My top 10 albums of 2009.

Ok. This will not be easy, but I know it has to be done. Here they are:

10. Switchfoot, Hello Hurricane
Mark (from David Crowder Band) said that this was the Switchfoot album he had been wanting for a long time, and I completely agree. Going indie was a WISE decision for these guys. Super awesome CD.

9. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
Look, am I happy to admit that I own and listen to this CD with a fair amount of regularity? Heavens no! But let's face it kids, she has like a million songs that are popular all at once right now. This CD is impossibly catchy, very hard to put down.

8. Jason Mraz, Beautiful Mess
Ok, so this is kind of a cop out way to make sure to include We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things since I didn't do a top ten last year. But dang, this is awesome for a live CD! I wish I had seen him this summer in Pittsburgh. The re-imagined version of The Remedy is spectacular!

7. Derek Webb, Stockholm Syndrome
Derek joins the many folks on this year's countdown who made an album that completely goes against what you would expect them to sound like. And yet they all make it work. Stockholm Syndrome works on so many levels. I wish that record companies wouldn't have their heads in their butts, because the complete version is way better than the stripped down "safe" version, but what can you do? Totally solid disc!

6. Fiction Family, Fiction Family
Ed and I have joked around that this band (combining Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and Sean Watkins Nickel Creek) should be called Nickelfoot, but in all seriousness this album is spectacular. There's a mood that this album fits super well. I have no idea how to explain that mood, but I seem to be in it quite frequently! (If you dig this, you should also check out Jon's solo stuff. Super good!)

5. Mutemath, Armistice

Ok, here's where it get's difficult. Any of these 5 could easily be #1 this year. Could someone please explain to me how MuteMath could not only break the sophomore curse, but manage to write a BETTER album than their first? (Their first was a pretty sick album!) Armistice is just phenomenal. I personally think the song Clipping is an addictive substance. But that's just me.

4. Owl City, Ocean Eyes
I feel like I knew about Owl City before (they? him? it?) got famous, so I get a little bit defensive of (them? him? it?). This album is special! So catchy! So pop! So upbeat! And so many delicious puns! This is a keeper folks!

3. Jars of Clay, The Long Fall Back to Earth
I don't know if the rest of the Christian Music scene feels this way, but I see Jars of Clay as the standard for how to make good music. This album backs up that reputation in a big way! They tackle some issues that aren't often covered by other Christian bands, if for no other reason than no one else is willing to go there. This CD is NOTHING like the Jars I grew up with, but man is it awesome! I couldn't put it down for about a month and a half.

2. David Crowder Band, Church Music
"This is a worship album?" is the question I'm often met with when I'm listening to Church Music in my car. "Yep" is my traditional answer. This album showcases the ENTIRE Crowder Band's creativity (it is after all a band, not just David Crowder) in a huge way. God Almighty None Compares is the rock and roll equivalent of a 30-ton mac truck barreling down the highway. Then there's the sheer girth of this album. 17 tracks? And none of them are little in-between fillers? Amazing!
Unfortunately, one of this album's greatest achievements is also one of it's greatest downfalls. This thing doesn't at all sound like worship music you're going to hear in your Church on Sunday. That's because mere human beings can't reproduce this stuff, so worship leaders, this one is a little hard to work with. However, if you're willing to be creative with stripping it down, there are a bunch of tracks that will work for you.

And now, drum roll please...

1. Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
I can't imagine making an album shortly after one of your founding band members passes away. I can't imagine working through all the emotions that would come from that, only to walk into all the emotions that typically come from being in the studio as a band.
And yet, DMB strikes again. Not only did they survive all the emotional stuff that was going on for them, they put out what might be the best album they've ever done. I've been waiting since Before These Crowded Streets for the band I fell in love with in high school to come out of their hiding, and this album is it!
I defy you to find a track that you'll want to skip over. It doesn't exist on this CD! Every single song is masterfully executed in both writing and performance. There are some obvious head nods to Leroi's passing, but not so many as to over-weigh the album with sorrow. My only real complaint is that some of the stuff that was given in the bonus iTunes pass wasn't put on the official album, but I guess they can only be so big. This is by far the best album Dave Matthews Band had put out in a long time, if not ever.

What did I leave out? Let me know in the comments!