Thursday, December 8, 2011

If I Could Turn Back Time... To 2010

Calm down, I'm not going all Cher on you, but it's that time of year again.  "Best Of" lists are swarming the internet as every website, blog, or magazine declares their favorite music of 2011.  Before I get to my favorite albums of this year, I wanted to take a step back into the yesteryear of 2010.  At the end of last year, I wrote a pair of posts ranking my twelve favorite records.  For the most part I still love every album included on the list, but countless album are released in the span of a year and opinions change.  Records slip the mind, and you don't realize how crucial of a mistake you've made until almost a year later.  That's exactly what happened to me as I looked back on my 2010 list.  I'd like to dedicate this post the the albums of 2010 that I overlooked and truly deserve to be called some of the best.

First up is Volume Two by She & Him.  While Zooey and M. Ward are currently spreading the Christmas spirit with their latest release, Volume Two is a quirky collection of pop songs.  Zooey Deschanel is the definition of "quirky" and M. Ward is the perfect balance.  This album is something that you could play and somehow manage to satisfy every generation.  Grandma loves the retro vibe, while the kids sing along to the incredibly infectious melodies.

Next would be Special Affections by Diamond Rings.  I found this gem a little late.  Canada's John O'Regan crafted an album that really changes the classification of genres and genders.  The music is minimal, yet fills the room better than your average dance beat.  Is it pop or rock?  His voice certainly isn't one of your usual high-pitched wailer and his flamboyant image says the opposite.  I love this record and can't wait to hear what he does next.

The third album is Swanlights by Antony And The Johnsons.  Every single time I've played one of Antony Hegarty's songs for a listener who has never heard him before, they've always had an instant reaction.  Sometimes the reaction is less than welcoming, but Antony always makes an impact.  His vibrato is unforgettable and his music is haunting.  His debut album contains some of the most honest lyrics I've ever heard, and Swanlights doesn't disappoint.

As I take a final reflection on my 2010 list, I wonder to myself how this album isn't on it.  Brothers by The Black Keys.  I really can't find a flaw with Brothers.  It's about as soulful as rock music will ever be.  The duo just released their follow-up album, El Camino, this week.  After listening to it, I wanted to go back and hear Brothers once again.  If you haven't given this record a spin, I highly recommend you make time for it.

Check back later this month for a list of my favorite albums from 2011.

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