2014. another year here and gone! and what a year it has been...some stand out memories include: running my first half marathon, taking an amazing trip with my aunt connie to florida, my west coast excursion that i've wanted to do for YEARS, getting into/starting my top choice social work grad school, my scottish love affair, and so many more in between. there were some bad times too, but i'd rather not focus on those!! i feel like i listened to a lot of 2013 releases this year, so this list was a little more difficult than usual. i also found myself liking a lot of songs, but not too many ENTIRE albums. please pretend to care when reading this because i always put a lot of effort into these lists. thanks and love you all. more amazing experiences to come in 2015.
favorite albums of 2014: 10. fka twigs - lp1 this girl. she's really impressive. i listened to two weeks ummmm, a LOT. the album overall is a little meh to me, which is why she's at 10. but there are a bunch of standout tracks on the album that slid her into the top 10 list. favorite tracks: two weeks, kicks, lights on, video girl
9. lana del rey - ultraviolence i love me some lana. this album is a departure from born to die and i understand her decision to do so, but i didn't love it as much. i think part of it was because my anticipation was SO high, making it hard for her to live up to my expectations. i still have love for her though, no doubt about that. favorite tracks: brooklyn baby, pretty when you cry, fucked my way up to the top, sad girl
8. benjamin booker - self titled okay, this guy is sexy. let's get that out there first. like please sing to me while you also roll me around in your bed. okay, now that i aired that out..this guy's sound is the perfect compilation of different genres and eras. that sultry voice combined with the blaring guitars and drums makes for music that i don't recall ever previously hearing. this album makes me go wild in the best possible way. favorite tracks - violent shiver, slow coming, always waiting, wicked waters
7. mø - no mythologies to follow this album helped me get through my half marathon. listening to it while writing this list immediately took me back to sweating my ass off while training in the beautiful spring weather (after the longest winter i could remember) with her album blasting in my ears. it also led me to bump this album closer to #1. what a great release. i miss the spring now. what else is new? favorite tracks - xxx 88, waste of time, the sea, no mythologies to follow
6. tinashe - aquarius fire island flashback. i hope tinashe blows up after this album. so sexy. so fun. and don't act like you all didn't love 2 on when it first came out before the radio played it the fuck out. whenever i listen to this album i like to pretend i'm really rich and driving down the street in miami in a flashy car (too much?) thanks for the inspiration, tinashe. favorite tracks - feels like vegas, aquarius, all hands on deck, watch me work
5. jessie ware - tough love to be honest, i was like jessie who? the first time i heard this album. and then i listened. and then i listened again. she's REALLY good. like when i hear these songs i feel feelings i didn't know existed inside of me at that moment. does that make any sense? no? okay that's fine. move along. favorite tracks - keep on lying, tough love, say you love me, champagne kisses
4. tokyo police club - forcefield i had to wait FOUR years to get another album from these guys after champ (a top 10 in my whole life album). i was a little nervous because i knew their next release couldn't live up to the hype i created. well, forcefield is a pretty solid follow up. this is another summer album that takes me back to trips to the beach and getting day drunk and not worrying about anything. sigh, the recurring theme of my lists is albums taking me back to the summertime. maybe i need to move to a warmer climate. oh, sorry. i'm back. thanks for another great album, tokyo police club! favorite tracks - argentina (parts i, ii, iii), hot tonight, miserable, toy guns
3. stars - no one is lost stars has become one of my all time favorite bands. no one is lost is such a fun release from them. this band always reminds me of my fun experiences in montreal. this particular album has inspired me to return to montreal in the summer of 2015 because i realized it has been way too long. i think this album is bringing this band closer to their original sound, and i am very happy about that. favorite tracks - no better place, no one is lost, from the night, turn it up
2. lykke li - i never learn okay, this album. really? really? really. this album came out right after the coldest and darkest winter i can remember. i didn't really listen much at first because i needed to hear ONLY upbeat music after that experience. but damn, when i did really get into it i felt like i was going through my last breakup all over again. this album is so incredible and sad and beautiful and everything. each time i revisit it i love it more than before. favorite tracks - no rest for the wicked, just like a dream, sleeping alone, never gonna love again
1. banks - goddess WOW. this album. i couldn't even pick a favorite track from this album if i tried. it is just so solid from start to finish. i was really excited for this release after hearing some of her singles. i listened to this album way too much and i am still nowhere near sick of it. i knew from the beginning that this would be my album of the year. and her concert was equally as amazing. i hear a little fiona apple in her too, which is a total BOING for me. yeah, this album works for every mood you are in. if i were to suggest checking out any artists from this list banks would be it. favorite tracks - drowning, before i ever met you, brain, fuck em only we know, begging for thread
honorable mentions of 2014: charli xcx - sucker - came out too close to the end of the year but i'm sure it'll get a bunch of plays. craft spells - nauseau - a departure from their last album but still really solid. the antlers - familiars - wasn't really in the MELLOW mood enough this year to listen often but also a solid releas. we were promised jetpacks - unraveling - good for those times when i'm feeling angsty. azealia banks - broke with expensive taste - i understand you had some record label drama bby, but putting 212 on this album? regardless, i just really began listening to this so it felt unfair adding it to my top 10 but it is SO good. it reminds me of the hip hop i used to steal from my older brother and listen to back in the mid 90s.
