Cause you care so much, here are my Top Ten Albums. And reasons why. And stuff.
10. Cults - Cults: Okay, so there’s not much there. It goes by very quickly, but there’s a sound here, a little throwback, a little subversive, that is just so darn compelling and catchy. On the surface, it’s all sweethearts and sugar, but underneath lies something a little sinister. Like a little girl reading a Grimm tale.
9. Yuck - Yuck: It’s shameless 90s cribbing, and the fact that these dudes are so young is sure to call this band a one trick pony, but the songwriting is so tight, and they go back and forth between straight up noise rock and guitar pop tunes so easily. Also, the last track on this album, “Rubber”, is my favorite song of the year. So there’s that.
8. Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation: Mountains of reverb, sweeping crescendoes, amid heartfelt content and delivery that seems so fragile it could fall apart under its own weight at any second (but this is not a bad thing). This is dreamy stuff, a perfect nugget of nostalgia and heartbreak.
7. Cloud Nothings - Cloud Nothings: This one is easy. 2-3 minute bits of absolutely perfect power pop. Hook after hook after hook.
6. The Antlers - Burst Apart: Another album of heartbreak from The Antlers, but less literal, yet somehow more visceral. This one doesn’t quite reach the highs of Hospice, but it is a powerful collection of songs.
5. Wye Oak - Civilian: And now this is when things get serious. These top 5 albums are a huge step away from the bottom 5. And if you listen to them in descending order, it’s immediately made apparent when you put Civilian on. Civilian is a complex, emotional, and deep record. And it rocks. It feels like the album Wye Oak was meant to put out from the very beginning.
4. James Blake - James Blake: James Blake was big on the scene last year, especially with his Klavierwerke EP, but I still wasn’t prepared for this. Spare arrangements, silences as loud as gunshots, and, man, that soulful voice. This was an album that toyed with the edge, music that feels like it should fall apart at any moment, but miraculously, doesn’t.
3. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: It’s really not fair because I’m a die hard M83 fan, and the moment I heard this was a double album (let alone first single “Midnight City”), I knew I was going to love it. And love it I do. From the “mirror-ing” aspect of the two discs to the breathless excitement of songs like “Midnight City” and “Steve McQueen”. And yes, I even love “Reconte-moi Une Histoire”. Sheer joy.
2. Apparat - The Devil’s Walk: I have to say this one kind of snuck up on me. This is probably the most gorgeous set of songs on this list. And beauty, in music, seems to has lost its sway lately. But from the choir of voices on the first track, to the melancholy, atmospheric “Goodbye”, to the pulsing notes of “Ash Black Veil”, this is an album that doesn’t let up on just the sheer gorgeousness of the material.
1. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life: Well, yes, I’m a sucker for concept albums (my #2 album last year was also a concept album), but come on. This is an incredible record. The guitar work, the story, the lyrics, the guest vocalists, the energy, the emotion. There is so much to uncover in this record, and it’s a pleasure to behold. And it’s loud and it rocks, and the theme hits hard, while being inventive enough without being too pretentious in its presentation of story. But sit down with this one. And then listen to it again with the lyrics. And then just turn it on every time you need to listen to something loud and fast. Just listen to it.
My favorite movies of 2011, even though there are still a few I need to see, who cares, at least I’m not going to rank them.