Music Review of 2011

Jacob Orlin       Staff Writer   Scorching vocals, bumping bass, banjos, the rise of dubstep, and awesome collaborations made for a superb year in music. Looking back on 2011, there is really no way to classify what artist or song is truly best, so we will look into each of the most popular genres to see what were the most notable albums of the year.   Hip-Hop:   1. Undun – The Roots The Roots’ album Undun is truly a unique album. As always, the rapper, Black Thought, and the drummer with the huge afro, “?uestlove”, create jazzy beats synthesized with poetic lyrics. Along with that, The Roots feature Sufjan Stevens in one song and include their own classical styled pieces at the end of the album. 2. Watch The Throne – Kanye West & Jay-Z What happens when two hip-hop legends come together to make an album? Greatness. Even my mom listens to Watch The Throne. Along with hits such as “Otis” or “N***** In Paris”, the album has produced amazing songs such as “No Church In The Wild” and “Murder to Excellence.” The album does not disappoint fans of both of these hip-hop stars. 3. Nostalgia, Ultra – Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra is technically a mix tape, and was produced in the syle of R&B albums.  This innovative style has made Nostalgia, Ultra one of the year’s top albums. Frank Ocean has blown up in less than a year because of this mix tape, and it’s for a good reason. Mr. Ocean writes his own versions of songs by artists like Colplay and The Eagles, and they sound awesome. I would never consider myself an R&B fan, but Frank Ocean has made an exception.   Other notable albums that you should listen to:   Childish Gambino – Camp Take Care – Drake Goblin – Tyler, the Creator Cole World – J.Cole Blue Slide Park – Mac Miller   Alternative and Rock:   1. Torches – Foster the People Since these genres have overlapping albums, I decided to make this a joint category. Torches by Foster the people definitely stuck out as the best alternative album. This summer, you probably found yourself grooving to the thoughts of a kid with a gun in their biggest hit titled, “Pumped Up Kicks.” In addition, Torches brings a new and unique sound. Fortunately for their fans, this is most likely their first of many more great albums to come.   2. Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons The last thing I expected myself to be listening to last year was a British folk band. Every member of Mumford & Sons brings something interesting to the table. For example, if you watch their music video for their hit song “Little Lion Man,” you will see that one member is playing the guitar, singing, and beating a bass drum at the same time, and another is playing their guitar like a violin. This interesting dynamic made for a great album. It’s hard to dislike these guys because of such a unique sound they bring forth and the enthusiasm they have for their music.   3. It’s a tie between The Black Keys and Bon Iver The Black Keys album, El Camino, is an extremely upbeat album. If you listen to the first few songs on this album like “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling”, you will already feel like you are driving 120 mph on the highway. Though The Black Keys have changed up their original style, it is amazing what the duo does in this new album. This album is my personal favorite of the year. In contrast to El Camino’s upbeat feeling, Bon Iver’s self titled album is a relaxing compilation of songs that has a homey feel to it. Bon Iver has definitely developed his own stlye, and he works with it to produce an album great for chilling out or sitting around the campfire.   Other notable albums that are worth checking out are:   Ceremonials – Florence & The Machine Mylo Xyloto – Coldplay Nine Types of Light – TV on the Radio King of Limbs – Radiohead   Pop:   1. 21 – Adele You can’t hate Adele. That woman is an amazing singer. The album is filled with jazzy pieces and Adele sings over them with nice lyrics. If somehow you haven’t already heard Adele, you need to check her out. 2. The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green Cee Lo Green pursued another solo album after his successful project with Gnarls Barkley. In this new album, Cee Lo produced one of the biggest hits of the year titled, “F*** You!” Along with a big single, the entire album is filled with soul and an old-school feel. On a personal note, I hope to see him back with Gnarls Barkley soon. 3. Doo Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars Although technically released in late 2010, Bruno Mar’s album became mainstream during 2011. This album had some of the most overplayed songs of all time, such as, “Grenade” and “Lazy Song.” The success of this album has landed Bruno Mars with a Grammy nomination. Though you may be sick of the repetition of his songs on the radio, Bruno Mars can definitely write a pop song—as exemplified in this album.   Electronic:   This year was particularly interesting for the techno genre. Dubstep, a sub-category of the genre rose to prominence thanks to artists such as Skrillex or Rusko. This genre is not exactly my area of expertise, so I went to my techno music correspondent Cameron LeCoque.   Cameron’s top albums:   M83 – Midnight City Excision – x-Rated Skrillex – More Monsters and Knife Party – 100% No Modern Talking EP   Worst albums of the year:   1. Here and Now – Nickelback 2. Ferrari Boyz – Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka 3. Sorry For Party Rocking – LMFAO   2011 was a year full of great music, and 2012 is looking to be promising.  Watch out for exciting new albums by Kids These Days, Snow Patrol, and Frank Ocean to be coming out this year.  ]]>