Thursday, December 22

Albums of the Year 2011

Here are my top 15 albums of the year. This is purely my opinion, based on how much I like the music, rather than what some hipster's blog or tumblr might say. For my tastes, it was a terrific year. All of my favorite artists (even Justin Bieber)  put out albums this year, making 2011 a solid year for music.

15. Every Avenue- Fall Apart
14. The Foo Fighters- Wasting Light
13. Frank Ocean- Nostalgia/Ultra
12. Drake- Take Care
11. Panic! At the Disco- Vices & Virtues

10. The Maine- Pioneer- The Maine came back quickly from their last album to further advance their sound. Pioneer is a very rock-y, upbeat album with a lot of heart. Lead singer John O'Callaghan has one of the better voices in pop-punk. Standout songs: Like We Did (Windows Down), Identify, When I'm At Home, Misery.

9. Yellowcard- When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes- Yellowcard returned from an extended hiatus to put out an album full of nostalgia. The band seems to have gotten comfortable within it's summer pop-punk sound, and Ryan Key's vocals carried the band to right where they left off with Paper Walls.

8. Mayday Parade- Mayday Parade- After ditching the co-writers, the band's newest album sounds a lot more like Mayday Parade used to back in the day. The album is full of youthful passion and catchy choruses, not to mention a few guitar solos. Standouts: Everything's an Illusion, Call Me Hopeless, But Not Romantic, A Shot Across the Bow.

7. Go Radio- Lucky Street- When Jason Lancaster left Mayday Parade, he formed this band, and continued the top notch songwriting that Mayday fans were used to. His voice alone screams emotion, and coupled with terrific lyrics and guitar work that usually cannot be found in this genre, this album is everything that Mayday Parade could have been. Standouts: Fight, Fight, Reach for the Sky, Redemption in the Verse, Kill the Beast.

6. Twin Atlantic- Free- The Irish accent only adds to this band's desperate lyrics and sound. Extremely catchy hooks and fast paced rhythms make for a terrific album from this underrated band.Standouts: Apocalyptic Renegade, Crash Land, Free.

5. Angels and Airwaves- Love Part II- The second part of Angels and Airwaves' dramatic cinematic project turned out to be better than Part I. The lyrics seemed a little more focused and the emphasis on the synthesizer proved to add a little more spacey vibes than usual. Crawl, Saturday Love, One Last Thing.

4. blink-182- Neighborhoods- When blink came back, I had the highest expectations, based off of their last album. Of course they could never live up to that, but the trio still managed to put out a solid collection of songs. I think the next album will have more focus and feel much more cohesive, but for now, I'm just glad they are back making music. Standouts: After Midnight, Snake Charmer, Even If She Falls, Kaleidoscope

3. Coldplay- Mylo Xyloto- Coldplay put out another stadium rock album, which is right up my alley. The songs are simply massive, obviously meant to fill up stadiums as they film live DVD's and make millions. But what makes this album great is the more subtle songs that remind me of Parachutes. This is the type of album that you can listen to and find something new every time. Standouts: Charlie Brown, Don't Let it Break Your Heart, Us Against the World, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.

2. The Dangerous Summer- War Paint- This is one of the most underrated bands in rock music. The songs are full of passion, from the lead singer's voice, to the lyrics, to the guitar riffs themselves. They could use a little more variety, but they seemed to have nailed the formula they have been working on for the past few albums. Siren, Miscommunication, War Paint.

1. Bon Iver- Bon Iver- Is is a cliche to say this is the best album of the year? Probably. But that's how good it it. Justin Vernon has the ability to control emotions; taking listeners to a dreary day in Minnesota, where there's three feet of snow on the ground. At least, that's how I felt. The lyrics are just understandable enough to relate to, but also deep enough to wonder what Vernon is talking about, and the sound itself is about as American as you can get without using a banjo or fiddle. There is lots of variety between each song, yet it feels like a very cohesive album. Standouts: Calgary, Perth, Beth/Rest, Holocene, every other song on the album.