Okay, so this is amazing… I fell for this Swedish chanteuse when her self titled debut quietly came out a couple of years ago, and now, it seems she has a new album on the way. Well, color me excited; this new single is incredible! I have been listening on repeat all day!!
Check this out; today’s song of the day is City and Colour’s gorgeous new single Of Space and Time, from his upcoming, as-yet-to-be-titled fourth release. Needless to say, I am freaking THRILLED that a new City and Colour album is slated for release in summer of 2013 (right around the corner), and this single firmly cements what I have known for a while now; Dallas Green is a musical genius. He is far and above my absolute favorite artist, and with each new release, he seems to only get better and better. I have had this song on repeat since I first heard it. This song is beautiful, both lyrically and melodically, and it’s depth and texture grows richer with each listen. I absolutely love when music like this comes to my ears, because it makes me just beam with warmth and makes me smile so big that I cannot explain. Music like this is why I am so passionate about the medium. I cannot wait for the new album!
Also, here is some excellent news: You can download this song for FREE today!! Go to this link, and you will have this gorgeous song on your iPod in no time!!
Well, I honestly didn’t think it would take me this long to get to this. It seems that when you work in healthcare, that you are so drained when you are home from work, that you just want to vegetate; well, at least, that seems to be my norm at least. Needless to say, I have been working all the darn time, and have far less time to blog and enjoy music than I would like. That being said, I do want to highlight the amazing albums that I fell in love with in 2012, and continue to enjoy now. Here are my favorite albums of 2012:
1. Mumford and Sons – Babel
No other album captured my attention in 2012 like Babel. This album builds on their previous album, Sigh No More, and brings a more well seasoned and polished, but somehow more raw and richer sound to the band. They are making the music that I love listening to most right now, and it is fair to say that I cannot get enough of Mumford and Sons. I was very happy to see them win a Grammy for the album of the year for Babel, because it is very, very well deserved. This is definitely the album I listened to the most in 2012, far and above all the rest. There isn’t a bad track on this disc, and it firmly cemented these guys as one of my favorite groups. Highlights: I Will Wait, Babel, Holland Road, Lover of the Light.
2. P!nk – The Truth About Love
I have loved P!nk for years, and like a fine wine, she seems to only be getting better with age. I had some high hopes for this album due to a very strong lead single with Blow Me (One Last Kiss), and my hopes and expectations were not only met, but completely blown away. I was fortunate enough to see P!nk live recently, and she is certainly growing stronger as an artist; and this album proves it. She has found her niche, honed her sound to her sensibilities, and she is making amazing music. She’s not only a great singer, but a clever song writer, and outstanding artist who has earned the respect that she so rightfully deserves. Definitely my favorite P!nk album so far. Highlights: Try, All We All We Are, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Walk Of Shame.
3. Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart
Much like I Am Not A Robot generated overwhelming excitement for her debut, when I heard Radioactive, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the sophomore album from the fabulous Marina and the Diamonds. While I did have to wait a little while (Radioactive was quietly released late in 2011), what I got was sheer delight. Marina is one of those artists that has such talent that it cannot be masked. This album only builds on her debut; she continues to make very strong, very well written and produced pop. It felt like she was growing and spreading her branches, looked out into what other areas she’d like to explore with her sound; and the result is spectacular. I was fortunate enough to see her live (finally!), and she was magnificent, as expected. As I have been doing for a while now, I will continue to keep my eyes and ears glued to the happenings and music of this fabulous pop chanteuse. Highlights: Primadonna, Radioactive, Lies, Power and Control, How To Be A Heartbreaker.
4. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
You may have heard the kinda overplayed (not really, though, it’s a magnificent song that I am still firmly in love with) hit Little Talks, and thought, this is a lot like songs from Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers! And while it is in the same vein of folk driven rock, these guys have a quirk that begs for their own bit of the spotlight. After falling in love with Little Talks, I had to check out the rest of their album, My Head is an Animal, and I am glad I did; the entire album is full of well spun tapestries of folk rock with haunting Icelandic vocals from the band’s leads. The entire album is a delightful folk rock adventure that finds itself very welcome in this days popular music canon (It’s a folkspolsion!); and very prominent and in heavy rotation on my iPod as well. I love when a lead single takes you on a journey of fantastic musical discovery, which is exactly what happened here. Highlights: Little Talks, Dirty Paws, Love Love Love, King and Lionheart.
5. Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives
What can I say, I am a sucker for this nerd-do-well’s swoon-inducing voice, and while it is a (slight, everso) bit tamer than a Death Cab for Cutie record, it is a fantastic mini-departure that sounds like something Benjamin has been waiting to get out for some time. It’s always a risk when a very well known band’s lead takes a step out from the front of the band to make a solo record, but in this case, it is a welcome and fanatic effort that is down right wonderful from beginning to end. Obviously, it isn’t TOO different from a Death Cab for Cutie album, seeing as he writes the songs and is the singer for the band, but it has a bit of a more country vibe that the band doesn’t really showcase. When I heard he was doing this album, I knew I would love it, and you know what, I do! Highlights: Bigger Than Love, Lady Adelaide, Lily, Dream Song.
6. Ke$ha – Warrior
This album was a giant surprise to me; both in how much I liked it, and in how good it turned out to be. I have continually tried to frown on Ke$ha as a one hit wonder, or a flash in the pan, but when Die Young refused to leave the airways, or my head, and I found myself tapping my toes in time with the downbeat each time I heard it, I knew that Ke$ha was more than growing on me; she’d already done it. When Warrior was released I figured I’d at least give it a listen, considering how much I like Die Young, and honestly, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it; and kept enjoying it. It is fair to say that I couldn’t stop listening to this album, and I am glad that I gave in to “guilty” pleasure, and just enjoyed it for what it is; pure fun, trashy, never-taking-itself-seriously pop. However, speaking of guilty pleasures, as Dave Grohl said, “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe you should be able to like what you like. If you a like a fucking Ke$ha song, listen to fucking Ke$ha.”… it appears now, that he couldn’t be more right, and listen to Ke$ha I will. Highlights: C’mon, Die Young, Thinking of You, Last Goodbye.
7. Adam Lambert – Trespassing
I loved him on Idol, and unfortunately, I was a little bit disappointed by his debut album. That being said, when I heard the lead single, Better Than I Know Myself, I knew he had come into his own, and that this album would be the album that he wanted to make; and I was right. He clearly had a lot more input this time, and the result is a more mature record that really feels like a comfortable fit for him. His voice has never sounded better, and they highlight his incredible range a lot more on this album. This is the album I wish he would have made first, but I am glad he got the opportunity to follow up his debut with something this strong. He should be on the radio a LOT more than he is; this album is full of singles. Highlights: Better Than I Know Myself, Never Close Our Eyes, Broken English, Underneath.
8. Trampled by Turtles – Stars and Satellites
Yes, this is the third folk-rock/Americana album on my year end list, so you should have a sense of what kind of music I have fallen head over heels in love with, as of late. Someone was talking about Trampled By Turtles on one of the many social media sites I frequent, and I thought, what an interesting name for a band. Then, I saw them mentioned by several other people as being fantastic, so I figured I’d check them out; boy I am glad I did. When I first heard Alone, I was swooning so hard I knew I had to have more. The haunting vocals over banjo picking and soaring violins builds into an all out hoedown, one that I wish I could go to each and every night. I ended up listening to the entire album and loving it; although it is definitely routed in more southern, bluegrass driven folk than the previous two folk bands that are on this list. This was an excellent discovery that I am glad to have found thanks to the many friends that were talking about this awesome band. Thanks!! Highlights: Alone, Beautiful, High Water, Widower’s Heart.
9. Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek
If you are a fan of bands like the Indigo Girls, then Brandi Carlile is a no-brainer. I’ve loved this lady since her debut, The Story, which made my best of list waaay back in 2007, and followed her through her sophomore effort, Give Up The Ghost, which made my best of list in 2009. Needless to say, I was very excited to see a new album from her in 2012, and with the lead single That Wasn’t Me being one of her best efforts to date, I knew almost instantly that there would be another best of list Brandi would be a part of; and look a here, I was right. Her voice is so sharp that it could cut glass, and so delicate that it would pick up the pieces. Brandi’s songs tug at your heartstrings, and fill you with delight while inducing chills with her ability to take country folk down to the local church for a choir backed performance. This album is another shining example of a great artist making consistently great music, and it was one that I was glad to pick up in 2012. Highlights: That Wasn’t Me, A Promise To Keep, Hard Way Home, Save Part of Yourself.
And of course, other GREAT albums that I discovered in 2012 (some of which, just missed my best of list by a hair):
- Casey Abrams – Casey Abrams – Great solo album from one of my favorite Idol contestants that was clearly too talented to win the show. And he’s a cute ginger-bear!
