Best Albums of 2011

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Gen 10 2012, 0:32

Born This Way
Lady Gaga


I must say I was initially a bit skeptical about this album, judging by its first two singles (which were alright, just not as epic or attention-grabbing as Gaga's past singles), but after hearing the rest of the album, it eventually grew on me and now I truly love it. While not as life-changing for me as The Fame, it incorporates quite a variety of music genres (in addition to her usual yet awesome synthpop sounds), including New Wave, electro-industrial, electroclash, techno and yes, some darkwave. I've always thought "pop" was a rather limited term to describe her music anyway. My personal highlights are "Bad Kids", "Electric Chapel" (the synth+guitar combo = WIN), "Government Hooker", "Scheiße" (I can picture myself dancing to it in some high-end Berlin nightclub) and "Heavy Metal Lover".


Ceremonials
Florence + the Machine


Flo and her band did it again. Words like brilliant, divine, heavenly and transcendental don't even begin to describe it. Can't say it's better than Lungs though, as I feel it lacks the raw punch and the playfulness of its predecessor.


Wounded Rhymes
Lykke Li


Quite an improvement on her debut album – which was great in its own right. I totes fell in love with "Rich Kids Blues" at first listen. Plus she's Swedish, that should be enough.


Zonoscope
Cut Copy


Not as drop-dead brilliant or diverse as In Ghost Colours, but nevertheless a welcome addition to the Aussie band's catalogue. Although some songs might seem a little overlong – the closing track lasts for 15 fucking minutes – there are still great cuts such as "Take Me Over", "Need You Now", "Pharaohs & Pyramids" and "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution".


Feel It Break
Austra


Atmospheric, ethereal, mysterious, dreamy, somber – these are adjectives that spring to mind whenever I listen to this brilliant album. I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the similarity between Katie Stelmanis's haunting, operatic vocals to those of Florence Welch, although Austra's music replaces Florence + the Machine's heavenly harps with eerie synths. Speaking of, I couldn't help but also notice a certain resemblance to The Knife, who, as many should know, have perfected the art of glacial, visceral synthpop. Comparisons aside, it's sure to say that the Canadian trio nails it; the chorus of "Darken Her Horse" always gives me the chills.


Voyage
The Sound of Arrows


Most people probably know this Swedish duo from their superb remix of Lady Gaga's "Alejandro". Voyage is a glorious collection of songs containing wistful, nostalgia-drenched lyrics over dreamy, fantasy-filled synthscapes, all wrapped into one lush package of emotions ranging from bliss to poignancy. At first they may come off as a younger version of the seminal synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys (Stefan Storm's voice even sounds a lot like that of Neil Tennant at certain points), and sometimes they personally strike me as similar to Röyksopp as well. Either way, it's all about eargasmic Euro awesomeness.


Ritual Union
Little Dragon


More Swedes, I could die! Sonically, Ritual Union maintains the hypnotic, elegantly crafted combination of downtempo, trip hop, synthpop and soulful R&B of its delightful predecessor Machine Dreams, while speeding up the tempo on songs like "Shuffle A Dream" (which was featured in the fifth season premiere of Gossip Girl) and "Please Turn"; the trippy number "Brush The Heat" is also worth mentioning. After an amazing first half, however, things begin to go downhill as the album reaches its second half.


Gravity the Seducer
Ladytron


Unlike the band's hard-edged, industrial-inflected, bittersweet-sounding predecessor Velocifero (my absolute fave), Gravity the Seducer opts for chilly, ethereal sounds and textures. Me likes it lots, considering Ladytron rarely ceases to amaze me.


Safari Disco Club
Yelle


More polished and less sassy than Pop Up, Safari Disco Club ditches its predecessor's gritty, hip hop-esque electropop roots in favour of a brighter, club-friendly Euro-synth sound. The result is actually quite pleasing.


Albums that didn't make the main list for some reason

4Beyoncé
After the inexplicably amazing I Am... Sasha Fierce, 4 feels like a step backwards. Sure, the voice is there, as always, but otherwise it's pretty safe and underwhelming. I do, however, like the bluesy guitar work on "1+1", which takes me back to some of Beyoncé's early solo work, especially "Speechless".

Do It In The AMFrankmusik
Frankmusik is one of those artists I like listening to when I'm not in a critical mode: his 2009 debut album Complete Me is a guilty pleasure and a fairly good listen, though its production is rather inconsistent and certainly not on a par with contemporaries such as Little Boots and La Roux, who actually make epic, solid synthpop. Not to mention his awkward, slightly unsettling voice. Other than being sort of a guilty pleasure as well, all I can say about Do It in the AM right now is that it somehow manages to sound even gayer than his debut. The bottom line is, if you're looking for fun yet unchallenging, dancefloor-friendly electropop, Frank is the man for you.

EmikaEmika
Quite enjoyable, nothing really out of this world. I love her voice though, it's so intriguing and alluring, and the opening track "3 Hours" is hawt. I guess dubstep can sound good after all.

The English RivieraMetronomy
I love "Corinne", "The Bay" and "The Look". And that's about it.

Hurry Up, We're DreamingM83
I love love love tracks such as "OK Pal", "Steve McQueen" and "New Map", his voice is so great. And that's about it as well.

I Love You DudeDigitalism
"Circles" and "2 Hearts" are terrific – especially the former, which is beyond mind-blowing – and "Forrest Gump" is quite good as well. I honestly can't quite recall the rest, as I have little patience for instrumentals.

PerfectionistNatalia Kills
Natalia falls under the same "guilty pleasure" category as Frankmusik: I don't think she is particularly talented or her music is so awesome (I might've just quoted someone else on Last.fm), yet some of her songs are really catchy – how "Mirrors" managed to sneak into my iTunes top 5 is beyond me. Still, I have to agree with AllMusic's review of the album: "Kills appears to be more concerned with proving that she's all grown up than actually producing any music to back it up [...] Perfectionist is far too formulaic and gimmicky to live up to Kills' obvious maverick intentions."

SyndromesThe Golden Filter
I know this is supposed to be the soundtrack to the New York duo's short film (a really good one, btw), but I'm still waiting for a proper follow-up to their impeccably bewitching Voluspa.

Tomorrow's WorldErasure
Disappointing all the way. That's what you get for having Frankmusik produce an album by a seminal duo. Never send a boy to do a man's job.

Young Foolish HappyPixie Lott
Pix, I love you to death (lame, I know), I really do, but this album is just so lacklustre. It completely lacks that extra oomph that made her 2009 debut album so awesome and that set her apart from all those vapid, talentless Disney starlets and other crappy teen artists. There's nothing remotely as arresting on Young Foolish Happy as the likes of "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)", "Boys and Girls" or "Here We Go Again". The chorus of "Kiss the Stars" sounds like that of Katy Perry's "Firework" (not a compliment), whereas tracks like "Birthday" and "Till the Sun Comes Out" are downright embarrassing and utter shit. Not everything is lost, though: "Bright Lights (Good Life) Part II" is unarguably the best thing on the album – it's just really, really, really good – while "We Just Go On" and "Black as Rain" are the better ballads.


Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to listen to a few albums released in 2011 because I was too lazy – too much good music to listen to and not enough time.

Sayonara, putas.

Commenti

  • groovemebabe

    yeah, i heard about her, might check her sometime

    Mar 27 2012, 23:59
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