favorite tracks of 2014: 1. wild cub - jonti (summer 2014 song) 2. halsey - is there somewhere 3. broods - bridges 4. gateway drugs - give me your love 5. ariana grande - break free (fire island 2014 anthem) 6. twin shadow - to the top (i heard this song on the plane departing for the west coast and as i landed back in nyc 2 weeks later so it holds a special place in my heart)
favorite music videos of 2014: 1. lykke li - no rest for the wicked 2. fka twigs - 2 weeks 3. arcade fire - we exist (let the arguments about culturally appropriating begin..i don't care. i read both sides of the argument and stand by arcade fire on this one) 4. sia - chandelier 5. beyonce - 7/11
Here is my 2013 – in music - boiled down into one arbitrary blog post. For nostalgia when I’m 30 – to remind myself I used to be pretty hip/’in the know’ – to keep with tradition – all of the above.
Let’s start with the bad so we can get it out of the way? Gogol Bordello and Franz Ferdinand are two of my favorite artists… ever. Check the charts – they’re up there. But both of their 2013 releases were pretty lackluster. There are a couple songs on Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions that I enjoyed – but like the title, it ends up being mostly filler.
Now to the golden 13! That’s right – I’m getting older, more picky, no more top 25. Try harder guys…
1.Arctic Monkeys – AM There’s no denying this record belongs in my #1 spot – despite how little I have cared for these guys in the past. It’s great lyrics, catchy beats, great production, and it’s dynamic from start to finish. Mr. Turner & Mr. Helders have really grown up; there’s no way a record of this magnitude could have come any sooner in their career.
2.Warm Soda – Someone for You Sugary indie-pop that is even better live. Matthew Melton was born to lead. Also, this is another record that made it to the prime spots because I’ve listened to it from start to finish, countless times throughout the year.
3.Mikal Cronin – MC II I think MCII is 10x better than his s/t debut. What you might deem “hipster” music - I wouldn’t blame you. He sings about fleeting youth and nostalgia and I’m a sucker. It sounds good too. And comforting. Like your grandmother’s den, filled with sunshine and fresh madeleines and tea.
4.Valleys – Are You Going to Stand There and Talk Weird All Night This is one of those albums I kind of ignored upon release, then decided to check out randomly, then fell in love with after first listen, and now hate everyone who doesn’t appreciate how good this is – especially for a debut! Montreal always has the best music. I can’t even put my finger on what makes this so good – each track is so different and just hits the right spots. I also love the snarky title / I would totally say that.
5.Deafheaven – Sunbather 2013 has been a year where I’ve let metal into my life. In part due to a certain acquaintance, in part due to this album. I’ve always loved post-rock. It has this sweeping beauty to it but unlike a Jeff Buckley song – it comes in crashes instead of whispers. Majestic as fuck, per se? Now add metal to it. Genius. Honestly Deafheaven’s earlier stuff – not that impressed, but they really hit it out of the ballpark with this release. And who doesn’t love the beachy coral-pink sunset cover – it’s like a big fuck you/gotcha to what you’ve come to expect.
