Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Albums Of 2011: Part 2

It's time for part two of my "Favorite Albums Of 2011" list.  The last post featured ten (plus one bonus) albums that didn't quite make it into my top twenty.  My top twenty is mostly unranked, aside from the final three records.  The way I see it, is there really that big of a difference between my twelfth and eleventh favorite albums of the year?  For that reason, I've kept specific numbers out of the game until three, two, and one.  Let's get into it... 

Penguin Prison - Self Titled

After collecting a variety of Chris Glover's singles and remixes over the past two years, I anticipated this album for months.  Penguin Prison's self-titled debut is one of the most upbeat and fun records I heard all year.  It's pop, but not your usual club bangers.  There's just this sound that he has, and you can hear it on his remixes too.  The "Penguin Prison" sound.  I love it.

Cults - Self Titled

I was initially attracted to this album purely for aesthetic reasons.  While browsing new through some new releases, I stumbled upon Cults' debut.  It just looked like something I would be into.  As randomly predicted, I found it to be an amazing album.  "You Know What I Mean" is the album's centerpiece.  That song perfectly demonstrates Cults' ability to mix the old with the new.

Glasvegas - EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\

I feel like the order of songs on EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ could be reversed and you would have a completely different album.  Instead of a decline, the album would progress from the lows of "Change" and "I Feel Wrong (Homosexuality Pt. 1)", finally ending with their anthem of a single, "The World Is Yours".  This record couldn't have a more appropriate name.  It pulls at you with oddly comforting themes of longing and loneliness, but the production is so massive and truly euphoric.

Björk - Biophilia

My feelings on Biophilia are constantly changing.  It seems to have a polarizing effect.  The majority of the album consists of harps, bells, and any other twinkling instrument.  Sure, there are some beat driven moments, such as "Mutual Core".  But for the most part, Björk is howling about her extraterrestrial days of collecting minerals on Venus.  It's a strange concept that had me wondering what goes on in this Icelandic singer's mind.

Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

I'm actually late to the Girls party.  Around the release of Father, Son, Holy Ghost, I also started listening to their debut.  "Lust For Life" is on my regular playlist and I blast it more than one would like to admit.  With that said, they quickly became one of my most listened to acts of 2011.  If I were to make a list that combined the concept of NME's "Cool" list and Barbara Walters' "Most Fascinating People" list, Christopher Owens would most definitely be a headliner.

Kimbra - Vows

After the "Kimbra weekend" feature earlier this year, this singer from New Zealand is a common sight on The Soundtrack Of My Life.  Her debut album hasn't been released in the US yet, but I predict good things for Kimbra when that day arrives.  Vows manages to create a pop sound without giving into any of today's gimmicks or trends.  Add in her jazzy stylings and a vocal range to kill for, and you have an outstanding record.

CSS - La Liberación

After two albums, it finally seems like CSS found an appropriate balance between the danceable sound of their debut and the more rock oriented sound of Donkey.  You may still have trouble taking them seriously, but that's the best part.  Plus, any album with a Mike Garson piano solo automatically gets bonus points in my book.

Feist - Metals

I love "1234" just as much as the next person, but I feel like Feist thrives the most when she slows down the tempo a bit.  She did just that on Metals.  It's still a powerful album, just not in the big band sing-along way.  The closing track, "Get It Wrong, Get It Right", is possibly one of the best songs in her catalog.

Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials

From the first song to the final note, Ceremonials is a bellowing album with enough hooks to satisfy the most restless of listeners.  Florence Welch kept her winning formula of Lungs and expanded it to twice the size.  She sounds like a choir and remains one of the biggest voices in pop music. 

The Black Keys - El Camino

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the genius that is the "Lonely Boy" music video?  If that doesn't convince you to give the album a listen, then I'm not sure what will do the trick.  There are tributes to Led Zeppelin on "Little Black Submarines" and I hear Bowie on "Sister".  I bet you'll never be able to listen to "Lonely Boy" without having a mental image of that dancing man.

Check back soon for the third and final installment including my top three albums of 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment