NME ? The Album 2009 (Rhino) 16/11/2009

November 26, 2009 by  


Love it or loath it you cannot escape the grip and influence the NME seems to have over new music in Britain. Despite the astronomical decline of their readership (30% year on year) the NME monster has spread itself far further now then any other music mag. Now complete with website, radio station, official merchandise and a music channel the NME’s grip on the minds of pubescent teens is a little unnerving. Yet another augmentation of this colossal marketing tool is it’s annual ‘best of’ album or in their more marketable words The Album 2009.

So what does The Album exactly hope to achieve? In an idealistic world you’d hope that the NME’s retrospective look over the year would be a platform for all those hidden artists that didn’t quite have the big marketing budget behind them, yet still managed to make a record which deserves it’s place on any reputable magazine’s best of 09 list.

However, as we’ve come to expect over recent years, The Album is more a list of bands who could be classed as indie that notched up the most hours on the airwaves and the musical telebox, rather than a indication of artistic merit. Where you’d expect to see the likes of Wild Beasts, The XX, Fuck Buttons, Mumford & Sons, Japandroids… are a lacklustre troupe of bands who most people with an ounce of musical taste tried to avoid like swine flu. How Green Day and Franz Ferdinand can be seen as bands which shaped the musical landscape of 2009 is beyond me and the inclusion of 2009 biggest flops the Virgins and Little Boots over the biggest success story Florence and The Machine, just goes to show how far their marketing budgets stretch.

To be fair the album does include some genuine highlights; the sublime Animal Collective, the visceral Biffy Clyro, the sumptuous Temper Trap and the two bands that have kept the dance floors heaving all year long Passion Pit and Friendly Fires. But, apart from these brief highlights The Album 2009 is just a vague look back on a genuinely interesting and exciting year in music, which leaves out most of the music which made it just that.


By Chris Cummins