- A Fine Frenzy – Pines - An album I was very excited to see released, only to sadly, not get into it. Maybe it will get it’s chance later on.
- Agnes – Veritas – Different, more mature record than her saccharine debut, but some great stuff on here, nonetheless.
- Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel… – I adore Fiona, but I really didn’t get into this album. I was excited for it, but it never made it to the top of my list.
- Bat For Lashes – Haunted Man – The INCREDIBLE Laura made me long for this album, and when it finally came out, it was meh. What happened??
- fun. – Some Nights – The overplayed radio singles were great at first, but now I am bored; totally victims of too much airplay. Congrats on best new artist though!
- Gossip – A Joyful Noise – It would have been impossible to top their phenomenal major label debut, and well, it was. I still love Gossip, and want to actually see them live at some point.
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Kiss – Let’s all agree that Call Me Maybe was a phenomenon; one that she will probably never be able to acheive again. Hey, if you are going to be a one hit wonder, might as well make it a doozy! At least there are a few more pop treats to be had here, however.
- Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again – Great album full of sleepy, gorgeous folk. Great surprise.
- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – The Heist – Not usually a fan of rap, they hooked me with the gay-friendly Same Love, and I came back for more with Thrift Shop. Also, could Macklemore be any cuter? Uh, no.
- Madonna – MDNA – There were a couple of good songs, and a bunch of terrible ones. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, especially amongst the blindly following gay boy fanatics, but Madonna is a pretty terrible writer; these songs have never been more trite.
- Maroon 5 – Overexposed – As usual, some great, but overplayed radio-ready hits, and some surprisingly even better ignored album tracks.
- Jon McLaughlin – Promising Promises – Promising, but didn’t resonate with me too strongly for some reason. Has a few songs from a previous album, and I just didn’t get to listen as much as I wanted, unfortunately.
- One Direction – Take Me Home – So NOW America wants to get on board with the British boyband craze? I love these guys, but they’ve got nothing on Westlife.
- Phillip Phillips – The World From The Side of The Moon – This is the season I decide to stop watching Idol. Nice. Great pick, and I love that he seems to be a very strong artist. Can’t get enough of his hit Home, either!!
- Joshua Radin – Underwater – I love this guy, and he makes the sweetest music.
- Emeli Sande – Our Version Of Events – Good thing she decided medical school wasn’t the way to go; she’s not only an incredible singer, but a great pop artist now!
- Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour – There is some good stuff here, however, and that’s a big however, they kinda lost me on this one; if they keep changing too much, nothing of the band that I fell in love with will remain.
- The Script – #3 – Their last album was so amazing, that I figured they wouldn’t be able to top it so soon; I was sadly right. Perhaps I will get more into it, but I didn’t love it as much as I did Science and Faith.
- The Shins – Port of Morrow – Good Shins album, solid; just not life changing.
- Silversun Pickups – Neck of the Woods – I feel like they lost A LOT of their oomph. This album is much more subdued, and honestly, lacks the fire they had before.
- Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror – Great sophomore album, just not as edgy and fresh as their first.
- Taylor Swift – RED – Surprise! I like a Taylor Swift album. I am sort of, but not totally ashamed.
- The Ting Tings – Sounds From Nowheresville – Big changes, almost abandoning their quirk, but still fun nonetheless.
- Usher – Looking 4 Myself – It looks like he found himself on a dance floor, and I love to dance.
Well, here it is… finally. My favorite albums of 2012. What did I miss? I know I missed out on Mika, as I have been told, but what other albums did I forget to mention, or haven’t heard of yet? What do you think? What were your favorites of 2012? Can you think back that far? Sorry it took me so long to get this out, but it is better late than never… right? Alright, perhaps I should go ahead and start my 2013 best of list so that I could try and get it done on time…
Well, I know it’s a bit late, but better late than never, right? And yes, I DO plan on doing a best albums of 2012 post in the comings days/weeks!! Now, I bet you are hanging there with bated breath, right? Well, in the mean time, here’s my top 70 songs from 2012. Did I get it right? What are your picks? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments!
