The Gore Presidency: A Look Back

Keeping up my theme of responding to Matthew Yglesias’s blog posts, I’ve often wondered how a President Al Gore–i.e., an Al Gore who won over an extra 600 Ralph Nader voters in Florida, or who got a statewide recount, or, or, or–would have governed. I think the recollections of ex-Clinton administration officials have given us a lot of clues.

Gore, who would have had razor-thin GOP majorities in the House and Senate to work with (the Senate being 51-49 after Connecticut Gov. John Rowland replaced Vice President Lieberman with a Republican), would have governed as Clinton Mark II. Larry Summers would have stayed on as Secretary of the Treasury. Madeline Albright would have stayed on at State. Ron Klain would have become Chief of Staff. Their agenda: Passing a stimulus package to dig out of the shallow recession. Republicans would have watered it down with tax cuts, but I think we keep balanced budgets unless and until there’s a 9/11-type attack.

The 9/11-type attack is crucial to the hypothetical scenario. If it doesn’t happen–ironically, if the Gore administration succeeds–I think Gore governs a nation that’s increasingly grouchy about Democratic rule. Republicans gain seats in 2002; in 2004, either George W. Bush or John McCain wins the presidency. (Neither man will have Dick Cheney on the ticket.) What sort of GOP takes over? It’s hard to say. Losing in 2000 might have done for the GOP what losing in 1988 did for the Democrats, and forced a dramatic rethinking of the party’s agenda. But I think such a rethinking would have resulted in the party moving to the right. On the other hand, Mark Green defeats Michael Bloomberg and is elected mayor of New York City.

If there is a 9/11-type attack, I think the country rallies around President Gore, and he shoehorns some more of his agenda through Congress. A carbon tax, it turns out, is patriotic! I don’t think Gore goes to war with Iraq, because as much as liberals like to rant about TNR et al, the “war with Iraq” crowd would have been opposed by most of the Gore administration. Gore beats some Republican sucker in 2004–you doing anything, Tommy Thompson?–although I’ve got to think, because Gore’s economic team lets the mortgage crisis happen, the Republicans surge back in 2008.

The 84* Best Movies of the Decade

So here’s what happened. From (roughly) January 1, 2000 to January 1, 2009, I saw hundreds of movies, probably half of them contemporary. After the new year, I decided that I would catch up on all the “great” movies I’d missed in the Oughts. I subscribed to Netflix, on the 3-movies-at-a-time plan. I was seeing at least 3 movies a week. “This plan will probably fall apart when I get a girlfriend,” I joked to my then-roommate. Then I got a girlfriend and the plan fell apart. Then I lost the girlfriend: Plan back on!

But those intervening months of happiness and fulfillment really took a toll. Right now I have 276 films in my Netflix queue. I have 3 such films at home — “Lilya 4-Ever,” “Amores Perros,” and “United 93.” But, look, I have to be at New Year parties in five hours, so I’m done. My quest to get to 100 “great” movies by decade’s end is a failure. So here are the 84 movies I’m comfortable bestowing greatness upon, with 14 slots for those lucky foreign films that may one day make it on.

One note: Listing “the Lord of the Rings trilogy” as one movie is cheating. Yes, I know the films were shot back-to-back-to-back. So were “Back to the Future”s II and III. Pick which movies you like best, people.

84. (500) Days of Summer
83. Team America: World Police
82. Star Trek
81. Shaolin Soccer
80. The Queen
79. Persepolis
78. Let the Right One In
77. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgendy
76. The Prestige
75. Juno
74. Encounters at the End of the World
73. Batman Begins
72. Hustle & Flow
71. Talk to Her
70. Kill Bill Volume One
69. Sideways
68. Y Tu Mama Tambien
67. Memento
66. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
65. District 9
64. The Invincibles
63. Wet Hot American Summer
62. Grizzly Man
61. Spider-Man 2
60. Hot Fuzz
59. The Barbarian Invasions
58. The Departed
57. I’m Not There
56. The Hurt Locker
55. Knocked Up
54. X-2: X-Men United
53. Finding Nemo
52. There Will Be Blood
51. A Serious Man
50. No Country for Old Men
49. Gomorrah
48. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
47. The Bourne Identity
46. A Mighty Wind
45. The Squid and the Whale
44. 28 Days Later
43. American Psycho
42. Ghost World
41. Children of Men
40. Iron Man
39. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
38. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
37. Casino Royale
36. A Scanner Darkly
35. Shaun of the Dead
34. 24 Hour Party People
33. Devils on the Doorstep
32. Synecdoche, New York
31. Me and You and Everyone We Know
30. Nobody Knows
29. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
28. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
27. The Wrestler
26. Battle Royale
25. Mulholland Drive
24. Milk
23. In the Loop
22. Once
21. A History of Violence
20. The Pianist
19. Before Sunset
18. Pan’s Labyrinth
17. The Dark Knight
16. Werckmeister Harmonies
15. The Fog of War
14. Brokeback Mountain
13. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
12. Downfall
11. In the Mood for Love

