Amazon Names Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone" Best of 2009

November 5, 2009 1:52 PM ET

There's still two months left in 2009, during which some of the most highly anticipated releases of the year by Rihanna, 50 Cent, Adam Lambert and Clipse are due. But that's not stopping Amazon.com from announcing their Top 100 albums of 2009 today, along with their customers' list of the year's best. Neko Case's Middle Cyclone takes first place on the store's countdown while U2's No Line on the Horizon tops "Customer Favorites." The customer list, based solely on sales and not ratings, also ranks Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream and Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment — even though neither has been released yet.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz!, Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's self-titled LP and the Avett Brothers' I And Love And You also made the Amazon Top Five. K'Naan's Troubadour and Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 were Amazon's highest-ranking hip-hop albums, coming in at Eight and Nine. Phoenix also topped Amazon's Top Songs of 2009 with "Lisztomania," and the Black Eyed Peas scored both Number One and Two on the best-selling list with "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." Further down the album list, Wilco's Wilco (The Album scored Number 12, U2's No Line placed 31 and Muse's The Resistance squeezed on at 89.

So what's noticeably absent? For starters, two of the year's best rock releases, Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream and Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown. The critics at Amazon also weren't fans of Eminem's Relapse, leaving the album off both their Top 100 albums of 2009 and their Top 10 list of the year's best hip-hop releases.

In these next decade-ending two months, prepare yourself for an avalanche of both Best of 2009 and Best of the 2000s lists, including Rolling Stone's own year- and decade- end favorites.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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