- 1. Mumford and Son – I Will Wait
- 2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
- 3. Phillip Phillips – Home
- 4. Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself
- 5. Karmin – Brokenhearted
- 6. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
- 7. Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up
- 8. Drake – Take Care
- 9. Usher – Climax
- 10. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert)
- 11. Bat For Lashes – Laura
- 12. Brandi Carlile – That Wasn’t Me
- 13. P!nk – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
- 14. Adele – Skyfall
- 15. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna
- 16. Ke$ha – Die Young
- 17. Girls Aloud – Something New
- 18. Cheryl Cole – Call My Name
- 19. Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen
- 20. Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
- 21. Nicki Minaj – Starships
- 22. Owl City – Good Time (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)
- 23. Alphabeat – Vacation
- 24. Azalea Banks – 212
- 25. Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses
- 26. Trampled By Turtles – Alone
- 27. Gossip – Move In the Right Direction
- 28. Maroon 5 – Payphone
- 29. Fun. – We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)
- 30. Loreen – Euphoria
- 31. Madonna – Girl Gone Wild
- 32. Angel Taylor – In My Dreams
- 33. Christina Aguilera – Your Body
- 34. Joshua Radin – Tomorrow Is Gonna Be Better
- 35. Emeli Sande – My Kind Of Love
- 36. Stooshe – See My Like This
- 37. Olly Murs – Troublemaker (feat. Flo Rida
- 38. Rudimental – Feel The Love (feat. John Newman
- 39. Passion Pit – Take A Walk
- 40. The Saturdays – 30 Days
- 41. The Wanted – Chasing The Sun
- 42. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
- 43. Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch)
- 44. Tegan and Sara – Closer
- 45. One Direction – Live While We’re Young
- 46. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
- 47. Will.i.am and Britney – Scream and Shout
- 48. Deadmau5 – The Vedlt (feat. Chris James)
- 49. Agnes – One Last Time
- 50. Benjamin Gibbard – Bigger Than Love
- 51. Icona Pop – Good For You
- 52. Melanie Amaro – Don’t Fail Me Now
- 53. Rita Ora – R.I.P. (feat. Tiny Tempah)
- 54. The Shins – Simple Song
- 55. Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath
- 56. Justin Beiber – As Long As You Love Me
- 57. Little Boots – Every Night I Say A Prayer
- 58. Morgan Page – Body Work (feat. Tegan and Sara)
- 59. Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child
- 60. Kylie – Timebomb
- 61. The Script – Hall Of Fame
- 62. Sara Bareilles – Lie To Me
- 63. Casey Abrams – Midnight Girl
- 64. Goldfrapp – Melancholy Sky
- 65. Patrick Wolf – Overture
- 66. Brandy – Put It Down
- 67. Silversun Pickups – Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings
- 68. Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
- 69. The Ting Tings – In Your Life
- 70. Stars – The Theory of Relativity
EDIT: GLARING OMISSION!!!!! I forgot to put Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks on this list!! EEK! I may go back and edit it in, as it was fairly high on my favorites this year. Ugh.
There it is! Thoughts?!
It has occurred to me that this year has been quite the tumultuous one, and while I remain extremely stressed most of the time, I have a lot to be thankful for.
James and I have been together 9 years and counting, and I couldn’t be happier. We keep talking about potentially having a child someday, so who knows, maybe we will be parents in the future?!
While we did lose my dear, sweet Sydney this year, which was the worst day of my life by far, we welcomed Charlie into our lives, and it has been quite an adventure. He is pretty good, but when is bad, he can be pretty bad. Poop and pee monster, for sure! Also, please stop chewing on everything in sight, little man!! I still miss Sydney each and every day, and some days are harder than others, but I am just thankful I was able to have a wonderful almost 8 years with him. I love you Sydney!!
We bought a house this year. It was an ironically called short sale, which took a stressful 4 months to complete. We have the house, we don’t have the house, we have the house, we don’t have the house… ACK! Overall, it worked out, and we rented our house to our friend and real estate agent, but it still doesn’t feel totally real at times. This is the house we always wanted, and getting it seems a little dream like, and I guess it is hard to process.
I have been working as a nurse for a year and half now, and I still find that I am not over nursing school. It was a terrible experience that really tore me down emotionally, physically, and my confidence is having a hard time bouncing back. I do feel like I am more proficient in my profession, and I do take a lot of joy home from my job, but there are days that are so intense and they don’t need to be. It just really wears on me at times. I was talking with a coworker recently when it really dawned on me; I have been through a LOT this year, as well as from the beginning of nursing school until now, so maybe a real vacation is in order in the near future.
Finally, I do have to say, that while my anhedonia is a large part of my lack of blogging and participating in my hobbies, I am somewhat content, and I am thankful for the wonderful things in my life. I have an amazing partner, wonderful dogs that love me, a great house that I am trying to realize is a wonderful home, and excellent friends that I get to spend time with. Overall, there is more to be thankful for that not, and that’s something worth noting.