And now, the top 10!

10. Wall-E

9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

8. City of God

7. Spider-Man

6. Best in Show

5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

3. The Lives of Others

2. Yi Yi

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Comic Book Adaptation of the Decade

Matthew Yglesias says it’s “Iron Man,” which I think is reflective of the back-loaded bias of so many decade retrospectives. “Spider-Man,” which came out seven years ago, is clearly the adaptation of the decade. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin/Norman Osborn is a fantastic villain (remember the mirror monologues? of course you do) with motivations that make sense and a great denouement. Kirsten Dunst, as bland as she can be, makes a great dream girl, and the resolution of the romance is so good that J.K. Rowling ripped it straight off for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Like “Iron Man,” it nails the ecstasy of the origin scene, but “rich man gets powers” is a less satisfying transition than “nerd gets everything he wants.”

I hesitate to rank the superhero films I saw — I saw lots of them — but we can divide them into “successes” and “failures” pretty easily. Will you leave it on if it comes on during your channel-flip? Will you buy the chromium-embossed 12-disc blu-ray collector set? Then it’s a success. The first two X-Men films are successes, the third saved narrowly from disaster status because of all the cool stuff that happens, and the fourth (“Wolverine”) is an abomination. Both “Fantastic Four” films are failures, and Jessica Alba as Sue Storm is up there in the pantheon of terrible casting choices. Both Zak Snyder adaptations — “300” and “Watchmen” — are successes, even if they’re just ripped straight from the comic pages and splashed onto the screen. “Superman Returns” is a failure, doubly so because it saddled us with Brett Ratner as the director of “X-3.” Both Punisher reboots were failures — “War Zone” is a worse film, but the setting of the Tom Jane film in Tampa, and the shoddy use of Garth Ennis’s unadaptably strange villains (“Send in the Russian!”), made it a total disaster. Both Batman films were fantastic successes.

For all that CGI did for these films,I don’t think “successful superhero adaptations” were big breakthroughs this decade — the 1970s Superman and 1980s Batman reboots were wonderful. The big comic-book discovery of the Oughts was, I think, the successful translation of “arty” comics into fine films. “Persepolis,” “A History of Violence,” “Sin City,” “From Hell,” “Road to Perdition,” and on and on.

That said, if you told my 15-year old self that one decade would bring a masterpiece of a “Lord of the Rings” adaptation, fantastic adaptations of “X-Men” and “Spider-Man,” and serviceable versions of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Watchmen,” I’d have gone into a joy coma. We nerds, we picked the right side. More evidence? The best comic book adaptations were churned out by the directors of “Evil Dead 2” and “Swingers.

The Best Nonsensical Hooks of 2009

To make it onto this list, you needed to be 1) a pop lyric that 2) is catchy and 3) makes no goddamn sense. The winners!

5. “Have you ever seen a one-legged dog making its way down the street?
If you’ve ever seen a one-legged dog then you’ve seen me.”

Bruce Springsteen, “The Wrestler”

4. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!”

Regina Spektor, “Eet”

3. “Shake it like a ladder to the sun!”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero”

2. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do!”

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”

1. “Ra Ra, ah-ah-ah! Roma, ro-ma-ma! Ga Ga, ooh la la!”

Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”

2009: Movies

Every year, I run the same game. In the summer, I see big blockbusters with friends. In every other season, I try and see the art films that make it to D.C., usually at the E-Street Cinema or the AFI Theater. In December, I see all the movies I missed–a task that has become easier, with Netflix, and harder, with my less-idle life.

