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Top Albums of 2009: #3 of The Hanukkah List

Eve Marcellus: #3

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion

Is it just me or did 2009 seem like the year of Animal Collective? I remember when an internet tizzy was caused by the leak of the crazy mesmerizing, optical illusion album art of Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was what was behind it, however, that was truly hard to turn away from. Then there were the covers of "My Girls" lingering around the blogs. Initially, I was surprised that such a seemingly inapproachable record could be so beloved by so many. It's weird right? The "weird," even if it's most awesome, is seldom rewarded with popularity. Merriweather Post Pavillion turned out to be 2009's big exception. There is something so satisfying, so refreshing about the delicate balance between the referential and the shiny and new. "Summertime Clothes" updates classic pop elements of The Police, The Talking Heads, and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles with static and bells and crashes like a little kid banging on pots with a wooden spoon. The first minute or so of "Brother Sport", with its relatively minimalist focus on vocal harmony, recalls moments of Paul Simon's Graceland until it turns into a robotic loop that makes you wonder if perhaps your mp3 player is skipping? You know, of course, it is not. That jolt of the unfamiliar is what makes Merriweather Post Pavillion exciting and begs to be listened to over and over. It can be ambient, or it can be the center of your focus, but it cannot be ignored.

David Johnson-Igra: #3

Deastro: Moondagger

Maybe the answer can be found in the uncertainty surrounding our economy, the disillusionment facing recent graduates, or the intrinsic need for answers to all our questions. Any one of these would explain why Deastro’s Moondagger felt nearly perfect in 2009. This is more than an album. Moondagger is the story of Deastro as he travels into outer space, highlighting the growth of Randolph Chabot who is searching for meaning or simply--a moon knife. This was a journey, an escape, a reassurance that we are not alone in our quest for more. With undertones in his music ranging from poppy Beach Boy progressions to dark introspective tones a la Depeche Mode. Like Animal Collective each song is rich with sounds, but where critics might cite the former as radio unfriendly, Deastro has a mastery of big hooks which can capture even the most distant of listeners. Like Deastro's future, life seems more hopeful with Moondagger.

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