I was looking last night, and I noticed that I have only written 5 posts for this entire year. Whoa. That has to be a new record low. Thing is, I just don’t spend that much time at the computer anymore because of work. I work those insane 12-13 hour shifts, and then I just want to veg out and relax. Days off are about catching up and not doing anything strenuous. So far, it’s been good, but I am pretty stressed at times because of work; being a nurse is a stressful job, and don’t let anyone imply otherwise.
This year, so far, has been pretty decent (at times). We bought a new house, right across the street, which still sort of doesn’t seem real at times. Also, we got a new family member in Charlie; even though we lost our precious Sydney, whom I still miss each and every day. Overall, it’s been a year of new things, and things are pretty good right now.
I also became a Scentsy certified consultant this year, something that I absolutely adore. What is Scentsy you ask? If you want you can check out the website; I started selling the stuff because I love it so much. My house smells amazing!
That’s really about it. I wish I had more time to spend listening to music and catching up, but it seems like this year is flying by at record speed. Work is taxing and always challenging, but can be very rewarding, which is nice. Charlie is a delight, even though is a poop and pee monster who likes to chew on anything he has in his eye line. He and Pickles get along very well, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I just miss my Sydney something terrible. The new house is a lot to take in, and I am so happy we were able to make this move; even though it was a grueling 4 month process to acquire it! Short sale? How ironically titled.
Anywho… I hope you all out there are doing well, know that I am doing my best to be well, well, as well. Here’s to newness, changes, working hard, and reaping the rewards; and getting sleep and listening to more music on days off!! Now… to get back to my day off!
We bought a new house. The house right across the street even! A dear friend is renting our “old” house, and all is going well; that is, if I could get everything in order in the new house and get settled properly.
Charlie the puppy is growing into Charlie the dog quite quickly. He and Pickles are quite the pair; they love each other. It’s great to have a sweet baby, but I still miss my Sydney terribly.
Other than that, not much is different. I work too darn much. I have been hanging out with friends and living; which apparently leaves little time for blogging. I would say that I’ll try to get back into it, but I honestly don’t know how much I could guarantee regularity. Days off are usually used to recuperate from a difficult day or two of being a nurse; which, while it is a difficult and grueling job, it has many great, heartwarming moments (which do help dull the moments that aren’t so great).
Overall, life ain’t so bad… and I guess that’s pretty good, right?
Hope you kids are well as well out there. Back to the grind!
Yep, I am still breathing. I have been working, and sleeping, and well, working some more. When I’m not doing those things, I am drinking wine, and hanging out with friends, probably. Overall, things are okay.
I have had some tragedy in my life not so long ago; our sweet Sydney died unexpectedly, and I have been trying to find the right way to blog about it, but I haven’t come to that space yet. Soon. We did get a new puppy a few weeks ago too, named Charlie. He’s a handful as well. Like I said, busy with life; no time for blogging it seems.
I will be posting more in the future. I promise. I haven’t forgotten about this blog, and I will be back!
Well, it certainly appears that there is more and more time in between these installments of the five song ____day, and I blame it mostly on work. Work schedule is crazy, and erratic, but overall, manageable; when I do have days off, I tend to just relax and enjoy them, so I guess blogging has taken a back seat to life right now. However, I am still loving music, and listening to new stuff, and I really want to continue sharing it with those of you that still read this rarely updated blog. So, I will do 5S___days when I can, and fortunately, today is one of those days!! So, without anymore excuses, let’s get to the tunes!
Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up
I FUCKING LOVE this song. I have been harsh on Jason’s work recently, mostly because I really liked him early on in his career, and then he went a little too Jack Johnson for my tastes. However, this song has him firmly back on my radar; this is definitely one of the most beautiful songs about love that I have ever heard. It is lyrically beautiful, and musically, even more so. The delicate way he sings the vocals are touching and tender, and add even more to the sentiment of the song. This one is on repeat for me, and I can bet it will be a song that I am loving for years to come. Simply amazing. I have no idea what is going on with that look he is rocking in the video, though… that’s just weird.
Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself
I was a big fan of Adam’s when he was on Idol, and I honestly think he should have won. But, when he released his debut, I was kind of glad that he didn’t, because he clearly had a little more input than winners often get on their post-idol debuts. That being said, I did like his debut, but I didn’t LOVE it. Well, I think he is an amazing singer, and I was just waiting for something highlight just how incredible his soaring vocals are; well, THIS IS IT. This song is a pop masterpiece, and SHOULD be a number one hit. The song is clever, and the beat is slick. The vocals are probably his best to date, and really highlight his incredibly range. This song is such an earworm, that I have been playing it on repeat for months. I cannot get enough of it. I am really hoping that his new album Trespassing, which is due out soon, will have a lot more like this to offer. Fingers crossed! Also, how hot is he in the video? Smoking!