6.Chvrches – The Bones of What We Believe I’ve had mixed feelings about these guys. I loved “Recover” from the first listen, months before the actual album came out – but I didn’t really get the hype surrounding previous singles. After a few forced listens in the office from coworkers who apparently suffer from binge-listening – I came around. There are way too many tracks on here that I enjoy for me to not acknowledge them. Will I pay $50 to see them at Terminal 5 – fuck no but I will be revisiting this release well into 2014.
7.Pissed Jeans – Honeys Apparently this is the album I have listened to most this past year – color me a little surprised because I mostly like Pissed Jeans for their live shows. In any case, this album is a lot of fun. Beer-spilling, yelling, angry at everything, fun. I read that the guys in the band all have full-time jobs, so no one in the band depends on the music for their livelihood – which could be misconstrued to mean they have no reason to give it their all – but in actuality gives them a lot more freedom.
8.Primitive Hearts – High and Tight I like these guys for the same reason I like Warm Soda. It’s upbeat, lo-fi, indie-pop. Garage pop? Fuzzy line between those two, but it’s always fun to hear and the album literally flies by. These guys are on FDH Records which is the first label I can really say I trust with any release.
9.Cyanide Pills – Still Bored Re: Warm Soda & Primitive Hearts, fun, tongue-in-cheek, power pop. Not as sugary sweet as Warm Soda, in fact it’s a little bit reminiscent of Ramones stuff. They also have a song titled, “Can’t Get it Up” – which I find amusing, and obviously starred on Spotify.
10.Arcade Fire – Reflektor Not including this on my top 10 would be lying by omission. I would hardly consider myself a fan of Arcade Fire but they do make solid albums. And they do put on a good show. And I fully understand why they can easily fill stadiums. That being sad, “Porno,” “Normal Person,” and “Reflektor” are the standout tracks.
11.Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams This is a band I wrote off because of how stupid the name is. My bad, but come on. I ended up seeing them live before having heard the record, and I enjoyed their set more than the band I originally went to see. So reluctantly, I have come around. I’m already planning on seeing them a second time, and have looped several of their tracks. “Lite Dream” and “Field of Dreams” are my favorites, but I wouldn’t mind hearing the whole thing at any given time.
12.Savages – Silence Yourself These guys have intrigued me since last year but I never went to see them at CMJ and Husbands quickly lost its novelty. I’m still on the fence between really loving their conviction and almost theatricality (absolutely admirable) but I also can’t shake the feeling of kitsch that comes along with it. They were great when I caught the end of their set in Iceland but it all seemed very, rehearsed. Which is disappointing since the thing I like most about them is that everything out of Jehnny Beth’s mouth sounds like it’s meant solely for you, and delivered with begging eyes and urgency – once you lose that, it loses the appeal.
13.The Lovely Bad Things – The Late Great Whatever This is the band I went to see when I decided I liked Diarrhea Planet more. They’re fun, and it’s a good record, same vein as the other power-pop bands I listed, the only difference is this one has female vocals.
Turf War – Years of Living Dangerously and FIDLAR – FIDLAR are two more albums I thoroughly enjoyed (and would have placed in the top 10) but I associate them more with 2012, despite official release dates for physical copies.
And for a list of songs that almost made me include the albums on my top list but then I realized I was just playing this one track from each release: Son Lux – “Lost it to Trying” Chelsea Wolfe – “The Warden”, “Lone” Beyonce – “XO”, “Jealous” Twin Shadow – “Old Love/New Love” Skaters – “I Wanna Dance (But I don’t know how)” The National – “Don’t Swallow the Cap” Minks – ‘Painted Indian”, “Hold Me Now” Rhye – “The Fall”, “3 Days” Tough Age – “We’re Both to Blame” Twin Peaks – “Fast Eddie” Drake – “Hold On, We’re Going Home” Haim – “The Wire” Weekend – “Mirror”, “Adelaide” Kvelertak – “Kvelertak”
Hi everyone. I know I say it every year, but damn 2013 flew by. It’s a little hard to look back on the year because it started on a really high high. Then some sad things happened and needless to say, I am happy to see 2013 go. Reminiscing is something I always do this time of year and I didn’t want to skip writing this list again because I enjoy doing it.
Also, don't feel too bad for me. I had some really great memories and experiences this year, including an internship at an amazing organization. I got to travel to Chicago and Minnesota, as well as meet some great people who will have lasting impacts on my life. On top of that, I became an uncle very late last year and have loved watching my niece grow.
