As a blogger, one of the best things I love about the year’s end is that I can write a definitive “Best of [insert year here]” list. So, in the next couple of days, I’ll be writing and posting my 2011 definitive list in different categories. I’ve already done my list for comics, games, films and books. Today, my list is for the best albums of the year.
Making a list for best music is always a hard thing to do for me. Unlike comics, games, films and books, I listen to almost a hundred albums per year. I can’t help it. I love music more than anything else. So, it’s always difficult for me to pick out one album and rank it above others. That’s why, to make it more easier for me, I picked 10 items for this list (instead of 5) and divided it into two categories: Indie/Alternative and Metal/Hard Rock. I’ve also included songs for you guys to stream.
But enough talk. My favorite music of 2011:
There were two albums in 2011 that made me a bit weepy and feel a little crumpled. One of those albums is Civilian. It’s a great collection of beautifully tormented pop rock songs. Although, honestly, this almost didn’t make it on my top 5. But, after repeatedly listening to it for the whole month of December, it grew on me even more.
“Civilian” by Wye Oak
If Yuck came out a year ago, I wouldn’t have even bothered giving their self-titled debut another listen. But, in a time when I’m being bit by 90’s nostalgia, Yuck came out at the right time with the right sound –similar to 90’s bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. Every song in this album is so catchy, it’s just a pleasure to listen to.
“Shook Down” by Yuck
Nothing relaxes me more than listening to Real Estate’s sophomore album, Days. Every time I listen to its jingly-jangly guitar pop songs –which conjures laid back images like laying in a hammock tied to coconut trees or just reading a book out on your porch in a quiet afternoon– my stress just melts away. That’s why it’s #3 on my list.
“Municipality” by Real Estate
I had a hard time categorizing Fucked Up’s music. It’s too ferocious to be in alternative. Yet it’s not too ferocious to be in hardcore. That’s how complex and interesting their music is. And in their sophomore album, David Comes to Life, their music is more alive with a punk opera narrative about love, loss and mourning.
“Queen of Hearts” by Fucked Up
When I heard Bon Iver 3 years ago, he was still a small singer/songwriter. Now, his name is everywhere after he got nominated in the academies. So, this might seem I’m jumping at the Bon Iver bandwagon by ranking this as my #1. But, Grammy’s or not, I love this album. It made me weep like a baby.
“Calgary” by Bon Iver
I never knew of Red Fang before. But I had the chance to see them live when they opened for Mastodon here in Chicago last November. I was impressed by their brand of hard rock. So, the first thing I did when I got home is purchase Murder the Mountains. This album is just plain. No bells and whistles, just good, hard and heavy music.
“Wires” by Red Fang
I like djent bands. Although I’m not really a rabid fan of the genre. But after listening to One, I was drooling like an idiot. Then again, TessaracT is more than just a djent band. Yes, they’re chuggsters, and the guitar work in this album is ridiculously great. But they also have some pop sensibility and added atmosphere to their songs.
“Lament” by TessaracT
A lot of fans that I know of bemoans Mastodon’s departure from their brand of prog-metal in The Hunter. Me, I welcomed the changes. Yes, the 13 minute epic songs and lengthy instrumental solos are gone. Instead, we got 3 minute songs, concise and free from weird concepts, that are as hard and heavy as any other Mastodon songs.
“Stargasm” by Mastodon
I was blown away when I heard An Ache for the Distance. This band draws their sound from a wide range of styles –doom, stoner, psychedelic, you name it. The best part is: they also managed to stir those styles pretty well that you won’t be able to differentiate which is which. You’ll just hear them altogether at the same time.
“Holes in the Desert” by The Atlas Moth
Hisengen Blues was the first album I reviewed in 2011 that received a score of A (see here). That was last May. But I haven’t heard anything else that has pounded my head as hard as this album since then. It screams of classic rock, with its sludgy riffs, soulful vocals and a lo-fi recording that makes the band seem so close.
“The Siren” by Graveyard
So, with my best music of 2011 already picked and posted, these concludes my best of 2011 lists. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did when I picked them.
Happy New Year to you all!