So, here’s my end-of-year film ranking. I am posting it on Christmas Day with the intention of updating and re-ranking as I see a few more films–Still Walking, Broken Embraces, etc.

Oh, and it’s the end of the year, so HERE THAR BE SPOILERS.

47) Obsessed

I have an excuse! I watched this — for free, with plenty of work to distract me — so that the next movie would not be the worst one I saw all year. Let’s be honest, I made a great decision. This is a terrible, terrible movie, a hodgepodge of material that worked in other movies but falls completely apart in the hands of Idris Elba, Ali Larter, and Beyonce. She, by the way is the only reason to watch this, if less for her acting than for her pointlessly sexy outfits. All the drama in the climactic catfight (spoiler alert! like you give a crap) depends on whether Beyonce’s sexy heels will cause her to trip onto an attic plank.

46) Push

We’ve seen enough successful superhero movies by now that we know what the audience cares about and what it doesn’t. This film was full of “doesn’t”–the only images that stick with me were, honestly, the woozily floating guns and the Asian guy with huge eyes when he screams. It’s really bizarre seeing actors like Djimon Honsou and Dakota Fanning in a mess like this.

45) X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The director of “Tstosi” and an all-star cast bring you — total shit! We, as a society, got too cocky about the X-movies. After Bret Ratner delivered a pile of action scenes and called it “X3,” we thought we’d bottomed out. No, sir — here was a movie that looked cheap, with a script that made no sense, and an ending that the most addled fanfic writer would delete. Two words: Adamantium bullets. Two more words: Memory-erasing.

44) The Men Who Stare at Goats

This reminded me of Choke, in that the people who adapted the text seemed to have no interest in making a movie that resembled it, or replicated why it worked. Choke, however, was pretty fun on its on terms. This is just a tone-deaf piece of crap. I think there’s a case here that this is the year’s biggest disappointment — a fine cast with great source material, and nothing much to show for it. But the flashback scenes worked. So it’s better than “Wolverine.”

43) Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Honestly, the best part of this movie was my arrival with friends, and my strongest memory is of Kriston Capps, getting in late, high-fiving his friends as he hurtled to his seat. The movie itself? Eh. Vampire-on-werewolf sex is always worth $10.

42) Monsters vs. Aliens

Perfectly serviceable, although as I consider it I think of how Shrek won the 2002 Oscar for Best Animated Film, and how in retrospect everyone denies that they thought broad, adults-can-enjoy-it-too genre parody was in the same league as Pixar. We’ve got our minds right now, and we recognize these Dreamworks CGI films as Family Guys to Pixar’s Mononoke Hime, fun and funny without touching any nerves.

41) Where the Wild Things Are

Aaaand here’s where I break with the critics and prove how edgy I am. I was bored silly by this movie, vaguely insulted by the simple and stupid morality play that Dave Eggers injected into the text. It’s beautiful to look at, absolutely, probably the most impressive thing Spike Jonze has done visually. But it left me cold. The monster dialogue and relationships were, as my friend Becks pointed out, imitation of the banal conversations late-twentysomethings are having right now. The whole exercise, turning a children’s book into a touchstone for whiny adults, is masturbatory. Again, though–beautiful to look at!

40) Terminator Salvation

To paraphrase William Hurt’s villain from A History of Violence: Post-apocalyptic robot warfare? How do you fuck that up? I, for one, do not accept Simon Worthington as our new action hero–better than Shia LeBeof, sure, but so is almost anyone. He punches and screams and blands-up his way through a barely interest robot-human conflict, given screen and character time I would have liked to see given to the comically under-written Kate Connor (Bryce Dallas Howard, who seems to specialize in paper-thin roles in fantasies–here, Spider-Man 3, Lady in the Water).

39) 2012

Here’s where I started to have fun. I love, love, loved the second act of this movie, when shit blew up real good, when Los Angeles fulfilled the destiny Warren Zevon set out for it, and when Yellowstone turned into a volcano. Everything else is second-rate, but man, try and admit you didn’t have fun for 30 minutes there.