As always, music takes me back to specific memories and that has had a lot to do with the ranking of these albums. There were some great releases this year but I’m going to keep this list short. So here it goes.
****DISCLAIMER REGARDING BEYONCE****
I felt like Beyonce's decision to release a secret album at the very end of the year was her way of saying screw you to top release lists and I have decided to respect her decision. Also, some of the songs are amazing but I just haven't listened enough yet to consider it a top 10 album of the entire year.
Top Tracks of 2013:
1. Arcade Fire – Afterlife 2. Farewell Milwaukee – Let Me Sleep Tonight 3. Sky Ferreira – You’re Not the One 4. Empire of the Sun – Alive (my summer 2013/falling in love anthem) 5. Charli XCX – What I Like
Best Music Videos of 2013:
1. Arcade Fire – Afterlife
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege
3. Beach House – Wishes
4. Digits - Say Goodbye
5. Atoms for Peace – Ingenue
Biggest Flops of 2013:
1. Phoenix - Bankrupt! 2. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Self-Titled (I give up on defending them. Up From Below was a great album, but that's been about it) 3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito =x
Honorable Mentions of 2013:
1. Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts 2. Work Drugs - Delta 3. The Naked and Famous - In Rolling Waves
Top Albums of 2013:
10. Someone Still Loves You Yoris Beltson - Fly By Wire I don't follow this band religiously. Every so often I'll check to see if they have a new release out. I stumbled upon this album and was hooked by the end of the first song. The album reminds of me the past month or two, a time that I have dedicated to allowing myself to feel however I feel and not beat myself up about it. Thanks SSLYYB for the support.
9. Chris Garneau - Winter Games Let me just start off by saying this album is not the Chris Garneau I am used to hearing. It took me a while to accept that the old sound will probably never be back. Once I did, I was really able to embrace this album. I mean, what's not to love about this man? He's cute, has killer pipes, and makes dreamy music that I listen to late at night when I'm sad. I suspect this release will get more play once we enter the dead of winter.
8. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe CHVRCHES reminds me of my roommate. He first introduced me to them. This album just plays well from start to finish. I don't have any specific memories attached to the album but it was really solid so I felt that I had to include it.
7. STRFKR – Mirace Mile Yeah, they probably don't have the best reputation (especially with a name like that). But this album was SO fun and takes me back to riding my bicycle all day or going on extended runs. I miss the early spring. Those were certainly the best days of 2013. SIGH
6. Arctic Monkeys – A.M. This is probably their best release in my opinion. I find the mood of the album to be really dark, which has helped me through my recent rough patches. His voice is so sexy. Am I the only one to think that? I doubt it.
5. Born Ruffians – Birthmarks Holy crap this band is a lot of fun. I was honestly shocked by how much this album was in rotation this year. Listening to it while compiling this list definitely took me back to late spring/early summer. Ah, those were the days. Thanks for the memories Born Ruffians. Keep up the good work. I have yet to be disappointed by any of your releases.
4. Lorde – Pure Heroine This girl really blew me out of the water. Yes, Royals was super played out (even though you’d be lying if you said you didn’t LOVE it before that happened). I listen to this album at least twice a week from start to finish. My only beef is that it’s just ten tracks. I hope all of this attention doesn’t mess with her style and that her future releases are just as brilliant.
3. Arcade Fire – Reflektor This album was so highly anticipated that I think I kind of ruined it for myself. Don’t get me wrong…the album is amazing. It just took a few listens to grow on me. I will say that I doubt that this will be my favorite release by them. With that being said, Afterlife is hands down my favorite song they have ever made. The video is also phenomenal. Seriously, I could spend 15 minutes talking about Afterlife and how much it means to me. This album sounds both classic Arcade Fire and a new direction. I love that about them. I am looking forward to seeing them in concert in 2014, even if it means having to go to Barclay’s.
2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me The latest album by this band proves just how great they are. Sometimes I feel like their songs all sound the same…and then I listen and realize how not true that is. There are some great standout tracks on this album. It reminds me of late summer and has been getting more attention now that the winter is here. It has proven especially helpful when I want to sit in bed and sulk in my sadness..but that's The National for ya.
