Albums Of 2011 (50 - 41)


26 déc. 2011, 3h49m

Albums of 2011

50 – 41

Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know

It's not very often that I hear an artist and I genuinely become excited for their own future. Laura Marling is one of those rare artists that I will probably listen to absolutely anything she releases from now on based solely on this album, not even counting her previous efforts which were fantastic at worst.

Heck, this girl is hardly older than I am. She was a member of Noah and the Whale and I already like this album more than anything that they've ever released. And she's pretty much cranking out quality music at an alarming rate right now, this being her third release in four years. Normally I would be completely against an artist cranking more than two albums in five years but this young woman sure is pulling it off and making it look easy.

I don't need to comment on the music itself but I will say this: even if you hate it, you'll still marvel at it.

Thursday - No Devolución

Listen up Protest the Hero, this is how you write and record an album in a short amount of time. This is punk. This is good. This is me being redundant. So many other bands could have written some of these songs and completely butchered them.

Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself EP

I actually quite like this a lot. Actually, you know what, this is really good.

I really don't like doing comparisons, but this is what it would probably sound like if The Smiths continued along the Strangeways, Here We Come path. Which is more than okay with me. This is just awesome actually. I'm not even going to be able to finish this review before announcing that I love this.

It's just very simple and doesn't strive for any really blasting singles to try to gain attention. Heck. Yes. It's seventeen minutes and that is just flippin' perfect. The only reason human beings have thumbs is to point both of them upward when reviewing this album.

Kurt Vile - So Outta Reach

Let me make this point perfectly clear: if you are not listening to this man's releases on a consistent basis, don't even talk to me. Better yet, don't even exist around me.

This little piece of Americana crap is just cranking out absolutely brilliant material at an incredible rate. You will never occupy a universe where I run out of words to compliment and praise Kurt Vile. The man just throws everyone else into the shadows, he has not released anything that isn't worthy of a completely undivided spotlight.

This EP, that was released after this year's LP (hint hint), is no different than his previous work: an absolute delight. Throw your acoustic away, you soft-spoken young men, Kurt Vile owns this niché. As for the actual music: the lyrics are so meta-referential it's flippin' ridiculous.

So meta dude, so meta.

Cosmic Sound Child - Cosmic Sound Child

Cosmic Sound Child is pretty much exactly what needed to happen to music. Experimenting with the sonic landscape? You bet. Making music that people can still actually enjoy? Every day.

These guys are like a team of Leif Ericsons, discovering entirely new audible worlds and then applying a solid constitution of song structure to the new found valleys. The soundwaves they create are crashing down over you but the anything-but-conventional songwriting is the life preserver keeping you afloat so that you can see the stars above. And boy are they bright. The best part? You aren't in this sea for too long, as the album is about half an hour long. So you get quite an excellent and challenging swim but your skin isn't all pruny when you wash ashore. How refreshing.

Plus, it is not possible to listen to The Ride and not have it stuck in your head for eternity. Trust me, I've tried. Don't fight it.

The Lonely Island - Turtleneck & Chain

I have unnaturally high standards when it comes to comedy and this is just genuinely funny. The instrumentals are perfect and it's just very well written.

It's not better than Incredibad, it's not worse. It's just different. I mean this in the least condescending way, but the sheer amount of cultural references that their target demographic isn't going to understand is just fantastic. Come on, they're definitely punching above their weight on a few of these songs. Seriously, who's going to buy this album for Akon and understand the joke about Morrissey's sexuality?

Beck produced a song on the album and it shows because it's just as great and crazy as one of his albums. I'll let you guess which one it is. Speaking of which: Beck, I want a new album. Like, now. Record yourself making fart noises into a mic and it'll probably get album of the year in 2012.

But really, what makes this album completely priceless is Jorma Taccone's "tough-guy" rap character,


The Throne - Watch the Throne

The most impressive thing about this album is that it didn't leak before it's release date. That is almost unprecedented with a collaboration of this magnitude.

This album was probably the most hyped and anticipated release of the year but does it live up to expectations? Well, if this is the birth of bourgeois rap, then I'm all for it.

