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WTT: Album of the Year 2009

January 15, 2010
1. Manchester Orchestra – Mean Everything to Nothing
[Rock]
Myspace | Try It

I am but a clean man, stable and alone man / make it so I won’t have to try / The faces always stay the same / so I face the fact that I’m just fine / I said that I’m just fine

There was a lot of great music released in 2009. It was one of the best years of music that I remember, possibly the best. There were literally hundreds of albums that I listened to and enjoyed, and out of the 100 that I chose to include in this list, I initially agonized over what to place at number one. There were so many albums that I absolutely loved, that I could tell from the first moment I heard them would be sticking with me far past the end of 2009. But then it hit me; of all the album placements on this list, number one was actually the easiest of them all. There was no other option. It couldn’t be anything else.

It’s almost hard to believe that this is only Manchester Orchestra’s second album. It sounds like a fearless release from a band who’s been at this game for decades, rather than a sophomore album from a bunch of college-aged kids from Georgia. But it just proves that a classic album can come from anywhere and anyone. That’s what this is destined to become, by the way – a classic.

Mean Everything to Nothing is the kind of album that really doesn’t come around very often. From Andy Hull’s opening squeal of “I am the only one that thinks I’m going crazy“, it’s obvious that you’re in for something really, really special. This album is a thundering, triumphant rock record, with raw emotion that ranges from angry hellfire to overpowering, all-consuming love and everything in between. It’s an album that leaves the listener not just winded, but completely exhausted from the unconstrained passion that runs thick through every song. This album flows seamlessly from furious screams of rage to soft, subtle, touching moments of beauty and compassion.

It’s an album about friends, about enemies, about lovers, about family, about passion and sadness and love and heartbreak and joy. This is an album about life, and it doesn’t shy away from the pain or the happiness. It’s not an inherently optimistic album, but it’s not pessimistic, either; I’ve rarely heard an album that so totally encapsulates the ups and downs of life, the twists and turns, the triumphs and failures, simply allowing the listener to decide for themselves. At the end of the day, this album is going to reinforce whatever worldview you already hold, and it will do so powerfully and without flinching. It will get in your face, it will scream at you and burst your eardrums, it will cry on your shoulder, it will hold your hand and bring you close. Mean Everything to Nothing won’t take over your life; if will become part of it.

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