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20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #4 Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by 20watts
December 30, 2009, 10:07 am
Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: , , ,

Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is #4 on our Best of 2009 list

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Months after its May 2009 release date, Phoenix’s fifth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is still everywhere.  Considering the album’s subject matter — this feat is hardly surprising.  With references to classical musicians (“Lisztomania”) and ancient ruins (“Rome”), Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix transports you first-class to a sophisticated European city from which the band hail.

While their songs radiate a certain cosmopolitan aristocratic air, Phoenix’s lyrics never fail to hit close to home.  No matter who you are, lead singer Thomas Mars belting, “Do you remember when 21 years was old,” will go straight to your gut and induce a deeply nostalgic feeling.  Like these sentimental lyrics, much of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is subtly heart wrenching, but luckily, these lyrics aren’t accompanied by sappy acoustic melodies.  Instead, they are proudly shouted along vivacious synth-beats presented in a Strokes-like intensity.  Phoenix make reminiscing a fleeting dance club celebration, rather than a drawn-out tearjerker.

Recently nominated for a Grammy, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is extraordinarily accessible without sacrificing originality.  While considering their recent bombardment of Cadillac commercials, Entourage episodes and your not-so-music savvy friend’s iPod this accessibility may be a bit much, it just further displays the universality of emotion that Phoenix convey in Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – a mark they missed on previous albums yet hone on their latest effort.

— Carly Wolkoff

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