Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Albums Of 2011

1. My Morning Jacket - Circuital - Released in May, it entered the Billboard Album charts at #5 and became the highest debut album on the charts for the band. The songs on this album all work well together without sounding over-polished. Some of the songs on the album were written for the new Muppets movie, but were later rejected. The band experiments with their sound just enough to keep you listening to this album over and over again. The album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

2. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator - Released in June, it is the debut album from Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks and his wife, soul-blues singer Susan Tedeschi. Tedeschi's vocals on songs "Bound For Glory" and "Don't Let Me Slide" gave me a new respect for her singing talents. Derek Trucks' slide guitar gives the album a great new blues sound that Allman Brothers Band fans have been waiting for.

3. Wilco - The Whole Love - Released in September, it was the first album Wilco released on their own label, dBpm. The band seemed to have keep some of their best songs for their own first independent album. The album bookends wonderfully with the two epic songs on the album "Art of Almost" and "On Sunday Morning." The album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.

4. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire - Released in October, this is Ryan Adams' comeback solo album. It debuted on the Billboard Album chart at #7. The mostly quiet, acoustic album is a big step forward after Adams disbanded his band, The Cardinals in 2009. It features guest appearances from Norah Jones, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench and Cardinals guitarist Neal Casal. The album also shows Adams' stretching out more with his songwriting.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light - Released in April, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album chart. It was the first #1 album for the Foo Fighters in the US and with good reason. The album was produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana) and brings out the best this band has to offer. After taking an extending break, the band reconvined to create the hardest, loudest album of their career. The songs "Rope" and "Walk" were the perfect singles to bring the Foo Fighters back into the mainstream of rock radio. The album was also nominated for six Grammy Awards including Album of the Year.

6. The Black Keys - El Camino - Released in December, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart, the highest debut for the group. The duo stretch their legs on this album drawing from many early-American music influences like soul, R&B, rockabilly and surf rock. Initial reactions are that The Black Keys are still on the rise with their popularity and with more time to absorb the new album, this may be their greatest release so far.

7. Adele - 21 - Released in January, the album spent 13 weeks at the #1 position on the Billboard Album chart and has sold over five million copies in the US. While most pop albums are made up of singles, this is one of the few pop album this year to be considered a complete work of art. The single "Rolling In The Deep" just set up the listener perfectly for ride through the many different emotions of love. Adele's voice is just flawless throughout the album.

8. Metallica - Beyond Magnetic (EP)/Gary Clark Jr - Bright Lights (EP) - Both albums were released as 4-song EPs and both albums have that raw, unpolished sound that music fans are looking for. Metallica's "Beyond Magnetic" contains four outtakes from the "Death Magnetic" album sessions. These songs contain a certain edge to them, which is what Metallica fans hope will continue onto their next new album. The other EP is from newcomer Gary Clark Jr. and contains two studio tracks and two live, acoustic songs. On his debut, Gary Clark Jr. summons the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker and creates an incredible blues sound. Be on the look-out for his debut album in 2012.

9. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You - Released in August, the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart. After a five year hiatus, the Chili Peppers returned with a new album and a new guitarist to replace the departing John Frusciante. The songs "Monarcy of Roses" and "Look Around" brought back the band's funk-rock sound, but too many other songs on this album seem to have a slower beat and more emotional lyrics.

10. Anthrax - Worship Music - The return of Anthrax with singer Joey Belladona just makes this the band's best album in years. The album debuted at #12 on the Billboard Album chart back in September. All the heaviness and thrash metal that this band is known for is included on this album along with some of the best lyrics to songs like "I'm Alive" and "Judas Priest." Let's hope they don't take another 8 years to release their next album.

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