Sunday, December 27, 2009

TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2009


4. Noah & The Whale- The First Days of Spring
Breakup albums are always tough to pull off, especially when the ex used to be in the band. Before this, their second album, Noah & The Whale's claim to fame was the feel-good singalong "Five Years Time," but there is nothing on this album that even shows a hint of that sunshine. That isn't to say that "The First Days of Spring" is an entirely melancholy album; an overriding theme is hope, as the title implies. There are even moments of near-glee (most notably in "Love of an Orchestra"). However, it is the forlorn glory of songs such as "Blue Skies" and the title track that makes this album what it is: a modern heartbreak classic on the same plateau as Ryan Adam's aptly titled "Heartbreaker." Although the lyrical content in this album sometimes falters (see: "Like a cut-down tree/I will rise again" in the title track), frontman Charlie Fink wins you over by wearing his heart on his sleeve and refusing to gloss over the ugly parts of the actual breakup, even his sexual exploits with an unfamiliar and presumably undesirable woman in "Stranger." The band compliments Fink's commentary with near-perfect musical embodiments of his feelings, especially the hollow "Blue Skies" melody that shows up quite often. Listening to "The First Days of Spring" is like running in the rain, where all outside forces press gloom upon you, but the endorphins shooting through your veins speak to you the promise of a rainbow at the end.

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