38) Funny People

Sorry, Ross Douthat. The day may come when I discover some brutal humor in this movie. And on a second viewing–which I haven’t given it–I might replace my expectations of a quotable, paralyze-you-with-laughter Judd Apatow movie with a sadder Apatow-for-grown-ups movie. But I went in with those expectations and came away hugely disappointed, and quite bored. It’s not that the story of a 40something comedian unable to buy and charm his way out of his poor life decisions is so dull, it’s that Apatow takes so long to tell it, and forces us to watch his family–wife and daughters–act out key roles

37) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Eh, I feel like they adapted the wrong parts of the book. Why so much focus on the magical love potions and so little on the cute and tender Harry-Ginny love story? And why such a perfunctory treatment of the showstopping final scenes of the book? The weakest Potter film since Chris Columbus mercifully quit ruining them.

36) Knowing

A well-plotted and surprising apocalyptic saga, much better than it had any right to be. Really, the flash-forward sequences and the ending are fantastic, and the children-in-danger scenes work right up til the finale. Nicolas Cage is almost, almost, almost believable as a loving and normal father, which is a real success on his terms.

35) State of Play

So very much weaker than the masterpiece it’s based on, but smarter than the usual political intrigue picture. There’s an uncomfortable lesson in there.

34) I Love You, Man

I adored this while it was on, but it faded a bit afterwards. It’s a really serviceable comedy–it’s wonderful that the likes of Paul Rudd and Jason Segal are playing the “put ’em in that new comedy screenplay” role that, like Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd played 20 years ago. Nothing wrong with the movie, there’s just not much to it.

33) Tyson

Strange that this was sold to viewers as the first look at the “real” Mike Tyson, as he’s always been an unsettlingly honest interview subject. The artistic touches really fall flat (Tyson talking over himself like some sort of 1967 Steve Reich loop) but this is an un-fuck-up-able story.

32) Taken

A “Bourne” movie without the brains — fantastic idea! While it’s on, the emotional triggers all work just fine. You hope he rescues his daughter! You hope that one guy gets tortured! You hope that other guy dies for no reason!

31) Notorious

What’s the bigger sign of racial progress–President Barack Hussein Obama, or a hip-hop biopic that’s just as paint-by-numbers as Walk the Line? I, unlike a lot of critics, thought the acting was superb, and I grade on a curve considering how much heart and bias Diddy et al put into the project.

30) Observe and Report

Jody Hill seems to have alienated a lot of people with this unapologetic and unlovable black comedy. I wasn’t offended at all. Just thought it was a little lazy.

29) Adventureland

Could have been a whole lot better–some very strongly written characters are given way too little to do, and what they do get into is just too cliched.

28) Paranormal Activity

Works horrifyingly well in a full theater. I get the feeling it’d be crap on video on a re-watch.

27) Extract

Mike Judge’s best-plotted movie, and his least interesting. Funny how that works.

26) The Hangover

An 80s screwball comedy transplanted to 2009, complete with racist Asian stereotypes and a goddamn Rain Man parody of all things. Zack Galifanikas’s weirdness makes the movie.

25) The Limits of Control

Inscrutable Jim Jarmusch nonsense. “Reality is arbitrary.” Pass it on!

24) Up in the Air

Great first hour, nonsensical “deep” ending that seems very tacked on for Oscar season. Please explain to me how Alex’s decisions make any sense–why travel to Wisconsin with a man she is about to heartlessly discard? Also, for the record, Vera Farmiga is 12 years younger than George Clooney.

23) World’s Greatest Dad

Bobcat Goldthwait is now in the business of making brilliant black comedies–first Sleeping Dogs Lie, now this. I know, I’m surprised too. Daryl Sabara, who plays Robin Williams’s odious and sex-crazed son, gives one of the best performances of the year. Alexie Gilmore is given an impossible character–guilelessly sexy, loyal to multiple men without really thinking about it–and pulls it off. Robin Williams is controlled! And endearing! In the wake of the Michael Jackson death, and the quick turnaround of a celebrity from a Freak We Love to Hate to a Genius Who Will Be Missed, this had real resonance this year. As low as I’ve ranked it, it’s one of the first movies I’d recommend on this list.

22) Bruno

Fun, but my favorite Sacha Baron Cohen character this year was Orly Taitz.

