Thursday, December 29, 2011

My five fave albums of 2011 (and more!)

1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Everyone else's favorite album is also mine. Tuneful, political, and timely: a bloody masterwork in every sense. And I'll be damned if I can't hear a little Surfin' Bird in the single, the Words that Maketh Murder:

2. The Streets - Computers and Blues
After a couple of weaker albums, Mike Skinner returns to winning form in his last outing as the Streets. The most fun and funniest album of the year. Out without a blink:

3. Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia
Baroque meets disco meets showtunes meets pop meets - a saxophone! - in a glorious burst of 80s-style English romanticism with a vaguely political subtext: love for all and all for love!

4. Thomas Dolby - A Map of the Floating City
A shock comeback from Mr. She Blinded Me With Science himself. A strong, organic, and considered work of subtlety and intelligence with nary a hint of nostalgia. As Spice Train proves, even smart people like to get down sometimes:

5. Limousines - Get Sharp
An over-the-top dance-party gross-out from the album cover (close-ups of our heroes' mouths with bubbles coming out) to the insight that Men Without Hats had a decade earlier ("Internet Killed the Video Star") to the line (in Very Busy People, below) involving "masturbat(ing) to these pixelated videos of strangers f-ing themselves." Goofy and dumb fun:

And the rest:

Best album title
Bob Geldof - How to Compose Popular Songs that Will Sell

Best album cover
Battles - Gloss Drop

Worst album cover
Limousines - Get Sharp

Best grammar
The Sounds - No No Song: "Excuses is all I ever get from you!"

Best pronunciation
Anna Calvi's pronunciation of "sky" as "skoy" on Desire.

Worst cash-in
Kate Bush - Director's Cut - bad re-recordings of old songs and supposed "remasters" of other CDs, which sound exactly the same as the originals.

Best question
British Sea Power - Who's in Control?

Best old album I discovered in 2011
Bob Dylan - Desire

Best little concert
Men Without Hats - Casino Regina

Best big concert
Prince - MTS Centre

Best wake-up call to the music press
Rolling Stone puts Canadian band Sheepdogs on its cover, and the band gets a lousy 2,000 "likes" on Facebook.

Best comedy music performance
Colbert, Fallon, and Hicks sing Friday on Late Night

Surprisingly good comebacks
Thomas Dolby
Lindsey Buckingham

Surprisingly bad collaborations
Jay-Z and Kanye West
Lou Reed and Metallica

Best book about music
Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Past by Simon Reynolds

Good song/ap combo
Polyphonic Spree's Bullseye

Bad song/ap combo
Bjork's Biophilia

Best music app
Band of the Day

Best music mag in print form
Q Magazine

Worst way to enjoy music videos
With preroll ads on YouTube

Best way to enjoy music videos
Downloaded from iTunes on your iPad

Most disappointing album
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light

Most mature album from a kid
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know

Best new artist
Anna Calvi

What are they smoking in England?
Oasis brothers
Lana Del Rey
Military Wives Choir

The video that YouTube should feel stupid for censoring
Battles - Ice Cream

Best video
Deer Tick - Main Street

Most-depressing song
The Unthanks - Last

Funniest song
Art Brut - Clever Clever Jazz

Upbeat song with downbeat message
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

Haven't I heard that song before?
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks versus Peter, Bjorn, and John - Young Folks
Lady Gaga's Born This Way versus Madonna's Express Yourself

Best Compilation/Tribute
Rave On - Buddy Holly

Best TV Theme Song
John Boutte - Treme

No need for a greatest hits

Need for a greatest hits

1 comment:

  1. To the Pop(e) of Pop Culture:
    We need a breakfast soon, but here's some short snapper feedback:
    1. We have not one top album in common; that's good.

    2. I don't have a better best album title, but I the worst: Mylo Xyloto

    3. Limousines - funny worst album cover, but not the worst - see Taylor Swift World Tour Live.

    4. Hmm...need to check out Desire.

    5. Best Little Concert was Men Without Hats With The Human League (Oyster Festival, Chicago). Honorable Mention: Dark Dark Dark at WECC.

    6. Bob Geldof and Nick Lowe are so pop clever although Nick's "Old Magic" title was so-so. Bob wins.

    7. Best Music Mag: Uncut and Mojo much better than Q nowadays, in my opinion.

    8. Love Laura Marling, did not like Rave On.

    9. 100% agree re Gorillaz..WHY OH WHY???

    10. 100% agree re. Weezer; same for Arctic Monkeys eventually.

    7. Best Big Concert - Prince, hands down.


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