 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '90s, includes Portishead, Blur, Björk, R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails and more.

Music

The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '80s: Part 5: 20 - 1

Songs of anxiety, paranoia, freak-outs, chilling verses, feverish desire, harrowing lyrics -- they all make for damn good music.

Music

The Majesty of U2 Shines at the First of Eight NYC Shows

U2's eight night run at Madison Square Garden began with a powerhouse performance including many of their classics and a huge production that embodies a global theme.

Music

My Five Nights with U2

I attended all five shows of U2’s Chicago residency -- nearly 12 hours of Bono & Co. in the flesh -- that ended Thursday night at the United Center.

Kevin Pang
Music

U2 Aims for Intimacy, Presence on Latest Tour

“We build our songs so they don’t get worn out quickly,” the Edge said, “and often, that means that they take a little longer to connect.”

Mikael Wood
Music

Everything Has Changed, Nothing Has Changed: Music in a Post-9/11 World

The attacks of 9/11 may have caused a noticeable shift in the lyrical content of musicians and even sonic changes in the short term, but, in the end, normalcy finds a way to settle in.

Music

This Is How It's Gonna Be Now: Beyoncé, U2, Thom Yorke, and Surprise Album Releases

For artists a big as Beyonce, U2, and Thom Yorke, the surprise album release model offers minimal risk and maximal reward. It's a paradigm that's sure to be replicated by others going forward.

Emma Phipps
Music

Songs of Simulation and Discouragement: Bowie, Bono, and Authenticity

With its Apple-sponsored free public release, U2's Songs of Innocence betrays just how far the band has come from their past, despite its attempts to bring back a Dublinesque vision.

Rodney Sharkey
Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Television

The Day the Old Batman-town Steel Mill Shut Down

Imagine Batman, the whole of the intellectual property, the full weight of publication and production history, now 75 years on from its inception, and imagine it as a town.

Music

U2: Songs of Innocence

It's hard to fault a lot of young people for are asking the question of "Who is U2?", because after listening to Songs of Innocence, this is a question that not even the band themselves could answer.

Reviews

There Isn't a Single Insertion in 'There Goes Gravity' That Isn't Intriguing

An invaluable look into the lives of our most adored musicians, written with wit, humility, and vibrancy by one of our most revered music journalists.

Music

Simple Minds: Celebrate - The Greatest Hits +

There isn't a bad song on this entire, three-disc, 50-song collection, but questions arise about the necessity of this release, simply because this is neither the first boxset nor the first hits compilation for the prolific band.

Music

Why the Grammys Matter

So your favorites didn’t win, huh? Get over it. Bashing the Grammys is too easy. Try recognizing them as markers of what is happening in the music industry, not on your iPod.

Music

10 Great Comeback Singles

The year 2013 is already setting itself out to be the Year of the Comeback. In acknowledgement, Sound Affects looks at ten fantastic returns by artists who had lost their mojo and/or been away for far too long.

Music

Music in the '90s: When Alternative Became Mainstream

The genre once tied to college radio and indie record companies became mainstream in the '90s. Some of those icons of “alternative” are making comebacks – or never went away. Is this 2012 or 1996?

Music

Cock Roaches and Keith Richards: How Do Some Bands Seem to Last Forever?

The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Metallica and other rock groups have been around for decades. What are the keys to their longevity?

Music

Celebrating Paul McCartney’s 70th Birthday With His Most Influential Songs

Taking a look at the Paul McCartney songs that have changed music history.

Music

Giardini di Miro: Good Luck

Fifth overall album, first since 2005, and one that will leave us satisfied until the next one comes along.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Rock 'n' Roll Is Dead? Again?

Actor Jack Black recently joined a long line of prognosticators shaking the death rattle for rock 'n' roll. However, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl says, "There will always be rock 'n' roll." If saltine crackers are any way of judging, I'm with Grohl on this.

Music

The Top 10 Overplayed Songs You Hate by Artists You Love

Individually, they've each amassed a musical legacy worthy of several daily spins. Yet according to radio, these terrific musicians are only worth one -- or on the outside chance, two -- songs each. As a result, they've become pigeonholed, and these 10 tracks have become (almost) insufferable.

Music

Counterbalance No. 82: U2's 'Achtung Baby'

Did U2’s 1991 blockbuster disappoint you? Or leave a bad taste in your mouth? Either way, it’s still the 82nd Most Acclaimed Album of All Time. Counterbalance has a listen.

Music

The Life: Alone

Just another band from the Pacific Northwest.

Music

Sinéad O'Connor: A Mea Culpa

Sinéad's never going to play the game or be someone who has finally "learned her lesson", so forget it. Here’s someone whose career was derailed for being blasphemous. Well, as it turns out, she was right. It’s time to offer our apologies.

Music

10 Songs That Will Make You Love U2

As the documentary From the Sky Down marks its arrival on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, Sound Affects list ten songs intended to help you warm up to the biggest band in the world.

Music

The Book of Mormon: Contemporary Christian Album of 2011

Contemporary Christian Music could take a page or two out of The Book of Mormon.

Josh Langhoff
Music

A Holiday Mix Tape, YouTube Style

Who hasn’t sat through those holiday parties with the cozy but yawn inducing classics of Burl Ives playing ad nauseam? I can help with that.

Music

My Top 5: Hurricane Bells

After soundtracking a bit of Twilight: New Moon and releasing a lovely new record earlier this year, Hurricane Bells' Steve Schiltz takes us through his top five favorite albums of all-time, all while wondering why more kids don't love the Edge . . .

Music

Silver Tongues: Black Kite

New band steps comfortably into the 1990s.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

U2: Achtung Baby (20th Anniversary Edition)

Say goodbye to the pious conscience of rock, enter the Fly: U2's daring sonic reinvention resulted in the artistic pinnacle of its career. Twenty years later, are remastered commemorative editions enough to tempt you into obtaining a record you should already own?

Music

The Battle to Stay Relevant

Watching your favorite band become irrelevant is like watching Michael Jordan unable to elevate high enough to dunk in his final year in the NBA.

Music

It's All Right, It's All Right, Alllllll Right: U2's 'Achtung Baby'

Pretty much everyone under the age of 35 views U2 as a bunch of overzealous assholes, but this 25-year-old can't help but still blast the group's 1991 masterpiece.

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