Albums of 2011 (190 - 181)


12 Dic 2011, 3:52

Albums of 2011

190 – 181

Cults - Cults

Ah yes, another blog favorite. It's good, yes. know would make it better? If they went into full-on punk rock mode for at least thirty seconds. I get it, it's timid. But you can't just have an entirely timid album and call it a masterpiece.

Look at a Björk album. Slow song, slow song, insanely banging beat, slow song, screechy song, slow song, shouting song. That's every Bjork album. And they're all fantastic and unpredictable.

I hope Cults' sophomore effort will punch it up a bit more.

The Flaming Lips with Lightning Bolt - The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt

This is the first of five Flaming Lips EPs released this year that I reviewed. You may be saying, “You can't put this many releases by The Flaming Lips on one list, that's not fair!" Well, life isn't fair and The Flaming Lips are better than life. Bite me.

Anyway, the first song is spectacular. The second song is just really crazy. And the other two...well let's forget those for now. If you Wanna Get High But Don't Wanna Get Brain Damage, this will probably do the trick.

Scumbag Philosopher - It Means Nothing So It Means Nothing

This is just properly entertaining. That's what this is. Honestly, it just incredibly catchy and the lyrics are incredibly clever. This album is the musical equivalent of Rain Man. Half of it is just incredibly smart but can't function on its own and the other half is very smooth but needs substance. It's a very good thing that these two aspects teamed up to share the spotlight on here. It still has it's 'this is way too off the reservation' moments, but for the most part it remains consistent.

Mary J. Blige - My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act I)

Look, I don't really care what your opinion on her music is, it is irrational to deny that My Life was a very important album. This decade's female pop/soul would not sound the same without that album, for better or worse.

This though? This is definitely a “sequel” to that album, as in: not as brash, not as unexpected, and a bit cannibalistic. I like this though, it's more than diverse enough and manages to maintain a constant quality throughout. Yeah, a bit cliché and yeah, a bit trite...but it's not done in a condescending way.

She tried something, and it didn't work, there's no reason to be upset. She never said it was amazing and great, but she tried to make it so. I'm not going to fault her for being ambitious. It has an incredibly strong ending, I'll give it that.

Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest

I really like the conditions that this album was recorded under. I fully support any album using first or second takes only, utilizing improvisational composition, trying to overcome an eight year writer's block and this release includes all three. But seriously, I hear all of this, and I like most of it but then I think,

"Wait…imagine, for a second, if they had louder harmonies…"

Mind: blown.

Look, I know she's been around a while, but really, a Fleet Foxes approach would have made this just spectacular. Right now it's just kinda good. That's all really. Freeze all the stems and boost the harmonies? Bam, perfection. If only, if only.

Brian Eno And The Words Of Rick Holland - Panic Of Looking

This EP, released after Drums Between The Bells, continues the trend of intriguing ambient converging with engaging essays. It's fun, at least for me. I listen to a lot of ambient and I write quite often, so I can only speak for myself when saying that I find this to be nothing less than a success. And if you hate it, well…at least it's only fifteen minutes.

Kele - The Hunter

Get the f*ck back to work on my Bloc Party album and cut this sh*t out.

Wolf Gang - Suego Faults

I really wanted this album to be better than this, but it isn't. This man's Radiohead cover is absolutely brilliant and quite possibly the best cover of any song I've ever heard, but this just doesn't equal that effort.

It is promising though, once Max McElligott finds his voice and a stronger style he will be a force to reckon with. I really do wish all radio-pop was more like this.

Juliana Hatfield - There's Always Another Girl

A good album from a great artist. This album is unofficially dedicated to Lindsay Lohan and I unofficially see the themes of that starlet's shattered career in this. Which means it's probably doing a good job. The album, not the actress.

To be fair, it's really, really, really repetitive. To be fair to you, the reader, and not waste your time…just go with some PJ Harvey. Any album of hers really. Really. But if every track was as absolutely spectacular as Someone Else's Problem then this album would have been way closer to the top. Way closer.

So I guess that's where we'll leave it: tons of potential, squandered.

Neon Indian - Era Extraña

A hipster playing as Daft Punk, who have been trapped in a Super Nintendo system and now have to battle an alternate version of themselves to escape. That's what this sounds like.

This has some really, really bright moments but they are just spread a bit too far apart. And I mean really bright moments. The 'Heart:' tracks are great and Polish Girl is amazing, but really, that might be it.

There's a lot of talent here, it's just a little too…too… too similar to other artists in this genre. I wouldn't be surprised if his next album is actually something really fantastic. He's close, watch him.

[Author's Note:] I actually REALLY love this album, so let's mark this as another prime example of removing any personal preference when ranking an album.

You say that you haven't heard any of these albums? No excuses, click on the picture below to listen to a track from each release.

Playlist length = 44:18


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