The Music of 2011 - A Year in Review

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14 jan. 2012, 2h58m

I can't believe it's already time for me to write another one of these year in review journals!

Anyway, whereas last year I thought the musical output was rather lackluster (I can't believe I had room to include Messy Little Raindrops in my top ten! CRAZY!), I thought this year produced some pretty great music!

So here is my Top 10 Albums of 2011!

10. Cher Lloyd - Sticks + Stones
I was never a huge fan of Cher Lloyd on X Factor. I thought most of her performances were actually pretty horrible to be honest with you, I couldn't understand her appeal. I actually felt the same way about Diana Vickers. Like I did with Diana though, I ended up loving Cher's debut album! There's nothing really innovative about it and there are a few songs that are so awful that you can't help but love them (Swagger Jagger!), but it's a damn enjoyable pop album.

9. Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes
From her verse in Whole Lotta History ("Hello, did you call me..."), Nicola has been my favorite member of Girls Aloud. I absolutely love her voice and I was SO excited when I heard she had a solo deal. Then I heard Beat of My Drum for the first time, and I didn't know what to think. If I'm being honest, Cinderella's Eyes isn't the album I envisioned or wanted from Nicola. But, her solo material has definitely grown on me over time. There are a few tracks I just can't stand and had to delete (I and Fish Out of Water), which is why I had to place this album at number nine. Still, I can't get enough of tracks like Say It Out Loud, Lucky Day, and her solo version of Memory of You.

8. Clare Maguire - Light After Dark
I knew when I first heard the single The Sheild And The Sword I had stumbled upon something special. Clare's deep and rich voice was so different from what I usually listen to, it was like a breath of fresh air. Although her debut album is a little bit heavy handed, it's quality. In particular, I Surrender is so amazing I can hardly contain myself when listening to it! If I were to rank all of the songs from 2011, it might just take the top spot. It's soaring chorus, beautiful chorus, and gorgeous vocals are enough to warrant the album's placement on this list.

7. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials
Although I do prefer Lungs drastically more than Ceremonials, this is a pretty solid album. It took me quite a while to fully digest and understand this album. As with Clare's album, I find this album a bit heavy handed as well and kind of hard to get through in one sitting. Tracks like What the Water Gave Me, Shake It Out, No Light, No Light instantly clicked with me; Breaking Down, All This And Heaven Too, and Leave My Body became equally amazing after quite a few listens. Still, there's nothing as great as the best moments on Lungs for me.

6. Lady Gaga - Born This Way
I know the cool thing now is to hate Lady Gaga for little to no reason, but I quite enjoyed this album. I really liked the 80's influence the whole album has (although I've always been a fan of 80's music). There are a few dodgy bits throughout the album (The Queen anyone?). But proper pop stormer Judas, the Shania-esque Yoü and I, and the uncharacteristically uplifting The Edge of Glory more than make up for them.

5. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Make a Scene
This release took me by COMPLETE surprise. I listened to this out of boredom one day, expecting to find an album filled with a couple of decent songs plus a bunch of filller. Boy was I wrong! Sophie sounds absolutely gorgeous on this album, and almost all of her songs are top quality. The more I listen to this release, the more I realize just how good it is. Some of the highlights include Starlight, Nothing Else Matters, Bittersweet, Synchronised, and Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer). I could listen to a loop of those tracks all day, seriously.

4. The Saturdays - On Your Radar
I've always been a big fan of The Saturdays, so I was very excited when I heard they were releasing an album this year. Although I don't think they reached the levels of their debut album, I really liked this album! I feel that The Sats are best on this album when they are attempting more clubby numbers. White Lies, All Fired Up, Get Ready, Get Set, and Faster are total corkers! Though, I do love *unpopular opinion siren* Wish I Didn't Know too. Una is the star of the album for me, though Mollie has come improved so much.

Side note: this is when it gets hard. The top three albums are almost interchangeable in order

3. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger
I've always loved me some Kelly. I actually voted for her on American Idol way back in the day (hasn't it been over 10 years now?! Crazy!), so needless to say I was very much anticipating her new album. I know most of it leaked before it was released, but thankfully I never listened to any, so when I heard the album it was all new to me. I was VERY concerned when I first heard Mr. Know It All. Lets be honest, it sounds like a P!nk reject. Thank GOD the rest of the album is absolutely amazing and doesn't sound anything like Mr. Know It All. Dark Side, What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger), You Love Me, and Honestly are some of the best songs Kelly has ever done. Other than a better lead single, I couldn't have asked for a better album from Kelly.

2. Will Young - Echoes
I CAN'T GET OVER HOW GORGEOUS THIS ALBUM IS! I was never a HUGE Will Young fan, but I knew this album was going to be amazing judging by the lead single Jealousy. I'm telling you, when I first heard this song I listened to it on youtube all day. I was that obsessed. Thankfully, the rest of the album is of the same quality. My favorite song on the album changes every time I listen to it, so I can't list any highlights without reiterating the whole track list. If you're into more down tempo slightly dancing music, I'd give this album a spin!

1. Le Kid - Oh Alright!
There's only one way to describe this album: POP PERFECTION! Le Kid just get it. They understand what pop music is all about. Their music is fun, catchy, unassuming, and effortless: everything that makes a good pop album. I honestly can't think of anything bad to say about the album. All of their songs are top notch; from the groovy Mercy Mercy, the glittery and euphoric America, to the gorgeous and epic Escape. I cannot recommend this album highly enough to ANYONE who even remotely likes pop.

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