Monday, December 26, 2011

Fergie & Fife - Top 11 Albums of '11

The first thing I think it's important to be clear about is that, really, I say "best" but what I mean is "favorite." I've already written extensively about taste, the idea of opinions & critics, and the (in my opinion) much more favorable idea of, well, favorites. I'm not a critic. To me, the word is kind of an insult. I'm a lover. But, as it happens, I do genuinely think a lot of these are the best of what 2011 had to offer. 

** PS- also, I lied and I went back and made this 11. Because I forgot about Tom Waits!

11. VOTE! TUTS Kids
Listen, I said favorites. And I had to put it on here because... if you had an album come out this year, you'd put it on your list. It's not a perfect album. We're working to make it better. But like anything and everything we've ever done with this show, hot damn did we learn a lot. And most especially from the wonderful, wonderful kids who sang their hearts out on that stage and on this album. Just listen to the adorable little Kristen del Bosque on "Diva President." 

10.  Indigo Girls - Beauty Queen Sister
I don't think this is their best album, but it's still solid. And they've never done an album that didn't have at least one heartbreaker on it. This time, it's "Birthday Song." For more, check out here

9. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
I knew I was going to forget one. I'm so so sorry, Tom Waits. I love you and I love your album. I feel so ashamed that I left you off the first draft of this that I can't even say anything about your great album, so I'll just direct you back to my original post about it when it first came out. 

8. Feist - Metals
I described this as perfect music to write to, and I stand by that. The more I've listened to this, the more I find to like and love in it. Leslie Feist, you are one mellow-sexy bitch. 

7. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
People keep using Fleet Foxes as an example of the attitude of my generation. That rather than being these star-individuals that we were taught was the way to go, at this point, we'd rather just be a "functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me" ... because then at least we'd be functioning, I suppose. Existential questions aside, this album reminds me of some good times in St Andrews, and counting the number of times Kris Lofgren would call something else "Fleet Foxy." In all its different usages, I think Fleet Foxy is a pretty sweet adjective. 

6. James Vincent McMorrow - Early in the Morning
Put on the map recently for his "We Don't Eat" single featured in the video about NYC that everyone and their mother loved, this Dublin native has a whole album full of goodies with Early in the Morning. He reminds me a lot of a lot of people, but I'd rather sit down and write with this guy on in the background way more than any of the guys he gets compared to. For more, check out here

5. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
I'm glad there was an album from Florence for my first year living in Scotland to go with her last album that saw me through my move. And actually, I think as a whole composition, Ceremonials is better. Funny that there's a song called "Spectrum," because I really think about the album in terms of color and light. There's a lot of bright and there's also a lot of moody night songs. She's always making albums that sound the way night time on the Isle of Skye feels. How stars can look when there's no light pollution. This is girly, too, (like that last statement wasn't...) but I just really like the album artwork. Hee hee. 

4. Adele -21
This is an example of what would probably be #1 in the real world list of best of 2011. It topped many people's lists. I loved the quote from Sasha Frere-Jones that no one really dislikes Adele. They might not like the frequency of her song plays, but sister is a first-rate vocalist and no one, no one can say otherwise. "Someone Like You" is the only Billboard #1 to feature only a piano and vocals. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I also still think "Don't You Remember" is the best country song I've heard in a long time and I'm thrilled to hear Miss Adkins will be making a country album. 

3. Washed Out - Within and Without
I wish I could say I started to love Washed Out because I knew it was Ernest Greene, from Perry, GA and married to one of my oldest friends/childhood playmates, Blair Sexton, but... I didn't. I suppose that's really more of a good sign that I started listening without the bias of knowing this entire (amazing!) album was recorded in the lakehouse in Houston County where I spent some of the best moments of my childhood. This is another one I just listened to on a loop for months. Just months. The whole thing is great, but I still love "Amor Fati" the mostest. 

2. Gotye- Making Mirrors
This was a late-game- changer courtesy of Taylor, but man. I'm still jamming out to this on a daily basis. Sometimes he sounds like Sting, sometimes Seal. Sometimes the Beatles. (Tell me the "Easy Way Out" Chorus doesn't remind you of "Daytripper.") Obviously, "Somebody That I Used to Know" is first rate. But I'd also encourage you to check out "Save Me" "Bronte" & "Eyes Wide Open." Even my dad was bobbing his head to the synth satire, "State of the Art."

1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
I don't really care if it is or isn't better than For Emma, Forever Ago. I don't really even care that he screwed up what I thought the lyrics were (and still think should be!) from "Perth." "Holocene," "Towers," "Perth," even that psycho/awesome 80s homage steel guitar laden "Beth/Rest"... I wore this album OUT. 2011-- and riding the x59 bus back and forth between Edinburgh & St Andrews-- will always sound like this album to me. 

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