Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Albums of My Year

Growing up, I never thought of myself as a music person. I actually remember saying, “I don’t really like music,” while I was in elementary school. The first CD I owned was The Soundtrack to the Lion King. The second CD was an Ultimate Dance Party mix including essential hits like, “The Macarena,” and “The Chicken Dance.” You know, so I could practice at home for skating parties. But really, I would actually listen to these from start to finish while playing Freescale on our Windows 3.1 PC.

Then, our family got Greatest Hits, Queen, and I knew every word to “Fat Bottom Girls,” and “Bicycle Race.” Because it wasn't on the CD, I didn’t even know "Bohemian Rapsody" existed.
So, today, I find it extremely flattering when friends compliment my party playlists. Oh, how far I have come!. Thanks very much to the influence from high school friends, music festivals, iTunes, Spotify, and this guy.

Thus, with the oh-so-quickly closing to the year, here’s a few of my favorite albums of 2011 (with one exception):

Foster the People, Torches
I discovered FTP in March, via a South by Southwest music-sampler. They reminded me of MGMT, except... better. A few months later their first album, Torches, came out, and nonstop radio play soon followed. For my friends and me, this has definitely been the year for Foster the People dance parties.

Belle Brigade, Belle Brigade
Ha, does anybody else still use the iTunes Pick of the Week? Every Tuesday iTunes has a new song available for free download. And over the last few months, they’ve increased it to 3-4 free songs instead of just one. I’m pretty sure “Where Not To Look For Freedom” was a free iTunes download back in March. At first I thought it was too country, but after I listened to the whole song, and then the whole album, I had found a new fav. I was quite fortunate to see them play twice this year, both at the DMB Caravan Fest in Washington, and at ACL two weeks later.

Fitz and the Tantrums, Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2010)
I was sad to learn that this album actually came out in 2010. However, I didn’t listen to it until this past spring, when I was researching artists for ACL. I think Fitz and the Tantrums sound like they are from back in the 60s or 70s. I listened to a lot of them this year while making dinner.

Adele, 21
One of my favorite local music dudes, Andy Langer, said 21 was for sure to be the best selling album of 2011. It reminds me of driving to/from kickball all spring, and of the phenomally awesome Glee Mashup from this fall.

Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
I first heard Fleet Foxes at ACL 2008 when they played an afternoon set to a couple hundred fans. They were excellent! So, I’ve been a fan ever since, however I was not as impressed with their new album as I was with their first.

Brett Dennen, Loverboy
Alternatively, I feel that Brett Dennen’s new album, Loverboy, is definitely his best yet. I also discovered him through ACL (2009) and saw him play again at The Gorge this fall. His look is about as unique as his voice, and I dig them both.

Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials
This CD has been in my car since I burned it last month. The girl can SING.

Givers, In Light
I think I got “Up Up Up” as a free download from Amazon. As soon as I heard the song I loved it, and quickly Spotifi-ed (are people saying that yet?) the entire album. It’s very much my taste.

Kanye & Jay-Z, Watch the Throne
The fact that Jay-Z didn't show up at ACL was horrifyingly tragic. What a dumb rumor. Regardless, the Kanye concert was really fun. I think he is one of the artists I started liking from radio play. Either that, or my college dormmates...
Thanks Char, Jackie, and Justyna for introducing me to Hip Hop. Among other things...

M83, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
Haha, this one is also thanks to the radio, specifically Chillville. Five years ago I never would have liked this kind of music, “too modern!” But today it’s totally perfect for lazy Sunday mornings, weekdays at the office, or Friday game nights.

Did I miss any of your favorites from 2011?

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