It’s mind-boggling to think that 2009 was almost 10 years ago… More than just the year we learned how to Dougie, 2009 was the year when humans colonised cinemas to make Avatar the world’s highest-grossing film of all-time. It was the year when dubstep gained worldwide recognition, following the release of several dubstep remixes of popular singles by UK electronic duo La Roux. And it was the year when Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s first impromptu public appearance together went onto become one of the most talked-about moments of our time. But 2009 was also the year when many of the world’s top artists explored new sounds, and others released breakout albums that paved the way for certified platinum careers… Feeling old? Here are 10 classic albums turning 10 in 2019.
The Temper Trap: Conditions
The debut album from Australian-born indie rockers The Temper Trap debuted at No.9 on the Australian albums chart, where it was certified platinum. The album also peaked at No.25 on the UK albums chart, largely due to the success of ‘Sweet Disposition’, the iconic anthem that appeared in the film 500 Days Of Summer, featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Conditions also saw continued success with a key sync placement of ‘Science Of Fear’ in the computer game FIFA 10.
Jay Z: The Blueprint 3
The Blueprint 3 was Jay Z’s 11th No.1 album, breaking a record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley. On 22 November 2009, Jay Z and Alicia Keys opened the American Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ that transitioned into ‘Empire State Of Mind’. The performance is now considered one of the most iconic moments in award show history.
Florence + The Machine: Lungs
Florence Welch had made several attempts at stardom prior to the release of 2009’s Lungs. Finding inspiration from a failed relationship, however, she hit the studio and began recording with childhood friend Isabella Summers – and the rest is history. With seminal singles such as ‘Kiss With A Fist’ and ‘Dog Days Are Over’, which underscored the trailer for one of 2010’s most successful movies, Eat Pray Love, Florence + The Machine became a near-overnight success.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz!
Leaked to the Internet on 22 February 2009, It’s Blitz! was well received by music critics, with Spin citing it as “the alternative pop album of the decade – one that imbues The Killers’ Hot Fuss and MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular with a remarkable emotional depth and finesse”. Now included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, It’s Blitz! is an experimental disco-bumping departure from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ neo garage-rock sound.
Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster
2009’s The Fame Monster quickly followed Lady Gaga’s 2008 breakout album, The Fame. At the time, the lady born Stefani Germanotta had just completed her first world tour as a headliner. A collaboration with none other than Beyoncé, ‘Telephone’, was also released as a short film and referenced the cinematic stylings of Quentin Tarantino. The video was nominated for several awards, including Video Of The Year at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards – at which Gaga infamously sported a dress made of raw meat.
MIKA: The Boy Who Knew Too Much
Produced in collaboration with Imogen Heap and Greg Wells, Mika’s falsetto on The Boy Who Knew Too Much brought forth a bright, whimsical sound that drew comparisons with 70s icons Freddie Mercury and Elton John. With singles such as ‘We Are Golden’ and ‘Blame It On The Girls’, the album saw widespread chart success in the UK, Germany, Japan, France and beyond.
Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
With nods to classical composers the likes of Franz Liszt and Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix took the group from the French underground and into the mainstream. Fronted by Air collaborator Thomas Mars, Phoenix headlined SNL to promote the album and went onto peak in the upper strata of the charts, debuting at No.13 on the Australian albums chart and eventually peaking at No.2 on the US Independent Albums chart.
U2: No Line On The Horizon
U2’s first record since 2004’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, No Line On The Horizon was produced by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and longtime producer for the band, Steve Lilywhite. To promote the album, the group performed on Late Show With David Letterman for five consecutive nights, a first for a musical guest on the show. No Line On The Horizon went No.1 in 30 countries and was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards, in 2010, with the song ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’ also being nominated for an award.
The Black Eyed Peas: The END
Preceded by hits as strong as ‘Where Is The Love?’ and ‘Pump It’, it’s hard to believe that The END (or, to give it its full title, The Energy Never Dies) gave the group their first, second, and third US No.1 hits with ‘Boom Boom Pow’, ‘I Gotta Feeling’ and ‘Imma Be’, respectively. Selling over 11 million copies worldwide, this inspirational album, chock-full of bangers, remains one of the most successful albums of the digital age.
Drake: So Far Gone
This mixtape put Drake on the map. Released in conjunction with Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records, it helped the man who’s since gone on to dominate music make his Billboard chart debut with singles such as ‘Best I Ever Had’ and the more sensual ‘Houstatlantavegas’. So Far Gone marked Drake’s transition from Jimmy, on Canadian TV show Degrassi, to international star with an undeniable ability to swoon.
Follow the 00s playlist for more essential tracks from the decade.