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2009 Best Music Poll Winners


Best Singer-songwriter in National

Neko Case


We’d always thought Neko unknowably dreamy, cruising by in slow motion, smiling and waving out the window of the New Pornographers’ car. But the Neko we saw on the cover of last year’s Middle Cyclone (Anti-) — crouching atop a muscle car and brandishing a long sword — was a different girl altogether. In fact, every song on Cyclone had a different Neko. Lovestruck for “long shadows and gunpowder eyes” in “Prison Girls,” but finding “only men” as a 16-year-old in a “white leather jacket” in “The Pharaohs.” Struggling to scrape together fare “to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love” on the title track; “Damp and bruised by strangers’ kisses on my lips” on “Vengeance Is Sleeping.” As dark as she gets, Case’s voice is the light in each of her dusty landscapes, as given to gently whispered sunrise hues as to the hard, hot beams of high noon. And if you follow her all the way through Cyclone’s gorgeous 78-minute cycle, you’re left in the dark with the crickets, waiting for her to return.

1_Bon Iver
2_Amanda Palmer
3_Conor Oberst

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