Favourite Albums of 2011
To be read as a top 5 with 5 honourable mentions.
10. Mansions “Dig up the Dead”
9. Active Child “You are all I see”
8. Bon Iver “Bon Iver”
7. Hey Rosetta “Seeds”
6. Charlie Simpson “Young Pilgrim”
5. Manchester Orchestra “Simple Math”
There’s something about Manchester Orchestra that’s magic. It’s pretty clear that frontman Andy Hull is a broody and complex man full of seemingly dark and painful experiences and yet somehow him and his friends create such sweeping and gut wrenching work. This album is full of intense guitar work and visceral, honest and intelligent lyrics. Simple Math marked a change from their previous effort and yet so many of the MO trademarks are there. Then on top of all this the music video for the track “simple math” was one of the more incredible music videos I’ve ever seen.
Tracks of Note: Simple Math, Apprehension, April Fool
Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaMiVDZu_T4
4. Young the Giant “Young the Giant”
Originally I got into this album because it was a dancy and fun summer album that mixed the elements I enjoyed from Vampire Weekend and the Killers without being annoying.. but then the more I listened the more I actually came to love the album.. They have a very specific sound and yet each song has a unique identity.. I was blown away by the anthemic energy of “My Body”, the moody infectiousness of “Island” and the latin feel of the hi-hat groove in “St. Walker”.
3. The Horrible Crowes “Elsie”
This album caught me by surprise. I was skeptical that I would get into music that was touted as capturing the magic of Bruce Springsteen all over again, and I was never a huge fan of the Gaslight Anthem, (Brian Fallon’s ‘main’ band) At first I just liked it okay.. and then I listened to ‘Mary Ann’ and it kicked me in the teeth.. There is something unexplainably raw and uncontainable about the energy and passion in this song, and after that I was hooked. You might even say this album is a gamer changer for me in that it has opened me up to sounds, and songs that I typically would have written off. I love it.
Tracks of Note: Mary Ann, Behold the Hurricane, Crush
Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdQ32Bhv308&ob=av3e
2. Gungor “Ghosts Upon the Earth”
Ever since Ancient Skies the Gungor crew have been stretching their complex music muscles and increasing the thoughtfulness and depth of their lyrical offerings. GUTE caught me off guard at first because I was hoping for complex and meangingful songs that would still translate to corporate worship settings.. With this effort though they all but threw out accessibility to be able to tell a beautiful, complex story through mind bending musicality.. The result is a stunning work of art that has taught me a lot about music and a lot about God. If you’re looking for intelligent art that reflects a deep and meaningful faith than Ghosts upon the earth is that album! Musically stunning, thematically captivating this is an album worth investing in, chewing on and of course listening to.
Tracks of Note: When Death Dies, With Every Breath, This is Not The End
Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vHFsXOdTt0
1. Needtobreathe “The Reckoning”
Needtobreathe has been impressing and surprising me since their debut album in 2006. I knew that an album was coming this year, and for some reason I wasn’t excited about it.. After a good but not great third album I assumed I’d heard the best of what needtobreathe had to offer, and so i expected a catchy, shallow, enjoyable quick listen.. What I didn’t expect was my favourite album of 2011. This album can be summed up in three words.. Melody, Melody, Melody!!! Bear Reinheart has an incredible sense of melody, these songs are incredibly singable while not being dumb or trite.. the verse on “Angel at my Door” is a perfect example! Probably %70 of my love of this band is Bear’s voice.. and is sure on display here in a big way..And I dare you not to love “Slumber”!
Generally albums that are this catchy wear off pretty quickly, but no so with The Reckoning. There’s a lot of depth in the instrumentation, the melodies. It is the PERFECT driving album.
4 albums in and needtobreathe are still making awesome albums that are true to where they come from and what they are about.. and man are they fun.
Tracks of Note: Slumber, Oohs and Ahhs, Able
Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfNKE9aiKmQ