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So, who’s everyone voting for?
Really love Earl’s flow. Bonus points for rapping about Vince Carter’s knee cartlidge. I’m also a sucker for old school drums and piano loops. Can’t wait for the full LP.. @mewsikboy
Having only listened to one Kendrick Lamar mix tape before, I was kind of surprised to see so many positive reviews of his new album “good kid, m.A.A.d city”. I thought he was just an okay rapper and that mix tape I had downloaded, was instantly forgettable. Really glad I gave this new album a shot, as it will easily be among my favorite LPs of the year.
Aside from the whole Joey BadAss/Pro-Era click, I haven’t found anything too exciting in modern hip hop. What I find most interesting in Pro-Era’s music is that it sounds as if it were created in the mid-late 90’s and takes me back to that period of my life.
What Kendrick Lamar does on this album, is take you on a well thought out, cinematic, musical journey into his (fictional?) teenage years. It’s such a detailed narrative, both lyrically and musically, that you can picture being in the middle of the action. Each song flows smoothly into the next with the help of skits & interludes (mo money, mo skits?).
The production on this album is awesome. I have read some reviews that say “overproduced” but each beat/sound fits perfect with Kendrick’s raps and flows, which do change song to song. The style changes are to that of different scenes, different locations, different emotions. Really dig the sample choices and while there are plenty of big name producers on the album, each song is crafted to sustain the theme that Kendrick envisioned.
I think the subtitle of the album (“A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar”) says it best. The albums plays out like a film and it may the first hip hop album, in recent memory, where each line, verse & chorus are vital to the overall picture.
Standout tracks for me are “The Art of Peer Pressure”, “Swimming Pools” and “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”. There are some real emotional moments on that last track (gun shots mid-sentence / overall tone of “Dying of Thirst”) and I’ve never had such a strong reaction to this genre of music before.
It’s such a big, high profile release (#2 on Billboard) that I’m sure most people have heard it already. If not, I suggest you silence your cell phones and enjoy the film.
How did Tame Impala get John Lennon to sing on “Lonerism”?
In random order, these are the albums I’ve enjoyed the most (so far) this year…
Beach House - Bloom
Conveyor - S/T
Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Peaking Lights - Lucifer
The Shins - Port of Morrow
Chromatics - Kill For Love
The Walkmen - Heaven
Hip Hatchet - Joy and Better Days
Port St. Willow - Holiday
Father John Misty - Fear Fun
Dent May - Do Things
Pop Etc - Pop Etc
The Tallest Man on Earth - There’s No Leaving Now
Miike Snow - Happy to You
Jack White - Blunderpuss
Bear In Heaven - I Love You, It’s Cool
Frankie Rose - Interstellar
I thought 2011 was a great year for music. I felt there was a lot of good music released this year, as my short list for favorite albums pushed into the high 30s. Unlike years past, where 2-3 albums really stood out and the rest meshed together, it was difficult to choose only ten to include on this list. There are also a bunch of 2011 albums I’m only now getting into, so in time, this list may change.
But as of today, this is my year in review. Each of these albums mean something special to me and if you haven’t heard any of them, I encourage you to give them a spin. I’m also working on my favorite tracks post and will try to have that up soon. Comments and emails are always welcome. Thanks…
Here’s my list of Top 10 Albums (ranked 10-1) for 2011. I’ve included some thoughts & feelings on each album, along with my favorite track (FT) from each.
David Bazan - Strange Negotiations
I didn’t read or hear too much about this album and I’m not sure why. I love Bazan’s voice and the emotion buried in it. The album is filled with aggressive rockers, slow builders and straight-up pop tunes. I worked my way backwards into Bazan’s discography, and feel that this is his strongest work. FT - “Wolves At Your Door”
My Morning Jacket - Circutal
This is not just “another” My Morning Jacket album. It’s a very well structured, catchy, poppy collection of songs pulling from all ends of the spectrum. The album oozes with pop, folk & 70s radio influences. Each song has a comfortable familiarity to it. I feel like I’ve been singing along to these songs forever… and I love it. FT - “The Day is Coming”
Nerves Junior - As Bright As Your Night Light
A complete album that hits all my sweet spots. Blips & bleeps. Thrashing guitars, synths & loops. Polished sounds, great tunes & big choruses. FT - “Swimmer’s Ear”
The Deloreans - American Craze
Thanks to WLFY’s Zach for this one. This is an album (and artist for that matter) that I probably would never had heard of. It’s like a whirlwind of 60’s nostalgia, vegas lounge & psychedelic pop. The lead singer’s vocal stylings remind me of Andy Williams. I often picture myself in a robe, sipping Martinis and fighting dragons while I listen to this album. FT - “Gatsby
Wilco - The Whole Love
I’m a Wilco fanatic, so putting this on my list was a no brainer. Everything I love about Wilco shows up on the album and if “The Art of Almost” is any indication of Wilco’s future, watch out. FT - “The Art of Almost”
Born Gold - Bodysongs
I go into the basment. I drop the needle on the record.
I think this album has the perfect title. If my body had to pick its favorite album this year, Bodysongs would be it. Put it on and just try to keep still. FT - “Wrinklecarver”
The Antlers - Burst Apart
The most beautiful album on my list. Heartbreaker. I saw them play the whole album live from start to finish and was in complete awe the entire time. Melodies, atmosphere & passion. FT - “Putting the Dog to Sleep”
Radiohead - The King of Limbs
This is the sound of the future. It’s noisy. It’s hypnotic. It’s beautiful. Amazing lyrics & melodies are hidden beneath the noise of this album and I think we all owe it to Radiohead to pay attention. One of their best. FT - “Codex”
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Probably the most sentimental album for me this year. Though only a few months old, this collection of songs is etched into my brain. Every sound produced on this album triggers thoughts of springtime and early morning rides to school with my daughters. Filled with hope, this album makes me appreciate the little things in life and hopes for the bigger. FT - “Lorelai”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - ST
I’m 18 years old. I’m filled with excitement. The lights go out. I sing along to the verse. I scream along to the chorus. I buy the t-shirt. I’m walking on air.
Fast forward fourteen years later and Noel Gallagher has recreated those moments for me again. Timeless, anthemic pop songs with classic guitar riffs, sweeping strings and stomping drums. Easily my most listened to and favorite album this year. FT - “The Death of You & Me”