Karmin – Brokenhearted
It’s not very often that a group comes out of nowhere with a single this polished. These guys were on SNL a few weeks ago too; before they even have an album out!! This bodes well for them; hype is well deserved when you are this good. This song is yet another pop masterpiece that has blown me away and that I have been playing on repeat for weeks. I have started hearing this one on the radio too, so that makes me excited to see what is coming next from the very talented Karmin. I hope it’s as amazing as this track!!!
Neon Hitch – Get Over U
I can’t remember how I found out about this song, but I adore it. It’s blazing chorus rings through your ears, and begs to be danced to. The lyrics are touching and sad, perhaps because it was co-written by the amazing Sia. It’s kind of nice to have an upbeat song about heartbreak every now and then to even out the playing field; not everything has to be mellow to convey a lover scorned and moving on. Great song.
Ricki-Lee – Raining Diamonds
I haven’t heard much from Ricki-Lee since her fantastic 2007 album, Brand New Day came out. Then, BOOM! Out of nowhere, this track just hit me right in the face!! It is fantastic!! I reminds me of the energy and power that Agnes’ Release Me had when I first heard it, it is electrifying. I am hoping that this can be a cross-over hit for Ricki-Lee, but only time will tell. She apparently has a new album coming out soon as well, and after hearing this, I am certainly looking forward to it. Like the other tracks I’ve presented today, this one is on heavy rotation for me as well. Since the video is not available on youtube (LAME), here’s a link.
So, there you have it, 5 new songs that I have been loving and blasting on repeat lately. I do hope that you enjoyed them… let me know in the comments, won’t you? Til next time!!
I know, right? FINALLY! The wait is over, and here are my 11 favorite albums from LAST YEAR, 2011. Now, this list really isn’t a surprise to me, because these are the albums that I listened to most throughout the year, and they are all stellar. However, for the first time, for me, there was a clear tie for first; I couldn’t pick one of them over the other, no matter how hard I tried. That being said, I hope you enjoy my picks for my favorite albums of 2011. I also listed several albums that were great, but just didn’t make the cut, because they weren’t up to the par of these special few. Now, on to the list!
(tie) 1. Adele – 21
I have loved Adele pretty much from the first moment I heard of her. I saw some blogs talking about this “up and coming” singer back in early 2008, and after hearing some live stuff, I was instantly on board. What came next was an amazing debut, 19, which was my number 4 album of 2008. Then, I saw her live at the Variety in March of 2009, and that concert solidified her as one of my favorite artists. Obviously, I was jazzed to here a new album was slated for early 2011, but I wasn’t prepared for this opus that she would release. This album doesn’t have a single bad track on it. It is immaculate. This is an album that is current, and one that will age well; it is a new classic. Adele is one of those singers that has such talent that it isn’t really being matched by many right now; and people are taking notice. This is one of those rare instances where there is something I love so very much that happens to make it on the radio, and gain the attention of the masses; this album made 2011 a huge year for Adele. Now, if she can just quit pushing herself so hard, take some breaks, and protect that amazing voice; I want to enjoy her for a lifetime.
Standout Tracks: Turning Tables, Set Fire To The Rain, Someone Like You, Take It All, Rolling In The Deep.
(tie) 1. City and Colour – Little Hell
This album being on top shouldn’t surprise anyone that reads this blog regularly; I adore Dallas Green, aka City and Colour. He is another one, like Adele, that when I first heard of him, I was instantly hooked, and I realized quickly that I had found an all time favorite artist in him. His most recent album, Little Hell, is raw, beautiful, dark, poignant, flawed, and still, damn near perfect. This album takes what he does best (making amazingly well written songs and setting them to hauntingly beautiful acoustic music), and builds it to a crescendo. This album captivated my attention from when it was released in June, and continues to be on heavy rotation for me now; this is a shining example of a supremely well made album by a truly amazing artist. Little Hell showed me that I chose well when I declared City and Colour as one of my favorite artists, because he does not disappoint. I was worried that it wouldn’t meet or exceed Bring Me Your Love (which is one of my favorite albums of all time), but he met the mark, and made an album that stands proudly along side it. Excellent, excellent music, here folks, and one of my favorites of the year by far.
