2009: 15 of the Best. #10…

December 7, 2009

#10 – Phoenix – Lisztomania

From: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Released: May 25, 2009
Label: V2
Buy it: Here.

We knew they couldn’t stay secret. Even if it was all us self-absorbed intellectual-types that saw “Lost in Translation” all those years ago and lapped up the soundtrack, because, you know, Kevin Shields (!!!) — we all knew Phoenix’s “Too Young” was far and away the best moment. And we all had to keep tabs on this little French pop outfit. They stayed on the outside curve a little longer than expected — neither Alphabetical nor It’s Never Been Like That got them into the pop culture mainframe, despite carrying plenty of excellent tunes. Word of mouth worked to a certain extent, but the dam had to burst sooner or later. Thanks to arguably the best musical performances in the whole of “Saturday Night Live”s last season and the fact that “1901” sounds pretty alright hawking Cadillacs, Phoenix has made its way into the country’s popular consciousness. I’m not sure whether Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is their finest album (when it’s good it’s great and when it’s bad it’s bothersome), but I am sure that their celebration of Franz Liszt’s 19th century rock-stardom is the album’s best moment and one of the best pop songs in years. Sure, it’s college white boy dance music and carries a bit of a pretentious air to it, but eh — it’s so celebratory, I can’t help but dance like a Brat Pack-er myself. Especially during that second verse.

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