1. The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still I have been looking forward to this album for a VERY long time. I am glad to report that it was worth the wait. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. This entire album is solid. I am glad to hear a wider range of style and instrument use this time around. I listen to this album from start to finish all the time. It came out right around the time shit began hitting the fan, so I think it is safe to say that this album will always be remembered as "the break up album". I think I am okay with that.
Here's to 2014: great new music, great new experiences, and great new memories.
You know what I hate? People who publish their end of year lists the first week of December. Can you guys relax?*
With that off my chest - here's this year's top 25. Along with a link to 100 of my favorite tracks of 2012 - on Spotify. These are definitely 25 albums I've played the most / loved the most - but the actual rankings are fairly fluid. #2 could be #7, and vice versa. No strong feelings and based solely on how i feel today. (which is great, thanks for asking!)
*this rant may or may not have a little to do with my own procrastination / need to validate the 2013 posting date of a 2012 list. Oops.
I feel obligated to do a top 10 list because I’ve been doing one since 2008. I do have to admit I was so incredibly disappointed by so many of my favorite musicians this year that it would be easier to do a top 10 FLOP list. 2012 was my greatest year alive to date so I’m not that upset about the lack of great music. A little warning to 2013 though: DON’T FUCK IT UP!
Here goes! -Eric
Top Albums of 2012:
10. Passion Pit – Gossamer I don’t know why this album got such terrible reviews. It definitely isn’t as fun as Manners but I still thought it was a solid release. Take a Walk is so smart and one of my favorite songs of the year. I like that we can hear his voice a little better this time around. I’m still a fan. Favorite Tracks: Take a Walk, I’ll Be Alright, Cry Like a Ghost
9. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams This album is super dreamy. I get kind of bored when I listen from start to finish =\ but there are a lot of good tracks and the music is really beautiful. Somebody recommended them to me and I’m not mad about it. Favorite Tracks: Lonesome Dreams, The Ghost on the Shore, She Lit a Fire
8. Breton – Other People’s Problems Okay, this band is SO much better live. They get soooo into it. It’s hard not to swoon, especially considering they are British and DREAMY. These beats are so good. I have my best friend Anna to thank for introducing me to these dreamboats. Now excuse me while I blast some Breton. Favorite Tracks: Jostle, Pacemaker, Electrician
7. Stars – The North I always have high expectations for my favorite bands. Stars is one of them. I don’t think any album of theirs will top In Our Bedroom After the War but I still have expectations. The North is definitely no Bedroom, but it is pretty awesome and definitely better than The Five Ghosts. The songs that are good on this album are really good. I just love them so much. They remind me of my favorite city Montreal, and my love affair that happened there years ago. Favorite Tracks: Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It, Walls, A Song is a Weapon
6. The xx – Coexist I have to admit that I wasn’t initially impressed with this album. Now listening to it again I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I just needed the cold weather and short days to really get into it. There are definitely a few flops on the album, but overall another solid release perfect for the winter months ahead. Favorite Tracks: Angels, Fiction, Swept Away
5. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal Hear me out on this band. 1. Their voices are awesome solo and when they pair up 2. They use a wide range of instruments without sounding excessive 3. They are from ICELAND!!!!!!!!!!! I am a huge fan of this band. They are really good at what they do. Of course this album will always remind me of my time in Reykjavik, but even without that added perk I still would love it just as much. Favorite Tracks: Little Talks, Mountain Sound, Love Love Love
4. Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart I didn’t love this album that much when it first came out, but it is really, really solid. She is also so much fun live (all the hot gay men in the crowd are easy on the eyes too). You won’t find anything groundbreaking here..just some really good POP. Favorite Tracks: Lies, Teen Idle, Homewrecker
3. Wild Nothing – Nocturne Their last album was probably better, but this is still really great music. They are really awesome live too, and that always helps. Shadow is probably the best first track of an album this year. Another album I enjoy from start to finish, especially as background music when I’m cleaning. Favorite Tracks: Shadow, Counting Days, Disappear Always
2. Beach House – Bloom These two are proving they can do no wrong. Another solid release from one of my favorites. Wahoo! So many solid tracks on this album..I like to listen to it from start to finish. Favorite Tracks: Myth, Irene, Wishes, The Hours
1. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die So many people either love or hate her. Well, I’m proud to be on the love side. I’ve probably listened to songs off this album every day this year. SO good. SO SO good. I can’t get enough. I really have nothing else to say. For those who hate her: sorry you’re missing out. Favorite Tracks: Radio, Off to the Races, Dark Paradise, Born to Die
Honorable Mentions of 2012:
Kindness – World, You Need a Change of Mind Um, did you see the video of him teaching a little kid how to make music? Enough said. (again, thank you Anna!)
Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe Some REALLY good tracks on this album, but I’m just not a huge fan. Sorry =\
Tanlines – Mixed Emotions These guys look cute from their album cover and I definitely listened to All of Me every time I went for a run for about 3 months straight.
Islands – A Sleep and a Forgetting These guys are fun. I don’t really love them, but their albums are always fun enough. Yeah, nothing really else to say.
Azealia Banks – Fantasea Here’s the deal. I don’t really like hip-hop. I try. I just get a headache really quickly, and that’s even when the lyrics aren’t completely misogynistic and degrading. So, there are some super solid tracks that I listen to ALL the time, but I don’t think I have ever gotten through the whole mixtape. I do love what you’re doing though Azealia so keep it up.. and I wouldn’t be mad if you can release a song that tops 212 (but good luck).
Best Songs of 2012:
5. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time Yes I’m serious. This song was my end of summer, Fire Island, gaycation anthem and it will ALWAYS remind me of the greatest summer of my life.
4. The Lumineers – Ho Hey Don’t pretend you don’t love it. I can never listen to it just once..it’s too short =[
3. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks This song was prettttttty much my anthem in Iceland this year. It’s safe to say anything that reminds me of Iceland will rank high forever and ever.
2. Die Antwoord – Baby’s on Fire Let’s be honest here..the majority of their “music” makes my ears bleed but this song and this video?! Are you kidding me! Another summer anthem that will forever remind me of 2012.
1. Azealia Banks – 212 No explanation needed
Biggest FLOPS of 2012:
Mumford and Sons – Babel Putting these guys here makes me feel weird. I didn’t hate this album at all. It’s really just a result of my expectations being really high after Sigh No More. There are some really good songs but I just get so bored listening to this album. It almost sounds like a D-list version of Sigh No More. I’m sorrrrrry! They are still super dreamy and I haven’t lost faith in them. Maybe I’ll like this album later on? Hopefully?
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here Okay, Up From Below would probably make my top 20 favorite albums of all time. That is saying a lot. That’s how good it was. I saw them earlier this year before this album was released and hoped that all the new songs they were performing would sound better recorded. Well, it’s very safe to say that is not the case. These guys need to lay off the hippie drugs and focus on making a good album again. =\ And I wanted to pay them to sing Om Nashi Me at my wedding!
Bloc Party – Four I’m almost ashamed to be a Bloc Party fan. I waited SO long for this album. SO long. What do they produce? Crap. It’s pure crap. It’s a bunch of noise that makes no sense. Half of the songs I can’t make it through. And Kele is a bro now? When did that happen? So disappointed. I saw them live and it was basically Kele being cocky on stage. =[ What happened to you guys?! NOT looking forward to your next album.
Well folks, 2011 has come and gone (ohemgee, so fast I know right?!). This was definitely not the best year for album releases in my opinion. Even still, my only job right now is waiting on tables 3 or 4 days a week so I have a lot of free time on my hands and took this list WAY too seriously. So at least pretend to care? Drum roll….