Standout Tracks: Northern Wind, O’ Sister, Grand Optimist, We Found Each Other In The Dark, Little Hell.
3. William Fitzsimmons – Gold In The Shadow (Deluxe Edition)
I finally got to see him live earlier this year, and I KNOW that this influenced my decision to put his album this high; the album is amazing, but hearing it live made for one of the best concert experiences of my entire life. William is an incredibly folk musician, and his music is tender, and achingly beautiful. What pushed him higher on the list was the re-release of this album as a Deluxe Edition, because it contains some of his most beautiful songs to date (which are included in the standout tracks). Another great album by another amazing artist; are you sensing a trend here, people?
Standout Tracks: By My Side, Beautiful Girl, Ever Could, Blood And Bones, Bird of Winter Prey.
4. Jessie J – Who You Are
Initially, I was a bit turned off by her (not a huge fan of Price Tag), but I listened to the whole album, and man, I was blown away. This chick can SING!! She has some amazing songs, and her debut is nothing to scoff at; it’s brilliant. Definitely one of my biggest surprises of the year; glad I gave her a second chance! Also, the re-release with Domino was smart; Domino is such a fantastic addition to an already amazing album.
Standout Tracks: Who You Are, Do It Like A Dude, L.O.V.E., Domino, Abracadabra.
5. Lady GaGa – Born This Way
What can I say, IT’S GAGA. Seriously, haters beware; this is pop music people. GaGa is still killing it, several years into the game at this point, and clearly, has no intention of slowing down. Some of the tracks on this album are the best of her career; she clearly has a knack for what it takes to make a hit. This album is excellent from beginning to end, but the Deluxe version “extras” were just so-so. Overall, GaGa has never let me down, and this album was certainly one of my favorites this year.
Standout Tracks: Heavy Metal Lover, Born This Way, Marry The Night, Americano, The Edge of Glory.
6. Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia
I love how eccentric this guy is; he clearly has his own style, and flaunts it with such, well, style, that it begs for attention. I really enjoyed his previous work, and was excited to hear a new album from him this year. However, it was all shock and awe when, low and behold, this is the happiest I have heard him! There are so many wonderful love songs on this album, and it is definitely my favorite album he’s released to date. Do yourself and watch the video for House too; it is EPIC. I love artists that aren’t afraid to be themselves, and Patrick is the definition of unique. His talent is too wonderful not to explore and share.
Standout Tracks: House, The City, Bermondsey Street, Together, The Future.
7. Feist – Metals
I am a gigantic Feist fan; I have been since I saw her live on her tour for The Reminder. That album caught me by surprise and ended up being my number 2 album of 2007. I didn’t think I’d have to wait so many years to get another fantastic album from this Canadian chanteuse, but when she announced she’d follow up this year, I was thrilled. She didn’t disappoint, either; fantastic follow up to a fantastic previous album.
Standout Tracks: How Come You Never Go There, Bittersweet Melodies, Anti Pioneer, Graveyard, Caught A Long Wind.
8. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys
What can I say, Death Cab are one of my all time favorite bands, so obviously, I am going to be excited when they come out with new material. This time, they released some very happy and upbeat songs, and many of them channeled electronic elements of Gibbard’s seemingly abandoned side project from years ago, The Postal Service. I was more than happy to hear those influences on this album, and still hold out hope for another Postal Service album; but that’s a different story for a different time. The songs on this album are excellent, and it is yet another great album but one of my favorite bands… this seems to be the trend for 2011.
Standout Tracks: St. Peter’s Cathedral, Stay Young Go Dancing, You Are A Tourist, Unobstructed Views, Some Boys.
9. Florence + The Machines – Ceremonials
While her first album took me a little while to fully enjoy, I was waiting at the starting gate for this go ’round. Florence is truly an artist that crafts a song from the words, to their pronunciation, to the music, and the orchestration; all of these are her instruments, and the effect is a layered song that is unique and gorgeous. She uses her dynamic musical talent to craft yet another album that many people will continue to talk about for a while to come; she has proven she is truly an artist to watch, and listen to.
Standout Tracks: Shake It Out, Only If For A Night, No Light No Light, Remain Nameless, Never Let Me Go.
10. Mat Kearney – Young Love
Always a favorite of mine, Mat tries a few new things, while bringing the signature of his previous work on board, making yet another fantastic album. The blend of hip hop with pop-rock is unmistakably Mat’s signature, and he weaves more delightful music on this album, and makes some of his best music to date. While it didn’t quite wow me as much as his previous effort, it does stand out as one of my favorites of the year, and there really isn’t another negative thing I have to say about it.
