Thursday, 29 December 2011

Top 10 albums of 2011

(In no particular order)

2011 was a good year for music as far as I'm concerned, whilst for me there was a distinct lack of concerts to go to but this is largely to do with the fact that Montpellier isn't really on the touring schedules of many bands and Paris is quite a trip away.  This year there have been a lot of albums out that I have genuinely been excited about and that have kept me company through my France experience.

Video Games - Blue Jeans EP - Lana Del Rey
Whilst technically not an album per say I have very much jumped on the Lana Del Rey bandwagon and haven't looked back since.  Between all the 'controversy' about her 'has she, hasn't she?' plastic surgery question and the debates over the fact that she might soulely be a reinvention by a record label in an attempt to push more CDs, you cannot fault her voice.  Reinvention is nothing new to the music industry, Madonna creates a new image with every new album and Katy Perry went from being called Katherine Hudson with a gospel album to singing about kissing girls and liking it.  Lana Del Rey shows that image aside, she has a great voice and doesn't need gimmicks like overtly sexual outfits to try and sell her music, she has real solid talent.  Her album Born To Die is due for a January 2012 release and it's the album I'm most excited for in the new year.

Sinners Never Sleep - You Me At Six
I've had a long and loving relationship with You Me At Six which started in 2008 after seeing them support Fightstar in The Cockpit in Leeds.  Since then I've seen them live about 9 times and never get tired of seeing them perform.  The last time I saw them was in Newport in 2010 and I was sat upstairs being able to really watch them perform and it just showed me how far they've come.  Sinners Never Sleep cements this fact even more.  Recorded in Los Angeles the album is a mix of ballad-esque songs and heavier tracks such as 'Bite My Tongue' which features Olive Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon.  This album sounds the most 'American' out of the You Me At Six discography but it appears to be a natural progression for the band as they continue to mature and really become a force to be reckoned with.  I highly recommend seeing them live.

The Modern Glitch - The Wombats
The Wombats have always been on my 'guilty pleasure that I love to love' list.  For me The Wombats sum up everything that is understood under 'British music', they are exciting, upbeat and their lyrics always bring a smile to my face.  The Modern Glitch is a slightly more synth departure from A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation and this album has become shamelessly fun.  It's hard not to want to dance when listening to the album, it would be a shame to class The Wombats as 'just another indie band' because there is something special about them.

People and Things - Jack's Mannequin
Frankly, Jack's Mannequin are one of my all time favorite bands.  In my eyes Andrew McMahon can do little wrong.  People and Things is a solid album, whilst lacking some of the charm from the (for me) flawless and perfect Everything In Transit this third studio effort from McMahon and co brings the band to new places and creates a cohesive sound, it appears Jack's Mannequin have found their niche and the album is another stepping stone of the journey for Andrew McMahon who has had an incredible life story so far.  

Summer - I Heart Sharks
I've already sung praises for this album here and I still can't get enough of it.  I'm far from involved in the German music scene sadly but for me this album is the perfect way in.  This was the surprise of the year for me, I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did.  There is something fresh and exciting about this album, it still feels slightly rough around the edges and isn't over produced which I think is part of its charm.  Hopefully there will be bigger and better things to come from I Heart Sharks.

Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes
It was always going to be hard for Fleet Foxes to top their debut album, for me personally they didn't quite achieve this but that might not be such a bad thing.  Fleet Foxes' first album was absolutely beautiful and Helplessness Blues is just as wonderful, in parts it is almost haunting and the personal strain on Robin Pecknold shows through on some of the lyrics.  What is so great about Fleet Foxes is that every time I listen to one of their albums I find something new about it to fall in love with and I think that's the sign of a truly great record.  I won't be getting sick of this album any time soon.

Little Hell - City and Colour
I think this has to be my second most favorite City and Colour album after Bring Me Your Love.  I was listening to this before I knew that Dallas Green was going to make City and Colour his full priority, and it already came across like that through the music.  The songs are incredibly strong and the lyrics always hit home very hard especially the title track.  Green's voice really takes you on a journey, I was pretty much listening to this non stop the first month in Montpellier.  Perfect music for late summer.

Femme Fatale - Britney Spears
I have no shame in admitting I love this record.  A lot.  I've always loved Britney Spears since I was about 9 and my dad brought me ...Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again back from duty free when he was away on business trips.  Whilst Femme Fatale wasn't a huge change of direction for Britney, parts of the album are slightly reminiscent of Circus, she moved into the dub-step direction.  Despite it being one of my least favorite types of music on Femme Fatale it works.  This is probably my favorite Britney record and it was so great to see her getting back on top and actually enjoying herself.  She'd had a fantastic year and with an amazing engagement to round it all off.  So happy for her.

A Different Kind of Fix - Bombay Bicycle Club
The longer I am away from my adopted home of the UK the more 'British' my music taste becomes.  Something about this album takes me straight back to London, it would be the perfect soundtrack to walk down Portobello Road or for sitting in Hyde park.  I absolutely loved Flaws but it's great seeing Bombay Bicycle Club going back to a more electric and upbeat sound.  I hope they play some festivals in summer 2012 when I'll actually be in the UK for festival season, they'd be perfect headliners.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver
This was the standout album of the year for me.  I can't fault it.  I was late catching onto the Bon Iver bandwagon, I'd heard the name before but knew nothing about Justin Vernon or how the first album For Emma, Forever Ago was created, let alone had I heard it.  So I went into Bon Iver with no expectations and an open mind.  I wish I'd only listened to Bon Iver sooner because the music is just beyond beautiful and atmospheric to me, there is so much heart and soul in the songs and it carries through the whole album.  This is currently on repeat in my mother's car and she is also in love with the CD.  Everyday is a Bon Iver day.




What were some of your top albums from 2011?

5 comments

  1. All of these are practically my favourite artists too! I love Jack's Mannequin, Del Rey and Fleet Foxes especially. And The Wombats too, of course. I agree, they have such a British sound! x

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  2. I have't heard any of these but I'll definitely check them out; my favorite would have to be Parov Stelar's new album, The Paris Swing Box. They always create the funnest music :) Here's one of their best songs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xsoCki4pTk

    Yasmeen
    Castle Fashion

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  3. Idk if "funnest" is a word but if it's not, mentally replace it with "most fun" Lol!

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  4. love most of these! listening to 'I heart sharks' right now because of you, have to say i'm impressed! This year, one of the best albums for me was the kooks - junk of the heart xoxo

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  5. I've not heard of some of these so I'm definitely going to check them out!
    My favourite album this year has got to be Lykke Li's Wounded Rhymes.

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