Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Albums of 2011

Here, in my opinion are the best albums of 2011 and why:

fleet foxes helplessness blues
Best Album of the Year: Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
I was afraid their sophomore would be a slump compared to their amazing debut, but they proved me quite wrong. Perhaps it is because I had this album on repeat while driving through Morocco, so it evokes memories and beautiful scenery to me, but I feel as though I would make me feel that way otherwise. The songs are warm, inviting, give you the feeling of invincibly and are reminiscent of the in-between time of summer and fall, an Indian summer, like the way the sun gives off that golden glow or the crisp, awake mornings.

"I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes
Unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me"
- Helplessness Blues

Check out: "Cascades" a lovely Spanish guitar interlude, "Someone You'd Admire" where Fleet Foxes' harmonizing is prime, and "Grown Ocean" an energetic song that makes you feel as though you could conquer the world.
2nd: Feist Metals
Lyrically, Feist is at her best with this album. It's less commercial than her previous album and I applaud her for that. Songs that I preciously didn't care for on the album, soon became stuck in my head, making me give this album a 12/12. It's far more mysterious than her last album, making sense of all the video previews for the album were in black and white. It's captures the album's mood perfectly. Fans who loved The Reminder weren't disappointed either, there is still a sweetness to her songs and a sense of nostalgia. Each song is just as catchy as "1,2,3,4."

"Whispers in the grass
Under slow dancing trees
Birds are telling me stories
Saying you were meant for me
With their bittersweet melodies
Like a sweet memory"
- Bittersweet Melodies

Check out: "Cicadas and Gulls" my favorite on the album and twanged with just a hint of Southern sweet tea, "The Circle Married the Line" is cute and French-esque, and "The Bad in Each Other" is a sweeping, beautiful opener for Metals.
3rd: Florence and the Machine Ceremonials - Deluxe Version
Bloody Brilliant and Epic. Flo stays true to her sound, while still exploring new territories. The harp is still present, her signature sound, but she adds some new tricks. On Ceremonials, Flo is more Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush than ever. She delves into some Gospel/Voodoo/New Orleans Jazz and the porcelain-faced, fiery ginger pulls it off. Each song has major percussion and creates a theme all it's own. All songs compel you to dance in your own fashion and preferably around a fire pit, fitting for the magical, bewitching spell Florence casts.

"There's no salvation for me now,
No space among the clouds,
And I've seen that I'm heading down,
But that's alright"
- Lover to Lover

Check out: "What the Water Gave Me" a sexy song that summarizes her new sound, "Only if For a Night" an opener that sets the scene for the album, and "Never Let Me Go" is a powerful ballad, that is equally epic and 80's
4th: Adele 21
Had this album not been so overplayed on Top 40 radio, it would have probably been #1 for me, but overbearing repetition ruins songs for me. However, 21 was a solid and beautifully crafted album. It was sassy, mature and has become an instant classic. Her attention has so rightfully been deserved this year. Adele's songwriting and voice is at a peek, a very long peak I feel. Her songs relate to her audience of all ages, sign of a truly gifted writer.

"I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over."
- Someone Like You

Check out: "Set Fire to the Rain" is a perfect song to go running to, and hopefully while it's raining, "Take it All" Adele + a piano + a choir of Adeles, and "Turning Tables" is heart-breaking, sweeping and swelling.
5th: Lady Gaga Born This Way - Deluxe Version
I am indeed a Little Monster, making this album seem a strange choice compared to the other bests of the year. It would take a whole other post to tell you about WHY I love her so much, but in short I think she is brilliant and hilarious. This album is a bit all over the place, but that is why we love Gaga. She knows how to write a hook that gets stuck in your head for weeks. On Born This Way she proves how talented of a singer she is, more so than on The Fame. I love Gaga best when her music is live and is stripped to just her piano and her voice. That's when her lyrics really come alive and you understand how talented she really is.

"I just wanna be myself,
And I want you to love me for who I am
I just wanna be myself,
And I want you to know, I am my Hair"
- Hair

Check Out: "Marry the Night" is by far my favorite on the album and is very Whitney, "Schiebe" is a women-empowering sexy dance track, and "You and I" truly showcases her diverse style and range as an artist.
6th: Bon Iver Bon Iver
Justin Vernon created a masterpiece, a compilation of songs that best serve another when listened in order, listening to one individually, you just cant appreciate the album fully. This is an artist who has gone into completely new territory, some easy listening, some less so, but he evolved and I was happy to see that he didn't play it safe. The quiet hush of the snow covered woods is still omnipresent on this album, after all Bon Iver translates to "Good Winter" and what a wonderful winter he portrays. Solidarity and snowflakes overcast his sound, in the most perfect way.

"Iʼm tearing up, across your face
Move dust through the light
To find your name
It's only faint
This is not a place
Not yet awake, I'm raised to make
Still alive for you, love"
- Perth

Check out: "Holocene" is serene as a first dusting of snow, "Wash" a delicate beauty and "Michicant" is a waltzy memory
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7th: Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes
Lykke is like Barbarella on this album, feisty and thirsty and ready to fight. Wounded Rhymes has a strong 60's vibe to it, in the saltiest of ways. Lykke's on stage wardrobe matches the futuristic feel of the movie as well. Strong percussion and hints of Middle Eastern instruments guide this sexy, strong album along. Her childlike voice will haunt you.

"These scars of mine make wounded rhymes tonight
I dream of times when you were mine so I
Can keep it like a haunting
Heart beating close to mine"
- Sadness is a Blessing

Check out: "I Follow Rivers" a catchy tribal beat, "Youth Knows No Pain" that salty 60's sound, and "Love Out of Lust" is breezy and uplifting, Lykke style.
What were your favorite albums of 2011?

1 comment:

  1. i posted about mine on my tumblr! we have a few overlaps! :)


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