Best of 2011: Music Edition - Albums

Happy Friday, friends! It's the holiday season and the end of the year is also coming upon us quickly.

As such, "Best of" and Top 10 lists are beginning to crop up everywhere. It's also been a while since we've had LISTS OF THINGS. So, to help you with possible holiday gift ideas or just for your own pleasure, we'll be presenting a few posts throughout December with our BEST OF/TOP 10 of 2011 picks. (Shout out to Sarah Enni for putting this idea in my head.)

Today's list topic is MUSIC. Who better to ask for music recs than my own personal music guru. I've referred to her here at A Nudge as THE SISTER.

ABOUT the Sister: If there's a band climbing the charts, she probably knows about it. She listens to bands I've generally never heard of until suddenly everyone's talking about them.

She was a 'stache Lifestyle Representative for RED Distribution (an indie label under Sony Music) and is currently an intern at both the El Rey Theatre (under AEG Live) and RCA Records - Publicity (under Sony Music).

(Her boss at the El Rey is a big Twilight fan, hence the abundance of Edwards around this Catherine.)

Take it away, little sis!


Disclaimer: I don't really ever do reviews of things I like so I know my commentary probably makes no sense. I just like things because I like them ok.

Top 10 Albums of 2011 (released in 2011 and in no particular order)

1. Ceremonials - Florence and the Machine
Florence Welch is a goddess. That's pretty much it. But in all seriousness, she has such an amazingly haunting voice. Lungs was a great album and Ceremonials just continues to show how great of an artist she is. If you ever get the chance to see her live, do it. It's worth all the money.

Stand Out Tracks: Only If For A Night; Shake It Out

Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine on Grooveshark

2. Metals - Feist
This album is completely different from the sound Feist gave us in The Reminder. I'd like to say it's less produced and more stripped down. The sound of it is so different from the last album that I almost didn't realize it was Feist. But I like it when you can tell an artist has grown or goes in a new direction that works.

Stand Out Tracks: How Come You Never Go ThereCicadas And Gulls

Cicadas And Gulls by Feist on Grooveshark

3. The Way It Was - Parachute
Parachute is a band I've been obsessed with since the end of my Freshman year in college. All I listened to was Losing Sleep because it was just such a great pop album. I've waited forever for The Way It Was to come out, and I have to say I'm not disappointed at all. You can really tell on this album that the boys have matured since the last. These songs didn't seem as pop and you can tell that their musical influences on this album had more of a rock edge.

Stand Out Tracks: What I KnowAmerican Secrets

What I Know by Parachute on Grooveshark

4. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Bon Iver is just plain amazing. I remember first being intrigued by Bon Iver when I heard "The Wolves (Act I and II)" on an episode of Skins. This totally made me check out For Emma, Forever Ago and I was immediately in love. What's great about Bon Iver is that the songs are so simple and that's why they're so beautiful.

Stand Out Tracks: Minnesota, WICalgary

Calgary by Bon Iver on Grooveshark

5. We Are The Tide - Blind Pilot
I've loved Blind Pilot since my friend introduced me to them a few years back. 3 Rounds And A Sound was all I listened to when I wrote my papers. Blind Pilot has such great musical composition, and the lead singer's voice is amazing. I recently saw them in concert and they sound just as good as they do on the album. They did something amazing at the show. For the last song, they came off the stage and performed the song unplugged. I was up in the balcony and could hear it perfectly. Plus, people in the crowd actually sat down so everyone could hear and see (something that I have never seen happen ever in my life.)

Stand Out Tracks: Half MoonThe Colored Night

6. Torches - Foster the People
I'm sure many of you are sick of "Pumped Up Kicks" and I am too so I don't blame you, but you definitely need to listen to the rest of the album. This is such a fun, I-want-to-get-up and dance album that you can't help but have fun. I saw them at a sold-out show over the summer and they are just so fun (I also spotted Hoyt from True Blood there).