Standout Tracks: Ships In The Night, Count On Me, Chasing The Light, Rochester, Hey Mama.
11. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale
Arguably, this is by and large, one of her strongest, and most cohesive albums to date. Some of the songs on this album made for some of her most dynamic, and interesting singles as well. Overall, this album will certainly be one that Britney can look back on one of her overall best. That being said, the inclusion of the complete throwaway track, Big Fat Bass, almost derails the entire effort for me, but I skip it each time I listen to the album, so I won’t let it ruin the pop masterpiece that soars throughout the rest of the record. It’s Britney, bitch, indeed.
Standout Tracks: Till The World Ends, Criminal, Seal It With A Kiss, I Wanna Go, Hold It Against Me.
Well, there you have it; my favorite 11 albums of 2011. I hope you found something you hadn’t heard, and give it a chance. I also hope that you enjoyed these albums as much as I did in 2011, and will continue to enjoy on into 2012 and for years to come.
Now, the rest… These are albums that were very good, but for whatever reason, missed the 5 star mark. Some of them just have fantastic singles, but a lot of throwaways dragging them down, and others were just good, but nothing stood out as fantastic. Either way, here’s a bunch of other music you should check out, as it was stuff I was digging in 2011:
Matt Alber – Constant Crows: Love this out crooner, he’s as easy on the eyes as he is on the ears. A great follow up to his debut, and the Madonna cover is amazing.
Beyonce – 4: Color me disppointed; some AMAZING singles, some really bad songs. All over the place.
Bjork – Biophilia: Kinda like above, an amazing lead single, the rest was weird, but interesting.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver: Love him, even though his voice is a bit weird to me.
Alex Clare – The Lateness Of The Hour: Dubstep meets soaring, chill inducing male vocals.
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger: Originally, I stated it was ‘meh’; well, it grew on me, some real stompers on here.
The Decemberists – The King Is Dead: Some of this is excellent, some just too twangy.
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: Gorgeous, but also a bit too ethereal for me.
David Guetta – Nothing But The Beat: An album full of floor filling dance singles, what’s not to love (well, a few of them, that’s what).
Jennifer Hudson – I Remember Me: I love this girl. Practically as good as her debut, with just a few slight missteps.
JLS – Jukebox: Overall, enjoyable, but nothing really stands out of the pack.
Cher Lloyd – Sticks + Stones: Excellent, almost made my year end list. Reminds me of the spunk of Lily Allen. Swagger Jagger is a deal breaker, though.
Jennifer Lopez – Love?: Color me surprised with this one! Some MAJOR singles, but the rest is filler.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: Pretty, weird, pretty weird… but good!!!
Jon McLaughlin – Forever If Ever: Great songwriter, but some of them felt like half-hearted efforts. The stellar songs are stellar, though!
Matt Nathanson – Modern Love: Didn’t love it as much as his previous release, but still good nonetheless.
Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth: Very different than their previous album, which I loved; hard not to compare the two.
One Direction – Up All Night: Fun and poppy.
Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some: A bit more edgy and harder than their best album, Writer’s Block, but still good.
Nicole Scherzinger – Killer Love: Damn, this almost made my best of list; but the filler songs are bland. Where she shines, however, she is brighter than the sun!
Slow Runner – Damage Points: Saw them open for William Fitzsimmons; great band, great sound!
The Saturdays – On Your Radar: A little disappointing considering their previous work, but still great girl band pop.
Vanbot – Vanbot: Almost made my best of list; excellent, Swedish pop, reminiscent of fellow Swedish pop princess Robyn. Definitely one to keep your eye on.
The Wanted – Battleground: Kinda like JLS; overall, enjoyable, but nothing really stands out.
White Lies – Ritual: Quite excellent, and maybe with more listens, I’ll love it even more; it just didn’t capture my attention last year.
Will Young – Echoes: Oh how I had such high hopes for this album, and I tried, I tried so hard to love it. It has some AMAZING singles (Jealousy being my favorite song of the year, btw), but the rest of the album was a little more dance, and little less heart for me. Will’s previous album was perfection to me, so I was pretty sure this one couldn’t stand up to it, and unfortunately, it didn’t. That being said, I really love him, and he is one of my favorite artists, and despite only a luke warm feeling for me, it’s a great album nonetheless.
Young The Giant – Young The Giant: Some great singles, but the high points far outshine the low points.