My Favorites from the Year in Music

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life

Every now and then at the end of the year, I like to do a "Best Of My Blog" post. I also wanted to do a Best of 2009 in Music, but ran out of time. It's very unscientific, of course, and the list isn't very long. It's simply what I loved the most in 2009. Ready? Let's begin:

Scattered Trees Songs for my Grandfather


This little not-too well-known album (released in 2007) was my favorite discovery of the year. I'd never heard of Scattered Trees until I watched The Beckoning of Lovely clip from Amy Krouse Rosenthal and what happens at 1:38 into the video. The song I heard, Sparrow, is not actually on Songs for my Grandfather, but there was something in the singer's voice that just got me in the gut. It's the kind of voice I imagine that if I was still in my early 20s, and single, my boyfriend would sound like this, and he'd sing to me every day. Off I went to iTunes and bought this collection of songs. It's the perfect disk for a Minnesota winter day. Maybe it's because the lead singer and songwriter is from here. He has Minnesota ingrained. Download this:Silence is Musical

Green Day 21st Century Breakdown


This would fall into the Who Doesn't Know About This Record? category. There's nothing small or indy about Green Day anymore—hasn't been for eons—but I've got to be honest with you: I love this album. Maybe it doesn't quite match the musical statement that was American Idiot, but I think that's only because American Idiot is one of those iconic records that will likely never be matched. Period. Still, 21st Century Breakdown was a grower. The fact that going to see them was the Zielske Family Cultural Outing of 2009 only made me love the songs more. Download this:Murder City

Owl City Ocean Eyes


This goes against most of what I believe to be true about myself and my musical tastes, but I adore Owl City. Ocean Eyes is the happiest collection of songs on the planet. Maybe it's that Minnesota thing again, as the dude behind it all hails from Southern Minnesota. Maybe it's just because it's melodic, catch, techno pop, laden with sugary sweet and clever little turns of phrase at every…well, turn. It was my guilty pleasure of 2009, and it's the cleanest, most wholesome album, lyrically speaking, that I own. Download this:The Bird and the Worm

And those are the three albums I loved above all. This is strange, because there were definitely songs and other records I liked an awful lot.

Lady GaGa's The Fame

Ray LaMontagne's Gossip in the Grain (which came out in '08 but I only found last year)

Stars In Our Bedroom After the War (which came out in '07, but I only found last year)

I rediscovered my love of Rush, and I think my favorite pop single of the year was Kelly Clarkson's Already Gone (seriously, how can you not want to belt this song out. She is still Idol Number One in my book.)

Of course, 2009 didn't see any new releases from Crowded House or Peter Gabriel, but still… a good year for music. And Peter, if you're reading this, it's been 7 years since your last release. Hint hint.


Cathy ZielskeMy Favorites from the Year in Music