Stand Out Tracks: Call It What You WantI Would Do Anything For You

Call It What You Want by Foster The People on Grooveshark

7. Young The Giant - Young the Giant
So this is the one thing I will admit MTV actually did some good in and that's introducing this band to me. I saw their VMA performance, and it seriously stole the show. It was one big mosh-pit of fun and I just thought, "Damn this song is good." So I checked out the album. I seriously love his voice. I have a thing with voices and this is a voice that is so intriguing to me because it's both gentle and rough.

Stand Out Tracks: I GotGuns Out

Guns Out by Young the Giant on Grooveshark

8. Camp - Childish Gambino
If you guys don't know, Childish Gambino is basically Donald Glover (Troy in the show Community). I remember hearing he rapped and thought that was weird until my friend showed me the video for "Freaks And Geeks." That's when I realized he is legit. His lyrics are so smart and it's nice to hear something other than that "let's make love in this club, it's 5 am in the morning and I'm horny" shizz on the radio. Yes, he raps about vulgar things, but it isn't as simple as the songs that are out there. I feel like his vulgarity has a purpose, if that makes any sense. I guess what makes me enjoy his raps so much is that a reoccurring theme in the music is about his race and how he feels he isn't "black" enough etc. Plus, I love me some pop culture references and he is so great at it. I don't even listen to rap much but this is definitely something you need to check out.

Stand Out Tracks: BonfireHeartbeat

Heartbeat by Childish Gambino on Grooveshark

9. Never Trust A Happy Song - Grouplove
Grouplove is such an interesting upcoming band. I first saw them when they opened for Florence and the Machine. They had so much energy and the music was different from what I would normally listen to. It sort of has a country vibe to it at some points. I saw them again in October when they headlined their own show, and they were still able to draw me in as much as they did the first time. (Side note: went to the show because it was at the theatre where I intern at). Grouplove might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they are a band you should at least sample.

Stand Out Tracks: Tongue TiedColours

Tongue Tied by GROUPLOVE on Grooveshark

10. Elevate - Big Time Rush
So this might be the WTF of the list, but really it's here because I love pop songs and this is a good pop album! I grew up in the glory days of boybands, and sometimes, I still bust out BSB and other 90s music just because it makes me feel good. Pop is catchy and fun. Why Big Time Rush though? Well, I watch a lot of Nickelodeon shows (e.g. Victorious), and when watching an episode of Big Time Rush, I thought 'This isn't that bad.' Their debut album came out, I listened to it, and well, the rest is history.

Elevate just came out and it's definitely different from their debut since they actually wrote most of the songs and are trying to stray from the image they have on the show. They're trying to be legit musicians outside of the show, and this album shows that they aren't just that fake boyband from T.V. Yes, the songs aren't "OMGWOWAMAZING" smart, but they're good pop songs.

Stand Out Tracks: Show MeInvisible

Show Me by Big Time Rush on Grooveshark

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed and found some tracks you enjoyed. We'll be back Wednesday with another BEST OF/TOP 10 LIST for you. The sister isn't done either. She's also got her TOP 10 SONGS of 2011. So look out for that!

Q4U: What were your favorite albums/songs/music this year?


shelly said...

Happy Friday back! Great post!

julie fedderson said...

What a great list--always a Parachute and Florence fan! There's some new music for me here that I'll be checking out. Have a great Friday.

Tere Kirkland said...

New Feist?! When did that come out? *this is the moment when Tere realizes the extent lack of exposure to new music and dies a little inside*

Guess I know what I'm getting for Xmas!

Thanks, Sister!

Unknown said...

I. LOVE. THIS. LIST. Based on the few albums The Sis listed here that I know of (new Florence, Blind Pilot) I am dying to check out the others!

And I didn't know Donald Glover had an album! I loooooove him!

Bookmarking this for reference!! <3

Lydia Kang said...

I've been listening to a lot of Snow Patrol and Christina Perri. It gets me in the right mood for writing. I like your song selections (except the Big Time Rush--all I could imagine was that show which is on sometimes when I'm flipping channels for my kids--and I had to stop listening, LOL!)

ali cross said...

Dude. I know some of those songs! (I feel special and cool now :D)

And thanks for introducing me to some cool new stuff!