Top 10 Albums
10. Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some UGH. These guys can take a shit and call it music and I’d probably love it. I don’t know what it is about them. Actually, I do. Their voices = sex. Their catchy beats = amazing. Their looks = YUM. They kind of make me feel like I’m in Europe when I listen to them? I highly doubt that makes any sense at all. Anyway, it took me a while this year to snag this album. I heard bad reviews and wasn’t too eager to check it out myself. Psh. It’s definitely not their BEST album, but it’s still so good. Then again, don’t take my word for it…(refer back to the shit comment) The reason they aren’t coming in higher on the list is because there are some kind of borderline terrrrible songs on the album =x Favorite Tracks: Eyes, Lies, Tomorrow Has To Wait, Dig a Little Deeper
9. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes Lykke Li, Lykke Li, Lykke Li…I didn’t listen to this album much when it was released. Even now, I feel that some of the songs are forgettable. However, the first half of this album is pretty amazing. And I love my girl Lykke. I feel like her sound changed a lot from her previous release. Do I like it? I don’t know.. I’m still on the fence. But yeah, the first few tracks make her top 10 worthy. <3 Favorite Tracks: Love Out of Lust, Youth Knows No Pain, Unrequited Love
8. Cold War Kids – Mine is Yours Now that I’ve listened to this album again while preparing this list, I’ve realized just how good it is. I originally planned on putting it as an honorable mention, then as #10 as a replacement to the Death Cab album, and now it’s all the way at #8. It’s REALLY good. This dude’s voice is super sexy. I think I need to focus more of my energy on this band, huh? I have nothing else to say. Just a solid album with some stand out tracks. Favorite Tracks: Royal Blue, Skip the Charades, Mine is Yours
7. The Antlers – Burst Apart I discovered this album thanks to the trailer for one of the best films of the year, Weekend. I Don’t Want Love was played in the trailer (although not once throughout the entire movie..wtf?!). Anyway, I knew I needed to hear the whole album the second I heard that song. It’s a really dark album, perfect for a rainy day. I feel like this album will grow on me even more as the winter approaches. There are some tracks on here I really love, but overall the album doesn’t completely do it for me. They are definitely still top 10 worthy though. Brooklyn represent! (although I’m actually a native New Yorker and I doubt they are..just sayin’) Favorite Tracks: I Don’t Want Love, No Widows, Putting the Dog to Sleep =*(*****, Corsicana
6. Foster the People - Torches OKAY. So Pumped Up Kicks BLEW UP this year on the radio. I don’t even care. I’m not the type (anymore) to stop liking a band just because other people now know them. That song defines my entire summer. God, it is SO good. I even created a little hip bopping dance (that no one will ever see) to go with it. There are also some other really solid songs on this album. When I look back at my charts on last.fm this year, they are way up there. I think a lot of it has to do with the 13246 times I listened to Pumped Up Kicks. Oh, it also helps that the lead singer is a total dreamboat. Le sigh. This whole album just screams SWAG to me. I don’t know, I can’t really explain it. Favorite Tracks: Pumped Up Kicks, I Would Do Anything For you, Call it What You Want, Houdini
5. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto Okay. Coldplay on this list? Weird? I don’t know. Honestly, I put their Viva La Vida album way too low on the list in 2008 and regret it to this day. That album is most definitely in my top 5 favorite albums of ALL TIME, and most certainly should have been #1 in 2008. Yeah, I said it. Mylo Xyloto just came out and I’ve learned that Coldplay albums have to grow on me. Therefore, I refuse to bump it down when I know it has the potential to be [almost] as mind-blowing as Viva. The album seems a little more pop than their previous releases. It’s in a feel-good kind of way though, which makes me not mind so much. I have already played out a few songs because they are THAT good, so yes Eric..good decision putting them at #5. Oh yeah, one last thing: Chris Martin, get in me. Favorite Tracks: Charlie Brown, Up in Flames, Paradise, Don’t Let it Break Your Heart
4. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation I have to thank one of my best friends, and my new music go-to gal Anna (last.fm/user/JaimeChiens) for Youth Lagoon. I hadn’t heard of him until November..and here he is at #4 on my list. Wow, this album is good. I can listen to this album from start to finish multiple times (which to me is the ultimate sign of a talented musician). It can almost be one long song; a very beautiful long song. How can you not love an album with these lyrics: “When I was 17, my mother said to me, don’t stop imagining. The day that you do is the day that you die.” UGH!!!!!! I am going to play this album out any day now. I don’t want to have to wait too long for another release =[ Favorite Tracks: Seventeen, Cannons, Posters, Montana
3. Adele – 21 Girl! That’s what I want to scream whenever I hear Adele singing. She seems so out of place on this list. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. I have listened to this album way too many times this year. I’ve never gone through a shitty break up but I already know 21 will help me get through it. I feel like there is a good balance of sad and slow, as well as upbeat. Also, the pipes on this girl? Out of this world. No one can compete. Sorry. Just one little word of advice: stand your ass up and do something entertaining in your music videos. And quit smoking! Oh, that’s two words of advice huh.. Favorite Tracks: Turning Tables, He Won’t Go, Set Fire to the Rain, Don’t You Remember