21) The Brothers Bloom

Came and went through the theaters despite a high-wattage and sexy cast (I somehow wonder how we can go about our business every day when we could simply stare slack-jawed at Rachel Weisz) and despite being a Wes Anderson movie with momentum and real characters.

20) Star Trek

You know, it should probably be ranked higher. While I was watching it, I had more fun than I had with almost any other movie this year. So I’m going to back slowly away before anyone notices my cop-out.

19) Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi bounces back nicely from the Spider-Man 3 debacle with a gross (so many things going in and coming out of mouths!) and almost puritanical tale of morality that, by accident I’m told, happens to be about the recession.

18) Watchmen

Eh, it’s critic-proof. Obviously Zak Snyder’s not a genius, although his title sequence–invented for the film–is probably the best of the year. Obviously Malin Ackerman can’t act her way out of a wet paper sack, and the decision to give her the most pivotal and emotionally resonant role was a crazy one. But it’s a Watchmen movie, and it isn’t terrible, and I spent 1/3 of my likely lifespan waiting for such a thing. Yeah, I have the 5-disc DVD set.

17) Up

Like the last few Pixar films, it soars in the first act and drags as it turns into an action movie for the kiddies. Did I cry a couple of times, though? Yes. And that’s no fun with 3-D glasses on.

16) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Like Watchmen, this is just critic-proof. I like Herzog. I like watching Herzog get tremendously bored with a cop-thriller script and decide to film a bunch of iguanas instead. Bonus points for the shamelessly strange casting–Jennifer Coolidge! Eva Mendes! Val Kilmer! Brad frigging Dourif!

15) Il Divo

A lot of fun, if hard to follow–and I write about goddamn politics for a living! I have to give special notice to the soundtrack, which is 1) fantastic and 2) jarring to hear in a foreign language film about byzantine European politics. Beth Orton! The guys who sing “Da Da Da!”

14) Sherlock Holmes

The trailer, which made it seem like Guy Ritchie had turned Holmes into a swaggering ladykiller, lowered my expectations. The movie exceeded them. Downey’s Holmes, rather than being dashing, is just fantastically weird, a few cats and old newspapers away from shut-in status. The only bring-down for me was the performance of Rachel Adams, who’s blown off the screen to a comic, ACME-brand dynamite degree every time she appears. As my friend pointed out, they should have cast the newly Oscared–and thus, I’d think, less picky–Kate Winslet.

13) Avatar

As gorgeous to look at as it is IQ-destroying to think about–seriously, some of the most derivative plotting and dialogue of the decade. “They won’t think twice about eating your eyes for jujubees”? You can just see Cameron at the Macbook, glancing alternately at a thesarus and the stuff he has lying around the room.

12) Gomorrah

Almost as good as everyone says it is, just a little bit boring when it really shouldn’t have ever gotten boring. It’s about ugly Italians killing each other!

11) District 9

Easily the best White Man Goes Native And Betrays Humankind movie of the year.

10) The Road

By all indications the studio buried this movie–its widest release sent it to 396 theaters–and I can see why. At its best it’s a straight translation of Cormac McCarthy’s instant-classic novel, and at its worst it’s been altered for maximum Oscar potential in a way that just doesn’t work. But a good adaptation of one of the decade’s best novels is, damn it, a good movie. Watching this, I got the same hollow, scared feeling I’d gotten when tearing through the novel two years ago, and that’s more than I can say for most movies. The acting is weary and pitch-perfect, the scenery is relentlessly grim, the moments of tension are unbearable, and the soundtrack, which most critics seemed to despise, is basically the same as the one Nick Cave and Warren Ellis composed for “The Proposition.” They could have screwed this up, and they didn’t.

9) Zombieland

Probably the most pure fun I had at the movies all year, because, not in spite, of its truly weird lack of forward momentum and real danger. Even this late in the zombie renaissance, it brings in new tricks like the “rules” that appear as tactile, giant words in the foreground.

8) Coraline

Perfect storytelling, beautiful animation, and a retrograde message that I just loved–kids, don’t talk back to your parents, or you’ll be enslaved by spider-demons!

