You may or may not agree with me, but hey, it's all opinion right? Who knows, you might find something to your liking! So without further ado, these are my top 10 albums of 2011!
10. - WHITE
Those who have known me on Last.fm, or has seen my listening charts anyway, knows that I was a HUGE JPop fan. I don't know why, but I liked the music that came out of artists such as 大塚愛, 上戸彩 and especially 宇多田ヒカル. But with 宇多田ヒカル decision to take a hiatus, and 高橋愛's graduation from モーニング娘。, my love of JPop has been waning. However, Angela Aki's latest album still made it into my top 10. A great voice to go with some completely brilliant self-composed tracks, this album is a a pretty soild offfering from the currently pregnant Japanese songstress.
Favourite track: ふるさと~HOME, a remake of the titluar song from her classic album, Home
9. - 90’鬧Now
The CPop twin duo from Singapore make it onto #9. Ever maturing, this album has a mix of dance, ballad and sheer brilliance from the producer of the album. Fans of By2 have complained that they feel that the duo have not had time to mature properly, as they have been thrust into the spotlight since the tender age of 16. My answer to that? Justin Bieber was only 15 when he started. Besides, By2 are nothing like him. With cute tracks, sexy dances and a few MVs where the unexpected happens (Like the pair of them taking a dip into a bath of milk???), the album has managed to attract more attention to me because of the potential still left in them, rather than being finished products.
Favourite track: A toss-up between 有沒有 and 一樣愛著你
8. - Gloria
And as soon as I've said that JPop was waning on me, I go and put a 2nd JPop album in my top 10, albeit this is a mini-album. However, 後藤真希's release from earlier this year has certainly been one of my favourites. Fast, catchy and nothing like what she released under the all-consuming influence of Hello! Project, 後藤真希 is almost like another person after she signed for Avex. With meaning packing into the lyrics of the songs, some of which were penned by 後藤真希 herself, this album showed a side of her which had never been seen before, and I liked it a lot.
Favourite track: 足跡
7. - 我愛我
Recently released, 蕭亞軒's album came at what I imagine must have been a difficult period for her. With the marriage of several famous names in the Chinese showbiz industry, and her former boyfriend Sunny Wang reportedly dating her fellow artist 楊丞琳, the album was released in a midst of rumor and reporters constantly asking her what she felt. And what she felt, she put into this album. Not as dancy as her previous hit, 蕭灑小姐; nevertheless, the album does contain some very danceable tracks, alongside some light-hearted tunes and one heck of a great ballad.
Favourite track: 逞強
6. - 愛言葉 (VOICE)
So, it would seem that my love of JPop may still be there, somewhere. Regarded by many as the best album to come out of Japan this year, 後藤真希's offering to her fans before going on hiatus contains some of the best dance tracks I've ever heard. With heavy beats, dancable melodies and electric guitar all involved, the album contains only a few new pieces of work, since it is more of a compilation album of all her work since joining Avex. However, what new songs she did put onto this album makes me wish that she hurries up back from hiatus.
Favourite track: I can't choose between What is LOVE and SCANDALOUS
5. - 獨一無二
The best-selling album in Taiwan this year, 羅志祥's yearly release makes it onto my list at #5. The album has courted controversy for apparently for being repackaged several times, which meant that fans bought several different versions of essentially the same album, which allowed it to reach quintuple platinum (Platinum is 30,000 in Taiwan). Regardless, the latest release from Asia's dancing king is indeed full of dancing tracks. However, the dances are less enegertic than what is his norm, and more smooth and subtle; which, in all fairness, makes it even harder to dance. After last year where there were rumours flying around about him having a secret affair with 楊丞琳 (She seems to court a lot of controversy, doesn't she?), one of which even claimed he had given her a STI, he hit back at those critics with a powerful ballad, showing off his skill at singing which sometimes is harder to find when he dancing to an auto-tuned laden beat.
Favourite track: 獨一無二
4. - Lost N Found
Two years after his last self-composed album, and his first since joining Warner Music, 林俊傑's album was only released on New Year's Eve, so... today, then I guess :D However, I have listened to it completely 3 times over so I believe that it deserves a place in my top 10 this year. With several styles mixed on this album, such as jazz, R&B, ballads and even classical, the wait for this album from the Chinese music prince has most certainly been worth it. Costs for filming the MVs alone apparently added up to nearly 5 million TWD; which is a lot, no matter which currency you look at it. However, the effort has really paid off and I imagine the album is certainly going to chart well going into the new year.
Favourite track: 學不會
3. - Nocturnal
It's rare for me the listen to any song which isn't in some Asian language, but AZIATIX aren't any ordinary band. Made up of American-born Koreans, who have individually found success in New York, Korea, Taiwan and China, this English album is full of R&B hits, with raps over the top. Created by legendary producer, Jae Chong, the group reached #1 on Korea's and Taiwan's music charts, while they reached #1 on Japan's preorder chart. With great beats, awesome vocals and some nice MVs to boot, I'll be looking forward to see what they offer in 2012!
Favourite track: Be With You
2. - 2 be Different
This album has come dangerously close to being my #1 album of all time, let alone this year. 袁詠琳 rose to prominence with her debut album, Cindy, mainly due to the fact that, for the first time ever, 周杰倫 actually released a song which wasn't written by him. I felt it was unfair on 袁詠琳; because if 周杰倫 actually consented to singing this duet with her, then she must have an extraordinary talent. I actually felt that her duet with 周杰倫 was one of the weaker tracks on the album, and that she was a lot stronger elsewhere. This time around, there was no duet with her incredibly famous co-artist and boss, but there was a huge change in her image. No longer was she the smiling, girl-next-door. Instead, she came out incredibly sexy and mature with heavy electronic beats and dance, which was missing on her debut album. Many have compared her to 蔡依林 (Which I don't think are warranted), and it has gained her the title '唱跳創作新女生' or 'singing, dancing composing new female artist'. Her vocal talent shines through in some great R&B hits, while there are some light-hearted tunes which touch on some very personal issues to her. I absolutely love this album and I can't wait to see what she does next!
Favourite track: 把傷心打碎
1. - 驚嘆號
So we get to the end of the list, and once again, Asia's heavenly king has clinched it. This album is a redemption of sorts, showing that he hasn't lost his touch since releasing the disappointment that is 跨時代 (Although not a bad album, I didn't really enjoy it nearly as much as I have some of his other works and there were no particular standout tracks). The problem this time is reversed; 驚嘆號 contains what I think are the best tracks he has released to date. 周杰倫 has said that he went back to his roots and became more kiddy for this album, and he danced a lot more. However, there are many different styles on this album, such as rock, trance, R&B, classical and ballad. He really shows off his directing ability with the MVs as well. Although some aren't happy that there are some tracks which are similar to tracks released before, I don't have an issue with it and I actually think it's almost a continuation of those songs. All-in-all, this was the standout album for me in 2011.
Favourite track: How can I choose? Pretty much every track on there is awesome!