Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favorite Albums Of 2011: Part 3

It's New Year's Eve and this is officially the last post of 2011.  I've had a great year of blogging about the twists and turns of my musical life.  There were amazing albums and then there were some less fortunate records.  I had the chance to talk to some of you readers, which is always wonderful.  Many thanks to both the readers and the artists I was able to chat with and write about this year.

This post is also the last part of my "Favorite Albums Of 2011" list.  Just to refresh your mind, this is how the countdown is going so far...

Honorable Mentions
Active Child - You Are All I See
Alexander - Self Titled
Beyoncé - 4
Gotye - Making Mirrors
James Blake - Self Titled
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
SebastiAn - Total
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
Zola Jesus - Conatus
Ellie Goulding - Lights

Top 20
Penguin Prison - Self Titled
Cults - Self Titled
Glasvegas - EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\
Björk - Biophilia
Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Kimbra - Vows
CSS - La Liberación
Feist - Metals
Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
The Black Keys - El Camino

Here's the remainder of the top twenty...

Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

My summer was filled with Patrick Wolf's optimistic album.  I think this may be the best record he's released.  It focuses heavily on themes of love and friendship, basically the idea of a soulmate.  I absolutely loved this album for it's ability to capture those themes in a mature way.  It sounds real and that's why Lupercalia works so well.

The Kills - Blood Pressures

The Kills are one of the most stylish rock bands currently making music.  When you see or hear them, they're instantly recognizable.  Alison Mosshart is also leading the pack of female performers in rock music.  She fronts multiple bands without fault.  "Heavier" may not be the right word to describe Blood Pressures when comparing it to their last record.  Sure, it's heavy, but it mostly sounds fleshed out and full.  Blood Pressures is complete, ballads and all.

Mr. Dream - Trash Hit

Trash Hit is the debut album from Brooklyn's Mr. Dream.  They're a mix of punk rock and all of its pesky sub-genres.  You may think you've pegged them as one type of music, until they switch it up yet again.  This record has that "garage rock" production sound, and it also has some insanely catchy hooks.  I like to pop it on whenever I'm in the mood for some carefree, and a little crazy, music.

LIGHTS - Siberia

LIGHTS has come a long way since her light and airy debut album.  This time around, her music is heavier with less strictly pop elements and more electronic ventures.  She also tried her hand at the dubstep game, just barely.  Siberia's beats are crunchy and distorted, while the melodies remain as solid as ever.

Le Butcherettes - Sin Sin Sin

This band is one of my most exciting discoveries of 2011.  Le Butcherettes play insane political rock music.  Led by Teri Gender Bender, live shows often involve fake blood and sometimes include raw meat.  But it's not all stage antics.  Sin Sin Sin has raw power and sounds incredibly current.  I expect to see big things from Le Butcherettes in 2012.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Who hasn't heard "Midnight City" by now?  M83 wins the "catchiest synth melody of the year" award.  What's even better is that Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is just as solid.  I'm tempted to describe the record as "dreamy", but that's too obvious, isn't it?  That's really the first thought that comes to mind, though. The album is nostalgic and blurred, just like a dream.

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

If you read my review of the Foo Fighters show I went to, then you already know how much I love this album.  The Foo Fighters have somehow managed to consistently release album after album without having a real dud mixed in there.  I can't say that for a decent amount of bands who started in the nineties.  Now the record is up for Album Of The Year at the Grammys.  2011 was a massive year for this band.

The time has arrived for some numerical rankings!  Those make everything more interesting, don't they?  Here are my three favorite albums of 2011...

3. Adele - 21

Yes, Adele.  She sort of dominated the world of music this year, and rightfully so.  21 is a mostly heartbroken collection of songs, all focused on the same guy.  You've probably already heard the record, seeing as it's the best selling album of the year.  If not, then I suggest you join the crowd.  

2. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Each of my top three records have one thing in common, I never get tired of them.  No matter how many times I listened to Wounded Rhymes, I kept coming back for more.  I'm even guilty of multiple listens back to back.  That's a real feat.  Lykke Li's voice is just as demanding as the glare in her eyes.  No really, check out the music video for "Get Some".  Those eyes.

1. Lady Gaga - Born This Way

If you're a regular reader of the blog, this probably came as no surprise.  Otherwise, you may be shaking your head.  When it comes to current pop music, I place Lady Gaga above all.  I really do think she's ten steps ahead of the other pop stars and divas, just look at the cultural impact.  Born This Way's production is outrageous and the music is campy.  There's an overwhelming theme of self-impowerment mixed with feminism, sexuality, and equality.  Both Brian May and Clarence Clemons perform on the album.  At seventeen songs long, Born This Way is a wild ride on the back of that half-Gaga motorcycle, and that's why it's my favorite album of 2011.

As always, I love hearing what you think.  Did I forget any amazing records?  What are your favorite albums of 2011? Leave a comment and let me know!

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