Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ressurection: Albums of 2011.


Happy New Year. 

I have resurrected this Bloggish Realm.  

Why? Well, I want to talk about stuff online, of course. But I want to make it look decent too. To the best of my ability, anyway.  Facebook is too bland. I'm sure there are plenty of better blog sites that give me more control and what not. But, I have this one already, and I can't be bothered with all that other stuff. So, for now, I shall press forward. 

And with that, what better way to start anew on this New Year's day than with my...
You guys know how I like my lists. 'Specially them music listations. So here are the albums that tickled my fancy oh so nicely this past year (30-11 first, so as to keep from getting to winded at once). 
I tried something I've never done this year: I attempted to mathematically justify my positions. 

I took these albums, assigned them a point each (out of 10) for the following:
Creativity (does it push them boundaries?)
Catchiness (do the songs get in your head and never leave?)
Consistency (is it cohesive and constantly delivering in the first two categories?)
Connection (after all that, was it an enjoyable experience?).  

Then, I took the average. Its the most math I've done in years. The numbers themselves aren't very interesting, many were "mathematically" tied (because of that I probably won't show them here). But this gloriously nerdy approach helped me personally eliminate any possible bias and made it a little easier to "see" the pros and cons of each while I decided which albums truly kicked my arse. 

That's right, I am a true music nerd.

(Also, if you so desire, on Facebook I did post some playlists of albums I enjoyed this year. A sample of all these are included in such. Linky:  FACEBOOK PLAYLISTS)

With that, lets get to it already...

Mylo Xyloto 
by Coldplay

Pleasantly surprised by the shift in style here. Still, it is the first time a Coldplay album hasn't ranked in my end of year top ten. Despite that, I'm still not afraid to admit I like Coldplay. But can we all just agree that Rihanna needs to retire soon?

Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
by Mogwai

Mogwai doesn't change the formula too much with each release. But there are some uncharacteristically upbeat numbers here that are palate cleansing. Chomp!

Coastal Grooves
by Blood Orange

Worst album cover of the year. But a lovely Prince-ish jive helps shake that outta yer head. The singer is black, by the way. (That's only interesting after you hear him sing.)

by Cut Copy

Synths. 80's. Long songs. Dance. 


Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Hey, Noel! It kind of makes me happy that Noel's post-Oasis album wipes the floor with Liam's. Noel always seemed a nicer chap. While Liam took Oasis's grit, Noel takes the epic melodies and power ballads. Follow where you will, Oasis fans.

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
by M83

This one is still growing on me, actually. The epic cheese of the 80's is represented here in a very hip, of-the-moment way. Quite a few albums taking cues from their dad's Adult Contemporary records this year.

by The Strokes

I admit I expected much more from this album when it arrived. But, thankfully, "just ok" Strokes is still pretty good. Probably their most eclectic album, which deserves props.

by The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Expected more from this one too. Its still fun, but not as genuine as their first album. I sure do dig the Pumpkins sound that tends to emerge, though. A nice splice of great 80's and 90's sounds.

by Cults

60's girl groups. Power-pop choruses. Hair flipping. Sexy, but not sleazy. Thumbs up, heads up. 

Helplessness Blues
by Fleet Foxes

Everyone seemed to love this album much more than I did. I'm still trying to figure out why I don't love it more. But, for now, I do enjoy it enough to put it at #21. Great old-school grooves and harmonies reminiscent of the best 70's folk rock groups. Its probably a good idea to have it higher on your own list.

Blue Songs
by Hercules and Love Affair

Really odd, flamboyantly gay, and infectiously groovy dance tunes. The group sounds best when they ape the sounds of 90's house music, which they do on occasion here. Sega Genesis...Streets of Rage.

Gloss Drop
by Battles

One of the most unique sounds around town. I really have no idea how to explain this band's brain-melting bombast. They will beat you up with their awesomeness, if you let them. DO IT.

by Class Actress

Extremely fuzzy and extremely good synth pop. Hearing stuff like this really comforts my soul when compared to the excrement that's passed as "pop" on the radio. Take note, Mrs. Perry. I mean, stay hot...but take note.

Underneath the Pine
by Toro y Moi

Sometimes you just need a soundtrack to chillin' on the beach. Especially when you live in Utah. And the guy that'll give it to you is named Chazwick Bundick. Yes...he is.

Space Is Only Noise
by Nicolas Jaar

A chill, refreshingly strange collection of ambient electro goodness. There's really not a lot to it, but it does get in your head and stay there for awhile. Too bad Nicolas Jaar isn't as cool a name as Chazwick Bundick.

Drive - 
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Cliff Martinez and Various Artists

I usually don't count soundtrack/scores on lists like this, unless they're THAT good. The only thing keeping this from hitting my top ten is the unfortunate fact that the five (glorious) non-score songs weren't originally recorded for the movie itself. 
The Fall
by Gorillaz

(2-D's solo album?) Streaming online Christmas of last year, but saw a physical release in '11, so I count it. A somewhat melancholy electro-pop tribute to the  USofA, and an unfortunately overlooked gem of a recording, completely done on an iPad.

by Bjork

My favorite of her's since 2001's Vespertine. A smooth concept album that has the sound of small creatures doing big things. Like the score to an artsy nature documentary. What a true arteest. And a weirdo.

James Blake
by James Blake

Tons of respect for this dude. I don't think I've ever heard "pop"(?) songs like this. Imagine what singer-songwriters in the Bob Dylan vein might sound like in 3011. Electronic music with emotion as its backbone. If the second half were as good as the first, this album would be #1, no question. 

Bon Iver
by Bon Iver

For awhile I had this as the sure-fire winner of 2011. But for whatever reason it lost some of its luster. Still, an incredible album. Justin Vernon has an incredible voice and the bravery to break through the usual (and boring) limitations of indie-folk trends. And I'm so pleased at how comfortable "Beth/Rest" would fit on a Kenny G album.


1 comment:

Jordan Kirkham said...

Hahaha....Chazwick Bundick....
Very impressive list though. I'm surprised that Hercules made it that high on your list though. It's a catchy awesome dance monsta, but I didn't think you liked it as much as I did for some reason.