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver Justin Vernon, when are you going to come out of the closet and confess your undying bear love for me? Hell, you can even stay in the closet. I don’t care. I think I was most excited for this album in 2011, and with very good reason. I probably listened to this album on repeat for 3 days straight when I first got it. It pretty much goes without saying that this man is a musical genius. I can sit here and rave about his music, but it would be like beating a dead horse. All I’ll say is if you haven’t listened to this album, ya’ll are buggin’. Oh, except for the last song, Lisbon, OH. It sounds like a really bad early 90s R&B song or something I don’t even know. I’ll forgive you though Justin. Favorite Tracks: Holocene, Perth, Minnesota WI, Hinnom TX, Wash., Calgary
1. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart Well folks, there you have it. My #1..a band that most people probably haven’t heard of. I honestly didn’t mean for that to happen. I discovered them a few months before Bonnaroo..it was the song Down in the Valley. Oh man, what a glorious moment for my ears. I knew it was love when I saw them on the last day of Bonnaroo, at a FINALLY not extremely crowded show, under the shade of a beautiful Tennessee tree. They were SO good live. My undying, committed love was solidified when I saw them recently at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tiny venue, them right in front of me. They give SO much when they perform. You can tell their newfound fame hasn’t gotten to them..YET. Their voices really complement each other. They play great musical instruments. Their lyrics are deep without being pretentious. They are just an all around great band. Seriously, if you only check out one band from this list, please let it be this one. Favorite Tracks: Cats and Dogs, Rivers and Roads, Lost in My Mind, Ghosts, Heaven Go Easy on Me..pretty much the entire album
Honorable Mentions (or #s 11-15)
11. The Naked and Famous – Passive Me Aggressive You Um, this album is actually pretty good. I had to stop listening to it because I couldn’t handle trying to figure out what other album to kick out of my list. They would have definitely been #11 on my list. Check them out, especially these tracks: YOUNG BLOOD!!!!!!!!, Punching in a Dream
12. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes & Keys I’m so sorry Ben Gibbard. Please forgive me for not putting you in my top 10, especially the same year that bitch Zooey Deschanel broke your heart. Hopefully the break up will make your next album good again? OH SNAP. But seriously, I love you and will love Death Cab forever, but we just need a little break.
13. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming This band is FUN. I like to dance to the album in my underwear while I’m cleaning my apartment. TMI? Sorry that I’m not sorry. Only a few songs stuck out to me, but I listen to them on repeat, while dancing in my underwear (esp. Midnight City..those Victoria Secret models ain’t got shit on me)
14. The Drums – Portamento I found out about this release too late. Also, unpopular opinion of the day: all of their songs sound alike. ZzZ…They’re a good band but I just get bored quickly.
15. Kele – The Hunter Honestly, I don’t even know if this is an honorable mention. I just love him so much. Babe, just go back to Bloc Party and stop trying to be Calvin Harris or Tiesto. Thanks <3
Top Tracks of the Year
6. Charlie Brown by Coldplay The song just really makes me love my life, so I needed to add a #6 slot to include it on my list.
5. Contact High by Architecture in Helsinki Such a sexy song. And the video is freaking freakily amazing.
4. Holocene by Bon Iver UM hello?! Did anybody see this video?? Most beautiful scenery ever. Also, Justin Vernon can get it ANY AND EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEEEEEEEEEEK.
3. I Don’t Want Love by the Antlers So ironic…
2. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People (refer to #6 on album list for detailed reason)
1. Young Blood by The Naked and Famous NO BRAINER. This song is heaven. Pure fucking heaven. “..fall back in love eventually…YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.”
That concludes this year’s list. Putting this together took hours and also led to reminiscing about 2011 in general. I hope everyone had as great a year as I did. Thanks for reading =]
Note: Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear are both omitted bc i don't think they're as epic as everyone is making them out to be,...as well as lacking a high 'songs i like:songs i could do without' ratio. Besides Brother Sport and Two Weeks (which would prob both be in my top 10 songs of 2009), i really wasn't all that impressed. Or maybe it's just Angelina Jolie syndrome..
Also, this list only includes LPs.. if it were to include EPs, Modest Mouse & Bon Iver would def be included in the top 10.
(1) The Decemberists - Hazards Of Love Fave Tracks: The Rake's Song, The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid, Won't Want For Love (Margaret in the Taiga), Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle The Thistles Undone)