Various Artists - NME The Album 2009
Trying to encapsulate a year in the space of 40 tracks is always going to be a thankless task, particularly as we live in such egalitarian times. Without any hint of a tribe upon which the NME can hang it’s hat we are faced with an eclectic barrage of tunes from the last twelve months. Talking of egalitarian, 2009 was the year in which rock n roll appeared to begin to operate a profligate quota system for the exposure of women regardless of talent. The album takes a straight line down the middle, including the fabulous Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Gossip on disc one and the execrable Little Boots and Marina & The Diamonds on disc two.
It seems a shame that in a year which has thrown up exciting talent such as Girls and The Drums the NME have eschewed them for the headline grabbing tedium of The Prodigy and Green Day but salvation is at hand through the inclusion of the frankly barmy Dananananakroyd and the promising Bombay Bicycle Club. Quite who would want to relive the painful memories of Esser and The Virgins one just can’t imagine, but the inclusion of Pete Doherty’s ‘Last Of The English Roses’ is a sobering reminder of what a great album he pulled together this year, before alienating everyone with a predictably dishevelled and tragic set of live performances.
The overriding impression of the year, from this set, is one of bombastic excess, with tracks from Muse, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro all making the argument for another punk revolution. In many ways this is an accurate reflection of a bitty year in which nothing really shook the earth, save the death of Michael Jackson. As stocking fillers go, however, this ain’t bad and should pass the time between Xmas morning and when the shops open again on Boxing Day.