I think it falls short of what it could of been though. They could have played on the theme of Jay-Z being the reigning relevant king of rap and working to groom a young Kanye West to take over the kingdom eventually but West has ideas of his own about his future and the future of rap itself. This would have followed the strongest theme of the album and also preached about the real-life parallels. Whoa, meta.

If you like Jay-Z or Kanye West you probably already got this as soon as you could, but I think everyone might as well check it out. Either way, it's not as eclectic and off-the-map as I expected, for better or worse. There is definitely more Kanye than Jay here, and that most definitely works for me, but that wasn't really the point of the album.

Then you've got at least thirteen thousand cameos from everyone like Justin Vernon to Beyoncé to technically even Will Ferrell. Heck, even Frank Ocean completely redeems himself on this album from his release earlier this year.

It's a good thing they actually released this album though, I think it might end up being a humbling experience and we'll end up getting better albums out of both of them separately.

And I'll conclude with the notion that the album should have ended with Made in America (feat. Frank Ocean) as opposed to Why I Love You (feat. Mr. Hudson), because the former is very touching while the latter is sucky to an unimaginable degree.

Seriously, dat sh*t cray.

Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials

Alright, this is where I justify my wages.

This album was produced by the absolute genius Paul Epworth. Epworth is one of my favorite, if not the best, contemporary producers. The man is responsible for 21, The Lady Killer, Lungs, Intimacy, Made of Bricks, and Kick.

All great albums, but there is one silver bullet that this man possesses in his discography that completely obliterates criticism. This man, Paul Epworth, produced Silent Alarm. Just sit down for a second and think about that. Yes, he is responsible for how that album makes you feel. I'll just come out and say it, forget about any other album you've ever listened to, Silent Alarm is easily one of greatest achievements in the history of musical production. He knows his crap, and it shows on Ceremonials.

I've listened to plenty of albums this year and in my life in general that this album could have sounded like, but no, Epworth gave an very deep sense of meaning to this pop album. Don't get me wrong, the music itself is great, but the production allows each and every note on this to shine.

Every song is good, at a minimum. I'm not going to call it very original, because I know who Kate Bush is, but it's still completely anti-drivel. I will always have a soft spot for Baroque-and-roll anyway, so this album should sit well for anyone indulgent in that genre.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming


Buckle up ladies and gentlemen, not only do we have an double album on our hands, we have one from M83. I swear, it's like the French have got nothing better to do but completely dominate any musical genre they feel like.

If you want to get extremely technical, the material released on these two discs are technically small enough in size to fit on one disc, so I'm not sure what this double album nonsense is all about. Don't get me wrong, I am totally in favor of how long this album is: it's a very sizable chunk of music, but it's not much longer than an hour long. But since M83 elected to go with a double album format, it makes my job judging it much easier.

Is this a functional double album? No, not at all. It bogs down more than a few times, but that's because anything that isn't unnecessary is absolutely fantastic. As a single album, this would have been too much and as a double it just doesn't function correctly.

But that won't stop me from recommending it to anyone who wishes they could live in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I've been listening to French music for a majority of my life and I just don't even think they're on the same planet as the rest of us. It must be something in the water.

If I may get back on track for just a brief second, Wait is absolutely one of the best songs of the entire year. Not even an opinion, I speak of fact. Same with Midnight City. Great tracks.

Lil B - I'm Gay (I'm Happy)

Okay, listen up. This is a significant album.

If you caught the Marvin Gaye reference just by looking at the cover, you're worldly enough to enjoy this.

But seriously, aesthetics aside, this is just great. The title isn't a publicity stunt, Lil B knows the weight of the issues he's throwing around. I mean seriously, his name is Lil B, that is a ridiculously juvenile moniker for how mature his work is. It is literally unbelievable how this avoids falling into an endless pit of cliches and somehow manages to tread new water.

I won't lie, the tired and trite 'hip-hop drums' are definitely present on some of the material. And he does resort to sampling the Goo Goo Dolls. But it's easy to look past those gripes when he's just ignoring that aspect of the production to focus purely on theme and lyrical content.

Again, not going to lie, he does have some growing up to do, but he is definitely packs more substance into a studio release than any of his peers, whether they're freestyling on the street or obsessed with Billboard.

You say that you haven't heard any of these albums? No excuses, click on the picture below to listen to a track from each release.

Playlist length = 40:22


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