10. 'A WAVE IS ROLLING' - Nafa
Yes, OK, a bit of self promotion with this one, but I'm putting my DIY second proper album of original pop songs at the end of the list. These things get better as they come out and I'm feeling a bit chuffed at a few of the tracks. A solid effort.
09. 'PINK FRIDAY' - Nicki Minaj
Only a few weeks ago my friend Mark turned me on to Nikki Minaj via 'Roman's Revenge'. I explored more of her work and fell in love with her collaboration with Lil Wayne on his pop/punk song 'Knockout'. She has totally kicked my ass.
08. 'PATAGONIAN RATS' - Tera Melos
The first of two of Richard's bands on the list and one that I had found sort of difficult to get into at first. However, this album (and thanks to R for leaked updates as the album was being recorded) has really grown on me and it's solid.
07. 'GO' - Jónsi
This really should be at number 10, but on his Sigur Rós merits alone, Jónsi gets a 3-space pass. Don't get me wrong, the album is very good, ethereal and beautiful, though no Sigur Rós--but it's a good start, and perhaps a way-point on the way back to the band and a shortening of their 'hiatus'.
06. 'CONTRA' - Vampire Weekend
Strong debut, almost equally as strong follow up. 'Contra' starts great and doesn't wain. Instantly likable and infectious (as attested to by the number of commercials you hear 'Holiday' in). Who knew you could drag out Paul Simon's 'Graceland' so long?
05. 'MARNIE STERN' - Marnie Stern
Every. Single. Track. On. This. Rocks. The second Richard-influenced album. Every song here sounds like a mini-hurricane. Every song here sounds like life sped up to a couple minutes, birth to death and all the love and heart break in between. Just listen.
04. 'THE FAME MONSTER' - Lady Gaga
An album where every song could have been a single. It was inescapable and rightfully so. 'Bad Romance' is one of the best pop singles ever, and Ms. Bowie...erm...Gaga showed of her musical prowess and over the top theatrics on a grander stage. Love her or hate her, she's got skills.
03. 'INTRIGUER' - Crowded House
I must admit I've not listened to this album since I bought it. In fact, I've not watched the DVD that came with it either. I did listen to it when it was posted on the Crowdies website, and then finally got to see them live after a quarter of a century (where I bought said CD/DVD combo). There on my shelf still sits the set, unopened but basking in the glow of the show still that still rings off the cellophane wrapper. The album is fantastic, a bit more mature, but still distinctly Neil Finn and company. It's fair to say that it was a better album than their 2007 return disc, 'Time On Earth'. I don't know if I'll ever open it--but then again, I don't know if I'll ever need to.
02. 'CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF' - Sarge & The Aeromen
A long time coming for all Sarge & The Aeromen fans, and mark (Warren) my words it was worth the wait. They (Ryan) are(-senault) the best reason to see live music in Florida. This album captures every nuance and reason we love this band and (Chris) packs it into a convenient package. I listen to it (Mike) daily.
01. 'CHANT DARLING' - Lawrence Arabia
OK, hands down the album of the year. The man/band got exposure opening for Crowded House on the Intriguer tour, and it's about time. Just as infectious as Vampire Weekend or even Nikki Minaj but channels The Kinks and The Beach Boys. He/They has/have taken the ball that is New Zealand music and run with it. And scored.