Thursday, December 17, 2009


6. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
A band, veterans of three albums, does not even approach the commercial arena until the release of their fourth lp, which not only allows them to enter that arena, but also to rise to previously unimaginable heights in it. Sound familiar? Yeah, Phoenix is pretty much the French Kings of Leon- if the Kings of Leon were reincarnated as less-drunk but more fun-loving hipsters from Nice. Believe me, I've got nothing against my Kings, it's just that Phoenix is... well... THAT good. With the opening song "Lizstomania," ("Someday" by the Strokes- if the Strokes were reincarnated as, well, see above) the good-times vibe is undeniable. But even "Lizstomania" in all of its ecstatic grandeur is eclipsed by what follows. "1901" is the reason Phoenix played virtually every late-night talk show this year- as the second single, it rocked the world. With the guitar and that badass synth (that Girl Talk recently caught onto in one of his shows), they became the biggest French mainstay in the US this side of mustard. And unlike some other recent albums that basically putter out after the first few songs (Miike Snow??), the monsieurs from Phoenix switch gears, but nevertheless hold our fascination with gems like "Rome" and of course the gorgeous two-part "Love Like A Sunset." With their combination of excellent pop songwriting, hipster vibe, and possibly the best album title of the decade, Phoenix now holds a special place in the hearts of millions of Americans.

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