Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011

Well, we're at the end of the year, and that means it's time to figure out my end of the year list.  As with every year, figuring out my list (beyond the top 6) was quite difficult.  My mood is always changing with music.  One day I'll be all about instrumental albums, while the next day all I'll want to hear is metal.  But, at some point you just have to dig in and make the list as best you can.  Below is my list.  Let me know what you think.  Also, feel free to leave your EOTY list in the comments.

Best Albums:
Listed are my favorite albums of the year.  I have listed them in preferential order, according to my mood right now.  Some may flip around depending on the day, but I can say that those in the top-6 would always remain there.  Why top-6, you ask?  Well, they are the albums I have or would have rated a 90% or higher.  I have also added a link to those albums I have reviewed.

1) Thrice - Major/Minor

Honestly, I have loved Thrice ever since Vheissu.  With every new release, they consistently produced amazing material that definitely stuck with me over the years.  Major/Minor is the culmination of this long list of great albums.  Thrice managed to assimilate all of their experimentation and raw alternative rock into one incredible album.  Sadly, this is also their last album for a while, since the band has decided to go on hiatus.  Perhaps we'll hear from them again sometime in the future.  Key tracks: "Call It in the Air", "Words in the Water", "Listen Through Me".

2) Align in Time - Me & My Arrow

John Boles debut instrumental album is a definite pleasure for the ears.  I've basically had this album on repeat since I got it a few weeks ago.  There are so many catchy melodies and the diversity of the songs just kept me coming back for more.  Key tracks: "The Many Faces", "Men Without Chests", "Run Home".

3) Thursday - No Devolucion

Thursday definitely took a new direction, musically, in No Devolucion.  The outcome, however, is their best album they have ever recorded.  The usual traits of the old Thursday are, of course, still here, but this album is much, much more atmospheric.  I really respect them for taking a chance on such a new sound.  Having announced their hiatus just a day after Thrice's announcement, we lose yet another leader of the genre.  Key tracks: "No Answer", "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart", "A Gun in the First Act".

4) Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Every time I listen to Bon Iver's self-titled album, I like it more and more.  There is something deeply beautiful and thoughtful in the music that keeps pulling at me to keep listening to the album on repeat.  The inclusion of a full band also helped me to enjoy this album far more than any of Justin Vernon's previous efforts.  Key tracks: "Perth", "Holocene", "Calgary".

5) O'Brother - Garden Window

O'Brother took me by surprise.  Really,  Garden Window took a bit of growing on me.  It's full of so many twists and turns, musically, that one can feel a little confused.  But, with every new listen, I began to understand what they were trying to convey.  In the end, this album grew to be one of my top-5 albums of the year.  We can only hope that these guys are ready to take up the reigns of bands lost (Thrice, Thursday), and become the future genre definers.  Key tracks: "Malum", "Cleanse Me", "Last Breath".

6) The Horrible Crowes - Elsie

To be honest, I didn't expect to like this album so much.  I definitely liked The Gaslight Anthem's latest album, as evidenced by my EOTY list from last year.  However, as this year progressed, I found myself growing away from that album.  Then, Elsie came along and totally blew me away.  The brilliant song writing and chillness in the music made this one of the top albums of the year.  Key tracks: "Ladykiller", "Black Betty and the Moon", "Blood Loss".

7) Incubus - If Not Now, When?
8) Moving Mountains - Waves
9) A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen
10) Transit - Listen & Forgive
11) Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
12) The Dangerous Summer - War Paint
13) This Love - At War
14) Evaline - Woven Material
15) Fink - Perfect Darkness
16) The Chemical Brothers - Hanna Soundtrack
17) Funeral For a Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon
18) August Burns Red - Leveler
19) Rise Against - Endgame
20) Sainthood Reps - Monoculture

Special Mention:
The Republic of Wolves - In the House of Dust

Although I absolutely love this album, I didn't feel it quite belonged in the "new album" list since In the House of Dust is primarily comprised of remastered, acoustic, live, and demo versions of songs from previous efforts.  So, I thought I'd just throw in a special mention.

Honorable Mentions (alphabetical):
All Get Out - The Season
Banquets - Top Button, Bottom Shelf
Collapse Under the Empire - Shoulders & Giants
Every Avenue - Bad Habits
Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known
New Found Glory - Radiosurgery
Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
Russian Circles - Empros
Saves the Day - Daybreak
Thievery Corporation - Culture of Fear

Songs On Repeat (alphabetical):
Always Only for Me - Moving Mountains
Asleep at the Wheel - Transit
Blood Loss - The Horrible Crowes
Car Chase (Arp Worship) - The Chemical Brothers
Culture of Fear - Thievery Corporation
A Gun in the First Act - Thursday
Holocene - Bon Iver
Hunted - Every Atlas
Internal Cannon - August Burns Red
Isadore - Incubus
Last Breath - O'Brother
Listen Through Me - Thrice
Motions - This Love
Promises (David Call remix) - Andain
Warm Shadow - Fink
Words in the Water (Polaris at Noon Remix) - Thrice

Best Movies:
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
X-Men: First Class
Super 8

Best TV:
I don't really watch much TV, but Dexter has always kept my interest.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite time of the year!!! Your list is keeping me entertained at work! :-)


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