Here we are, folks: almost six months into 2009. In honor of the approaching halfway mark, we’re making a list every day this week detailing our favorites of the year…so far. Today we’re counting down the 10 must-cop albums of ’09. our list is diverse covering everything from Norwegian electro to old-school soul. Find out who we picked and why in the countdown below…

#10: Röyksopp Junior

Co-Sign: The third album from this Norwegian duo strikes the perfect balance between dark techno experimentation and the light, Scandanavian electro pop of Lykke Li and Robyn, both of who appear on Junior.


Key Tracks:
“Happy Up Here”

“Vision One”

#9: Lee Fields & The Expressions My World

Co-Sign: Remember neo-soul? Ha! Neither do we. Fuck a Soulchild, Lee Fields is the real deal—this forgotten ’70s singer got rediscovered by Aloe Blacc and Truth & Soul Records, who put out this stellar album of new material that showcases Fields’ amazing voice.

09Key Tracks:
“My World Is Empty Without You”

“My World”

#8: Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz!

Co-Sign: After two albums of well-received noisy guitar rock, Yeah Yeah Yeahs abandoned their signature sound in favor of the infamous synthesizer. The rock equivalent of MJ leaving basketball for baseball, if you will. The no guitars rule worked out though and YYYs produced another banger, that was easier to dance to than their other material.


Key Tracks:

“Heads Will Roll”


#7: Eminem Relapse

Co-Sign: True, Eminem’s comeback album could have been better (a lead single like “We Made You” is just insulting at this point), but it also could have been waaaay worse. Marshall returned to the serial killin’ mindframe to prove his spit-game is still vicious, and he succeeds, even if the album sounds more like a warm-up than a focused effort. Welcome back, buddy.


Key Tracks:


#6: Pheonix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Co-Sign: Even your friends who aren’t into all the weirdo indie shit you listen to will love this album. In fact, they probably will in about six months. WAP has enough pop sheen for the mainstream listener and still manages to hold onto its edgy indie cred. But beyond the pretentious labels, it’s just an album chock full of good songs. That’s all that matters anyway, right?


Key Tracks:


#5: DJ Quik & Kurupt BlaQKout

Co-Sign: These two West Coast legends joined forces to create a hip-hop album so focused and fresh that it puts all their over-30 peers to shame. The combination of Quik’s creative samples and way-too-fonky drums with Kurupt’s brash, rapid-fire lyricism make BlaQKout the perfect Beach soundtrack this summer.


Key Tracks:

“Do You Know”

#4: Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion

Co-Sign: It sucks that Merriweather Post Pavilion will be labeled as AC’s “sellout” record, because despite how many people discovered them this go ’round, there’s nothing conventional about it. Turning trippy instrumentation and occasionally incoherent lyrics into an accessible pop package is no small task. We salute these guys.


Key Tracks:
“My Girls”

“Daily Routine”

#3: Drake So Far Gone

Co-Sign: We’re not sure what it says about the state of rap when the hottest album of the year is actually a mixtape, but nevermind that—when it comes to Drake, Speaker definitely believes the hype. The career-defining So Far Gone proves that Drizzy has the punchlines to compete with the real rappers and the pop sensibility to beat the R&B singers at their own game.


Key Tracks:
“Best I Ever Had”

“Uptown” (featuring Lil’ Wayne & Bun B)

#2: Major Lazer Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do

Co-Sign: When we heard that the two white boys behind M.I.A.’s hits had moved to Jamaica to make a reggae album, we were a little concerned. Luckily, Diplo and Switch come through with a dope dancehall LP that doesn’t fake the funk at all. By adding electro touches to classic reggae formulas and recruiting some big Jamaican names to contribute vocals, they manage to stay true to the culture while still putting their own spin on it.


Key Tracks:
“Hold The Line” (featuring Santigold & Mr. Lex)

“Can’t Stop Now” (featuring Mr. Vegas & Jovi Rockwell)

#1: The-Dream Love Vs. Money

Co-Sign: The best album of the year (so far) comes from pop’s current golden boy Terius Nash. Remember when Kanye said Dream was the only person making better music than him? Yeah, he wasn’t lying. The singer-songwriter’s 2007 debut is already an R&B classic, and the follow-up tops it. Backed by synth, snap and 808 beats, Dream’s quirky, slang-filled songwriting just keeps getting better. His creative father R. Kelly would be proud.


Key Tracks:
“Walkin’ On The Moon” (featuring Kanye West)

“Love Vs. Money Part II”


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