The Dean's List: The Best Albums of 2009

To read Robert Christgau's essay on this year's Dean's List picks, click here.


1. Brad Paisley: American Saturday Night (Arista Nashville)
2. Franco: Francophonic Vol. 2 (Sterns Africa)(Sterns Africa)
3. Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (161)
4. Leonard Cohen: Live in London (Columbia)
5. The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D. (Interscope)
6. The Baseball Project: Vol 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (Yep Roc '08)
7. K'naan: Troubadour (A&M)
8. Amadou & Mariam: Welcome to Mali (Nonesuch)
9. tUnE-yArDs: BiRd-BrAiNs (4AD)
10. Wussy: Wussy (Shake It)
11. The xx: The xx (XL/Young Turks)
12. Mos Def: The Ecstatic (Downtown)
13. Serengeti: Dennehy (Lights, Camera, Action!)( '08)
14. Oumou Sangare: Seya (Nonesuch)
15. Nellie McKay: Normal As Blueberry Pie--A Tribute to Doris Day (Verve)
16. Nirvana: Live at Reading (DGC)
17. Lily Allen: It's Not You, It's Me (Capitol)
18. Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel: Willie and the Wheel (Bismeaux)
19. Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Decca)
20. Miranda Lambert: Revolution (Columbia)
21. Ghostface Killah: Ghostdini the Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (Def Jam)
22. DJ /Rupture: Uproot (The Agriculture '08)
23. Mulatu Astatke/The Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information (Strut)
24. Moby: Wait for Me (Mute)
25. Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador)
26. Doom: Born Like This (Lex)
27. White Denim: Workout Holiday (Full Time Hobby '08)
28. Neil Young: Fork in the Road (Reprise)
29. Richard Hell: Destiny Street Repaired (
30. The Coathangers: Scramble (Suicide Squeeze)
31. The Hold Steady: A Positive Rage (Vagrant)
32. Regina Spektor: Far (Sire)
33. Bobby Pinson: Songs for Somebody (Cash Daddy '07)
34. Glasvegas: Glasvegas (Columbia)
35. Death Cab for Cutie: The Open Door (Atlantic)
36. Modest Mouse: No One's First, and You're Next (Epic)
37. Wilco: Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch)
38. Fruit Bats: The Ruminant Band (Sub Pop)
39. Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs) (Ruth St.)
40. Now That's What I Call Party Hits! (Capitol '07)
41. Dark Was the Night (4AD)
42. A Place to Bury Strangers: Exploding Head (Mute)
43. Fever Ray: Fever Ray (Mute)
44. Goran Bregovic: Alkohol (Wrasse)
45. Art Brut: Art Brut vs. Satan (Downtown)
46. Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation)
47. African Pearls: Senegal 70: Musical Exuberance (Syllart)
48. PJ Harvey & John Parish: A Woman a Man Walked By (Island))
49. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz! (Interscope)
50. Girls: Album (True Panther/Fantasy Trashcan)
51. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland)
52. Tegan and Sara: Sainthood (Vapor/Sire)
53. White Denim: Fits (Downtown)
54. Rhett Miller: Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory)
55. Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch)
56. The Rough Guide to Tango Revival (World Music Network)
57. Deer Tick: Born on Flag Day (Partisan)
58. They Might Be Giants: Here Come the 123s (Disney Sound '08)
59. Jay Reatard: Watch Me Fall (Matador)
60. God Help the Girl: God Help the Girl (Matador)
61. An Horse: Rearrange Beds (Mom & Pop)
62. Jozef van Wissem: A Rose by Any Other Name: Anonymous Lute Solos of the Golden Age (Incunabulum '06)
63. The Rough Guide to Merengue Dance (World Music Network)
64. New York Dolls: 'Cause I Sez So (Atco)
65. The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (American)
66. The Living Things: Habeas Corpus (Jive)
67. Veda Hille: This Riot Life (Ape House '08)
68. The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warner Bros.)
69. Occidental Brothers Dance Band International: Odo Sanbra (Occidental Brothers)
70. Shakira: She Wolf (Epic)
71. Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From an Acoustic Planet Vol. 3: Africa Sessions (Rounder)
72. The Panic Is On (Shanachie)
73. Mulatu Astatke: New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 (Strut)
74. Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch)
75. The Lonely Island: Incredibad (Universal Republic)
76. Lady Sovereign: Jigsaw (Midget)
77. Group Bombino: Guitars From Agadez Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies)
78. The Dead Weather: Horehound (Third Man)
79. Abe Vigoda: Skeleton (PPM '08)
80. Rail Band: Rail Band 2: Mansa (Belle Epoque '08)
81. Panama! 2 (Soundway)
82. Jonatha Brooke: The Works (Bad Dog '08)
83. Staff Benda Bilili: Tres Tres Fort (Crammed Discs)

Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide reviews of most of these records can be found at

About the Columnist
Robert Christgau is a critic at All Things Considered, writes for the National Arts Journalism Program's ARTicles blog, teaches in NYU's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, and has published five books. His highly searchable website is

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