7) (500) Days of Summer

Quickly ascending into the pantheon, along with Kicking and Screaming and Before Sunrise, of Romantic Dramas About White People That Dave Considers Knowing and Profound. It’s easy to pick it at, but this gets so much right, from the “dream girl” character whose dreaminess is an ongoing joke with the audience, to the filmmakers’ winking acknowledgment that Tom is, at this stage in his life, kind of an asshole. The “freak out at the office which reveals all of the bottled-up emotions and not-so-subtle subtexts” scene was a bit much, but have you read the original screenplay? It’s amazing how much that stuff was toned down by the time it got to the screen.

6) The Fantastic Mr. Fox

The best Wes Anderson movie since Rushmore, I’d say, very noticeably improved by the script-doctoring of Whit Stillman, who really needs to make another goddamn movie of his own sometime.

5) Inglourious Basterds

I came out of this one with mixed feelings. It seemed like a collection of scenes more than a movie, and Tarantino didn’t exactly disguise that fact by putting up title cards before each big scene. But it stuck with me. Images stuck with me — rubber Hitler being riddled with machine gun bullets, the stand-off in the rendezvous bar. Music stuck with me, like the first-ever successful use of Bowie’s “Cat People” theme.

4) A Serious Man

This one was a grower, with dialogue and scenes that spent days rattling around my brain. The only aspect that sunk in while viewing was the acting, and that, two, only gets better as you think on it–sobbing Richard Kind! The guy who plays Sy Abelman oozing slime from every pore! The hapless rabbis!

3) The Hurt Locker

Yes, I’m part of the hallelujah chorus here. I was nailed to my seat for every second of this movie. I had trouble talking about it afterward. Kathryn Bigelow has made a great, great war movie that finds and leaves its characters in uncomfortable places, and makes us care for a hero who, let’s face it, is more or less a fucking crazy person.

2) In the Loop

In an interview with Jesse Thorn, Armando Iannucci recounted his trips to Hollywood back when he was trying to adapt “The Thick of It,” his comedy about British politics, into an American sitcom. Iannucci saw firsthand how America’s engines of entertainment worked. He translated that to our engines of government. He was completely successful. Bonus points for the consulting work my friend and colleague Spencer Ackerman did on this.

1) Anvil! The Story of Anvil

The other day, my friend Eric IMed me to gloat that Michael Moore’s newest documentary did not make the lengthy shortlist for the 2010 Academy Awards. That didn’t bug me. What bugged me was the inexplicable diss of “Anvil,” a documentary so stupid and so surreal that, when folks began blogging about it, naysayers demanded proof that it wasn’t a hoax.

It’s not a hoax. There really is a band named Anvil, a mediocre Canadian hair metal band that’s produced songs like “Metal on Metal” and “Free As The Wind” and “Butter-Bust Jerky.” Their ringleaders, guitarist/singer Lips and drummer Robb Reiner, really do lead lives of quiet desperation in Ontario. They really did mount a slapstick European tour and a “comeback” album that no label would release. And the guy who wrote the screenplay for “The Terminal” found them and directed their story. He plays it for laughs, at first — is there anything *un*funny about a former metal god delivering grade D meat to Canadian elementary schools? — and cuts deeper, staying in the room while Anvil threaten shady club-owners or break down over the knowledge that they’ve failed.

The Best Albums of 2009 According to My Brain

20. Tommy Keene – In The Late Bright

19. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns

18. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

17. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

16. Antony & The Johnstons – The Crying Light

15. Regina Spektor – Far

14. The xx – xx

13. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care

12. Muse – The Resistance

11. Robyn Hitchcock – Goodnight Oslo

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

9. Jay-Z – The Blueprint III

8. Tegan and Sara – Sainthood

7. Steve Earle – Townes

6. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

5. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk

4. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

3. Pet Shop Boys – Yes

2. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II

1. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

The Best Albums of 2009 According to My Brain

20. Tommy Keene – In The Late Bright

19. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns

18. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

17. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

16. Antony & The Johnstons – The Crying Light

15. Regina Spektor – Far

14. The xx – xx

13. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care

12. Muse – The Resistance

11. Robyn Hitchcock – Goodnight Oslo

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

9. Jay-Z – The Blueprint III

8. Tegan and Sara – Sainthood

7. Steve Earle – Townes

6. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

5. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk

4. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

3. Pet Shop Boys – Yes

2. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II

1. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years